Epoxy is one of three thermosetting plastics! The other two are polyurethane and polyester—all of the above fall under an even broader category of resins known as synthetic resins. Epoxies have various applications centered around their protective and decorative properties as surface coatings, such as garage floors, concrete floors, metal containers, and steel pipes. On flooring, epoxy is undoubtedly the most common and the most used floor finish; that goes without saying! But a bone of contention arises when your garage/concrete floor has an epoxy finish already: can you paint over garage floor epoxy?
Yes! Is as terse as I can get with my response. You can paint over garage floor epoxy! But there are important protocols (collectively termed as floor prepping) that you need to follow before then.
The said protocols include:
- Grinding the floor.
- Filling divots and cracks.
- Thorough cleaning.
- Epoxy mixing and application.
- Post-application operations.
Go ahead and read this entire script for more detailed information.
I’ve also responded to a few frequently asked questions regarding epoxy painting: is it better to paint or epoxy garage floor? Can you pour epoxy over uncured epoxy? Why should you epoxy your garage floor? And many other questions pertinent to the epoxy painting of floors.
So stay tuned for the healthy and informative discussion ahead.
Can You Paint Epoxy On Top of Epoxy?
Inevitably, a previously epoxy-coated garage floor will start aging and fading; as a result, it will flake and even lose its luster. So what happens from here? Can you paint epoxy on top of epoxy?
It’s quite possible to paint epoxy on top of epoxy: as a matter of fact, I highly recommend this, especially when your epoxy-coated floor has aged. Aging is natural to anything and everything! Whether it’s a new car, new machine, new clothes, and even to us humans! An epoxy coating is no different; the age factor will eventually come to pass. What immediately follows is the thought and prospects of having a new epoxy coat to replace the old, worn-out paint.
Another scenario where you can paint epoxy on top of epoxy is after applying the first coat of epoxy paint! This is a fairly intuitive point that requires little or no explanation; I thought it worthy of a mention to cover every possible situation.
Herein is a detailed account of going about this second scenario (in the last subtopic), so just read on; we’ll get there. Remember, this article is a step-by-step process to upskill you on how to handle epoxy paints on garage floors, so I urge you to stay put and follow with utmost focus.
Back to the aging/worn-out epoxy garage floor matter, I’ll now show you how to paint over epoxy concrete floors.
How Do You Paint Over Epoxy Concrete Floors?
Painting over an epoxy concrete floor is done due to aging of the existing epoxy coat, damaged floor, or when the existing epoxy coat is not serving you right.
The only way you can ever be successful in painting over an epoxy floor is to start over the entire process of painting. By this, I mean you should run your floor through the entire prepping protocols to achieve the best outcome.
It applies across the entire spectrum of concrete floors, from garage floors, inhouse/indoor floors, verandas & patios to swimming pool floors. Of course, the methodology varies based on the type of floor you’re dealing with and the type of paint you’re using, but the process’s general outlook and structural flow are the same.
In this segment, I’ll take you through the process of painting over epoxy concrete floors and explain every step along the way. My points will hinge around concrete garage floors as it’s in line with the title in question.
As I’d highlighted earlier, the general process is the same for all concrete floors; but the detailed process varies among different floor types. For garage floors, we use either an epoxy coating or epoxy paint, and the process is as follows:
Grind the garage floor: start with the edges before coming to the inner/central parts. Grinding removes the old coating and gives the floor a good texture for the paint to adhere to.
I want to give you a brief description of something called concrete surface profile (CSP)! This is a graded measure of the roughness of a floor. The rougher the floor surface, the higher the CSP number; epoxy coatings and paints adhere optimally to CSP 2 floors.
To achieve a CSP 2 texture, I advise you to use a diamond floor grinder. For residential and other smaller floor areas, use smaller diamond grinders available at local home depots for renting; for commercial and other larger floor areas, rent larger commercial grinders for time convenience.
