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5 Critical Things to Consider Before Getting The Best Epoxy Garage Floor

With so many companies out there that install epoxy garage floors, it can be hard to figure out which is the best installation company for you.
 
If you’re looking to get an epoxy garage floor added to your home, we’ve found the 5 biggest things to consider when trying to make the best choice for your garage floor.
 
These considerations can range from the various qualities to look for in an epoxy garage floor to what goes into choosing the right type of floor to the epoxy installation process that works for your garage.
 
You can either read through all this useful information or, if you choose to, you can click here and go to the #1 item on our list that you should look out for when selecting your epoxy garage floor.
 
Let’s get going!
 
epoxy garage floors
 
Check for Insurance
This seems like it is so homeowner 101 to discuss this, but, it is a serious consideration in this day and age!   You will probably be hugely surprised at what you may be responsible for if someone gets hurt working on your property.  
 
Make sure any contractor at your home has at the very least:
  • General Liability Insurance
  • Workers Compensation Insurance
  • $1 Million minimum
  • Multiple occurrences
 
Things can happen, even with the most trustworthy individual or company.  Even when they are not your fault, those things can cost you a lot.  
 
Read on to learn about one of my personal horror stories that many others have also encountered. This situation is something that I have personally experienced less than a year ago. When a friend was over and getting ready to leave, he decided to use the restroom before going home.  Then, he decided to text his wife that he was on his way home while walking down the steps, missed the last 2 or 3 steps, and fell down the stairs.  While he was yelling in pain that he hurt his leg, I stabilized the situation, and during that time, his wife arrived to come to take him home.  Instead of going home they decided to go to the emergency room, fearing something was worse than some swelling and pain.  They were right. He tore a muscle, needed surgery and missed over 6 weeks of work.  The medical bills totaled more than $100,000.
 
Nearly a year later, I got notified of a claim by his insurance company on my homeowners’ policy for $5000 in payment for his medical bills.  There was NO negligence (stairs, handrails, etc. were to code). I did nothing wrong, nor was that alleged.  To control medical costs, medical insurance, as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), goes after homeowner insurance for anything they can get.  Since it’s such a small amount ($5000), it is not worth litigation, and the insurance pays.  All this because he said he fell down some stairs at a “buddy’s house”. Do want your insurance rates to increase due to someone working on your home?
 
Concrete Preparation
Preparation of the concrete is easily the most important factor of any epoxy garage floor installation.  If the epoxy floor installer that you are considering wants to discuss power washing or acid etching your floor, you should immediately reconsider having them as a potential installer for your home.  
 
Mechanically preparing concrete is the only method you should consider for an epoxy garage floor.  The 2 main mechanical methods for preparation is diamond grinding or shot blasting.  Diamond grinding is the much-preferred method for garage floor applications, especially with the advances of this equipment in the past decade.  Shot blasting may leave lines that may show through in the floor and are better for removing many layers or thick coatings that are not typical in garage installations.  In some instances, shot blasting can drive existing sealers into the floor, without fully removing them, which can cause issues with future epoxy applications.  
 
There are several reasons to use diamond grinding to prepare the concrete:
  • Removes contaminants
  • Removes sealers or existing failed coatings
  • Remove Laitance
  • Opens porosity of the concrete
  • Allows primer absorption
  • Increases Adhesion
 
Diamond grinding with a planetary grinder is the best way to get high-quality removal of unwanted elements on the cement and it gives the lower skilled technicians the ability to properly operate this equipment without damaging the concrete.
 
Primer/Moisture barrier
A primer or moisture barrier can be critical in the long-term adhesion of an epoxy garage floor.  Moisture can easily make its way into the concrete.  This moisture can cause problems when it gets into places that it’s not wanted.  Moisture is the #1 cause of failure in a properly installed epoxy garage floor.  When installed with a high or 100% solids epoxy, the lack of a moisture barrier can cause catastrophic failures of the garage floor.  High solids epoxies don’t have the ability to get into the pores of concrete, and, because of this, they can only attach to the texture on a floor.  When water works its way through the concrete, these weak bonds break making it more likely that the flooring installation will fail.
 
  • Purpose of primer/moisture vapor barrier
  • Penetrates concrete
  • Bonds primer coat to concrete
  • Prevents water migration
  • Prevents moisture-related floor failures
  • Maintains adhesion of epoxy to concrete
 
Primer/vapor barriers combined with the proper concrete preparation are the keys to your epoxy garage floor lasting you for many years, even decades.  A proper floor system with these 2 key components should virtually eliminate any adhesion failures of your epoxy garage floor.
 
