Our garage workshop floor was in need of some serious TLC. We applied an epoxy garage floor coating to cover the ugly oil stains and give the shop a nice, polished look. I’m amazed at the difference the floor makes and would recommend an epoxy coating for anyone looking to class-up their garage, basement or other concrete surface. Read on to learn how we did it and a few tips to remember when you start this project.
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Quikrete was kind enough to send us a few kits for this tutorial. I’m really impressed with the results and would recommend stopping by Lowe’s to pick up a set for your own garage.
Step 1: Clean and Prepare the Surface
The most important part of applying an epoxy coating is ensuring the concrete is sufficiently cleaned and porous. This is so critical because dirt, debris, oil, paint, and other junk can prevent the coating from adhering to the concrete slab. If that happens, your floor will delaminate and the coating will chip and flake. You’ll be disappointed, and re-coating will require significant additional steps. Take this step seriously. Make sure that the surface is clean and etched (meaning, not smooth).
These pictures show the garage floor before we started. You’ll notice plenty of oil stains from 25+ years of parked cars.
Address any cracks or other concrete damage before you start. The epoxy coating is thick and will completely fill small hairline cracks, but larger cracks will still be visible if you don’t patch them. Also, cracks provide a path for moisture, and that can cause the epoxy coating to “cloud” over.
We started the cleanup process by pulling everything out of the garage and sweeping it clean. Fred grabbed a garden edger and used it to scrape away dried drywall compound and anything else that he could remove.
I have a stiff bristle, scrubber brush with hose attachment, and it is the perfect product for cleaning a garage floor. It allowed me to wet the surface with a controlled spray and scrub the floor all in one tool.
One of the items included in the Quikrete kit is Bond-Lok. It’s an acid concentrate that you mix with water to clean, degrease and etch the concrete. You’ll make a 3:1 mixture, and each of these bottles is about enough to clean a one-car garage. You may consider purchasing an extra because you’ll need to apply Bond-Lok undiluted to any really tough stains. We found it was a good idea to apply Bond-Lok directly to oil stains and let it sit for about 5 minutes before scrubbing. You’ll know it’s working because it’ll fizz.
Your goal for cleaning the concrete is not to remove any evidence of a stain, but rather to ensure that it won’t prevent the coating from seeping into the pores of the concrete. For that same reason, it’s important to remove any sort of concrete sealer that was previously applied. This can be a very tedious task and, if the slab was sealed professionally, may require sanding or chemical stripping on a larger scale than most do-it-yourselfers would be comfortable with.
We allotted a full 24 hours for the concrete to dry before we continued to the next step. We recommend waiting at least 24 hours because a well-etched surface is likely to hold moisture in the pores of the concrete. If any water pools on top of the concrete, you absolutely cannot apply the epoxy coat. You must re-clean/degrease/etch this area until water does not pool.
Step 2: Paint the Epoxy Concrete Coating and Spread Flakes
To prepare the epoxy, we thoroughly mixed the two parts and let it sit for 30 minutes. Because of the delay, try to anticipate when you’ll need more and mix the next gallon before you run out. You have only 2.5 hours to apply the coating, so don’t get too far ahead, either. We found no issues with getting all three cans of epoxy applied in about 2 hours.
Applying the colored epoxy is much like painting a wall. You’ll use a brush to cut-in the borders and a 3/8
nap roller for the rest. The coating is very thick and painting it is slow going. I also noticed that the fumes can be pretty bad. Make sure to that wherever you’re working is well ventilated.
Since the color coating is so thick, roll in one direction, and then switch directions 90 degrees. This’ll help make sure everything is completely covered. Quikrete offers a lot of different colors, and we choose “Grayling.” You can see in the pictures that it dries darker than it goes on, so don’t be alarmed if it looks too light at initial application.
We worked in small sections because we opted to spread color flakes. The flakes are great because they hide any imperfections, and they add a bit of character to your floor. I love how they come “sealed for freshness”. We sprinkled the granite mix, which includes black, white and gray flakes.
Color Flake Tip #1: The flakes at the bottom of the can are much smaller. If you’re looking for a uniform distribution, mix up the can periodically so that you don’t end up with all the small flakes at the bottom poured on one area of the floor.