Now, I understand grinders are a little too costly and that not everyone can afford one; worry no more, I’ve got another option for you if you happen to fall in this category. Instead of grinding, you can opt for sanding followed by acid-etching.
Muriatic acid is the most widely used acid for etching, but there is an even better option: Hydro-etch 1000; it’s a special acid comprising phosphoric acid blended with muriatic acid. Hydro-etch 1000 is better because it emits fewer fumes, making it less toxic.
Though, I have to stress that the difference between Hydro-etch 1000 and muriatic acid isn’t that big, so you can use any of the two, whichever you fancy.
Use a hand grinder to remove any coating and tough stains left after the initial grinding; hand grinding is more direct and precise at removing unwanted patches but is time-consuming.
Clean the floor: Grinding leads to the accumulation of dust and debris on the floor; you must remove this dust before proceeding to the next step.
Technological advancement has led to the development of grinders that can be hooked to vacuum cleaners to enable you to grind and vacuum simultaneously.
Start by vacuuming the floor, then mop; when mopping, it’s advisable to use surface cleaning agents to remove the more persistent stains.
Surface/floor cleansing agents are largely detergent-based formulations, which are widely available. I advise you to remove any accumulated water from the floor surface using a foam squeegee; it is better than a rubber squeegee at that! Then let your floor dry overnight.
Patching up divots and cracks: inspect the floor for any divots, cracks, and holes and fill them up using an epoxy grout (comprises epoxy resins mixed with filler powders). The grout comes in two parts labeled A and B; part B is the colorant/hardener.
Mix the two epoxy parts to the point of homogeneity before applying. Fill up the floor joints as well with the epoxy grout. Time to give the floor another break; let the epoxy grout dry and cure for at least 10 hours. You can leave it for 24 hours if you wish; you may need to get some rest anyway.
Hand-grind or sand the patched floor: This second round of sanding is only meant for the patched parts, and it ensures that your entire floor has the necessary texture for the incoming epoxy coating to adhere. Vacuum away any accumulated dust.
First epoxy coat: It’s time to apply the first coat of epoxy, but before doing so, tape off all the boundaries beyond which the epoxy should not flow! It prevents the epoxy coating from spilling or flowing into unintended floor surfaces.
The boundaries I’m referring to are mostly doorways leading to other rooms or outside spaces; put tape at the base of these doors to prevent epoxy outflow. Another thing you should do before pouring the first coat is to put on spiked shoes; the shoes come packed with the epoxy kit, and their purpose is to prevent you from leaving foot or shoe impressions on the floor when laying down the epoxy.
Your floor is now receptive to the first epoxy layer! This layer is also known as the epoxy primer/primer coat; its principal purpose is to seal the floor surface and lay a perfect foundation upon which the second coat will adhere. Apply the primer using a roller to enable even distribution across the surface. At this point, the usual drill, let the floor dry overnight.
Second epoxy coat: Wear the spiked shoes again. The second coat is also called the base coat! Before applying it, do a quick check on the floor to identify and cover up any cracks that didn’t cover up well; there are always a few of those on almost every floor surface. Patch up these cracks using epoxy grout.
The base coat for true epoxy is usually 100% solids epoxy, and it comes in two containers. The first container is labeled part A (epoxy resin), while the second container is labeled part B (epoxy hardener).
You must mix these two thoroughly until you get a uniform color before applying; mix for 3 minutes using the mixing stick provided. One good thing I love about this is that an epoxy kit usually comes with well-written instructions to see you through every step of the entire project; at no point shall you be stranded or have any qualms about what you’re doing, provided you follow instructions to the letter.
A critical point you should be mindful of is that an epoxy mixture (part A + part B) has a pot life of 30 minutes post mixing. Pot life means the maximum amount of time within which the epoxy base coat is viable for application; after 30 mins, the epoxy resin and hardener mixture is rendered ineffective.
Therefore, it will not properly work if applied. The important point to take home from the above is that you should only mix to form an amount that will last you through 30 minutes or less; if you mix too much, the 30 minutes working time will elapse, and you’ll have to pour out any remaining epoxy; total wastage!
