Your garage is one of the most high-traffic areas in your home or business. It’s where you park your cars, lawn mowers, and equipment, as well as serving as a general household storage area. Since your garage floor sees so much wear and tear, it’s imperative that its floor is durable, hardwearing, impermeable to liquids and chemicals, and even better if it’s attractive to look at.

What you use to protect your garage floor’s concrete slab is arguably the most important element of any garage. When it comes to a garage floor coating, there’s a huge variety of choices, but they fall into two basic categories: garage floor paint, and epoxy garage floors.

We’ll break it all down for you so you can get to know these garage floor coating options, and the various pros and cons that go with them, such as the cost of an epoxy garage floor vs a painted garage floor.

Garage Floor Paint

You garage floor is subject to so much abuse. Since it sees daily vehicle traffic, foot traffic, and all kinds of chemicals and fluid, the concrete surface is going to wear out and start looking pretty bad, not to mention lose its integrity.

Putting a coat or two of paint on your garage floor seems like a relatively easy, inexpensive fix that will almost instantly improve the floor’s appearance. Painting the concrete is also pretty easy if you’re looking for a DIY-type home improvement project. This is definitely appealing if you’re pressed for time or on a budget.

DIY Garage Floor Paint

The actual application of the paint on the garage floor is pretty straightforward. Just like the paint you use on the walls of your house, garage floor paint is rolled (or brushed) onto the concrete floor. It usually takes a couple of coats, and the drying time is generally quick.

Prepping Your Concrete Garage Floor For Paint

Prior to painting your garage floor, you’ll need to take some important steps to get the old concrete surface ready to be painted. While it sounds simple to just slap a coat of paint directly onto the concrete without any prep, that’s a recipe for disaster.

Concrete is a porous material, which means it can absorb all sorts of things. If you just put some paint directly onto the concrete, you’ll find that the paint color will look faded, will scratch easily, flake off, and all kinds of other problems.

First, you’ll want to use a concrete degreaser to remove any oil, gas, old paint, or whatever else is griming up the surface. Use a hose to get the concrete wet, then get a stiff brush and apply the degreaser. Rinse it off thoroughly and let the concrete dry. Then you’ll need to fill in any cracks, gaps, or other blemishes. Use a concrete caulk and make sure you get it smooth after you’ve filled the cracks.

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Depending on what type of paint you decide to use for your garage floor, you might need to take a couple of extra prep steps before painting. If your concrete is really porous (absorbs too much liquid too easily), you’ll want to etch the concrete. This roughs up the concrete surface and gives the primer and paint something more to adhere to.

The other step is to apply a concrete-specific primer. You’ll want to make sure the floor is totally dry before putting on the primer. This helps to better ensure that the primer will coat the floor evenly and smoothly.

Something to keep in mind before painting your garage floor is that there are two commonly used types of garage floor paint. You’ll want to decide which type of paint you’re planning on using, and then make sure you’ve purchased the right tools or equipment to apply it correctly.

Latex Acrylic Paint

Latex acrylic paint is a very easy paint to use for garage floors. We mentioned possibly needing to apply a concrete-specific primer prior to painting your garage floor. Latex acrylic paint doesn’t need a primer in order for it to be applied correctly. It’s only the oil-based garage floor paint that will need a primer.

Latex Garage Floor Paint

The application of latex acrylic paint is so straightforward; it’s basically the same as if you’re painting a wall. You use a big brush or a roller and just put on a couple of coats, let the paint dry, and you’re good to start using the garage again, even park your car in it the same day, or next day at the latest.

Latex acrylic paint is also often appealing to homeowners interested in a DIY home improvement project because of its relatively low cost. However, we’re not sure if this option is economical in the long run because it needs to be reapplied every couple of years. That definitely makes the cost add up.

Epoxy Paint

The other commonly used garage floor paint is an epoxy paint. This term is a little confusing because people hear the word “epoxy” and assume that this type of paint is actually an epoxy floor coating. That’s not the case though!

Epoxy paint is just that: it’s a paint. This means that after you apply it to your garage floor, it will dry. Epoxy coatings don’t dry; they cure. More on that later.

