There's a good chance your garage floor is one of the scarier-looking parts of your home. It can get beat up from daily wear-and-tear, not to mention vehicle traffic and weeks-long DIYs. But, it doesn't have to look so grungy—consider giving your garage a facelift by painting its floor.
A painted garage floor not only boosts the look of your garage but also boosts its stain and slip resistance, too. Keep reading to learn how to paint your garage floor and transform it from scary to sleek.
Meet the Expert
Joseph Scaduto is a remodeling professional at Floor Shields.
Step One: Make Sure There's No Moisture
Before you begin prepping and painting your garage floor, make sure you don't have a moisture problem. Garage floors are often only given one coat of sealant when they're poured, and they may not have a vapor barrier installed beneath them. Both of these things can lead to excess moisture seeping up through the floor from the ground.
To test for this, Joseph Scaduto, a remodeling professional at Floor Shields, recommends duct-taping a 15"x15" plastic sheet to the ground. Make sure the entire perimeter of the plastic is taped, then leave it for 24 hours. If there is condensation on the inside of the plastic when you return, you may have a moisture issue. But don't freak out—you'll just need to apply a surface-applied vapor barrier. Talk to a professional to determine your next steps.
Additionally, you'll need a garage floor epoxy kit to paint your garage floor. You can find one online or at your local home improvement store, but make sure it comes with a 2-part epoxy coating and concrete etch.
Step Two: Prepare To Prep
Now it's time to be diligent on your prep work. Like so many home improvement DIYs, your project's success can rest upon how well your space was cleaned and prepped beforehand.
"The garage is regularly used and it is dirtier than other places in the house. So to get the best results of the paint job, it is significant that the garage surface is clean," Scaduto says.
To prep for garage floor painting, you'll need to sweep the floor a few times to rid it of any dust, dirt, and cobwebs. If you have one, now is a great time to break out your leaf blower. Next, take a hose or pressure washer and thoroughly spray down the concrete to make sure any small pieces of dirt are gone.
Step Three: Clean and Degrease
After you've swept and hosed down, you're not quite finished cleaning yet. Next, you'll use a cleaner and degreaser to rid the garage floor of major stains and excess grease. Your garage floor can get incredibly beat up (especially if cars are stored in it year-round), so it's no surprise that it gets covered in oil and grease stains.
Step Four: Time to Etch
Next, you'll etch the concrete to 'open' it up and allow it to accept the epoxy you'll be applying later. Your garage floor painting kit should include some kind of etching material, which is typically citric acid. You should follow the manufacturer's instructions for this step, but normally you'll mix the etching material with water, pour it on the floor and let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing and squeegee-ing it off.
Alternate between using a squeegee and a scrubber brush to wipe up excess cleaner and scrub stains out. Get ready to work up a sweat—you want the floor to be as clean as possible.
But before you start painting, it's crucial to make sure your garage floor is completely dry. If you're in a hot and humid climate, this may mean you'll need to wait a few days before continuing.
Step Five: Mix Your Epoxy
Time to get mixing: the final thing you'll need to do before you begin painting is to mix your epoxy and paint. It's super important to make sure they're completely mixed, as an unmixed epoxy won't set correctly.
For the best results, Scaduto recommends using a scale when mixing the paint and epoxy: "To ensure precise measurement, the measuring cup's scale should have the smallest available increments possible," he suggests. "Add the resin first and wait for a short while in the measuring cup. This enables the material surface to be leveled, and the same quantity of hardener can then be added."
Additionally, consider using a paint mixer drill attachment to make sure the mixture is fully combined. You also may need to wait for the mixture to 'react' in the can for a certain time (usually 10-30 minutes). Consult your manufacturer's instructions for more information.
Step Six: Get Painting
The moment you've been waiting for: painting. As you paint your garage floor, go section by section. If you use a paintbrush to paint up against the wall or door frames, do only as much as you can immediately follow with paint applied by a roller. Waiting too long between the two will cause an uneven finish. You'll need to apply the paint within an hour or so after mixing, as it will become unusable if it sits too long.
Step Seven: Be a Little Flaky
The flakes that come with your epoxy paint kit provide a pop of color and a little extra traction to your garage floor. However, they're not a required step, so if the look of them isn't your thing, feel free to pass.
If you do want to add the flakes, toss them on as you finish sections of paint. It's important that the paint is still wet so that they'll stick. For the best effect, toss them as high as you can so the pattern will look random rather than clumpy.
Step Eight: Let It Cure
Before using your garage floor (or parking your car on it), make sure to let it cure according to the manufacturer's instructions. It may have two different times for foot and vehicle traffic. Once that time has passed, get ready to enjoy your brand new, sparkling clean garage floor.