When applying the base coat, dump out the entire mixture on the edges of the floor/close to the walls and spread it out across the surface using a squeegee. Then take a roller and roll over the floor in different directions; rolling over in different directions ensures the epoxy has even thickness across the entire floor.
When applying the second layer, the surface will not appear smooth at first, but after a few minutes, it will smooth itself out; epoxy is usually self-leveling. Self-leveling helps to maintain a uniform/leveled layer throughout the floor.
During the self-leveling process, little bubbles commonly called ‘fish eyes’ may form; be on the lookout for these bubbles and, if you spot any, rollover again to eliminate them.
The second layer forms the bulk of an epoxy coating, and it’s important to get it right! Its chief purpose is to cure the floor, give firmness, and is the main barrier against external damage to the floor.
The sprinkling of quartz or flakes: sprinkle flakes or quartz on the surface with the floor still wet. Broadcasting the flakes or quartz when the floor is wet ensures they stick adequately to the surface as it dries.
I recommend flakes for the smaller/residential garage floors as it’s cost-effective; there’s not much foot and vehicular traffic on home garages. For the larger commercial garage floors, I recommend using quartz as it is stronger and better suited for heavy traffic and vehicles.
When sprinkling flakes on garage floors, I advise you to perform a full-broadcast flake instead of a random broadcast flake!
A full broadcast flake is when you saturate the epoxy floor with flakes, i.e., you sprinkle flakes robustly on the floor; a random broadcast flake is when you sprinkle flakes lightly or moderately on the epoxy floor.
Full broadcast flake will make your floor more slip-resistant and stronger than a random broadcast flake, even though a random broadcast flake will still suffice; you don’t have to stretch yourself too thin.
Topcoat: The topcoat is also called the clear coat: it is the uppermost and last coat that is applied to form a complete epoxy coating. The clear coat is relatively easy to handle and apply compared to the other layers; there’s no prior mixing involved, it is less dense, and you only need a good, clean roller to lay it down on the flakes or quartz, whichever you used.
The clear coat protects the underlying flakes and epoxy layers from initial chipping for added durability. The second function of the topcoat is quite evident; it has a glistening effect on the garage floor, i.e., it looks shiny and feels smooth.
The glistening effect is a sight to behold and has stain and water-resistant properties.
Drying and curing time: After laying down the topcoat, two things happen to the epoxy coated garage floor, i.e., drying and curing.
If you’ve used 100% solids epoxy, your floor will need at least 16 hours to accept foot traffic, and least 24 hours to move backlight to moderate weighing garage equipment, and at least 72 hours to handle heavy garage equipment and vehicles.
The second phenomenon is curing; it takes place much more slowly, and it involves chemical interaction between the epoxy and the concrete floor. Complete curing for epoxies takes a total of 7 days!
Is It Better to Paint or Epoxy Garage Floor?
A typical garage floor is concrete! Due to the high frequency and number of vehicles going in and out of the garage and the accompanying repair tools and equipment, it is prone to heavy traffic and heavy loads.
Therefore, the floor needs to be strong, durable, and corrosion-resistant. So, what else can you do to make it stronger? Is it better to paint or epoxy garage floor?
It is better to epoxy your garage floor than to paint it!
You can use any of three different epoxy paints regarding garage floors: Regular paint, epoxy paint, and epoxy floor coating.
Regular paint comprises a latex acrylic substance only; epoxy paint comprises a latex acrylic substance where small amounts of epoxy are added to form a mixture; epoxy coating comprises an epoxy resin and polyamine hardener.
Of the above named three types of paints, epoxy coating ranks best for garage floor finishing, epoxy paint, and regular/normal paint. Still, in terms of cost, the reverse is true, i.e., normal paint has the lowest cost, followed by epoxy paint, then epoxy coating costs higher than the other two.
