Prep and wash the area.
Using painter’s tape, stick plastic sheeting to the walls along the edge of the foundation, or at the height to which you will apply the epoxy up the walls.
Sweep the floor thoroughly to remove dirt and dust. Using an old paintbrush, dust out corners and seams. If your floor was not previously painted, skip to Step 2.
For painted floors: Using a floor maintainer fitted with a light-sanding pad, scuff the paint to de-gloss it. Sweep away the dust. Then, using a bristle broom, scrub down the surface with an all-purpose cleaner. Rinse the floor thoroughly and
let it dry for at least 4 hours. Continue with Step 3.
TOH Tip: To check if the floor is clean, stick a strip of duct tape to it once it’s dry, then peel it away. If you see any dust or particles on the tape, clean the floor again.
Etch the floor.
For new or bare concrete: Mix the etching solution with water in a plastic watering can, following the manufacturer’s directions. Make sure to wear protective gloves, rubber boots, and safety glasses when working with the chemicals.
Wet the floor with a garden hose. Pour the solution over a 10-by-10-foot area in the corner farthest from your exit point. Using a bristle broom, scrub the area in one direction, then go over it again in a perpendicular direction.
Continue etching the floor in small sections. Once you’ve finished the entire garage, rinse the floor with a garden hose, starting in your first corner and moving forward. Continue rinsing until the water runs completely clear. Allow the floor to dry at least 4 hours.
TOH Tip: Stubborn, dark discolorations may be the sign of a set-in oil stain, which will require additional scrubbing with fresh solution.
Mix up the epoxy paint.
Open both the epoxy paint and epoxy hardener cans. Begin stirring the epoxy paint, then slowly pour the hardener into it. Make sure to scrape out every last bit of the hardener into the paint.
Carefully stir the two components for 3 minutes until they are fully blended. Place the lid loosely back on the can and set it aside, away from the sun, for 30 minutes. The can may feel warm to the touch as the chemicals react with one another.
Paint on the epoxy.
Once the epoxy formula is ready, you must use it within 2 hours for it to cure properly, so work quickly. Always keep the garage well ventilated as you work.
Pour the epoxy into a roller tray fitted with a liner. Using a 3-inch paintbrush, cut in a line of epoxy around the border of the area to be covered, and paint it into seams and corners.
Roll the epoxy paint.
Move to the corner farthest from the exit. Using a 3/8-inch-nap roller fitted with an extension handle, roll a 10-by-10-foot section with epoxy paint. The epoxy should feel slightly thicker and stickier than normal house paint. Re-wet the roller and go over the section in a perpendicular direction, again feathering out uneven lines. Continue covering the floor section by section.
If you plan to use two coats, finish the entire floor, allow it to dry 12 to 24 hours (longer in humid or cold weather), then re-coat it in the same manner.
TOH Tip: Keep a wet edge as you move from section to section so there won’t be clear seams when the paint dries.
Apply the color flakes.
As you apply the top coat of paint, stop after every section to put down the color flakes while the area is still wet.
Distribute the flakes over the area by first sprinkling them lightly, then slowly building up distribution until you have the right coating. Take a handful of flakes and shake them through your fingers the way you would sprinkle grass seed.
Work your way from the back to the front of the garage in conjunction with rolling on the epoxy. Once the entire floor is coated, allow it to dry for 12 to 24 hours (longer in humid or cold weather).
TOH Tip: While most companies package their flakes in cans with a shaker top, broadcasting them by hand may be easier to control. Practice your technique on a tarp outside the garage.
Prepare the top coat.
Pour the hardener into the clear top coat, making sure to scrape out all of it, and stir the mixture for 3 minutes until it’s completely blended. Place the lid loosely back on the can and set it aside, away from the sun, for 30 minutes. One minute before you are ready to apply the top coat, stir the mixture for an additional minute. If you plan to use anti-skid granules, add them now.
Apply the top coat.
You’ll only have about 2 hours to work with the mixture. Using a clean paintbrush, cut in at corners, edges and seams. Using a 3/8-inch-nap roller, start at a point farthest from the exit and roll on the clear coat in 10-by-10-foot sections as you did with the epoxy paint. Work first in one direction. In the perpendicular direction on each section, making your way forward until the entire floor is covered. The coating will appear white or milky at first but will dry clear. Allow 24 hours drying time for foot traffic and up to 72 hours before parking a car—longer in humid or cold weather.
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