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(The Easiest) DIY Project: Epoxy your Garage/Basement Floor!

When I was 12 my parents sent me to a summer camp called Invention Convention. They let us loose in a gymnasium with thousands of different materials laid out and told us to grab whatever we wanted and create. Some kids immediately took apart remotes and electronics, others grabbed sewing kits, and at the end of the week these pre-teens had built some amazing creations. My end result was a piece of cloth with cotton balls glued around the edges. I called it an "ant stopper mat" - you know, for all those times you're sitting on grass and ants crawl up your legs...

Suffice to say, building has never been my thing, but I’m all about the ideas! So when I had the idea to epoxy my Mom’s garage floor she was understandably reluctant. There was also the recent tussle/tears/exasperation over trying to hang three decorative shelves in her bathroom. We ended up with several holes in the wall, but eventually the shelves made it up! So believe me when I tell you, epoxy coating a garage floor is THE EASIEST thing to do, and makes a drastic change to the space. Instead of a concrete floor that is always dusty and dirty, we now have a shiny, rubbery garage space, no shoes required. So here is what we did, without being perfect, and without any experience.

Materials: Broom, small paint brush, roller paint brush, paint tray, garden hose

Overall Time: 2 days because of drying time, but actual time spent working on the floor was maybe 2 hours

Cost: $70 – the kit for single car garage was $66 at Lowe’s, plus we bought a broom. The paint materials we had around. *Lowe’s always has 10% off coupons – look around online before you shop! The kit we bought was Rust-Oleum EpoxyShield 1 gallon Grey Epoxy – it also comes in tan, or you can have them tint it to the color of your choice.

STEP 1:  We swept the floor with a broom. Then we took a hose and rinsed the floor. Yep, that easy. There were a few paint spots we scrapped, but otherwise it was just a thorough rinsing. Other tutorials I read had people pressure washing, renting machines like wet/dry vacs, but we were low on time and money, and in the end this was good enough. We didn’t even fill in a few of the holes in the concrete, which you can do easily enough if interested. Next, we etched the floor with the etching solution included in the kit. You pour the etch into 2 gallons of water (we eyeballed it) and mix it. If you have a watering can to pour into, that will make spreading the solution around evenly pretty easy, but we didn’t have one so we just poured it out from the bucket. We took normal brooms and just scrubbed scrubbed scrubbed the solution into the floor. When applying the solution the floor should be wet. Our entire floor stayed wet while working at a normal pace, so I wouldn’t worry about it drying out anyways. The etching didn’t turn white or foamy like I’ve seen in other peoples pictures. We assumed it was working because it smelled like farts and we could see the dust and dirt moving around. Then we turned on the hose and rinsed again. Rinse thoroughly.

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How cute is my Mom?

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STEP 2: Let the floor dry overnight. When we looked at the floor the next day it was completely white, which means the etching worked. We swept with a broom one more time in case any dirt had settled in overnight, as we had left the garage door open to help the drying process, and then prepared the epoxy.

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This a super white, clean floor after etching! (we waited a little longer, till those wet spots dried up, before applying)

STEP 3: Mix the hardening stuff into the epoxy paint (it’s heavy!). It needs to sit based on the outside temperature, which in our case was the mid 80’s, so after 10 minutes we were ready to go. Mix it one more time right before applying.

STEP 4: Start painting by using a small brush and going over the corners. Then, using a roller brush, roll the epoxy paint on the floor, sprinkling the included paint chips as you finish each section. I think the paint chips look cool and hide minor imperfections, but you certainly don’t need them. One regret I do have? I wish we had rolled on the paint thicker, maybe went back to each section and did another layer. Still, after a day of drying, the garage looked like a space you want to run across in your bare feet.

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My job was to sprinkle the paint chips, and I did it beautifully and with joy.

I hate that these photos reveal my family did most of the manual labor...

I hate that these photos reveal my family did most of the manual labor…

We weren’t looking to create a show room type floor, as you can tell by our relaxed method, but I don’t think any extra materials or steps would have made a huge difference. I encourage to try this in your basement or garage!! Best to attempt this during the summer, as I believe colder weather can affect how the epoxy seals.

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Ta – da!

 

 

 

 

 

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