Color Flake Tip #2: The color flakes will sit “on top” of the epoxy. If you spread the color flakes, you’ll likely want to spread the optional clear coat on top of the floor, as described in Step 3.
Just like when laying tile, you need to plan an exit strategy and work your way out of the room. We opted to back out of the garage into the house, which worked just fine, even for two guys as large as us.
All together we needed almost three whole gallons to cover a deep, two-car garage. Even before the clear coat, this floor is looking awesome!
We waited another 24 hours before applying the clear coat epoxy to make sure everything was completely dry.
Step 3: Paint the Epoxy Clear Coat for a Glossy Shine
This third step is optional, and you can decide for yourself if it’s worthwhile. We decided to apply a clear epoxy coating for an added layer of protection and high-gloss finish. Applying the clear coat is very similar to painting the color coating. Just like before, you need to mix the two parts and let it sit for 30 minutes.
Unlike the color coating, the clear epoxy looks white until it dries. This is intentional because it allows you to see where the clear coat is already applied.
Applying the clear coat goes fast. It’s not nearly as thick as the color coat, and it has way less fumes. We only needed two gallons of clear coat to cover the entire floor.
The white fades to clear pretty quickly. Even so, you need to give it another 24 hours before light traffic and 72 hours before parking a car.
After everything dries, you’re done! Now you’ve got a beautiful shop, garage, or basement floor that is protected from gas, oil, scuffs, etc. and it’s easy to clean. A concrete coating can really dress-up a space and give it a showroom feel. We love this floor in our workshop, and this project is simple enough that anyone can achieve great results.
If you’d like to learn more about what we’ve been doing to get our workshop ready, read about installing pegboard and starting to run painted conduit.
I have just a few questions…
Is the Bond-Lok product just Muriatic (HCl) acid or is there something else in it?
Is the epoxy sprayable with a piston-type sprayer or is rolling the only way to apply?
Any of the chips get pulled up with the clear coat?
I asked the same question about the Bond-Lok but it doesn’t mention Muriatic acid, just acid salt solution. I don’t know about spraying the coating. It’s really thick so it might not work well. None of the chips came up with the clear coat. Great questions Jeff!
Looks great. Is by design or coincidence that you have a nice brick edge around the floor?
That’s the top of the concrete block foundation. By the looks of it the top block is bond beam flipped over.
Yep. That is the top of the foundation.
My daughter rents a basement apartment of a house and I’m pretty sure this is what the floor is in the utility room. I love the look of it.
We’d love to do this to our basement. Does it help prevent water from seeping through the concrete?
It might… but if they are worried about oil preventing a good bond, the efflorescence from your concrete will probably pop the epoxy off. You (and I) really need to address the underlying problem which is causing your basement to flood (which is probably poor drainage).
Joe is right on this. Quikrete is clear in the instructions that you wouldn’t want to apply this stuff to a slab packed with moisture. I’m not sure if that’s just for the initial bond, or for even after it dries. The stuff does prevent water from penetrating the surface; however, I think that over time, moisture underneath will create efflorescence and could reduce the bond. One question we don’t answer in this article is whether you can re-apply either the epoxy or the clear coat after the initial installation. Hopefully we can do some research and update this with everything you need to do to re-coat. I have noticed that in a few spots where I’ve dropped stuff that the epoxy and the clear coat can chip slightly – I suspect that with a lot of wear and tear you might want to re-coat after 5-6 years….
This is exactly what I want to do to the garage floor here. The amount of dust that comes off the cement is annoying. Plus I just like the look of this it makes an attractive and beneficial finish with its easy to clean surface.
It really is a dramatic improvement and makes the shop look like a finished space.
I would love to do something like that… but my garage floor has some pretty substantial cracks in it and I need to get those taken care of first.
Are they too big to fill with a vinyl concrete patching compound?
There are big chunks of the floor near the door that drop down an inch or so, so I either need to have someone come in and mud-jack the floor then fill the cracks, or just skim coat the whole thing.
I like that this kit comes in colors other than gray. Does it come with concrete to patch cracks or do you need to supply that yourself?
CB – You have to supply the concrete patch yourself, and that makes sense to me since the type of patch a person might need will vary from job to job, and some jobs won’t require any patching at all.
