If you do one project this summer – THIS is the one!  I’m going to show you how easy it is to epoxy a garage floor all by yourself!  The results are spectacular and the long-term benefits of durability, ease of cleaning and overall aesthetics make this more than worth the investment.

*This post is sponsored by Rust-Oleum Canada.  I was provided with the supplies to complete the makeover in exchange for detailing for you (my readers) how easy it is to do.

I destroyed my garage floor.

The surface was still good – no cracks or divots – but the overall appearance was horrible.

I know it.  I know it’s my fault.  I have regrets.

BUT it is my workshop and I do spend a good deal of time in it, so it just makes sense to make it a nicer place to be doesn’t it?

I think so – so I approached Rust-Oleum Canada to see if there was an opportunity to partner on a garage makeover project.  In particular; to learn – and then show you – how to to epoxy a garage floor.

There are several steps to this tutorial, but none of them are difficult.  I was able to epoxy my garage floor, start to finish, in 5 days and three of those days were drying time.

I’ll mention it again – I’m a 48 year-old, single Mom, slightly chubby and certainly not fit – and I did all of this project BY MYSELF!

I’ll break this down into steps and then answer common questions at the bottom of the post.

I’ve also created a YouTube video so you can see how easy it is in action.

 

How to epoxy a garage floor

 1.  Remove all contents and purge, purge, purge.  This part I did need help with; getting my heavy equipment and cabinets into a storage bin.  Not really part of the epoxy process, but we all have to do it right?  I say purge because there really is no point putting back a ton of useless junk into a beautiful space and ruining it immediately.

 2.   Wash the garage floors.  I used a pressure washer and went over the entire floor thoroughly to loosen any stuck-on debris and get rid of whatever surface dirt I could.  I was actually surprised that more of the paint didn’t come off with the pressure washer, but then it has accumulated over 15 years, so is actually quite cured on at this point.

pressure wash the garage floor

 3.  Apply Rust-Oleum Heavy Duty Cleaner & Degreaser.  You can dilute it in a bucket of water, but I poured it on full-strength because of the amount of paint and “gunk” on my floors.  It’s meant to remove grease, gasoline and oil from the concrete surface, but use it everywhere and scrub it in with a stiff bristled brush.

Rust-Oleum Heavy Duty Cleaner & Degreaser

I bought a brush and extension pole separately so that I could interchange it with the paint roller.

stuff bristled brush

Really scrub!

scrubbing the garage floor with Rust-Oleum cleaner & degreaser

 4.   Rinse the garage floor thoroughly.  

 5.   At this point you might find that there are lumps and bumps all over your concrete.  In my case it was wood glue, wood filler, and epoxy from other projects I’d done in the past.  If the pressure washer AND the degreaser didn’t remove them, your only option is to bring out some sandpaper and sand them down.

wood glue on concrete floor

I did try chipping off the epoxy spills (from previous projects) with a flathead screwdriver, but the pieces that came up also brought up some of the concrete.  I decided to just sand them smooth instead of creating divots all over the garage floor.

wood filler on concrete

 6.   Time for Rust-Oleum Concrete Etch!  A package will come inside your EpoxyShield Garage floor coating kit:  

Rust-Oleum EpoxyShield garage coating kit

Packages of the Rust-Oleum Concrete Etch can also be purchased separately:

Rust-Oleum Concrete Etch

I have a 2 ½ car garage, so I ended up using a total of 4 packages of Rust-Oleum Concrete Etch… might have been overkill, but better safe than sorry right?

Dilute an entire package of Concrete Etch in a 2 gallon watering can.  Stir/shake until there is no powder visible at all (this is important).

Lightly spray your garage floor with water – it needs to be slightly wet – and then sprinkle the Concrete etch solution all over the floor.  Use your stiff bristled brush to lightly move it around to ensure you hit every nook and cranny.

At this point, you should hear a subtle fizzing noise and see the wet surface bubbling. (see video). It’s not dramatic, but it does let you know that the concrete etch is doing its work in opening the pores of the floor to give the epoxy better adhesion.  One of the perks of the Rust-Oleum Concrete Etch is that not only does it come with the EpoxyShield Garage Coating kit, but it is also environmentally friendly, so you don’t have to worry about your lawn as the etch solution is rinsed out of your garage and down your driveway.  There are also no dangerous fumes, so you don’t need a respirator or protective gear to apply it.

