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Choosing a Epoxy Floor Coating or Epoxy Paint... Epoxy Floor Paint vs. Industrial Epoxy Floor Coating Kit Differences?

What You Need to Know About Epoxy Floor Coating | Industrial Epoxy Floor Paint &  Garage Floor Kit Installation Detailed…

•What types of epoxy floor coating work best?
•What does prepping the floor entail?
•Do I need a primer or clear coat?
•How is this product actually applied?
•Do I Need Non-Slip?
•How Long Between Coats?

Examine your Garage Floor

Your first task should be to analyze the type of epoxy paint or coating your concrete or garage floor needs. Does it have contaminants, oil or ground in dirt? Is there moisture present? How much product will I need? Do I need a primer or clear coat? What paint colors will compliment my garage? Do I need crack and patch for spalled concrete or pocks? Do I want to fill the saw joints in for a smooth surface over all? These are questions you will need to consider to professionally coat/paint your floor. The information present on this page will allow you evaluate the condition of the concrete. You will also learn how to clean and etch the concrete as well as professionally install.

One of the most important factors when coating with epoxy floor coating is climatic conditions and substrate temperature. The temperature of the concrete floor should be 55° fahrenheit temperature, and air must have a temperature of 55°-80° Fahrenheit. Note: Although rated coating temperature is up to 80° be careful to watch humidity as higher temperatures close to 80°combined with 85% humidity will shorten pot life. Also every 5° over 80° cuts pot life in half. Following these conditions as outlined will ensure that coating/paint cures and adheres with ample working time and pot life as tested.

Prepping the Floor

There are three industry standard ways to prep your concrete floor. The most common for residential applications is etching with a “etch & prep” solution. This works well on clean and warn floors with mild amounts of contamination. Not heavily contaminated concrete floors. In instances where there is heavy soil and oil stains you will need to mechanically profile the concrete floor with a floor sander with diamond brush head attachment. Can rent both for around $80 dollars for four hours. Typical 2.5 car garage will take typically 3 hours. You will have time to get it back. DYI novices if you feel that you need to mechanically profile your concrete floor don’t let this discourage you. If you can mow your lawn you can walk behind a floor machine. The last and most aggressive prep is a shot-blaster. This will actually remove 2-3 mil . layer of concrete from the surface. Most commonly used in industrial epoxy floor paint/coating applications like factories and manufacturing facilities.

You must wait for 28 days before applying epoxy floor kit system or garage floor kit if the concrete is fresh. This waiting time ensures that your cement floor completely cures and dries. If you are working on an already painted or sealed floor it is recommended to mechanically profile as well with floor sander. It is not necessary to sand to bare concrete. Simply scuff/score existing concrete paint/coating to ensure a mechanical bond before using the epoxy  floor coating kit system.

Prep Instructions

The process begins by pre-treating the oil stains. Immerse a stiff-bristle brush into a degreaser/cleaner and scrub the stains forcefully. Acetone works extremely well and is also used to tack floor off. Use shop towels or cotton rags to wipe the floor clean. Repeat the process until there is no greasy feel and water droplets do not bead up on the floor. Begin the process by sweeping the garage or concrete floor using a stiff-bristle broom. You can also rely on shop vacuum or leaf blower if a broom is not available. Mix 2 lbs. of “Clean and Etch” with 5-gallons of water (ratio should be 1:5) or as per label instructions. Pre-treat problem areas and scrub the floor entirely. Scrub for 20 to 30 minutes. The concrete floor should be kept wet at all times during the scrubbing process. Scrub in the corners and along the walls using a stiff-bristle hand brush. Let it dry until the formation of haze. Flood the floor with water using nozzle end and hose to spray out the material from the garage for at least 10 minutes (as per the manufacturer, you can rinse diluted “Clean & Etch” Solution into a storm sewer using a large amount of water.) After the process, the garage or concrete floor surface will feel like fine 120 grit sandpaper. As part of final prep make sure to tape exactly where the garage door meets the floor. This will also help after coating if you need to close garage, room or shop door due to swirling debris on uncured floor. Do not coat door apron. This is part of garage floor that extends approximately 8 inches in front of garage door. Will amber over time due to UV rays and floor will look two tone in affected area. Pro Tech Tip: Test the concrete for moisture or “hydrostatic pressure” by duct taping 24” x 24” plastic piece to concrete (make sure it is air tight). Allow this piece to sit on the surface for 48 hours and then check the condensation on plastic. For problem oil spots there is also a test for that as well. Simply drip a drop of water to the problem area and see if the water dissipates into the cement or beads up. If water beads you will need to retreat and/or use a “Oil Stop” primer.

