Garage Floor Coating 101: Professionals vs DIY


We did our shop by first power washing, then ZEP concrete floor cleaner, then muriatic acid (muriatic acid is cheaper). Then Seal Crete primer and Epoxy Paint. Seal Crete is a Rustolem product.


Hats off to Carter and you. Your results look good. But, I find either approach impractical for me. The drying time is a killer because it forces you to have everything off the garage floor for many days. Unless you have a nearby building, POD or other way of securing expensive tools, motorcycles or other precious items the curing time needed for these products is a problem.

Instead, I have installed floor tiles from bigfloors.com in two home garages. The cost for tiles for a 3.5 car garage is about $1,800. The concrete floor needs no prep and the tiles can be laid in a day. By nightfall you’ll have everything back in the garage and it will look like the picture below. You have to provide your own motorcycles and car. :slight_smile:

The tiles can support a commercial truck and can be easily replaced if one ever gets damaged. Not sure how you would damage one though. And easy to clean with a mop or hose and unaffected by hot tires, oil, gas, brake fluid, etc. And comes in a variety of colors, surfaces and designs. Couldn’t be easier, faster to install or look better.

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Have done my shop floors 3 times over past 15 years. Rustoleum sells two types of 2 part epoxies. The more expensive epoxy
which cost about $2,500 for 5,000 square feet has lasted about 5 years. I cleaned one floor and ground the next. Both stuck very well. I suggest the more expensive one if doing heavey traffic. Also, the cheaper one is susceptible to pealing if the tires are hot. You might put down something like carpet pieces if you use the less expensive product.


I agree with Kevin’s Shop. I did my 3 stall deep garage with RaceTrack Tile. It cost about $3.00 a square foot and was very easy to do by myself.
You can design online and the floor has held up well over the last two Iowa winters! Cleans with a vacuum or a hose. image|500x500



Having professional knowledge of this subject, there are few things to remember:

  1. Not All Epoxy coatings are the same 2) Unless the concrete is 100% clean you are risking failure 3) Heavily contaminated concrete is virtually impossible to clean.

Its really not much different than painting a car: You aren’t going to buy cheaply made paint if you want it to last. You’re going to clean the surface impeccably prior to coating. and the best analogy I can think of for the final point is that you aren’t going to paint over any amount of rust.


I completed my floor 3 years ago when I finished my new house. I was reco’d by a friend to armorpoxy.com in NJ. He had used their product and was pleased after 10 years. I called, discussed and purchased 600 sq ft for just over $900. The process was 3 phases over 6 days with the actual labor about 4 hours total with appropriate waiting before each coat. Very easy, painting a floor. Currently at year 3, I am very pleased. Despite gas and oil spills and various cleaners, no issues.

TIP: If you don’t add the flecks (I did not) add sand to provide grip.


25 years ago, we bought a new house with 3 car garage. This was the perfect opportunity to do a DIY garage coating, or so I thought. I used the Behr product available at the time after a thorough cleaning and vacuuming. The light gray looked great on the floor and the nearby short walls (had extra paint). Within the first year, tire marks became evident where the car is normally parked and then other areas nearby suffered damage from occasionally parking in other positions. I wish it had worked better but all things considered, the wear is normal for an inexpensive DIY job,


Three things REALLY matter for a garage floor finish - PREPARATION , GENUINE INDUSTRIAL EPOXY, and a MOISTURE BARRIER. When we built our retirement home in 1999, we contracted with HomePro Floors (www.homeprofloors.com) to do our 2600 sq. ft. attached garage floor. We had already put down a 10-mil poly moisture barrier covered with 4’ x 8’ sheets of 5/8"-thick tongue-and-groove high-density closed-cell foam with heavy foil on both sides, then steel mesh on wire stands and a 4" concrete slab.