A neighbor of mine finished his garage with an epoxy and it became so slick when wet that he couldn’t walk on it! Is the product you used slippery also?
Hi Rick, Our floor does not feel very slippery at all. In fact, I can feel the outline of the flakes we added. Quikrete includes an optional powder with their clear coat that increases traction. We decided not to add it and I feel good about that choice. Does your neighbor’s floor have flakes? Thanks for commenting and I hope we’ll see you around the site again.
No flakes; just a plain grey color. It was ‘professionally’ applied. He had to glue down runners to his beautifully painted floor.
Hey Ethan, have you ever heard of using this same technique to cover ugly counter tops? It would be worth looking into if you haven’t. I lived in an old 50s apartment complex with ugly formica countertops. The complex was in the process of using epoxy paint (with the multi colored flakes), to “upgrade” all the units. They let me pick out what I wanted and I chose a gray that was exactly like the floor you did. I’m sure everyone wants new granite counter tops… but this would be a cost saving solution while saving up for the fancy stuff :O) My kitchen looked great and I got lots of compliments on the counters.
I have seen the countertop paint advertised but never actually in use in stores. I expect the epoxy would be similar. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to follow a job where that’s done.
What a simple way to make a huge impact. I’m guessing it would cost a couple hundred dollars retial to get all the stuff to do it right?
Hey Double, The kits are a bit pricey (something I didn’t realize at first) and so typically this would run about $450 between all the color and clear coats.
I have a basement apartment (that is dry) that I rent out. I’m thinking about tearing the old carpet out (it really needs to be replaced) & using this product for painting the concrete floor & using some area rugs. My main concern would be the floors being very cold. I live in NC so it’s only cold a few months of the year. I really like the looks of the painted floor & it sure would be a lot easier to maintain over the years, Any thoughts? Thanks, Ted
Any idea how UV-resistant the colors are? I’ve got a garage that gets a lot of sunlight, even with window treatments, and a door that opens to face nearly south (lots of light). How do you think the pigments in the various colors offered would hold up to long-term exposure?
I’m not sure about UV resistance. I haven’t read anything, and it’s too early to tell for our floor (plus it doesn’t get a ton of direct sunlight). With that said, I’ve noticed a few spots that have become “cloudy” probably from dragging heavy objects.
Sounds good. My only other question is where will I put all the stuff in my garage if ever go to tackle a project like this? Is it possible to do half of a 2-car garage at a time, even if there are no expansion joints?
So how has the floor held up? I’d really like to do this in my garage/workshop but am curious how it holds up to daily abuse! Thanks for the detailed instruction!
We’re gonna update the post soon b/c we’ve noticed some “clouding” in high traffic areas. Also, some of the floor has chipped. We don’t purposefully abuse the floor but drops are gonna happen and we had hopped it would be a little more durable. Even so, I’m still pleased with the coating. I’ll have to see if Quikrete has any suggestions for these problems.
Been thinking about updating a family member’s garage with this stuff and I’m glad to see a tutorial and benefit from the comments. I’m wondering if the overall benefits of this is greater than having a truck bedliner company like linex come out and apply.
I’m interested in comparing this with alternatives like the G-Floor – Garage Floor Cover/Protector – 10′ x 22′ mats. My double garage [20′ x 22′] would require 2 sets so the total from Sam’s Club would be approx $470 so that’s close to the cost of epoxy. I think installation of the G-Floor product would be easier and faster than the epoxy and it would also be easier to remove / replace if needed. What other advantages / disadvantages would there be of one product versus the other? The epoxy comes in about 40 colors and the mats come in 6 colors. There’s little preparation required for the mats beyond sweeping the floor and any trimming of the mat that may be necessary.
I haven’t used G-Floor mats before so I can’t really compare the two. Here are some of the questions that come to mind:
Is there anything that anchors the mat in place?
What happens if liquid gets under the mat?
Please let us all know how things turn out. I’d love to get your opinion after the job is finished.
The literature says that for residential applications an adhesive is not required. The weight of the mat helps to keep it in place. For heavy traffic situations like commercial or industrial uses they recommend either double-stick tape or a pressure sensitive adhesive [both options from the manufacturer]. I don’t know about the liquid under the mat situation except that it can be rolled up easily to allow the floor to dry. The product is seamless unless your installation requires more than one roll. You can overlap or butt the seams, with or without using tape or adhesive. They claim that it is resistant to most common chemicals and is long lasting. I guess I will find out when my order arrives and I get it installed.
