The Exotic Look of Metallic Epoxy Garage Floors

metallic epoxy garage floor
Metallic epoxy with a polyurethane top coat

Metallic epoxy floor coatings are a hot new trend that is slowly finding its way into the home as a very high tech and exotic looking garage flooring option.  These coatings create a glossy and deep looking floor with a variety of different colors and visual effects.  Some even create a beautiful three-dimensional appearance that gives the illusion of craters, ripples, and swirling rivers of metallic looking plasma.  So let’s take a closer look at this relatively new coating and see if a metallic epoxy garage floor is an option for you.

What is metallic epoxy?

metallic epoxy color chartMade of 100% solids epoxy with metallic pigments added, this self-leveling epoxy coating is designed to be manipulated to create the different visual effects.  Once applied to the floor, various solvents such as denatured alcohol can be applied to diffuse and move around the metallic pigments in the epoxy.   This is what can create the look of flowing rivers and spots of fractured looking molten metal that sits upon the surface of the coating.

Some products are also designed to be worked with an air nozzle or leaf blower to create 3D effects like moon craters, rolling waves, and puddling ripples.  Two-tone effects can also be created with the introduction of a second color at the time of application.

Are metallic epoxy floors durable?

As beautiful and stunning as these floors look, they are considered a high performance floor coating that is designed to last for years.  For the first coat they require an epoxy primer to be installed.  The second coat involves the actual metallic epoxy coating followed by a third coat of clear on top.  It’s not unusual to add a fourth coat if applying polyurethane as a top coat.  As a result, you end up with a very thick coating due to the amount of coats involved, especially from the metallic coat.


Yes, these are real pictures of actual metallic epoxy floors!


These metallic coatings are just as resistant to oil, salt, chemicals, acids, water, and wear as any other high performance epoxy garage floor.  Maintenane is easy and the amount of light they reflect is outstanding due to the glossy nature of the surface.  Like any other epoxy coating, they can be a little slippery when wet if you don’t use an anti-slip additive in the final top coat.

Metallic epoxy installation

Metallic epoxy coatings are installed in the same manner as any other multi-coat system, with the exception of the additional process of having to manipulate the pigment in the metallic coat or adding metallic solvents.  If you are thinking about applying a floor coating yourself, you will need a minimum of two people due to the time constraints involved with these steps.

Most metallic coats are applied with a notched trowel or squeegee and then back rolled with a 3/8” roller or looped roller to provide for a thicker film.  This allows for the metallic pigments to be moved around throughout the epoxy.  Because of the thicker coat, a gallon will only go about 50 square feet for some systems.  As a result, someone needs to be mixing additional batches while the other person is applying the epoxy.

A good demo on how a metallic epoxy coating is applied and manipulated

You need to start manipulating the metallic coat about 15 to 20 minutes after it is applied.  The person doing the mixing usually will do this.  This is done by blowing air directly on the epoxy to move it around to create craters, ripples, or waves.   Depressions will form initially in the epoxy, but it self-levels after about 10 minutes leaving the desired effect.

Some metallic epoxy products require adding metallic solvents to the base coat instead of manipulating it with air.  They are applied immediately after the base coat and will induce puddles of molten metal or to create a kind of river effect.  They usually require 20 minutes or so to take effect.

This is a different method of how metallic effects are achieved

It’s usually a good idea to work with a sample kit first when using solvents.  The reason for this is that it takes a while for the solvent to react with the epoxy and you need to get a good idea of how much to introduce to get the effect that you desire.  Once the epoxy has cured the required amount of time, you can apply your top coat of clear epoxy or polyurethane.

One thing to keep in mind is that this type of epoxy garage floor is not cheap and materials in most cases are going to cost more than a standard multi-coat system due to the limited spread rate of some metallic coats.  Also be sure to compare the type of epoxy being being offered from the different suppliers.  Installation is usually done by an experienced professional, but a serious DIY person can do it as well.

The extra money spent will soon be forgotten though when the floor is done.  If you want a floor with a beautiful and exotic showroom look that screams “look at me!”, then a metallic epoxy coating is definitely something to consider.


Comments

  1. JR Martinez says

    Who makes the metallic epoxy coating? Where can I find out more information for it…manufacturer, pricing, etc?

    • Shea says

      Hello JR and thanks for stopping by. There are many companies offering a metallic epoxy. Legacy Industrial, Concrete Solutions, Westcoat Special Coatings, Metallix, and Epoxy Master just to name a few. They all have their own versions of it. If you do a search for “buy metallic epoxy”, you will find many manufacturers as well.