After the slab curedfor 60 days, HomePro went to work and steel shot-blasted the slab to open up the pores in the “skin” and provide “tooth” for the epoxy to bond to, and applied two coats, 24 hours apart, of 2-part solvent-based industrial epoxy resin, with the second coat tinted light gray and lightly sprinkled with fine silica sand (NOT play sand) for anti-slip when wet. This is their “Classic Floor System” - it’s absolutely indestructible, hot tires won’t mark it or lift it, it’s impervious to all automotive chemicals (including brake fluid), it’s very easy to keep clean, and the light color and reflectivity just about doubles lighting effectiveness.

It’s been 20 years now, and after many builds and body-off restorations, we still have a fully-insulated, dry, and moisture-migration-proof floor that still looks like it was poured yesterday. In 1999, this 2600-sq. ft. turnkey floor job cost $3,400.00. Don’t know offhand what it would cost today.

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I did a customer’s garage floor about 5 or 6 years ago with Race Deck Tiles. Fairly easy installation, no prep except I highly recommend making a scale drawing with every tile marked in especially if doing a pattern or outline. The roadmap will make your life much easier. Here is a picture minutes after we finished but before we could clean it so it looks a little dirty. Still looks great years later.

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Fellow Sufferers:
Here in the Great White North, expense has prevented me from giving my century-old double garage -a narrow one!- the Garage Mahal treatment. I just coat it in grey alkyd concrete floor paint and cover the result with four by eight sheets of asphalt-impregnated fibre-board sheathing, on which I park and in winter store my car.

We are three decades in, now. Last year, two of the fibreboard sheets had deteriorated sufficiently to warrant their replacement. Underneath, the concrete paint is more or less as new. Total cost was significantly under two hundred discounted Canadian dollars, and the fibreboard sheets insulate the floor, thus discouraging condensation in our vile winters.

So, there’s another option for the frugal amongst you…
Ray Whitley


I did both my place in FL and Canada with Rustoleum Epoxyshield about 8 years ago. I highly recommend it. Cost about $200 for a total of 5 garage spaces. Both still look like new with no flaking or hot tire pickup. The secret is to follow the directions to the letter. The hardest part is finding space because everything has to be moved out! The best thing is it is the floor stays so clean. You can walk all around in white socks and they stay white.


I would not recommend the plastic lock-together, raised diamond pattern tiles. I did a ~30x25’ garage with about $1,050 in tiles (don’t remember where I got them from) and some sawing, caulk, and saw work about 4 years ago as an experiment. They looked good for a little while, but tire marks and other stains quickly became impossible to clean. Plus, they often ‘rolled up’ in wave form at entry and and other points, especially with heavy cars, as they’re not adhered down.

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@wosneski - I had always wondered if that “roll up/wave” would be an issue with those. I was always nervous about spilled chemicals sitting underneath the tiles waiting to cause problems at a later date.


I “epoxy-coated” my garage floor myself a couple years ago. I first bought a Rustoleum kit and then searched for how to videos and websites and found countless reports of failures within a short period of time. So I returned the kit to Home Depot and began a ton of research on the various floor coatings. I learned that many of the DIY products on the market, such as Rustoleum, are only 2-3 mil thick whereas the professionally applied products are 9-13 mil thick. I finally settled on the NOHR-S polyurea coating kit.

I removed everything from the garage, used a grinder to grind out all cracks and filled them with a Rustoleum Garage Floor Patch (would not use this product again due to the excessive cure time - next time I’ll purchase a professional catalyzed patch material that cures in 30 minutes). I smoothed all the patched cracks, filled the crack/seam around the perimeter of the garage wall with self leveling seam sealer, then rented a professional concrete grinder and ground the garage floor. I then did an acid wash, especially at the edges because the grinder couldn’t get right up to the edge. Then pressure washed the floor and let dry thoroughly.

I used the NOHR-S primer (tinted tan), color coat (tan), flakes, and clear, and I’m very pleased with the results. Overall, I think I spent about $1,000 on the job.