I am really curious to know how this turned out for you cj…
Is there an easy way to get ventilation in a relatively unventilated area? My workshop is in half of our basement, and the only easy air access is the bulkhead (no windows, doors, etc on that side). Other than leaving the bulkhead open, should I use fans… or is it not even worth it to try this flooring technique without proper airflow? Thanks so much yours looks great.
That’s a tough question because we could definitely “feel” the fumes in the garage so good ventilation is a must. If you don’t have it in your basement, I’d probably look for a different solution.
I notice your garage doesn’t appear to have any kind of expansion joints, my garage doesn’t have any either for some reason. I’m thinking expansions joints deal more with allowing the concrete to expand/contract with temperature cycles. I’m not worried about my garage settling anymore. But that makes me worried that if I filled in all of the cracks, with an epoxy filler, I would just get new cracks in a few years. Since the current cracks I have are acting as expansion joints.
So given that your garage doesn’t have any joints and you seemed to have filled in the cracks, my questions is have you found any new cracks forming? Was this a consideration before?
Although we have a two car garage and leaving the doors open would provide ventilation, would using fans to improve the ventilation be a good option?
I don’t think the fans will be necessary if you have the doors open. However, increased ventilation is never a bad thing.
Thanks for this great post! I plan to apply the same kit to my basement workshop, so I’m looking forward to hearing how yours has held up (and if patching is an option). I’d also love to hear from the person that posted about the G-Floor mats to see if they are a viable alternative. One tip that I have read when you’ll need more than one epoxy kit to complete your floor is to mix the kits together. Apparently, there are slight color variations from box to box and if you don’t mix them you may end up with half of your floor a different shade than the other half.
We still love the floor, and I wouldn’t be surprised if mixing kits together is a good idea. You get the same sort of thing buying tile (different batch # have sight variation). My only caution is to make sure you seal up any cracks because they can be a point of entry for moisture.
slick set up!
I am moving into my new home this weekend and this is one of the first projects I want to tackle as soon as the weather up. How long do these instructions stay on your site.
Unless we delete the article (not gonna happen), they’ll be available forever. Sometimes we go back and purge old content, but this article is here to stay. Send me pictures when you finish the job!
I still think the sealed for freshness bit is excellent!
I liked that too! It’s like you’re buying chili flakes are the grocery store. 🙂
The timing on you reposting this article is great…just the last couple of days I’ve been doing some reading on this and thinking about it as a possible future project for a garage. The main hesitation I had though was that the heat down here in San Antonio would be pretty tough on it in the summer. I wonder if they have weather-specific rated products?
I didn’t see an update in the post…but how has it held up since you first installed it last year?
I’m not sure about the heat. You might try running that by Quikrete support to see what they say. The floor has held up well. There’s a few dings from dropping stuff, and I’d emphasize sealing / patching all cracks. Otherwise, the floor will haze slightly from the moisture.
Really great tutorial! I’ve been thinking of applying epoxy to my home’s garage and basement floors. Do you mind telling me how large your workshop is? (So I can get an idea of how much epoxy I would need.)
Our shop is roughly 21 x 21′.
Great article! I’m jealous. My garage / shop floor is a mess!
Hey I’m thinking about painting the floor in my basement and I’m wondering if you know if there is an epoxy that will not be damaged by alcohol? My friends and I really want the floor to look nice and be easy to mop but upon researching epoxy it seems like the main way to remove it is with alcohol. Of course the alcohol mentioned is very strong but it seems like beer and liquor might damage the coat. Should we be concerned because the floor gets regularly covered in beer from parties. If you know of any coating or paint or other method that we could use that would be very resistant to alcohol and general spills yet would still freshen up a room with something nicer than a concrete floor I would really appreciate the information. Thank you.
I don’t have a good answer for that one Bobby. Try running it by Quikrete support to see what they say. I’d be curious what they say too.
We’ve been debating whether to do this to our garage floor. It’s also a deep two car garage so it’s nice to know the cost and hear from someone who’s done it themselves. Thanks for a great article Ethan.