  2. j sedillo says

    I recently viewed a sample of floor covering that included a rainbow glitter with Global flooring. Where is this option available as they stated no longer available.

  3. Phillip Page says

    I just had my garage floor painted with metallic epoxy and I am thrilled with the results. Every visitor that has seen the floor says “WOW” when they see it. Also the up keep is minimal. I love it!

  4. Laurie V. says

    I would be interested to know the manufacturer of the purple haze and galaxy blue epoxy coatings… as they are exactly the colors that I want for my floor. Thank you!

    • Shea says

      Hi Laurie and thanks for visiting our site. The Purple Haze epoxy you are referring to can be found at Tnemec. They offer a variety of resin based coatings in this color. As far as I know, the Galaxy Blue color is a custom made color by high end concrete coating companies such as Novatech Surfaces. Companies like this typically by the raw materials from R&D companies like National Polymer and then custom mix their own colors. Galaxy Blue is a common custom color name for many products.

      Good luck with your project!

  5. Brett LaFevers says

    Hi Shea,
    If Laurie V. is asking about the Purple Haze and Galaxy Blue on the above chart. Those are some of Cohills Building Specialties custom Metallic Pigment Pack Blends. That is one of Cohills Metallic charts. They also have The Designer Series as well as 17 other colors. All Pigment Packs that can be used with any 100% solids epoxy.

    Just a F.Y.I.
    Thanks, Brett

  6. amie says

    I was curious about the very first pic on this page. The silverish, black, and blue. Where can i purchase that product.

    • Shea says

      Hi Amie. That floor was applied by a contractor who has since retired. Our understanding is that it was a black epoxy primer followed by a coat of blue pearl metallic that had silver cloud metallic poured out on top of the blue and mixed around with a squeegee before back rolling. Unfortunately we do not know the source of the material. You may want to check Pure Metallix however as they have similar colors here.

  7. Tina Mason says

    This is a great article! I am actually wanting to add epoxy floors in my bathroom but cannot locate much information on diy. I want an epoxy that is durable and water resistant and one that I can add the metallic effects to. Can the epoxies listed above be applied to a bathroom subfloor (plywoodnor osb) if I use the epoxy primer first or would i need to add a concrete underlayment? Any information or direction you can provide is much appreciated!

    • Shea says

      Hi Tina. All metallic epoxy products are water resistant and very durable. Because epoxy cures so hard however, it is not flexible at all. It can be applied to OSB, but you have to make sure that there will not be any flexing at all of the sub floor when under weight or the epoxy will crack.

      We recommend that you call Pure Metallic Epoxy which is a division of Original Color Chips. They have a variety of DIY options available and can walk you through the steps of what you would need to do.

  8. Alison says

    Such a great and timely article. Can you recommend a company in Las Vegas, NV who does the metallic epoxy? Had floors done 5 yrs ago and company wasn’t reputable. Can’t wait for a beautiful floor, again! Thank you.

    • Shea says

      Hi Alison. Unfortunately we are not familiar with any companies in Las Vegas that install metallic epoxy coatings. Your best bet is to do an internet search and make appointments for a free quote in order to start the interview process. Do not hire anyone that wants to give a quote without looking at your floor. We have a good article here that walks you through some of the process to help choose a reputable company.

  9. Jim says

    I have acid stained floors in my house, but am unhappy with the way they turned out. Is the metallic epoxy a product I could use on concrete that has been acid stained?

    • Shea says

      Hi Jim. Yes, you can use it over acid stained concrete. You will need to grind the floor first to remove the current topical sealer that was applied over the stain. Doing that will prep the concrete as well. Most metallic epoxy systems require a black primer to be applied first. This will cover the stained concrete nicely and not allow it to show through.

  10. Rosie says

    I have engineered hardwood floor in my kitchen, which looks awful. What would I have to do prep wise to do epoxy to replace it? Also, does the epoxy get affected by walking on it with dirt on the bottom of shoes? I’m very guilty of doing that. If you can recommend an installation company in North Metro Atlanta, that would be appreciated. Psyched at the idea of having a shiny floor again!

    • Shea says

      Hello Rosie. The wood would need to be pulled up and the concrete prepped by grinding. After that it’s a matter of applying the multiple coats of epoxy for the metallic look. Epoxy floors are extremely durable – that’s why they are very popular for garage flooring. Walking on it will not affect it. We don’t have any recommendations for you in Atlanta, however, if you start an internet search you will find plenty of prospects. Look for someone that does decorative concrete flooring inside homes as well as garages. We have an article on how to choose a floor coating contractor that can help you with what to do when choosing a company or contractor.

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