If your garage floor is stained with oil, grease, and rust, you can easily give it new life with a coat of concrete floor paint. Concrete floor paints are available in both oil-based (alkyd) and water-based (latex) forms, both formulated to resist stains and dry to a satin, non-slip finish. You can choose from a wide variety of colors and finishes. Latex concrete floor paints are relatively inexpensive, easy to apply, and a popular choice for homeowners.
Choosing the Proper Paint
As with indoor latex paints, concrete floor paint is applied with ordinary paintbrushes and rollers; products sold as one-part epoxy require the same treatment. However, two-part epoxy coatings require more extensive applications. Paints that are made specifically for use on concrete floors should provide adequate slip resistance without additional additives.
How much time you want to spend on cleaning up matters as well. Latex paints are popular because they clean up with soap and water; oil-based paints and two-part epoxies require solvents for cleanup.
Whatever type of paint you choose, read the instructions carefully. Pay particular attention to surface preparation and temperature suggestions. Most garage floor paint jobs that fail do so because the surface was incorrectly prepared or the surface temperature was too low to allow for a good bond. High humidity can also negatively affect the durability of the paint job.
Paint Color Matters
Though garage floor paint is available in a variety of colors, you might want to choose a light color if you use the garage as a workshop. A light gray, for example, will reflect more light than a darker color.
Before You Begin
When preparing to paint a garage floor, it is very important to clean the concrete thoroughly and repair any damage. Oil and grease stains will interfere with the paint's ability to bond with the concrete, and those stains will bleed through the finish.
When you're ready to begin, clean the garage floor. Use a broom and wet-dry vacuum to thoroughly clean debris from the floor. Remove grease with a degreaser and stiff brush. Rinse the degreaser and allow the floor to dry. Heavy stains may require a pressure washer to remove.
Equipment / Tools
- Trowel (if needed)
- Wet-dry vacuum
- Stiff brush
- Pressure-washer (if needed)
- Paint roller and roller covers
- Grinder or sander (if needed)
- Chemical-resistant clothing, gloves, and goggles (if needed)
- Concrete patching compound (if needed)
- Concrete waterproofer (if needed)
- Etching solution or muriatic acid (if needed)
- Latex concrete floor paint
Roughen Up the Garage Floor
Garage floor paint adheres best if the surface of the concrete has a slightly roughened texture—like that of fine sandpaper. Garage floors that have been troweled to a smooth surface will need to be roughened to create a suitable texture for painting.
This can be done with an etching product or muriatic acid. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions very carefully. You may need to etch or wash the surface twice to achieve the proper texture.
Rinse the concrete thoroughly to remove any traces of chemicals and dry completely before moving on to painting.
If you are concerned about using chemicals or you are painting over old paint, you can etch a smooth concrete surface by using a power grinder or sander. Simply run the grinder or sander over the floor until you have a rougher surface for the paint to adhere.
Make sure to vacuum and damp-mop the sanded surface thoroughly to remove dust before painting it.
Follow the safety precautions recommended on the package when using muriatic acid. Most notably, wear chemical-resistant clothing, safety goggles, and gloves. Make sure the space is well-ventilated. Never have food or drink nearby when using chemicals.
If you do come into contact with the acid, run cool water over the affected area for at least ten minutes.
Apply the First Coat of Concrete Paint
Manufacturers of concrete floor paint often suggest thinning the first coat with a little water before application. This will improve the absorption of the paint into the concrete. It is also best to use a paintbrush for the first coat, as brushing works better than a roller for working the paint into the surface. Thoroughly brush on a complete but thin coat of paint, then allow it to dry thoroughly.
Apply the Second Coat of Paint
The second coat of paint can be applied full strength and in a thicker coat, using either a brush or a roller. In some instances, a third coat might be necessary, especially if the concrete is heavily textured. Clean tools with soap and water.
Pay Attention to Drying Time
Latex garage floor paint dries to the touch in a matter of hours, but it is best to let it dry at least a full day before walking on the surface and a full week before driving your car on it.