Epoxy flooring is most commonly used to coat concrete floors in commercial buildings and residential garages. It is a coating system that is comprised of two materials. When the materials are mixed together, they turn into a substance that hardens quickly. This is a semi-gloss or high-gloss durable flooring surface. Epoxy floors can, however, fade or turn yellow in direct sunlight. Epoxy coating material can be used on cement, concrete, wood, or metal surfaces. It can also be used as an undercoat. Before the mixture dries completely, paint flakes can be used to create designs or give the appearance of granite.
Epoxy floor coating comes in three different categories. The most expensive epoxy flooring is 100% epoxy floor coating. This most expensive coating is used professionally on commercial flooring. Water-based and solvent-based epoxy coating contains from 40% to 69% epoxy, and is more affordable. The least expensive choice is water-based epoxy paints. They are thinner that solvent-based coatings and easier to apply, but they are also less durable. Solvent-based materials are thicker and cover more of the floor's imperfections, but workers need to wear respirators to apply the floor coating.
Costs for water-based epoxy paint starts at $30 a gallon. Solvent based products and 100% epoxy cost from $45 to $150 a gallon. For a thick coating, more gallons will be needed. Professional installation costs from $3 to $12 per square foot. Putting an epoxy garage floor in a one-car garage that is 250 square feet costs from $750 to $3000. A two-car garage will cost from $1200 to $6000. The method of application, number of coats, and the type of epoxy used on the epoxy garage floor will account for the wide price ranges.
A do it yourself kit can be purchased at a home improvement store for $50 to $600. Prices depend on the kind of epoxy, the square footage to be covered, the required number of coats, and the tools and materials included in the epoxy floor kit. Additional materials that might be needed include goggles, rubber gloves, a squeegee or roller, and a solvent-resistant paint brush. The process of applying the epoxy floor should take two people a total of nine hours over a three day period. Flooring a two car garage with a kit should cost $360 at the most.
Epoxy cannot be applied when moisture is present, so test for moisture first before starting the project. An epoxy floor system can require anywhere from one to seven coats. For a standard application process, a base coat is put down first. That is followed by one or more coats of epoxy, a colored decorative coat, and a final top coat. Before applying the epoxy, the floor needs to be patched and leveled. The concrete must then be cleaned and etched with a mild acid solution or a grinder.
Do it yourself epoxy flooring kits are available at paint stores, home improvement stores, and on line retailers. The kits come with directions, but easy to follow video instructions can be found for free on line. If you are looking to have the flooring applied professionally, request and call the references for each company that gives you a bid. Check with the local government to make sure the company is certified and licensed. Also, check with the Better Business Bureau looking for unresolved customer complaints. You can also get a referral from friends or neighbors. Most metropolitan areas have annual or semi-annual home improvement shows where professionals advertise for business. These shows are great for meeting the service providers and seeing samples of the materials they use and pictures of the work they have done.