Selecting an Epoxy

Finalizing the type of epoxy paint/coating you need for your garage or project is the most crucial decision. When thinking of starting your garage, commercial or industrial floor. There are three major types of epoxy floor coating/paint to consider… all of which include water and solvent based products or 100% volume solids epoxy resin. Then there are two types of solids epoxy. cycloaliphatic and aliphatic-amine. Cycloaliphatic has much better cured property characteristics. The water and solvent-based epoxy floor paints have epoxy resins in the range of 38-60 percent volume solids and are mostly a paint and only leave a 2 mil wear layer. Whereas the 100% solid cycloaliphatic epoxy floor coating variant possesses pure epoxy resins. No water or solvent is present in this epoxy floor kit or garage floor coating product.

100% solids cycloaliphatic epoxy is the premium product of the two available type of 100% solids. The other is a lesser quality aliphatic-amine. Used in good margins as a generic less expensive epoxy by importers and various other outlets and just labeled 100% solids. Cycloaliphatic epoxy is far superior in every category tested. Such as wear resistance, tensile and compression strength. As well as gloss and adhesion rates. Tests at 0% delamination with concrete failure first. View amazing field test demo video here.. On the other hand, water and solvent low solids paint aren’t even in the same ball park. Solvent-based epoxy floor paint kits are not a preferred choice because they contain volatile organic compounds (VOC’s). VOC’s can prove to be dangerous for your health. The solvent-based epoxy paint garage floor kits also lack glossy finish and resistance to wear, which is usually expected from flooring. Just like the 100% solids epoxy floor coating kits, some water and solvent-based products also have two parts that require mixing before application. Also available in a 1 part and must be mixed as well prior to application to bring resins to the top. The consumers using the water based epoxy floor paint products face issues like chipping, cracking and pealing. Some water-based epoxy paint manufacturers claim that their floor coating kit stops hot tire marks… not true. They will not stand up to the most common of conditions. Understand – reputable companies say resists. No product can stop hot spots after a 12 hour drive through temps over 95° and then drive straight into the garage. The 100% cycloaliphatic solids are far superior when tested in these conditions and product will resist hot tire marks during normal everyday conditions. If you are using water or solvent based epoxy floor paint kit, apply at least three coats to attain minimal sufficient thickness. This will result in better but still mediocre durability and wear resistance. 100% cycloaliphatic epoxy is the only epoxy of the three choices where you get what you pay for. Solids do not evaporate or dissipate. Check for the “build” while purchasing the product, which is the thickness obtained after an epoxy is dried. Solvent and water products evaporate! Leaving you a very minimal wear layer or build. Money wasted on water or solvent? Yes… into thin air. The build of an epoxy is directly proportional to the amount of epoxy resin in the product. Water and solvent low volume solids epoxy floor coating or kits, have a wear layer of just over to 2 mils. dft. Prone to wear out in 2 years with minimal to medium traffic. In contrast the 100% solids cycloaliphatic boasts a 10 mils. dft. wear layer as it is 5x thicker which results in 10x the wear resistance. 

Installation of Epoxy Floor Kit System or Garage Floor Kit in Your Home or Business

You need to turn off all the appliances present in the garage, including water heater. Gas also needs to be turned off. Make sure pets and children do not come near the driveway and garage during the installation process. In conditions where you are installing in temps cooler or colder than 55  preheat garage and floor. Then open window and allow any gases to escape as they will cause a reverse chemical reaction and effect curing cycle.