JustME–we just finished our living room which is 26×20 and the entire project including clear coat epoxy was less than $200.
Hey! Thanks for the great article. I wonder – can this process be done on a basement floor that has already been painted? We recently bought a house with an unfinished basement. Previous owners painted the concrete floor and cinderblock walls colors I would never have chosen. But I love the look of the epoxy…please advise.
Thanks for commenting. I checked the product documentation, and here’s what it says about previously painted concrete floors:
“Previously painted concrete may be repainted only if it has excellent adhesion to the floor. Test adhesion by pressing heavy duty tape (i.e. duct tape) at various places on the painted surface. Pull the tape quickly from the surface. If the previous paint is removed by the tape, the paint must be fully removed before using this product. “
My wife and I actually looked at a house that used this product in their basement and it really made it look quite nice! If you are on the fence about using this product in your basement, I would say it is definitely an attractive way to upgrade the floor in your basement without spending a ton of money or time…
Here’s my question, I did a quick read through, and didn’t see this posted- so sorry if it’s a repeat- We have this in our garage currently, in the color you chose in the pictures, we noticed that where we park, where the tires land after being road hot, the epoxy is peeling up. We did not install this coating, it was here when we bought the house, so not sure if was thoroughly cleaned or not. But does seem to only be peeling where the tires sit when parked. So my question is this, what are the “additional steps” needed to re-apply? is this an issue typically with having warm tires over the epoxy? is there anything that can prevent this if it is typical over time?
Thanks so much in advance!
My question is like the above question (Marc2u) we appplied this in our garage approxmately 4 years ago in the tan, with the flakes, same brand and steps used above and our home was only 6 months old. Our garage floor now has damage marks from our tires where car is parked daily and various area of peeling/ chips in other spots. Can this be fixed? What would remove this product? I would have picked another product had we known this. I have noticed it also alittle more slippery than before we applied quikrete epoxy …..
I saw you have some hair line cracks, after you had applied the epoxy does the cracks still show up after a few month because my neighbor apply the patch to the cracks and follow all of your step and after a few months a lot of cracks start to show up. Do you think because of where we live or they didn’t do a good job? I love to have a smooth garage not to have cracks because what the point to do the epoxy and the cracks show up again. Is your garage have any cracks show up after a few months?
Is the fume toxic because I have a 2 yrs boy? Sometimes he is curious he might open the door to take a look. I have a lot of big cracks and hair line cracks, every few months there are even more cracks show up, i don’t know when should I start to do the epoxy because the cracks will never end. What is the best time to do this? I saw some people use the diamond cut to cut up the cracks area and apply the cracks. What did you guys use to fix the cracks?
Your garage floor looks awesome! My question: Can this be done on front porch and/or back screened in patio? I’ve been told by a friend to ‘just paint’ them but I really like this better. Thanks
After years of use my colored and flaked garage floor is starting to dull, can I re-coat with clear epoxy top coat.
Hey. I have been trouble finding a special color paint for the garage floor. My question is since I have a brand new house and know the garage will Crack and settle in time, can I use regular primer and the special color paint I want, and just seal it with the epoxy clear coat and still get the same effects?
the links to the Quikrete site don’t work. It’s probably at their end, not your link html.
Any tips on repair? My epoxy garage floor is ‘tearing” in a few spots.
how long after using quikrete fast set up concrete can i top coat it with an epoxy?
Can this product be used on plywood floors? I’m wanting to use it in my storage building.
No. This is only for concrete.
What is the best way/supplies to clean it after floor is done. I have dogs that dribble in large basement/play area and want to be able to clean it once a week or once a day. Swiffer catches on the flakes. Mop and what?
Hey Rachel. Just standard soap and water for epoxy. Same type of soap that you would use on a laminate floor.
I’m wanting to apply a coating like this to my basement laundry floor. There is currently vct tile and its broken in places. Would this product work for that, or can you recommend what I could use? I’d like to just go over it, rather than have to break it all up.
please send me epoxy floor details
had garage floor epoxy coated last fall. Have noticed a couple of small spots where the exoxy has chipped. what can I used to patch these small spots.
Basically, it is a tough and long-lasting coating which is used to paint onto the concrete. Several factors like grease, oil and many others can ruin the ordinary paint, but epoxy works ideally with these conditions too. You can easily clean it and it is available in a variety of colors. When you want flooring with sparkling and durable appearance, go for epoxy.