 7.   Let the etch do it’s work for a few minutes (don’t let the floor dry) and then start scrubbing one more time.  You won’t have the gratification of bubbles to see the work you’ve done, but trust me, this step is paramount if you want your epoxy floor coating to last.

How to epoxy a garage floor, Rust-Oleum EpoxyShield

 

I won’t lie – I was surprised again that the paint didn’t come off?  A bit did, and what was still on the garage floor was considerably cleaner – but still there?  The product doesn’t proclaim to take paint off of floors, it was just a fantasy I’d concocted in my head. 😂

 9.  Rinse the garage floor thoroughly – I used a pressure washer here.

 10.  Rinse the garage floor thoroughly.  You don’t want ANY etching powder left on the surface of your garage floor, and since you can’t tell if there’s any left behind until it’s dry, you are better to over-rinse now.

 11.  Let your garage floor dry for 2-3 days.  It must be completely dry before applying the EpoxyShield Garage Floor Coating.

 12.  Once the floors are completely dry, run your hand over the surface – if any white dust shows on your palm it’s concrete etch and you’ll have to rinse again and let it dry for 2-3 days again.  You can also sweep the garage floor – if you see white dust coming up in the air and smell something slightly acidic, you’ll know another rinse or two is necessary.

 13.  THE HARD PART IS DONE!!  Seriously, moving the contents out, and scrubbing the floors were the most difficult parts.

 14.  It’s time to Epoxy your garage floor!!

This is the kit I used: Rust-Oleum EpoxyShield Garage Floor Coating in tan.

Rust-Oleum EpoxyShield garage coating kit

I’ve seen a lot of garage floors epoxied in grey – which Rust-Oleum also carries – but I wanted something a bit warmer and (let’s be honest) that will hide the massive amounts of sawdust I generate.  I was nervous about the tan colour on the packaging, but you’ll see in my finished photos that it’s actually much less yellow.  (Whew!)

The kit comes with a package of Decorative Colour Chips – but after looking at a LOT of epoxied garage floors, I knew I wanted something with a LOT of chips.  I ended up using 3 packages of the colour chips in “tan blend” per side of the garage.  These can be purchased separately if you want a chip-heavy finish as well.

Rust-Oleum decorative colour chips

I poured my chips into a bucket so it was easy to just grab and toss, and so that any differences between the packages (the one that comes in the kit seems to have smaller chips than the separate bags) was evened out.

 15.  Your EpoxyShield will come in a two-sided bag.  Mix each side of the bag separately, then roll one compartment into the other – the centre seam will burst – and continue shaking for at least 3 minutes.  In the video you’ll see my “Flashdance dance”, but standing on the bag and stomping is NOT recommended.  My arms were tired and I decided to risk it to make sure the contents were mixed together thoroughly.  If you do this – it is at your own risk – the bag could certainly burst.

Pour the mixed epoxy coating into a bucket or paint tray.

 16.  This is the actual “epoxy” part of “How to epoxy a garage floor” 😂. (It just takes a few steps to get to the glory.)

Start in a back corner (applying the colour chips takes a bit of practice).

I used a dollar store paintbrush – because you’ll likely want to throw it out after – and cut in at the walls of the garage.  You have a limited working time with any epoxy, so working in sections of about 3′ x 5′ made application easier and the spreading of the colour chips more uniform.  I applied the floor coating with a roller on an extension pole and rolled it, cross-rolled it and then back-rolled it again to make sure that the epoxy had reached every single nook and cranny.

Applying Rust-Oleum EpoxyShield

Very quickly after applying, you’ll want to throw some of the colour chips up in the air over the epoxy floor coating.

Don’t throw them AT the floor 😂 – that’s how I got the heavy areas – definitely throw them UP so they fall in a more uniform way.

How to epoxy a garage floor, Rust-Oleum EpoxyShield

Don’t apply the colour chips too heavily at the edges of the epoxy.  You’ll be rolling over this in your next section and you can fill in then.

 17.  Repeat in 3′ x 5′ sections:  Cut-in

cutting in when applying an epoxy floor coating

Roll

rolling on the epoxy floor coating

 

Sprinkle fairy dust – I mean throw the chips (up) and let them fall.

applying colour chips to epoxy garage floor coating.

