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.
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.
I bought a brush and extension pole separately so that I could interchange it with the paint roller.
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.
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.
6. Time for Rust-Oleum Concrete Etch! A package will come inside your EpoxyShield Garage floor coating kit:
Packages of the Rust-Oleum Concrete Etch can also be purchased separately:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Sprinkle fairy dust – I mean throw the chips (up) and let them fall.