Nothing can improve and transform the look of your garage for the least amount of money than garage floor paint. It is one of the oldest and still very popular ways to turn that plain or ugly floor into something to be proud of.
Available in two different formulas, the least expensive is the traditional latex acrylic concrete paint. Once your floor has been cleaned and prepped properly, it goes on quickly with the least amount of fuss with a variety of colors to choose from. The other formula that has become more of the standard is epoxy paint. Though a few more dollars per gallon, it has epoxy added to the mix and as a result it holds up much better than standard paint. It is just as easy to apply and comes in a variety of colors as well.
Colored acrylic chips can be broadcast onto the surface of the paint after it is applied to add color and some anti-slip properties as well. Two-part epoxy paint kits are another variation of this formula. The most expensive of these choices, these kits technically are not paint but are worth mentioning here because of their relatively low cost.
Benefits of Garage Floor Paint
One advantage of latex acrylic paint is that it gives your garage floor a moderate amount of protection with a variety of colors to choose from. Starting in the $20 per gallon range, it is mold and mildew resistant, water resistant, and easy to clean up. It is moderately resistant to most automobile fluids if it is cleaned up quickly. If allowed to sit, fluids like anti-freeze and oil can stain, while gasoline and brake fluid can actually eat away at it.
Another added benefit of paint for your garage floor is that it renders your concrete dustless. Bare concrete is always producing a fine dust that can be tracked into your home or collected on your cars and work benches. Paint will prevent this and help to keep from tracking dust and dirt into your home. You can usually purchase it in either a semi-gloss or matte finish.
One thing to be aware of is that it is not the most durable of options for your garage floor. It is susceptible to hot tire pick up and can chip. If applied properly it usually will need to be reapplied or repaired every two to three years depending on the amount of use it sees. However, if you are on a tight budget and want something other than bare concrete then latex acrylic paint may be just what you need.
Cost is generally around $30 per gallon. As a result of the epoxy additive, it is more durable and creates a better bond to the concrete than latex acrylic. This means that it is more resistant to chipping and heavy traffic. Properly installed epoxy paint can last up to three or four years. That’s almost twice as long as latex acrylic. Brands such as Behr offer epoxy paint with additional products such as colored acrylic chips and anti-slip additives.
2-Part Garage Epoxy Paint
A product that requires mentioning is the garage floor epoxy paint kits. Technically these are not paint; they are an actual 2-part epoxy product that is marketed as paint. Because they have a very low percentage of solids content by volume, they are easy to apply and provide a thin coat like paint does. Most kits are designed to go on with only one coat. They should not be confused with the traditional epoxy coat systems that provide multiple coats however. While they do provide better protection than latex acrylic or 1-part epoxy paint, the cost for these kits is usually 2 to 3 times as much. If they fit into your budget, you will get the most protection from 2-part epoxy coat paint.
One thing to remember when planning for your project is that the most important part of applying any type of paint to concrete is the preparation of the surface. Concrete is generally very porous and can absorb oils, dirt, and other contaminants that will not allow paint to adhere properly. Hosing out the garage with a little soap and water will not work.
Be sure to follow the directions from the manufacturer or your paint will be peeling up in a few weeks after all your hard work. Because some concrete might have a slightly polished finish to it, be prepared to apply some sort of acid etch to your floor before you paint. No matter how clean the concrete may be, it will not adhere to a non-porous finish. You can easily test it by applying a few drops of water to the surface. If it is quickly absorbed into the concrete then you should be fine. If it beads up at all, then you will need to etch the surface.
One other additional product that will help with the life of your paint would be a concrete primer coat. Applied first, it actually provides a better bonding agent for the paint to adhere to and reduces the chance of peeling and hot tire pick up.
Now that you know the differences in garage floor paint, take the time and do the math to decide which product would be best for you. Either way you choose, you will definitely have a better looking floor that will be easier to keep clean and help keep dirt and grime out of your house.
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