It is SO gratifying to see the old mess get covered over.

applying EpoxyShield to a garage floor

 18.  I taped off my garage floor at the point where my garage door comes down.  You can certainly epoxy a garage floor all the way to where it meets with your driveway, but I was concerned with any yellowing that UV rays might cause on the finish outside the garage doors, so I stopped there.

How to epoxy a garage floor, Rust-Oleum EpoxyShield

Remove the painter’s tape quickly after you are done adding your colour chips; you don’t want the epoxy to dry and have it stuck there forever.

How to epoxy a garage floor, Rust-Oleum EpoxyShield

 

That’s unbelievable right?  I’ll show you before and afters lower in this post, this is just a pre-teaser to show you how great it looks after you epoxy a garage floor (EpoxyShield in tan to be exact).

You can stop here and be done with it; the floor is coated, looks great and the colour chips on top give it some texture…

but I wanted that showroom shine, so that brings me to step 

 19.   Rust-Oleum EpoxyShield Premium Clear Floor Coating Kit:  (one kit covers a 1-car garage)

Rust-Oleum EpoxyShield Premium Clear epoxy coating

If you have pristine floors you can go straight to this clear epoxy floor coating kit and maintain that perfect surface – maybe in a new build?  (I can’t remember ever having perfect concrete garage floors 😂).  My goal was to seal the colour chips into the floor, add a non-skid additive so my garage floors didn’t become an ice rink come winter and give my epoxied floor a high-gloss finish.

This step is much less labour-intensive than applying the tan EpoxyShield kit….  all you have to do is wait at least 24 hours for the first (tan) coat to dry, but not longer than 72 hours (for best adhesion between the epoxy coatings) – cut in and roll.

The Premium Clear Floor coating kit comes with an anti-skid additive right in the box, but if you want your floor extra-anti-skid (overkill in my case) you can purchase the Rust-Oleum Anti-Skid Additive separately as well.

Rust-Oleum Anti-Skid additive

You can mix the anti-skid additive right into your clear epoxy, but it tends to sink to the bottom of the paint tray.  Instead, I had great luck by applying the clear coat and then throwing the sandlike crystals right over top.

The clear coat step of “how to epoxy a garage floor” was pretty anti-climactic, and applying it is tricky because once applied, you can’t easily see where it is so it’s easy to miss spots.

I’ll make the suggestion that you create lines on the garage floor (in your head, or by using seams in the concrete).  Apply the EpoxyShield clear by rolling and back-rolling over that section a few times before moving on to the next.  This is where the extension pole comes in handy; to go back if you’ve missed a spot.  A sunny day helps show where the shiny areas are, as does lying on the floor to catch a reflection.  

Start in a back corner and work your way out of the garage.

This coating will be dry to walk on in ~24 hours and you can park your car back in the garage after about 3 days.

How about some before and afters to convince you utterly and thoroughly that epoxying your garage floor is a STUPENDOUS idea!

How to epoxy a garage floor, Rust-Oleum EpoxyShield

How to epoxy a garage floor, Rust-Oleum EpoxyShield

How to epoxy a garage floor, Rust-Oleum EpoxyShield

How to epoxy a garage floor, Rust-Oleum EpoxyShield

 

Want to see me at work?  Check out this YouTube video for all of the steps in action.

 

I’ve been posting the steps on Instagram as I’ve been completing them, and there have been several questions so I’m going to address them here:

Epoxying a garage floor Q & A

  • Can you epoxy a garage floor yourself?

    • Without a doubt – YES!  It’s the moving and purging that might require a little extra muscle, but applying the EpoxyShield cleaners and coatings is easy!  Sincerely and truly, I did this garage floor makeover all by myself.
  • Is it worth it to epoxy a garage floor?

    • This is tough… in my case, where the garage floor was destroyed and horrible looking – undoubtedly yes. I will easily get back the cost and value of my labour when I go to sell my home.  Anyone that saw the garage before would have automatically calculated $$$ to get the mess cleaned up.  If your garage floor is in good to excellent condition, then it likely won’t get you any extra dollars when you sell, but it will keep the floors looking perfect, keep cracks and crumbling in-check, and maintaining them will be much easier.