Garage flooring generally starts life as a bare concrete slab and as it ages oil drips from the car, cracks on the floor from weather and settling often give the floor a very unpleasant appearance. As a homeowner, you have some affordable options that can turn that unsightly floor into a thing of beauty and a floor that can really take a beating and come out looking good.
The two most popular garage floor-coating technologies are Epoxy and Polyurea.
Epoxy is a strong multiple part adhesive consisting of resin and a hardener. The epoxy layer is much stronger than regular garage floor paint or non-resin surface coatings and can sustain high traffic for a limited time.
Epoxy and polyurea require the garage floor to be prepared before either technology can be applied. The first thing is to remove everything on the garage floor. For epoxy floors it is suggested that you fill in any cracks and chips in the concrete floor then a complete light sanding. The final step is to clean the floor of any oils, grease, liquids, etc. You're now ready to apply the first of two epoxy layers to your garage floor. After the first full epoxy layer has been applied to the floor you will be ready to apply a final coat. This layer is a clear sealer coat of poly urethane that will provide protection for low volume traffic.
Epoxy floors by their very chemical nature often will peel away from the original concrete slab. This peeling has been attributed to the absence of a vapor barrier layer and improper concrete preparation. In addition, epoxy floors will scratch and breakdown over time.
On the plus side, epoxy looks good, is very affordable and can be applied by a handy do it your self person.
Polyurea is an affordable hybrid polymer flooring technology that is applied in multilayer clear sealant coats to your garage floor. Polyurea is twice as strong as epoxy and is applied as a clear top coat that is chemically designed for high traffic areas in your garage. Specifically, it has advantages over other conventional materials for filling joints and caulk applications due to their fast set times, durability, and abrasion characteristics. In addition, polyurea provides two major advantages over other top coating technologies, excellent bonding strengths to properly prepared sub surfaces, and is chemically designed for high traffic areas.
Like epoxy floors, polyurea requires proper garage floor surface preparation.
Concrete garage floors require vapor barriers to prevent water and moisture from penetrating the layers. This moisture can ultimately lead to the failure of the coating system. In preparation for your new floor all oil and grease compounds need to be removed from the concrete surface.
The concrete floor should be diamond ground and cracks and divots in the floor should be cleaned out and filled with a material compatible to the primer.
This grinding opens the pores in the concrete allowing all coating layers to soak in the concrete surface allowing enhanced adhesion.
Primers are strongly recommended in most garage floor applications.
Polyurea will not solve your protective coating or joint fill needs by itself. It must be used in combination with proper surface preparation and primers
A hybrid flooring system using polyurea as a top sealant coat will be affordable and make maintenance a breeze and by combining a vapor barrier system, epoxy coatings, vinyl and silicone color chips with other polyurea sealants, can produce a garage floor that is beautiful, skid resistant, tough, and impervious to oils, gasoline, and paints.