Since buying a new house, we have been making big improvements throughout the interior of our home ranging from painting the walls to adding new decor (no walls knocked down yet). However, I have been most excited to get my garage situated and set up just how I want, but the first order of business was to take care of the floor before moving all of the tools, cars and other good stuff in that would make it difficult to access all the areas that need paint attention.
I looked at a number of flooring options ranging from professional epoxy floors to RaceDeck to where I landed – the Rust-Oleum EpoxyShield Professional. For those of you that know me know that if I can do it myself, then I will no matter how much of a pain in the butt it is (to some extent :P). I think laying down the epoxy flooring is just about one of the best things you can do in a shop environment. I say this because spills happen, and when it comes to taking care of them and cleaning up the mess, this floor makes it so much easier to deal with. A little kitty litter and a broom make it a 2 minute job where with a raw concrete floor, you’d have to take care of it right away otherwise you’re looking at oil soaking into the concrete and causing a big ugly stain.
Of course, once I washed down my flooring an actually started reading the directions on the box, I realized that I would need not only one, but two of these kits to get the coverage I need. Each box covers roughly a two car garage surface area (3-400 square feet), but since I decided to paint the retaining wall that goes up to about shin high, I definitely ended up using all of the two kits.
First things first – cleaning. Our garage has been littered with kitty litter since my daily driver likes to drip a little oil and there has been a lot of snow on the road the last couple months, so our garage was extremely filthy. Since I’ve been sharing a shop with a couple other guys, I’ve been sharing cleaning stuff, so I had to go grab a few things from Home Depot to get the floor looking squeaky clean:
Once I was able to sweep up as much loose debris as I could, I hosed it down to get the remaining dust and crud off that the water would carry away. Next step was the degreaser part – I went with Zep since it’s known to be the baddest of the bad when it comes to degreasers. Super concentrated too!
I recall using Zep back when I worked at a car dealership and it just destroyed the brake dust on wheels when using it. But PLEASE, use a respirator if you’re in a small area with this stuff. I had both my garage doors open so I didn’t have any trouble, but this stuff is super potent. Here’s a list of stuff I used for this part of the cleaning process:
At this point I dumped the Zep onto the wet surface and started scrubbing away with my deck scrub brush. When I got to the end, I had about half left in the big Zep tank, so I went over it again. It’s definitely worth the extra effort to make sure the surface is extremely clean since you’ll be applying the epoxy on top. I would hate to do this twice.
After this, I had to let the floor dry overnight. I wanted to get the paint down that day, but unfortunately the temperature dropped pretty significantly which in turn slowed down the drying process. Not a big deal, better safe than sorry. I actually ended up grinding some kitty litter into the surface some more the next day which forced me to have to spray down the floor again, so it didn’t really matter.
Now it was onto the application of the floor. Again, I went with the Rust-Oleum EpoxyShield Professional kit. People either love it or hate it, depends who you ask. A guy on GarageJournal said he knows a fella who has had his coating on for over 10 years with no issues. The decision really boils down to your usage and expectations. For me, I’m going to be doing some pretty lightweight automotive work and simply parking our daily driver vehicles on the surface, so I don’t need anything more than a basic protection layer.
I ended up applying the coating in slabs – do one slab, apply the chips, move onto the next. As I mentioned before, I also painted the little retaining wall the surrounds the garage (I think that’s what you call it?) to really make it look slick. I think it turned out really well!
Overall, the process was very demanding and requires attention to detail. It’s so easy to cut corners and qualify things as “good enough,” but the thought of doing this twice kept me away from that. If you’re working on stuff in the garage or just want to make your garage space look better, I’d definitely recommend this kit. I’ll be doing a follow up on the performance of the coating in the coming months, but we applied this same kit to a buddy’s shop and it held up great.
Also, if you guys haven’t already, check out my YouTube channel that features all of this content, except in video form. It’s called 2J-Z (for obvious reasons) and I’ll be documenting the build of my garage, the Z and anything else car related that I think will make for some fun video. I appreciate the support dudes!