When homeowners are weighing the pros and cons of latex acrylic paint and epoxy paint for their garage floor, epoxy paint will weigh in as the pricier option. However, this price difference usually levels up and then swings in favor of the epoxy paint. This is because epoxy paints are longer lasting and harder wearing than latex acrylic paints. You won’t find yourself having to repaint your garage floor as often, so you’ll likely spend less money in the long run.

Epoxy Garage Floor Paint

Back to what exactly comprises epoxy paint. An epoxy paint is essentially a really heavy duty, tough, harder wearing latex acrylic paint, with epoxy blended into it. The resin-base of epoxy paint gives it a longer lifespan and also keeps it from showing wear and tear and daily abuse as quickly. It can withstand hot tire marks and chemicals better than plain on latex acrylic garage floor paint. But, just like with plain old latex acrylic, epoxy paint also is a paint. This means it needs to dry, and will actually take a bit longer to dry than its latex acrylic cousin.

If you go with an epoxy paint for your garage, a 1-Part epoxy paint is going to be your best bet. This comes as a floor coating kit, saving you the stress of having to make sure you’ve bought the right supplies. It’s a water-soluble, easy to apply, self-priming epoxy paint.

When you have time constraints and are on a budget, it’s a no-brainer why you’d want to go with the 1-Part epoxy. You don’t have to take the extra time and money to get your concrete floor ready and primed. You just roll on epoxy paint and you’re done!

Rustoleum Rock Solid

Rustoleum Rock Solid is another option when it comes to garage floor paint. The compound in Rustoleum Rock Solid is called polycuramine. This material dries harder and tougher than epoxy paint and latex acrylic paint. It’s actually 20 times harder than epoxy paint, so your garage floor will be better protected, and you won’t have to reapply it as often.

Rustoleum Rock Solid is also super easy to apply because of its one-step application process. You don’t need to prime the concrete prior to application. It also has a high-gloss finish, so it makes your garage floor look really good.

Epoxy Garage Floor Coating

If you want unparalleled protection for your concrete garage floor, an epoxy coating system is the way to go. Like we mentioned above, garage floor paint kits are generally pretty easy to apply. You don’t need a professional to come out and do the job, and the cost of a paint kit is much lower than an epoxy garage floor system.

Paint is a temporary fix though. It chips, cracks, fades, produces dust, and isn’t always impermeable to chemicals. It’s always going to show wear and tear pretty quickly, and will need to be reapplied frequently. The price of frequent reapplication adds up fast, and before too long, you’ll have spent a lot money and taken up a lot of your time.

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Epoxy is made up of resin-based solids, and is poured onto the concrete garage floor. Where paint just adds a temporary coating on top of the concrete, epoxy actually builds up the floor, offering incredible protection.

Resin is an incredibly strong material. This means that your epoxy garage floor system can withstand heavy loads, making it perfect for a garage floor. You’ll be able to drive and park vehicles over it without so much as a scuff or scratch. It’s impermeable to liquids and chemicals, so when your car leaks oil, you won’t have to worry about the garage floor degrading. It’s also much more slip resistant than concrete or paint, so it’s a lot safer to walk on.

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In addition to being incredibly strong, epoxy is great to look at. Your garage should be as unique as the rest of your home, and should be an area you’re proud of and enjoy being in. Epoxy coatings come in a huge variety of colors and appearances. You can opt for a solid color, or a clear coating layered with multi-colored flakes.

The successful application of an epoxy floor system is definitely something you’ll want a professional to do. The concrete needs to be prepped appropriately prior to the epoxy application. It needs thorough cleaning, and then etching in order to guarantee the epoxy goes on smoothly and cures correctly. This process is very detailed, precise, and takes time.

Hiring a professional to install your epoxy floor system isn’t cheap. However, like we mentioned, a trained epoxy garage floor installer knows the exact steps, and will make sure your floor looks amazing from the start. They’ll also have all the correct tools and equipment.

Although your initial expense is higher when you choose an epoxy garage floor system, you’ll save a ton in the long run. You won’t be reapplying it constantly, it’ll stand up to constant abuse, and you won’t have to take your own valuable time putting it in or reapplying it.