Having a high-quality garage is one of the most important parts of any home, and 80% of home buyers think of a garage as an essential space. Improving this space with a garage floor epoxy coating can mean the difference between it being a worthy investment and it just being there. With this in mind, do you know how to install one, or do you need someone to do that for you?

If you are considering doing this for yourself, below we list many of the most common mistakes people make during the process. Each one is easy to do, especially for a novice, so use this as a checklist to make sure you do not fall foul of the easy problems.

1. Not Maintaining the Concrete Beforehand

You need to ensure the concrete does not have damage on its surface, as this could impact the way the epoxy sits. In a worst-case scenario and with large enough holes, the epoxy could even drip into any cracks, causing a loss of material.

Fill these holes in using concrete patching materials, smoothing them out with a trowel or other tools. You must then wait for the concrete to set before you continue. 

As concrete is often rough, it would also be a good idea to polish the top layer of the surface. This will give you a much smoother layer to apply the epoxy to.

2. Not Repairing the Surface

Before you get started, you need to ensure the surface is ready to apply the epoxy on top of. You need to start by giving the area a thorough clean.

Sweep the area to get rid of small debris that might still be on the concrete, and then vacuum up any dust or smaller items. When you have done this, apply a degreaser to remove any oil or grease that might have accumulated. This is even more important if you have used the area for machinery or vehicle maintenance in the past.

After this, use a stiff-bristled brush and scrub the area with a mixture of soap and warm water. This can start to clean off some of the hardier stains and difficult-to-remove dirt.

Once you have done this, rinse the area down with clean water and let it dry before you continue. When the area is dry, perform a moisture test to make sure there is no excess water that could affect the epoxy’s application and prevent adhesion.

3. Low Levels of Ventilation

If you do not use adequate ventilation as you apply the epoxy, you might run the risk of two major dangers.

First of all, you could cause yourself harm due to the fumes it can let off in large quantities. Epoxy curing can cause respiratory problems or trigger allergic reactions. This would be very uncomfortable for anyone, and so is best avoided.

Second, poor ventilation is likely to lead to the epoxy taking much longer to cure. The epoxy curing needs oxygen to exist in the area around the material, and a greater flow of the gas can speed up the curing process instead. As such, opening windows and using fans or other methods to move the air around can help to prevent problems.

4. Not Mixing the Epoxy Well

If you do not mix the epoxy well enough, the resin and the hardener used to cure it will not react with one another as you might expect. This can cause problems such as:

  • Uneven coloring in the epoxy
  • Loss of glossiness
  • Slower curing
  • Tackiness on the surface
  • Soft or “bouncy” sections
  • Breakages
  • Coating failure

When you stir the components together, make sure to do so thoroughly. Use a mixer intended for the purpose, or a drill with a paddle attached to ensure the ingredients combine well.

Before you even pour the components out, it would also be wise for you to find a clean container. If you mix them in something that is not clean, you are much more likely to introduce contaminants to the mix, which can cause other issues.

5. Not Having an Appropriate Epoxy Ratio

When combining the resin and its hardener, you need to ensure you use the right amounts of each. The chemical reactions you are expecting out of these items will need a certain amount of both.

If you have too much resin, the mixture will contain a lot of “unreacted” material, which means the surface may be too soft. This may mean you will have “bubbles” of unreacted resin under the surface, as well as soft and squishy areas on the top.

At the same time, if you use too much hardener, the resin will cure much too fast. You will not be able to pour and smooth it out before it starts to harden. This will end up with you wasting a lot of the material and needing to buy more, as well as removing what you have already applied.

6. Not Letting It Dry Between Coats

Every time you apply a layer of epoxy, you need to leave it for long enough to ensure it hardens. This gives you a much more durable finish and also allows you to do things like remove inconsistencies and bubbles on each layer.

If you apply epoxy to unhardened resin, you are likely to cause the floor to shift slightly. This will lead to defects such as level inconsistency or trapped air, which are sometimes hard to solve.

7. Applying Epoxy in Hot or Humid Weather

The product’s instructions should inform you of the appropriate temperatures to apply it. This should include both a high and low limit. Putting down the epoxy outside of these heat levels may cause several issues.

Under high heat, epoxy is likely to cure faster. This will give you less time to apply it and level it out before it hardens. You may end up with uneven coatings or even wasted material if this occurs.

At cold temperatures, the chemical process for curing will take much longer. If it is cold enough, it may even freeze, which will create further chemical problems as well as issues involving condensation.

8. Forgetting to Use a UV Protective Topcoat

If you are applying an epoxy coating anywhere sunlight or other UV radiation can strike it, you will want to apply a protective layer. This is even more important if the floor of your garage extends outside of the garage’s door, as that is where it might be the most vulnerable. Open-air garages may also find themselves falling victim to the dangers of UV radiation.

Not applying a protective layer can cause any of the following problems:

  • Yellowing epoxy material
  • Reduction in epoxy quality over time
  • Chalky and brittle flooring

If you choose to apply a coating, make sure you investigate one that is made for application on epoxy surfaces. This will ensure the coating adheres and does not react in any way with the material.

Make sure you also apply the UV protective layer consistently, not leaving spots open to the sunlight.

9. Uneven Application

Creating a floor with a high-quality aesthetic demands that it appear consistent across the entire area. As such, make sure the layers go on the floor in equal amounts and that you take steps to even out any lumps or ripples.

As you apply the epoxy, do so in a steady manner, moving across the floor in a smooth motion. You can also divide the floor into smaller sections, working on one at a time and focusing on keeping them level.

If you separate out different areas, make sure to check that any seams receive epoxy too. This will prevent cracks or lines from appearing on the floor. Also, pay attention to corners or edges where you stop applying epoxy to make sure they are smooth.

10. Not Reading the Instructions

The experts when it comes to informing you on how to apply a garage floor coating will always be the people who make the epoxy. They will have tested it against many different factors and have up-to-date information on how best to use their product.

Familiarize yourself with the instruction manual for the epoxy you use, as well as any tools you have to hand during the process. This will reduce the likelihood you will make mistakes and also allow you to correct yourself should anything go wrong.

The manufacturer will also offer safety tips. Follow these when applying a floor coating to protect not only yourself but everyone in your household from common problems. Remember that every warning is in the manual because someone fell foul of it at some point.

Ensure a Smooth Garage Floor Epoxy Installation

After reading the above, you might be ready to install a garage floor epoxy and improve your garage space. Then again, you may have realized that you want to get a professional instead. If that is the case, we can help you out.

Our specialists have plenty of experience in installing different types of floor coatings in your home. They can assess your garage and give you the best advice on what we can provide. So, give us a call and start your journey to a more beautiful home today.

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