I don’t know about your house, but we put our garage floor through a lot of wear and tear so I was excited when my builder mentioned he was going to epoxy my floor.
Depending on the application, most epoxy floor coverings can add durability, shine, and even style to a garage floor. However, an epoxy covering may not be ideal for every garage floor.
Should you epoxy your garage floor? I did a lot of the leg work to provide you with the information you need to help make that decision.
Applying an epoxy coating to a garage floor can provide a strong and durable layer of protection to the floor. It is important to consider how you will be using the space to help determine if the cost of installation can be offset by the benefits. Some additional things to consider include:
- The reputation of the epoxy flooring contractor
- The condition of the current garage floor
- Any future plans for the floor
In this article, I’ll cover the epoxy coating in a bit of detail, including the pros, cons, and limitations. We will also talk about the average costs you may expect if you choose to go forward.
Read on to find out not only what epoxy flooring is, but the advantages and drawbacks to an epoxy coated garage floor.
What is Epoxy Flooring?
I used to think that epoxy is just a simple coating, kind of like a paint or stain.
In reality, epoxy is a specific combination of resin and hardener that when combined form a strong, durable material. It’s thicker than paint and adds a layer of protection to whatever it is applied to, in this case, a garage floor.
Where things can get complicated is usually 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 flooring.
Advantages of an Epoxy Coating
An epoxy coating on a garage floor can provide several advantages to homeowners and commercial situations. In addition to the aesthetic appeal of a shiny floor, here are a few other advantages:
It adds protection
Easily the biggest advantage of an epoxy floor is the added layer of protection against normal wear and tear. A properly installed concrete garage floor is expensive. Adding a layer of epoxy can extend the life and durability of a garage floor in many normal conditions.
It disguises small imperfections
Newsflash: not every garage floor is perfect.
Whether it’s stains, small cracks or even a dent from dropping a tool, an epoxy coating can hide small imperfections.
This can be good and bad though, since you’ll want to hide the small stuff, but still notice any bigger cracks before they become an issue.
It acts as a sealant
Like most people. before I bought a house, I didn’t realize that concrete needed to be sealed in order to last. Otherwise, water will seep in and eventually start to break down the concrete.
The same principal applies to grout on your patio or shower, but that’s a different website. :)
Not only that, but a good epoxy sealant will also significantly cut down on the dust in your garage. I go into a lot more detail how and why in this article.
Although there are several options for sealing concrete, most need to be reapplied every couple of years for the best results. A quality epoxy coating will last significantly longer than any other sealant.
It is moisture resistant
Along the same lines, concrete and moisture do not go hand in hand. An epoxy coating can help keep your garage floor from absorbing moisture from the air or even from spills, giving you more time to clean-up and making that cleanup a little easier.
I’ll bet you’ve been Googling images of cool garages and a lot of them have brightly colored epoxy floors.
Gone are the days of a plain concrete floor.
People are using garages for so much more than parking a car or storing tools. It’s another room in your house and you probably want to make it the best you can. That’s why you’re here, right?
Epoxy coating can bring a wide range of styles to your space. Just please don’t add glitter to your floor (yes…that’s a thing).
Epoxy can be mixed with several materials that when finished curing can result in a surface with texture. This allows you to add slip resistance to your garage floor for additional safety.
Easy to clean and maintain
Cleaning an epoxy floor is a simple process for most installations and does not require any complicated machinery or specialized products. Most applications will only require a simple dust mop or foam mop to maintain a clean and durable finish.
For more details, including a step-by-step cleaning guide, check out my article How Do You Care For an Epoxy Floor.
Disadvantages of an Epoxy Coating
That’s the good part, but everything has limitations, and epoxy is no different.
There are a few disadvantages or limitations to an epoxy coating. These situations will likely mean that an epoxy coating is not the right decision for your garage floor.
Intense heat or sparks
Welders, take note.
People who deal with high levels of heat in their garages or machinery that throws off sparks may want to avoid an epoxy coating.
Epoxy is not fire or heatproof, sparks and high temperatures can cause permanent damage to the coating.
To a lesser effect, excess heat from tires can also erode the flooring over time. This will result in indentations when vehicles are parked in the same place repeatedly.
Using abrasive materials regularly
Abrasive products, such as sand and salt, can damage the surface of the epoxy coating. Even regular use of a grinding wheel may can areas of the flooring to fall victim to the tine metal particles.
Especially if you live in a snowy climate, you should try to remove as much of the salt and sand from your floor before it can scratch up the surface.
High levels of moisture
As I mentioned above, an epoxy floor coating is moisture resistant. This works both ways, trapping the water both above and below your floor.
Specifically, it can also trap moisture in the flooring leading to damage to the concrete.
Areas where the ground beneath the concrete floor may contain excess moisture throughout different times of the year, due to location or weather, will likely want to avoid any moisture barrier coating. These areas need the floor 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 a quality epoxy coating 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 the current floor
- The quality of the epoxy used
- The labor rate of the installation contractor
- The size of your garage floor
- Any additional specializations, such as texture, color, or special effects.
There are some averages that can help you to 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 foot by 10 foot, would be 100 square feet, or $300 to $1200.
Depending on the variables above, some may be able to get a simple water-based epoxy coating in this price range, including labor. For more durable applications you will likely pay greater costs a more solid epoxy.
Here’s where the cost comes in, so if you’re the DIY type, you can save a good bit of money.
Labor is going to be the biggest part of the cost of an epoxy floor coating. In general, you’re going to get what you pay for so don’t go with the cheapest labor rate just to save money.
Other factors include design, use of specialized equipment, and the number of coats you decide to use.
Unlike painting, an epoxy floor takes time to fully cure. This is necessary for the epoxy to be as durable as possible.
This means that you will need to stay off the floor for a few days.
The length of time is going to 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. Therefore, weather has an impact as well.
Homeowners that have been willing to share their costs, report the average cost to apply an epoxy coating to a garage floor is $2,129 for a residential garage in the United States (source). This includes both one and two-car garages.
Your individual cost will vary depending on the factors discussed above.
Adding an epoxy coating to my garage floor is outside my comfort zone. so if you do decide to go this route, 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 they’re 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.
Epoxy coatings are a big investment and a time-consuming process to get right.
If that scares you, there are several other types of garage floor coatings that might work better for you. Check out my article where I go into the pros and cons of all the major garage flooring options.