Texture of the completed floor
The texture of your new epoxy garage floor can be extremely important to your overall satisfaction after the installation is complete.  The flooring that people usually prefer are full broadcast flooring.  This is a floor that has had vinyl flakes completely broadcast over it, and into the epoxy coat.  This floor is then covered with a clear coat to preserve the color, and not let dirt and stains get into the floor chips.
 
Importance of Floor texture
  • Clean with ease
  • Slip resistance
  • Clean appearance
If there is too much texture to floor it may be hard to clean, as it holds dirt, oil, sand, etc.  If the floor has too little texture it will be slick and slippery.  You don’t want to have a floor that you have to be very careful on when wet, or worse yet slip and fall.
 
Another key item, if the floor is too smooth, is that it will show dust and dirt.  You don’t want to turn your new epoxy garage floor into a weekly maintenance task in order for it to look good.  An ideal texture would have good slip resistance and be easy to clean, but not need continuous cleaning.
 
Warranty is often the most misunderstood item of an installed epoxy garage floor.  All too often these “warranties” are only there as a selling feature.  If you are considering a warranty as part of your purchase, make sure you take a look at what you are actually getting.
 
Important considerations of any warranty
  • What is actually covered
  • How long is the floor covered by the warranty?
  • Is labor included as well?
  • Is it just a “product” warranty?
  • Are there hidden charges
  • How long has this company even installed/been in business
Take the warranty into consideration and think about how it fits into your individual situation at your garage.  A lifetime warranty on an epoxy garage floor, when the company goes out of business a year later is completely worthless.  Keep in mind the character of the company and person that you are working with.  
 
What is actually covered in the written warranty?  Product warranties are really worthless in my opinion. Keep in mind that you’re not buying from the producer.  You’re purchasing from an installer, and the installer did most of the work.  The product manufacturer may say the installer didn’t properly install their product.  Why get a warranty from a middle man?
 
Please take a moment to read, understand, and see how a warranty really works into your situation and for your epoxy garage floor. 
 
Recently, I heard of a company giving a 100-year warranty on a commercial epoxy floor installation.  I guarantee you the concrete company that poured the concrete will not give a warranty of more than 1 year on their concrete.  It’s gotten completely out of control!
 

SUMMARY 

Of the 5 critical things you must consider to get the best epoxy garage floor, you will notice that they fall into 2 general categories which are the buying process of selecting a great installer and the process/outcome of epoxy garage floor installation.  
 
It is important to understand that an epoxy garage floor is a process.  Ideally, you would be looking for someone that fully understands their system’s installation process and why it is important to complete every step of the process properly to avoid an epoxy floor failure.
  
Additionally, there would also be a commitment to that floor system and products. There are changes to the epoxy process and reactions due to temperatures and humidity changes.  This includes the ambient or outside temperatures as well as the temperature of the concrete.  These conditions can change the way the epoxy reacts and hardens.   It’s important to know and understand these changes, and how it will affect the floor installation.
 
You also should do your homework in selecting the right installer/company and floor system for your home’s needs and goals.  
 
Price, while always a consideration, was not mentioned and for good reason.  All epoxy garage floors are not created equal.  There are thousands of formulations of epoxy supplied by at least hundreds of manufacturers.  You will find in most parts of the country that this is a fairly competitively priced business.  A few hundred dollars in one direction or another is likely all the variation you will find.  Quality of products and quality of services is well worth a couple hundred dollars when accompanied by experience and proven results.  Ask for referrals and speak to them before you make your choice because online reviews can be fake, purchased online, or incentivized heavily, and more.
 
If there are larger swings in pricing than that, you need to see the reasoning behind the large difference.  It’s not anywhere near the same type of floor.  You will not find a reliable business behind these types of installations and you should probably assume that you will not have any warranty with these companies.  If there is a problem with the floor, you are likely on your own, and repairs will not be coming.  You will be getting inferior products, installation, service, property damage, or worse.
 
While we all have budgets, it is important to get a high-quality epoxy garage floor.  Lesser products and processes will likely cause you frustration and higher cost later to have them removed, and to hire a proper epoxy garage floor installation company that will install flooring for you to enjoy for many years or decades in your garage.
 
About the Author
 
John Hutchins
President of Amazing Garage Floors began working on epoxy garage floors in 2007 and has continually installed and improved the Amazing Garage Floors® system since then.  Our epoxy garage floor system has remained constant and without change to the floor system since 2009.  Continual improvements in epoxy garage floor equipment, products, training, supplies, marketing, and more are ongoing.  Amazing Garage Floors has trained nearly 50 garage floor installers to start their own businesses, in 17 different states.
 
Our constant attention to detail, and continued growth in the industry that continues to be more competitive shows our leadership.  The referrals of both residential clients as well as installers and distribution growth are a testament to our hard work and dedication.  We thank our many satisfied clients and look forward to continued growth for many years to come.