Learn the tips and tricks for how to paint garage floors including the pros and cons of various kits. This DIY project for concrete floor coating has been durable, easy to clean, and non-slip when wet!
We are sprinting down the finish line in the garage makeover! The last time I updated you, we had a major project in mudding the walls and organizing the garage. Now that the walls are done, I am very excited to be moving on to more…paint?! Well, sort of, but this one is worthy of excitement. We are painting the garage floors!
You see, 3 years of DIY had left our garage floors looking a little worse for wear…
Several months ago, hubby had asked me to find a garage floor coating product to turn our nightmare floor into a respectable shop to work in. This space is the center of our DIY world. It’s a garage filled with hopes, creativity, and a whole ‘lotta sawdust.
We needed a product that was beautiful but also function and hit all of our criteria:
- Non-slip coating
- Not reflective or glossy
- Not slippery when wet (epoxy floor coatings are awful if they get wet)
- No 2-step insane epoxy (this is much easier!)
- Durability – We can drive on it and it resists against dirt, grease & household stains
- Wide range of colors that are neutral to match the house
If you are planning on recoating the garage floor, there are a few tips to make your project the best it can be. Prepping may look like a lot of work, but, truthfully, we did all of the prep work (except moving stuff) in a single day.
Recommended Supplies and Materials
- Strong Degreaser or cleaner
- Long handled scrub brush
- Muriatic acid
- Bucket for mixing acid
- Safety gear (large rubber gloves, closed toe shoes, safety glasses)
- Baking Soda (1 cup per gallon of water)
- Hose with water connection
- Adhesive roller or rented textured paint sprayer
- Paint supplies (paint pole, paint trays, large stir sticks)
- Garage Floor Coating (see below for brands)
BONUS: Floor coatings such as this reduce temperature fluctuation. Concrete floors and patios are noticeably warmer in the winter and above ground concrete won’t heat up in the sun as much in the summertime.
What Floor Coating Should I use?
After having used and tested several products over the years, Epoxy based coatings are going to be the most durable options. I haven’t tried every product on the market (some are Thousands of dollars!) but here are some recommendations for starting your own research:
- Homeowner/Durable but Budget Friendly – Rustoleum EpoxyShield or Rocksolid
- Professional Grade/Maximum Durability and Chemical Resistance – Armor Garage or ArmorPoxy Armorclad
- Weather resistant/non-slip/non-gloss – Behr Granite Grip
We use our garage as a woodworking shop, so the Behr Granite Grip was the best choice for us. If I were running, say, a car restoration shop, I’d go for the professional grades. You can also add texturizer to the epoxies to make them less slippery, which was a HUGE factor for us.
For more information and to compare brands, I recommend checking out the RustOleum Comparison Chart, Garage Armor’s Explanation of their systems, Armorclad’s Product Explanation, and Behr Granite Grip’s Reviews.
How to Prep the Garage Floor for Painting
1. Moisture Test
If your concrete floor collects moisture, it can get under the coating and you will not have a proper bond. Tear off a few feet of clear plastic wrap and lay it on the floor. Use Duct Tape or another well sealing tape around all of the edges. I would recommend leaving for a day or two and check periodically if any moisture, color change, or condensation collects on the floor or the underside of the plastic wrap.
If it fails, I would definitely consult a professional to find the source and what you can do about it.
2. Move Everything Out
Finding a place to store everything from the garage might just be the biggest hurdle. This whole process will take a few days so I recommend doing it all at once. Our bench is built into the wall, so we left that.
3. Clean and Degrease the Garage Floor
Make sure you scrub off any oil, dirt, or chipping paint from the floor. This is crucial for a proper bond. Use a good degreaser and a long-handled scrub brush to remove any contaminants.
4. Acid Etching
Acid etching will prep concrete to accept and bond with a coating. If your concrete has been previously sealed, you may need to abrade the surface with a grinder rather than acid etch.
While etching isn’t hard, safety is the priority here. Muriatic Acid, also known as hydrochloric acid, is a strong acid. Wear safety goggles, rubber gloves, and old shoes you don’t care about. Hubby is sensitive to fumes so he wore a respirator mask. That would be overkill for most.
Read and follow all manufacturer’s instructions for the muriatic acid and use only with adequate ventilation. You may have to do a few applications depending on the density and smoothness of your concrete.
Pro Tip: Always pour acid into water, NOT water into acid. Does anyone else remember those “What Not to Do in the Chemistry Lab” videos from school? The boiling acid example makes this rule pretty clear.
5. Neutralize and Rinse
Mix 1 cup of baking soda to 1 gallon of water and sprinkle over the floor. Allow to sit 10 minutes and then rinse with a garden hose. When mostly dry, wipe your hand across the floor to make sure there is no powdery white residue left behind. If there is, thoroughly rinse again. Allow the floor to dry completely (2 days).
Pro Tip: The concrete should be approximately the roughness of 150 grit sandpaper. If not, repeat the etching process.
How To Apply Floor Paint
Now that everything is prepped, your garage floor is ready for coating. These instructions are particular to the Granite Grip that we used. Epoxies are slightly more complicated.
Coverage: It covers 50 sq. ft. per gallon. For our two-car garage, we used 8 gallons of Ornamental Gem, but there are many natural-looking color options.
