When upgrading your garage floor, a 100% solid epoxy coating is one of the most expensive options you can buy. So you may want to know if an epoxy garage floor is worth it.
Homeowners willing to share their costs report that the average cost to apply an epoxy coating to a garage floor is $2,342 for a residential garage in the United States (source). This includes both one and two-car garages.
Applying an epoxy coating to a garage floor can provide a strong and durable layer of protection to your garage floor. Many epoxy coatings are available in vibrant metallic colors, which can help you personalize your garage.
However, depending on how you use your garage, there may be better solutions than epoxy flooring.
Should you epoxy your garage floor? Is it worth the cost?
This article will discuss epoxy coatings in detail, including the pros, cons, and limitations. I’ll also cover the average costs you can expect if you choose to go forward.
Read on to find out more.
What is an Epoxy Garage Floor?
I used to think epoxy was simply another word for paint or stain. After all, you’ll find several brands of garage epoxy floor coating in the paint aisle of your local hardware store.
In reality, an epoxy coating consists of two elements: a polyamine hardener (also known as a catalyst) and an epoxy resin. When combined, the resulting chemical reaction cures into a strong, durable material that adds a layer of protection to whatever it is applied to.
That makes it perfect for high-traffic areas like your garage floor.
By contrast, epoxy paint is a latex acrylic paint with a small amount of epoxy as one of its components. Once it dries, it’s harder than standard paint but nowhere near as durable as an epoxy garage floor coating.
You can generally cover a two-car garage floor with epoxy paint for under $100. However, covering that same floor with a 100% solids epoxy coating would cost over $2000.
To find out more about the differences between an epoxy coating and epoxy floor paint, check out my article here.
Why Epoxy a Garage Floor: Advantages
An epoxy garage floor coating has several advantages that make it perfect for most homeowners and commercial applications.
Besides the obvious appeal of a floor with a glossy finish, here are a few other advantages:
Protects & Seals Your Garage Floor
Replacing the concrete slab on your garage floor can easily cost several thousand dollars in materials alone. To protect that investment, most homeowners agree that adding an epoxy coating is well worth it.
An epoxy coating helps extend your garage floor’s durable lifespan under most normal conditions.
This includes protecting your concrete flooring from water damage.
Like most people, before I bought a house, I didn’t know that bare concrete needed to be sealed to last. Otherwise, water will seep in and eventually break down the concrete surface.
In addition to sealing against moisture, a good epoxy garage floor coating will significantly reduce the dust in your garage.
Regular concrete sealers must be reapplied every couple of years. However, epoxy floors will last substantially longer than any other sealant – usually around ten years.
Epoxy Garage Floors Look Great
I’ll bet when you’re Googling ideas for inspiration for designing your perfect garage, many of them have brightly colored epoxy floors.
The days of plain concrete floors are long gone.
People use garages for much more than parking their cars or storing tools. It deserves as much attention and care as every other room in your house, right?
You can find epoxy coatings in a wide range of colors and styles to help create your dream garage.
Please don’t add glitter to your garage floors (yes… that’s a thing).
For a more basic look, colored paint flakes can be added during installation to give the surface some texture. This helps add slip resistance to your garage flooring for additional safety.
Epoxy is Easy to Clean and Maintain
Cleaning an epoxy floor is simple and doesn’t require complicated machinery or specialized products. Most applications will only require a simple dust mop or foam mop to maintain a clean and durable finish.
Similarly, an epoxy coating helps keep your garage floor from absorbing liquids from automotive spills. This allows you more time to clean up and makes the process a little easier.
If your garage doubles as a working garage, the ease of cleanup may make epoxy garage floors worth the investment.
For more details, including a step-by-step cleaning guide, check out my article How Do You Care For an Epoxy Floor.
Why You Shouldn’t Epoxy Your Garage Floor
A garage floor epoxy coating is a great solution for most homeowners. However, epoxy has some disadvantages and limitations that mean there are better choices in certain situations.
Using Intense Heat or Sparks
Welders, take note.
Fire or sparks can scar the epoxy surface, permanently damaging it. If your garage is extremely hot or you use machinery that throws off sparks, you should avoid epoxy flooring.
To a lesser effect, hot tire pickup can also erode epoxy flooring over time. It’s common to see indentations when vehicles are parked in the same place without giving their tires time to cool off.
Using Abrasive Materials
Abrasive products, such as sand and salt, can damage the surface of the epoxy flooring. Even regular use of a grinding wheel may can areas of the garage flooring to get damaged by fine metal particles.
If you have an epoxy garage floor and live in a snowy climate, try removing as much salt and sand from your floor before it can scratch up the surface.
High levels of moisture
Because an epoxy floor coating is moisture-resistant, it traps water above and below your floor.
Specifically, it may lead to ground water getting trapped in the concrete, unable to evaporate. This will eventually damage the concrete.
In some locations, the ground beneath the concrete floor may contain excess water at different times of the year due to location or weather. These areas should avoid any moisture barrier coating. The floor needs to be able to draw in moisture and allow it to evaporate.
How Much Does It Cost to Epoxy a Garage Floor?
Depending on the size of your garage, the cost of installing quality epoxy flooring may be more reasonable than you think.
The actual cost will be determined by several factors, such as:
- Your location and weather
- The condition of your cement floor
- Any concrete preparation that needs to be done
- The quality of the epoxy used
- The labor rate of the installation contractor
- The square footage of your garage floor
- Any additional specializations, such as texture, color, or special effects.
Some averages can help you at least have a starting point for determining if an epoxy floor coating is in your budget.
The Cost of the Epoxy
A price range of between $3 and $12 per square foot. For example, if your floor is 10 feet by 10 feet, it would be 100 square feet, or $300 to $1200.
Depending on the variables above, some may be able to get a simple water-based garage floor epoxy coatings in this price range, including labor. For more durable applications, you will likely pay a higher cost but get an epoxy coating with a higher percentage of solids.
Labor will be the highest cost, so if you’re the DIY type, you can save a lot of money. In general, you’ll get what you pay for, so don’t go with the cheapest labor rate to save money.
Other factors include design, use of any specialized equipment, and the number of coats you decide to use.
Things can get complicated during the mixing and application process. As with any chemical reaction, the exact specification of epoxy must be followed precisely to ensure that the epoxy will perform as expected. Any mistakes in mixing or application can affect the overall product, including the appearance and durability of the epoxy flooring.
How Long Will It Take to Epoxy a Garage Floor?
Unlike paint products, an epoxy product takes time to completely dry and cure. This is necessary for the epoxy to be as durable as possible.
You will need to stay off the floor for a few days.
The length of time will vary depending on the chemical composition of the epoxy, the number of coats you choose, and the weather. Curing is a drying process when the chemical reactions become complete, so therefore, the weather has an impact as well.
If you decide to adding an epoxy coating to your garage floor, I suggest hiring an experienced contractor with lots of references. It helps if it’s someone local where you can take a look at some of their past installations to see how the garage floor epoxy is holding up after time.
Also, make sure that you fully understand the entire process they will be using before the project is started, so you will not have any surprises.
Although they’re a big investment and time-consuming to install, epoxy floor coatings are definitely worth it in the long run.
If you decide against an epoxy floor coating, there are several other options for your garage floor. This article covers the pros and cons of all the major garage flooring options.