DEAR DESIGNER: Our garage floor always looks dirty because of the stains. I tried to paint it, but the paint is chipping. What can I do in order to make my old garage floor look better? - Travis
DEAR TRAVIS: Garage floor epoxy is one of the most popular ways to refinish your concrete garage floor. There are a ton of do-it-yourself kits on the market today, but be sure to follow the directions as painting any surface has the potential to crack, peel or chip when the surface is not prepared correctly.
This is one instance where using a professional will not only make your life easier, but may extend the life of your garage floor investment. Companies that specialize in garage floor epoxy generally use high-quality products that you might not find at the do-it-yourself counters. Look for a company that is licensed, insured and bonded and provides a customer satisfaction guarantee. It only takes two to three days for a professional company to resurface your garage floor with an epoxy surface. By using the professional, the job is sure to get completed in a timely manner with little to no cleanup on your part.
If you decide to go it on your own, this is the short version of what you are up against: Your garage floor will need to be cleaned and then sanded to remove oils and grit. Next, it must be vacuumed to remove the concrete dust, then washed down to complete the dust removal as well as ensure the concrete pores are open and ready to receive the first layer, which is also your chosen color. The paint is usually rolled or sprayed onto your floor.
Decorative flakes of color are then scattered about. You can choose to have fine flakes or larger flakes, fewer flakes or more flakes. The flakes are merely for looks. The distraction of the flakes helps to hide some of the minor flaws a garage floor inevitably gains. When the flooring dries, a polymer-type top coat is applied to protect the finish. Epoxy garage floors resist stains and mop clean with mild soap and water.
If you want to get fancy with it, you can add a custom emblem of your family crest, favorite vehicle or alma mater before the top coat.
If you are ready to spend some serious money and want a racer's garage floor, you might look into products such as RaceDeck modular garage flooring. This is an interlocking system of co-polymer squares that are said to handle the heaviest of loads. It's a system that comes out of Salt Lake City, Utah, and you install it yourself. You can design the layout on its website before you order it.
And finally, there is a polyvinyl garage floor mat, that comes in roll form. You can install them or have them installed. However, because they are made of a soft polyvinyl, they are known to leave impressions when sharp objects are dropped and stepped on. My other concern with using this type of floor covering would be the seaming. I wonder if the seams would gather dirt and grime and start separating over time. Although I don't have personal experience with this type of garage surface, Automobile magazine gives it a good review for the person who wants an inexpensive way to "spiff up your man cave without breaking a sweat."
Cindy Payne is a certified interior designer with more than 25 years of experience, a member of the American Society of Interior Designers, as well as a licensed contractor. Email questions to her at deardesigner@ projectdesigninteriors.com or send them to her at Project Design Interiors, 2620 S. Maryland Parkway, Suite 189, Las Vegas, NV 89109. She can be reached online at www.projectdesigninteriors.com.