Step by Step Installation

  1. After the garage or shop concrete floor has dried… you may use a epoxy crack filler to fill holes, spalled regions and 1/8 inch or bigger pocks. A putty knife is needed to finish the surface level. Allow it to dry 4 hours before applying the first coat. Good time to tape off any areas required.
  2. Floors prepped – time to set up! Create a mixing station in a good access spot by putting down a drop cloth or tarp and move all product tools with mixing drill to this location. Now that your set up – time to mix some product.
  3. Follow mixing instructions carefully. Although very easy to pour part- B in to a and mix. Its the mixing part the must be adhered to in order to avoid any soft or tacky spots caused by resins not effected by hardener. Use a stirring bit (mechanical mixing wand) and a drill, premix both components of epoxy for 3 minutes. For 1-part epoxy water-based you will still need to mix. Preferably with mechanical mixer. Do not hand mix. This will result in soft tacky spots. Mix at a moderate speed to avoid encapsulating bubbles. Go through the label directions to mix an appropriate amount of epoxy. Mix part B Hardener into part-a resin bucket. Never mix more than you can coat in 40-45 minutes. Also, the whole batch must be applied before the 50 minute pot life expires. Never scrape out residual epoxy in bucket. Only use what pours out. There may be epoxy resins that didn’t get harder or part-B. If you do scrape edges only do so when mixing to avoid issue. Will cause soft uncured spots. Some people often think the epoxy failed when this happens. That is incorrect as would make a poor argument as 3/4 of the product is not going to be good with a 1/4 of it bad. It’s all the same product. No part of the floor would of cured if there was issue with system. Generally in our case we make product in 900 gallon vats. 3 gallons of it is not going to be bad and 897 gallons good. Epoxy coating products failing is a myth and caused either by installers prep or mixing procedures. Warning: for each 5° over 80° pot life is cut in half. Don’t forget to take humidity levels into equation as well. Can not be over 80%. Morning after prepping garage or concrete floor is best time to coat when climate is mild. No company will refund cured epoxy product or replace due to product curing to fast. It is installers responsibility to mix as much or little as needed to ensure ample working time based on climate and cut-in time. Multiple batches of any size can be mixed as long as the 2-1 mix ratio is followed. To break into smaller batches to ensure working time. Use a ruler to measure side of mixing bucket. Measure total of volume of resins and divide that number in half and pour into another mixing bucket. Pour half of part-B one gallon can into part and mix as directed. You would of now made a half batch. As stated sometimes required based on complexity. This will ensure you can coat floor at a slower pace. As tested at 75° the working time is over 55-60 minutes and pot life is 45- 50 minutes. Pot life extends if all product is poured out on concrete floor as epoxy cooks/cures faster in bucket. Which is ample time as standard garage coats in 35 minutes with two set of hands. 45 minutes with one set. Sometimes helps to set a timer.
  4. Your now ready to coat floor. With bucket in hand start in furthest corner of garage or concrete floor from natural exit point. Pour out a 10 ft. ribbon onto facing wall and 10 ft. ribbon down the side wall. Push product with time brush to make flow into edges and final trim with a 2 inch natural-bristle paint brush. Repeat process after coating the 10 ft. x 10 ft. area. (Complete other two sides of a 10′ x 10′ box by coating with epoxy making a painted box.) For 500 sq. ft. floors imagine four panels 125 sq. ft. inside a four panel grid.
    After trimming/painting in coated area use the squeegee to pull back excess epoxy floor coating from the wall and disburse. Pour additional ribbons within the 10 ft. x 10 ft. coating section. Again use squeegee to disseminate epoxy floor coating. You are not looking for total coverage with squeegee. Pull tight to floor. What flows out the sides and underneath the squeegee is optimal. Note: A 18 inch notched /serrated squeegee (offered) works well to move product and gauge a 10 millimeter dry film one coat thickness. Disposable squeegee included in most kits works well also. However, a notched/serrated squeegee is preferred by professionals on larger floor coating installations. (Repeat step 4 and 5 until floor is coated and complete.)
  5. Clean up. Work is done – time to clean tools and any drips or errors. Use Xylene only. Pro Tip: Xylene can be used to extend working time if needed. 5-6 oz. per 3 gallon kit.  Added solvent will cure out. 
  6. Lastly it is time to shut down. Keep all windows if applicable open to allow ventilation. Most important with 1-part moisture cured products. Including 1-part epoxy floor coating and clear coat. Lack of ventilation will constrict curing rates and may remain tacky. If possible leave garage door open a 1/4 of the way open along with windows where applicable. Helps to clean driveway before coating garage as to limit any dust or particles that may flow in as a result. May want to wet down concrete driveway to really suppress any air bound contaminants. If no ventilation access points exist you may use fans to push a flow of fresh air into area.  A “Do Not Enter” sign across the garage or room doorways will also ensure that no one enters until the floor is ready.