I wonder if i could apply epoxy clear coat on cement floor? Without the epoxy paint
We just had a floor installed in our tattoo shop and when the sealed it the smell was absolutly horrible. Can we use this product or another product to paint over the sealer to cover up the smells? What do you recommend ?
I have a floor with previous epoxy paint applied. Is there any way to be able to paint over it? Or does it have to be sanded down to the bare concrete. Is there another product that can be used over the old paint? Thanks for all your tips, steps, and answers.
[…] How to Paint an Epoxy Concrete Floor Coating (Quikrete … – Our garage workshop floor was in need of some serious TLC. We applied an epoxy garage floor coating to cover the ugly oil stains and give the shop a nice, polished look. […]
It makes sense that dirt and other debris can prevent the material from sticking to the concrete floor. My husband and I were planning on applying epoxy to our garage floor. After reading through these steps, I think it would be best if we hired a professional to do it for us.
I have a 2 basement home in the basement of coarse there is cement floors, no moisture, no cracks, but a little confused on what I’d need to do next after sweeping and mopping to start my epoxy floor project? Do u have to put anything on your concrete after the cleaning?
Hi, i would like to know whether we can apply the remaining epoxy in the front porch or back porch of the house after applying in the garage.the place i live is very hot in summer. Please suggest.
so, guessing it’s about 5 years since this was done. how’s it holding up and would you do it again?
I have been wanting to use this in my garage as well. I just across your site and I love it!
You mentioned that when cleaning old oil spills, the goal was not to remove any evidence of the oil, but just to make sure it would not prevent the product from seeping into the cement – just make sure the concrete is porous. How do you know if you have removed enough of the oil?
Thanks in advance 🙂
The tutorial is so detailed and professional. And the result is so beautiful. But $450 cost seems a bit high for me.
“Your goal for cleaning the concrete is not to remove any evidence of a stain, but rather to ensure that it won’t prevent the coating from seeping into the pores of the concrete”
Also, how do you know if you cleaned it well enough for the oil stain not to prevent the coating from seeping in?
Thanks for the good information about epoxy coating.
Just awesome. Thanks!
Hi, I am thinking about applying this to my basement floor, however, the concrete floor is fairly bumpy. It was never a nice smooth concrete floor. Also, about 10 yrs. ago I painted it with a floor paint, that has flaked off in a number of spots.
Would the epoxy be able to smooth over the bumps, maybe 1/8″?
And could the epoxy go over an already painted floor?
You’d be best to lightly grind, strip or remove the existing paint for a proper bond.
You also may find it’s easier to grind the “bumps” off as well. A filled system would allow a 1/8″ coating, However you’re also paying more for a thicker mil coating. When you could just grind and resurface easily.
Thanks for the step-by-step instructions! I had no idea how to do this, but I bought all the stuff already for my garage! I have used epoxy before in projects but never on this scale. This made way easier for me to understand what to do.
I’ve been meaning to use epoxy on my garage floor for some time. It does have some of those hairline cracks. Is there anything that you would recommend for patching those?
Paint can be particularly hard to remove, and for some reason there was a lot of it on my garage floor splattered here and there. The best removal tool I found was a wire patio brush (designed for weed removal). As you mentioned I wasn’t bothered as much by the stain as I knew it would be covered, just wanted to get a nice, even coating.
I appreciate that you talked about what epoxy is and how it creates an easy to clean and seamless surface since fluid usually is able to go through the concrete. My husband and I haven’t maintained our garage at our home in Columbus, OH in a year or two and we want to get a coating on it to help protect it. We will keep these tips in mind as we search for a professional that can help us.
Using a garden scraper looks like it would be an effective way to get stuff off of your floor. I could see how that would be useful to make sure that your coating is applied properly. If I get some concrete coating for my floor, I’ll have to make sure to scrape everything off of it first.
Not sure if anything has already asked this question, but is it possible to do this on the porch may be or patio? I think it would look awesome on my front porch, but need professional advice if it’s a good idea?
You did a great job of providing detailed and simple instructions on how to get it done. But in my opinion, hiring a professional would be better than attempting a DIY job!