1. Cover small cracks
Large cracks can be filled in with concrete patch. For small cracks like below, the aggregate will fill in with a brush. Paint one coat and let dry before your roller coat.
2. Lay floor Coating
Method 1 – Rent a texture sprayer from any Home Depot/hardware store that has a tool rental department. I highly recommend this option. Application is easier, faster, and you will be sure there are no roller marks.
Method 2 – Use an adhesive roller (not a regular paint nap roller) to apply the paint. Working in a 4×4 area, make sure to minimize roller marks by working in a random pattern.
Pro Tip: Both the acid etching and the Paint must be applied when air/surface temperatures are above 50 degrees F.
The floor is ready for light traffic in 24 hours but allow coating to dry for 72 hours before subjecting to automotive tires. Longer dry time required in cooler temperatures and in higher humidity. Don’t rinse the floor for 30 days and you have yourself a great floor!
- Make sure to regularly stir the aggregate/flakes suspended in the paint solution.
- Work in 4 foot by 4 foot sections so that you aren’t going over semi-dry paint.
- Raw concrete is porous so it may suck up the paint quite quickly. Second and third coats are easier to smooth out.
- Between coats, wait the manufacture’s recommended time. You will walk on it to recoat, but you will cover over any imperfections.
- Apply at least two coats to get full, even coverage. We applied 3, but our coats were thin, so it kept within the 50 sq ft per gallon recommendation from Behr.
- Many brands recommend spike shoes in order to walk on the fresh paint for subsequent coats. We didn’t use any and it was perfectly fine.
Looking for more DIY home projects? Check out these ideas!
- Garage Tool Storage Ideas for Pro Organizing
- Baseboard Repair and Caulking
- Add Trim to Cabinets for an Instant Upgrade
- Building A Kitchen Island
- All Of Our DIY Room Reveals!
- How To Paint Garage Doors
Here it is, completed and pretty! I definitely made the right choice for our floors and hubby is happy which is the most important thing. Now that everything is back where it belongs, it’s back to work for us on our next DIY project. With spring in the air, it is time to start some of those long overdue outdoor projects.
But the real question is, are you ready to create your very own garage retreat?!
*Update: It has been 4 years since we coated the garage floor, and I can say that I am very, very happy with it. We have NOT been gentle at all and spills are easier to clean up and I am so impressed…when the floor isn’t covered in sawdust, haha. I would say that it needs a few touch-ups but has lasted amazingly well.
For areas that may get wet, a non-slip paint is highly recommended. Use either an epoxy based coating plus an aggregate like Rustoleum Rocksolid plus Shark Grip textured additive. Another durable option for weathered concrete is Behr Granite Grip which is ideal for garage floors, patios, and porches.
If your garage floor is well weathered, it may not need to be etched. To ensure maximum durability and chip resistance, concrete should be etched to where it feels rough, like 150 grit sandpaper.
As long as the existing floor coating is still well bonded to the floor and not peeling up, you can use a primer over it to repaint. Epoxy may need to be sanded or chemically removed.
The Behr Granite Grip we used does not require a topcoat. Most epoxy based highly recommend a topcoat, which may or may not be included in the kit.
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How To Paint A Garage Floor
- Hose with water connection
- Bucket for mixing acid
- Moisture Test. Tear off a few feet of clear plastic wrap and lay it on the floor. Use Duck Tape or another well sealing tape around all of the edges. I would recommend leaving for a day or two and check periodically if any moisture, color change, or condensation collects on the floor or the underside of the plastic wrap.
- Clear the Area. Remove everything off the floor.
- Clean the Floor. Make sure you scrub off any oil, dirt, or chipping paint from the floor. Use a good degreaser and a long handled scrub brush to remove any contaminants.
- Acid Etching. Wear safety goggles, rubber gloves, and old shoes. Wet the concrete first before pour the diluted acid on the floor. It should begin bubbling and fizzing immediately. If not then you will want to increase the strength.
- Lightly scrub the acid solution. Use a push broom or long handled scrub brush. This helps to create a uniform etch of the concrete. Let the solution sit for 10 – 15 minutes while it continues to fizz and bubble. Do not let the floor dry out.
- Neutralize and Rinse. Mix 1 cup of baking soda to 1 gallon of water and sprinkle over the floor. Allow to sit 10 minutes and then rinse with a garden hose. When mostly dry, wipe your hand across the floor to make sure there is no powdery white residue left behind. If there is, thoroughly rinse again. The concrete should be approximately the roughness of 150 grit sandpaper. If not, repeat the etching process.
- Allow the floor to dry completely (2 days). The concrete should be approximately the roughness of 150 grit sandpaper. If not, repeat the etching process.
- Fill Cracks. Large cracks can be filled in with concrete patch. For small cracks, the aggregate will fill in with a brush. Paint one coat and let dry before your roller coat.
- Apply Floor Coating. Rent a textured paint sprayer or use an adhesive roller (not a regular paint nap roller) to apply the paint. Working in a 4×4 area, make sure to minimize roller marks by working in a random pattern.
- Allow to Dry. The floor is ready for light traffic in 24 hours but allow coating to dry for 72 hours before subjecting to automotive tires. Longer dry time required in cooler temperatures and in higher humidity. Don’t rinse the floor for 30 days and you have yourself a great floor!