Epoxies: Provides excellent resistance to chemicals and can be used in conjunction with paint chips or metallic sand to provide a decorative and durable finish. For added protection use a urethane topcoat for a higher build floor. Make sure to have a rough surface porosity before applying an epoxy to help with hot tire pickup resistance.
Urethanes: Provides excellent chemical resistance for protection from oils and fluids. Look for an aliphatic urethane that will withstand more chemicals and last for a longer period of time. Make sure to have a rough surface porosity before applying a urethane to help with hot tire pickup resistance.
Polyaspartics: Fast drying urethanes that are all the rage because they will be dry within a few hours compared to the dry time of a traditional urethane which can take up to a week to cure. The only down side is the extremely short pot life that needs to be applied in less than a half hour. This can be problematic on large square footage garages. Make sure to have a rough surface porosity before applying a polyaspartic to help with hot tire pickup resistance.
Penetrating Sealers: The best options for garage floors if you are looking for a natural finish that will not cost a lot of money but will give an extreme amount of protection. Penetrating, water repellent sealers can create an olephobic barrier resistant to oils, fluids and water. We like the Lithi-Tek LS 9500 available at HomeDepot.com. You will never have to worry about this industrial grade sealer peeling, flaking, bubbling or delaminating.
Garages are extremely versatile spaces use for storing cars and working on automobiles. They are susceptible to large amounts of fluids, oils, soils, chemicals and abrasions. In order to protect your garage from all of these disastrous situations an industrial strength coatings should be applied to your garage floor.
Garage floor systems commonly consist of epoxy base coats and urethane top coats. The combination of the two coatings make the finished surface practically indestructible. In order for a garage floor coating to offer indefinite protection you need to make sure you properly prepare the surface. By using a floor grinder to scarify and etch the surface of the concrete you are exfoliating the slab and opening up all of the pores. By creating this rough surface porosity you are giving the coatings a surface to properly adhere to.
After the surface has been prepared you are then ready to apply the first part, the epoxy. Look for a cycloaliphatic epoxy that offers excellent chemical resistance properties. The downside to epoxies is their extremely long cure time of up to a week in some cases. After the epoxy is applied and fully cure you can apply a urethane top coat. Look for an aliphatic urethane that will provide excellent resistance to acids, oil, gasoline and other automobile fluids; also look make sure it is hot tire pickup resistant.
Garage floors are one of the most high traffic areas of most homes. Not only do they feature the constant foot traffic of those entering and leaving the house, they also need to withstand the weight and abrasion of tires, as well as the chemical spills from oil and other acidic materials. This is not to mention the harm of the freeze/thaw cycle if water gets into the concrete, in addition to the oversaturation of sodium if you track road salts into your garage. In short, they require a significant level of strength and protection, or else they will likely crack and degrade, leading to costly repairs.
There are two main solutions to this problem, and they both involve treating the concrete with a high quality concrete sealer. The first is to use an epoxy sealer. Epoxies are surface level sealers whose large particles of chemical sealant cannot penetrate past the tiny surface pores natural to all concrete. The epoxy will pool of the surface of the concrete to be spread out evenly during the application process. As a result of this process, the epoxy will bond to the surface of the concrete substrate, leading to comprehensive protection from heat, water, chemical spills, abrasions, and so on. Epoxies are an excellent choice, especially if you want to add some visual appeal in the form of paint chips or decorative quartz to your concrete.
Epoxies, however, will change the surface texture of your concrete from that of natural concrete to a smoother surface, similar to what you would find in an airport or large retail store. If you happen to prefer a natural concrete garage floor, you should choose the second main solution, concrete densifiers. Concrete densifiers are also necessary if you want to polish your garage floor – be sure to apply one before the polishing or grinding process begins, as that would be too late, leading to widespread crumbling.
Concrete densifiers work by penetrating past the surface of the concrete to chemically react with the naturally occurring minerals and compounds to create more calcium silicate hydrate, or CSH, which is the compound that gives concrete its noted strength. Concrete densifiers come in two main varieties: sodium-based and lithium-based. For garage floors, we always recommend lithium-based concrete densifiers, as they are better when your car tracks in salt from the roads. Sodium-based concrete densifiers will lead to an oversaturation of sodium in your concrete, while the lithium concrete densifiers will help retain the balance of salts and chemicals necessary to preserve strength and longevity.