Aloha, and welcome to another PurEpoxy-Hawaii project. Recently, we epoxied a 3 car garage with storage closet. In this lesson, we’ll teach you all the steps, and what you’ll need to complete a project like this one.
As with every epoxy project, there are 3 parts:
- Part 1: Preparation
- Part 2: Application
- Part 3: Finishing
Part 1: Preparation
For the Preparation stage, you’ll need the following:
- Floor Grinder
- Hand Grinder
- Diamond Grinding Wheels
- Orbital Sanders
- 100 Grit Sandpaper
- Concrete Vacuum
- Shop Vac with HEPA filter
- Mop and Bucket
- Crack Filler
- Masking Tape
In the preparation stage, you’ll need to be aware of where dust may come from during the application stage. In our project, there were no garage doors so we had to build a dust barrier. We used sheets of plastic and extension poles to keep the dust out.
You also need to plan your exit for the application stage. We had a plastic wall barrier we couldn’t easily exit, and we had 2 other doors in the garage. One of the doors lead to the back yard where there was a lot of construction debris and dust, so we locked that door. The other door lead into the house, so we chose that as our exit. This is important because, in the end, you don’t want to end up panting yourself into a corner.
Diamond Wheel Grinding
The first thing we did was diamond wheel grind the floor. We used a floor and hand grinder to accomplish this. How deep do you have to grind the concrete? The objective is to remove the “Cream” layer of concrete.
The floor grinder with diamond blades did about 95% of the main floor. You really can’t get the machine too close to the walls, or in corners. For these hard to reach places we used a hand grinder attached to concrete vacuum. With the hand grinder, we can grind the leading edge of where the epoxy will stop.
Grinding creates a lot of concrete dust which needs to be vacummed up. Vacuuming not only removes the concrete dust, but it also reveals where we missed any spots. We use a special concrete vacuum, a shop vac with HEPA filter and a regular wet/dry shop vac through out the project.
We used a dust blower to blow any concrete dust that was just outside the garage doorway. All of that dust has the potential to blow back into the garage while we are in the application stage. So, the dust blower is a good option to get rid of that dust.
Most concrete floors have one or more minor cracks. This is normal. The cracks have to be widened with a grinding wheel, so that the crack filler can adhere to the concrete, expand and seal the crack.
The reason why we fill the cracks is because epoxy is so liquidy, that it will go into the crack and keep going. This reduces the amount of epoxy on the surface. So, the crack filler stops the epoxy from “gravity feeding” into the crack.
Grinding The Cracks
After filling the cracks, the filler expands filling the crack, but it also makes a high spot in the floor. Now we have to go back and grind these high spots down.
After grinding the crack filler, we have to vacuum again. It is super important that all concrete dust is removed.
Mopping Up Remaining Dust
The final preparation step is to mop up any remaining dust. We use a mop, bucket and plain water to mop up the dust. As you mop the concrete now, you’ll notice how fast water absorbs into the concrete. This is because the top layer protects the concrete. Now we are going to protect the concrete with epoxy.
Cleaning The Leading Edge
We pay close attention to the leading edge of where the epoxy is going to stop, at the edge of the garage doorway. The area is cleaned by hand because we don’t want to accidentally grind over the line. As we chip off the top layer with a putty knife, we use a vacuum to grab all the particles and dust left in the leading edge of the cement.
If the leading edge isn’t cleared of the top layer of concrete, then the epoxy can chip up and fail. This happens a lot with cheap brand epoxies.
Taping The Perimeter
We laid down masking tape all around the perimeter. Basically, we put tape everywhere we don’t want the epoxy to get onto. We put it along the leading edge, and all long the bottom of the garage walls. This ensures epoxy won’t get on the garage walls.
Quickcrete Crack Filling
We used Quickcrete to fill in any remaining holes, cracks and chips in the concrete. If this isn’t done, you’ll see those blemishes through the epoxy.
Since our project didn’t have garage doors just yet, we put up a plastic wall. When it was time for the application stage, we used sheets of plastic, and extension poles to keep it in place. It worked out pretty good for keeping out dust.
If you have a garage door, now is the time to close it to keep all dust outside.
Taping The Perimeter For “Verticals”
“Verticals” are any surfaces that go up and down, like a step or the concrete footing that goes around the perimeter of the garage. These areas need masking tape to protect the walls from getting epoxy on them.
Part 2: Application
Now that everything is prepared, it’s time to mix epoxy. We started in the garage closet. Since the closet doesn’t require one whole kit, we mixed small batches in the 5 qt. mixing bucket. We used 2 parts A to 1 part B, of PE-100 Solid Grey. Then we placed the mixing bucket on a stable surface, the floor. After that, we started mixing the first batch.
You have to mix the PE-100 Solid Grey part A and B for at least 1 minute and 30 seconds. Using a mixing paddle and a drill we mixed the epoxy thoroughly. While mixing, be sure to scrape the sides and bottom. You can’t mix it enough.
Pouring Epoxy and Cutting In
When laying out epoxy, we just take the bucket and pour it along the wall, directly onto the floor. We don’t use a painting tray. Just pour it right on the floor. Then we use a chip brush to coat the floor, starting closest to the walls. The masking tape we laid earlier really helps with keeping the epoxy off the walls.
