One of the biggest growth areas in home renovation is upgrading the garage to provide more usable space. A typical residential two car garage is approximately 450 square feet with high ceiling height. In most garages wall space is plentiful and unused. Wall panels can be installed to hang everything from garden tools to gold clubs and skis.
The ceiling area is seldom used with lots of valuable space going to waste. There are many companies with pulley systems and shelving that can easily be raised and lowered. There are many choices for wall cabinets in numerous price ranges from simple shelves to high quality, portable steel shelving. There is just about any kind of storage system available whether you just need a little extra space for storage to creating the ultimate space for a car collection.
The biggest challenge for every garage owner, no matter what price point you are at is the garage floor. Here are the reasons why.
Concrete is Damp – The biggest battle for every floor coating is the common problem with moisture vapor. Moisture vapor is not visible to the naked eye but you can feel it when you walk into a garage or basement. Concrete is porous. Most people equate the hardness of concrete to granite but they are very different. When concrete is poured it is wet. As it dries and cures the moisture travels upwards and evaporates. As the moisture moves upwards, it leaves a porous trail behind. Moisture pressure from below your concrete slab pushes a vapor upwards through these tiny pores. This can cause paints and coatings to delaminate or chip.
Bond Breakers – Bond breakers are anything that can drop off your car, truck or machinery like oil and grease and penetrate the porous surface of your concrete floor. If this is not removed prior to application of garage floor paint or an epoxy shield coating, you are at risk of failure.
Efflorescence – If you’ve ever experienced a perpetual dust on your floor, efflorescence is the culprit. This is typically caused by moisture vapor pushing the calcium in concrete to the surface. In more extreme cases you will notice a white, chalky dust on the floor.
The solutions are to etch the surface first to open up the pores of the surface and create more surface area for your epoxy shield coating to adhere to. The more surface area, the greater the adhesion and process of capping off the moisture pressure.
If you find any areas where there is grease or oil, you will need a degreaser that will pull oils out of the floor. Etching with a liquid etching solution does not serve as a degreaser.
One of the best remedies for prepping the surface first, is to use a mechanical grinder or shot blasting machine to abraid the surface. These machines serve the same function as with a liquid etching solution but with superior results. Many local home improvement and tool rental stores carry this equipment. A small two car garage usually will take a few hours to grind or shotblast with very little cleanup and no water use.
If you choose to prepare the floor with an acid solution, allow a few days afterwards to let the floor completely dry. Avoid applying any epoxy shield coatings or paints to the surface of a wet floor. This will trap moisture, ultimately causing the floor to chip and peel no matter the quality.
Once the floor is fully prepped, the application of an epoxy shield coating or paint is a simple process of rolling on or using a squeegee and roller. Two coats are typical in a garage. The first is a primer and second a high build protective coat.
Once you let it dry it is recommended to let the new coating dry for about 6-7 days despite what the manufacturer says. Even though a new coating is dry to the touch or to walk on, it likely hasn’t had a chance to fully cure for at least 6-7 days. The wait is worth it considering that proper preparation and application of your epoxy shield coating or paint will last for years with a bright easy to clean surface.