You can paint your garage floor with off-the-shelf paint, but you will be disappointed with its performance. Unless you went to great lengths to properly acid etch or mechanically prep the floor before painting, you will get hot tire transfer, peeling, fading, or delamination. Regular paints, even most off-the-shelf epoxies, are not designed to take the abuse that a professionally installed polymer floor can. We use only commercial grade coatings to ensure many years of satisfaction with your floor.
The time it takes to install a polymer floor depends on several factors. Temperature, humidity, substrate prep, floor size, location, and the system selected all play a factor in the time it takes to install the epoxy. For example, the popular three-coat system (epoxy primer, epoxy basecoat, urethane topcoat) installed in a 400 square foot garage in January here in Southwest Florida may take as little as three days. However, this same system installed in August may take 5 or more days because afternoon showers and high humidity is the norm, and the install steps are adjusted accordingly. Some small installations, such as sheds or trailers, may only take one day using fast cure, two-coat systems.
Most flooring systems we use allow foot traffic after 24 hours and vehicle/equipment traffic in 4 to 7 days after the installation is complete. Some high performance systems used in commercial installations have a quicker turnaround rate, using super-fast-cure epoxies.
We almost always use mechanical grinding to prep our floors. We use diamond segmented grinding plates on a low speed floor machines, which is connected to a dust collection system. Grinding removes the laitance (thin top coat) from the concrete to open the pores and allow excellent adhesion of the epoxy primer. It also works to level rough floors.
Acid etching requires handling hazardous materials and using water on the floor that delays the installation of the primer coat until the floor is completely dry. Etching also does not work well if a sealer was used on the floor, or if oil or other chemicals stains are present. Acid etching has no leveling properties and can be dangerous to work with, aside from the fact that it stinks. Combine these faults with goverment regulation of how acid is stored and transported and its not difficult to see why we don't use it unless we have too. However, when properly used on certain floors, acid etching can be a viable option to expensive concrete grinding machines.
Great advancements in the solvent-based epoxy manufacturing process has resulted in epoxies with little or no odor, many of which are government VOC (volatile organic compound) compliant. Some of the urethanes we use do emit a noticable odor during installation, but the odors disipate during the curing process. We work in only well-ventilated areas and if the work area adjoins an occupied area, we can install a vapor barrier to reduce the intrusion of odors into that area. New, low VOC urethanes are now available but are more expensive. In some cases, low-VOC, water based epoxies can be used as an alternative to solvent-based polymers.
Cement-based coatings are outdoor polymers that have characteristics similar to cement, and are usually 2 to 10 times thicker than ordinary paints. These polymers are mostly used to cover and restore concrete patios and pool decks that are in rough shape. Using these coatings is like adding another thin layer of concrete to hide cracks, pits, stains, and other damage. Also, these coatings are permeable, meaning they breathe, allowing trapped moisture to escape. They are UV stable with excellent color retention, and come in a multitude of colors. As an example, if your patio or pool deck is in generally good shape with a few cracks and pits, we would recommend Gulf Sythetics Concrete Rivive. If your patio/pool deck is in bad shape and you are considering total replacement, we might recommend Rustoleum Restore 10X, and extremely thick coating that just might save the day and eliminate the need for costly concrete replacement. These same coatings are also available for wood repair.
For patios and pool decks that are new or in excellent shape and have never been painted, an H & C colored stain might be the solution.
Many clients buy the "BIG BOX STORE" epoxy and try it themselves. I will say that the time you spend getting the materials and installing take more time than you will think. Also, the floor will come up in time. BUT, if you are compelled to do it yourself let us make a recommendation to SHOTBLAST your floor which is always the recommended prep method to all epoxy coating jobs. For $2.00 sf we will come out and prep the floor so it is ready for your coating. A typical 2 car garage will take approximately 2-2.5 hours to shot blast.
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Garagefeet Floor Coatings, LLC
5011 Luckett Road, Unit #4
Fort Myers, FL 33905
CALL Garagefeet Floor Coatings, LLC at
239-931-3108 today! We are your epoxy and urethane flooring specialist in Southwest Florida.
Serving ALL of SWFL, including Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Glades, Sarasota, and Hendry counties.
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