Hitting The “Verticals”
What we mean by “Hitting the Verticals” is, coating the epoxy on the vertical surfaces. In our project the step into the closet is a “vertical”, which must be coated with epoxy. The foundation footing all along the perimeter of the garage are “verticals”, and need to be coated as well.
Epoxy is very liquidy, and wants to flow down hill. We call this “Gravity Feeding”. On our step ‘vertical’ we roll out the epoxy to the edge and try to let it roll over the edge a bit. This ensures a solid flow of epoxy on the vertical. The expoy is then rolled over the edge with a chip brush or weenie roller.
Pay close attention to the verticals , as you may need to go back and touch them up during the process.
Rolling Out The Epoxy
We use a 18 inch roller to cover the main floor. The 9 inch roller has a bit more control to it so we use it for the perimeter. Any where the rollers can’t handle, we use a chip brush. We use a chip brush to carefully coat the epoxy near the leading edge. This ensures we don’t accidentally roll epoxy where we don’t want it.
Also, while you are coating the floor in epoxy, debris may fall into the epoxy. The time to get it out is now, while it’s still wet. Although, this is just the first coat. We are going to come back and sand the first layer, to give it a scratch coat and to hit any high spots.
Again, we mix enough buckets of epoxy to cover the floor, and just pour it out onto the floor in a line across the floor. Give yourself enough room to move around and roll out the epoxy. Now is a good time to put on those spike shoes. Spike shoes alllow you to walk around directly on the wet epoxy without creating a mess, and footprints in the epoxy.
Start rolling out the epoxy opposite the door you are going to exit from. You want to work your way towards the exit, being carfeul not to paint yourself into a corner if you don’t have spike shoes on.
The First Layer Of Epoxy Is Dry
When the first layer of epoxy is dry, it looks like glass. A few blemishes popped up in our project. This is where either we didn’t get enough epoxy in the area (too thin) or the floor needed more grinding. We also had a crack filler blemish. Either way these blemishes are sanded down, refilled and resanded with 220 grit sand paper. This is how the blemishes get fixed.
Sanding The First Epoxy Layer
Each layer of epoxy needs to be sanded in order to give it a “scratch coating”. This ensures the next layer has something to grab onto, and creates a solid bond. The entire floor must be sanded using 220 grit sand paper.
Cleaning Up Dust
After sanding the entire floor, sweep and vacuum up the dust. Then it’s time to do a wet mopping of the floor to get up the remaining dust.
Mixing Epoxy for Layer #2
We start by pouring Part A of PE-100 Solid Grey into a 5 gallon mixing bucket. Then we add the second Part A. With 2 Part A in the bucket, we use a drill and mixing paddle to premix before adding 1 Part B. So, just to be clear, it’s a 2:1 ratio, or 2 Parts A to 1 Part B.
We premix each part separately for about 1 minute 30 seconds. Then we add Part B into Part A, which is already in the mixing bucket. We mix both Part A and B together for more than 1 minute and 30 seconds. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom with the mixing paddle. Also, be careful not to bust through the bucket with the mixing paddle by scrapping too hard.
Pouring Out Epoxy Layer #2
Pouring and rolling out layer #2 is very similar to layer #1. We started farthest away from the exit door, which is the garage closet in this case. Pouring the epoxy right on the floor we get to work rolling it out. Using a chip brush to cut in near the tape line and wall. We also used a weenie roller to hit the verticals on this second layer. Then using a 9 inch roller for the perimeters. And finally we use the 18 inch roller for the main floor and for evening everything out. Spike shoes are also worn. All of the epoxy is rolled out and over lapped, working towards the exit door.
#2 Layer Of Epoxy Is Dry
The second layer of epoxy dried looked like a mirror, just like the first layer.
Sanding The Second Layer
Sweeping, Vacuuming, and Mopping
Same as before, we’ve go to sweep up the dust. Then vacumm the dust up. And finally give the floors a good mopping to get up any remaining dust.
Mopping With Denatured Alcohol
After mopping and letting the floor dry, we use dust mops and rags with denatured alcohol to mop up any last bits of dust.
This brings us to the final stage.
Part 3: Finishing
Finishing With A Urethane Top Coat
We use a urethane top coat to finish the floor. For this project we used 1 kit. The kit comes with 2 Part A and 1 Part B. In a mixing bucket we pour in 1 part A and ½ Part B, since it’s a
2:1 ratio. When we run out, we mix the other half and keep going.
Rolling Out Urethane Layer “Finish Coat”
Now it’s time to roll out the urethane top coat, or Finish Coat. Instead of dumping the urethane mix on the floor, we use a 18 inch painting tray.
It’s the same as before, start working oppoiste the door you want to exit from. Then just work your way to the exit. Pay close attention to the leading edge of the garge, where the epoxy stops. Careful not to go over the masking tape.
For our 3 car garage with closet project, we used:
- 6x PE-100 Solid Grey
- 1x Urethane Clear Top Coat
- Crack Filler
- Spike Shoes
- 9 inch & 18 inch rollers
- Chip Brushes
- 18 inch Roller Frame
You can find all of these products in our store: https://purepoxycalifornia.com/shop/
We also used:
- Floor Sander with Diamond Blades
- Handsander with Diamond Wheel
- Orbital Sanders with 100 & 220 Grit Sandpaper
- Masking Tape
- Denatured Alcohol
- Brooms, Mops, and Vacuums