Clear Top Coat Sealer? (Wait time between all coats is 15-24 hours for maximum adhesion.)

We recommend a polyuria clear/top coat. 1 part moisture cured premium urethane product and 2 part industrial polyurea product available. 2 part contains high solids and is 2x thicker at 2.8 mils. dft. applied thickness. Apply within 15-24 hour window after base-coat. Clear top coat sealer adds depth to look of floor plus additional wear resistance. (Not required in most applications with our epoxy floor coating kit system.) Works well to seal in flake and coat over non-slip to retard abrasion. A clear coat is not required to reach and maintain high gloss levels with this epoxy floor kit system. Nor for normal wear and abrasion resistance. Garages also don’t recieve much exposure to UV rays so yellowing is not of a concern in most cases. If you have a lot of exposure to light on the garage floor you will want to clear coat your garage floor or project with a UV resistant product. While not absolutely necessary it is advantageous as it does provide an additional sacrificial wear layer for additional abrasion and UV resistance. Apply top coat sealer and epoxy base-coat with in 15-18 hours after first coat. Any longer you will need to scuff floor to make mechanical bond. Recommend is applying within allotted chemical reaction time.

Do I Need a Primer?

The answer to that is is two fold. Yes and no. If you have a contaminated floor where there is contaminants and moisture you will need a “Oil-Stop Primer” that also has vapor barrier protection. This is an epoxy compatible primer that will coagulate with oil and contaminants to provide the strongest of bonds. This will block any hydro-static pressure and contaminants from causing failure later on. If a company tells you that you need primer coating on a perfectly new or clean garage or concrete floor, they don’t have your best interest in mind and trying to upsell or carry an inferior coating. Honestly would make me take another look at their product. Some do however believe you need a thinner volume product to work itself into the pours of the concrete to make mechanical bond. We’d ask why don’t industry professionals use primer on 250,000 sq. ft. industrial facilities and why do they call it a base-coat? A.) Because it is and the professionals that properly prep their floors know that too. They only use specialty primers on severe problem floors where contaminants and oil stains are present. Others theory why put down a lower solid only to put premium over a lower grade coating. Remember this 100% solid cycloaliphatic epoxy product is lab and field tested at 0% delamination. Testing indicated when properly prepped the concrete will actually fail and tear away first. So in summary a primer does work well to make a high build system for better impact resistance and compression strength. However you don’t need it to make bond on clean or uncontaminated floors. A primer is recommended on all water and solvent-based low volume solids epoxy paint garage floor kit systems.

Decorative Flake & Non Slip Aluminum Oxide?

These are both optional. Applied both by broadcasting by hand over wet base-coat. Amount of flake and non-slip oxide applies is based on preference and desired look and slip resistance. Non slip can be applied over base-coat or clear coat depending how aggressive you want it. Great option. When applying over clear coat make sure to back-roll after to encapsulate it. Note: Using non skid on epoxy base-coat only with out clear will result in non slip appearing like dirt specs due to abrasion and daily wear. It is recommended that you clear coat over any non-slip garage or floor coating project.

Suggested Tools and Product for a Professional Coat