Please make no mistake; the epoxy coating is always worth its price tag for efficiency as a garage flooring product; it has better durability, makes the floor stronger, can bear heavier loads.
The only shortcoming of epoxy coating is the tedious process of its application; from grinding/sanding the floor, to thorough cleaning, to correct mixing of the two epoxy parts, to applying the first coat, followed by the second coat; not to mention the breaks you need to take to give the epoxy coating enough time to cure and dry.
What Kind of Paint Will Stick to Epoxy?
One of the hallmarks of an epoxy coating is a smooth and glossy surface! Meaning the floor becomes non-sticky, and nothing can adhere easily to it; keeping this in mind, if you want to paint over epoxy, what kind of paint will stick to epoxy? Well, here’s the answer to that:
First, you have to overcome the smooth surface issue, so your new paint or coating can stick to the epoxy. The truth of the matter is, no paint can stick adequately to epoxy; the only tried and tested way to get around this is to prep the floor accordingly by grinding away the epoxy, acid-etching, and following the subsequent steps as I’ve already discussed above.
Can You Pour Epoxy Over Uncured Epoxy?
Epoxy needs at least a week to cure! We already know that, but what if you need to apply another layer of epoxy before the seven-day period elapses? Can you pour epoxy over uncured epoxy?
It’s possible; you can! And again, I’ll tell you the circumstances under which the above quest is tenable.
You can only pour epoxy over uncured epoxy before applying flakes/quartz to the second coat; this means the epoxy you’re p9uring should only be a base coat or a primer followed by a base coat.
For an uncured epoxy coating with flakes/quartz, you cannot pour a new layer of epoxy; you have to wait for the paint to dry, then grind, or acid etch & vacuum clean a little before you pour new epoxy on it.
How Long Does Epoxy Garage Floor Last?
There’s no clear-cut response to this question; the lifespan of an epoxy garage floor varies based on several factors. An epoxy garage floor lasts for 7 to 10 years if and only when the preliminary practices leading up to its application are right.
And it doesn’t stop at that; the maintenance practices carried out on the floor after that also determine its longevity.
The following is a breakdown of how different factors will impact the lifespan of your epoxy garage floor:
- Type of coating applied: Three common types are pertinent to this discussion; regular paint, epoxy paint, and epoxy coating (100% solids epoxy). Epoxy coating lasts for 15 years on residential garage floors and 7-10 years on industrial garage floors.
Epoxy paint lasts for three years on residential/home garage floors and less than three years on commercial/industrial floors.
Regular paint will flake and peel off in less than three months when used on any garage floor, whether industrial or residential; therefore, I recommend you not to use it on garage floors at all!
- Foot traffic: Commercial garages have higher foot traffic and bear heavier loads (trucks and heavy machinery) than residential garages. With all factors kept constant, epoxy coating on a commercial floor will last 7-10 years and last for 15 years on residential garage floors.
- Prepping procedures: these are the preparatory practices that precede epoxy application, e.g., grinding, filling of cracks, and cleaning operations. Poor preparatory practices, for instance, doing it in a rush or applying epoxy during sunny and humid weather, will drastically reduce its lifespan and lead to undesirable results; the coatings won’t even adhere well to the floor in the first place.
- UV light exposure: UV light essentially means sunlight! The light causes yellowing of epoxy coating, which isn’t aesthetically pleasing. Even more important to know, the UV light accelerates the epoxy aging process weakening its adherence to concrete; your coating starts to flake and peel sooner than expected.
- Floor maintenance practices: No offense, but it’s intuitively obvious that even an ordinary bare floor has to be properly maintained to improve its durability; so does an epoxy coated floor. There’s nothing much to highlight here, only that you need to clean your epoxy garage floor regularly and promptly repair any minor damages that you’ve spotted.
- Another point worth mentioning is that you need to seek the services of professionals to apply an epoxy coating; this ensures the best outcome and subsequent longevity of the coating.
Going the DIY way, especially with epoxy coating, may save you a few bucks, but this will be in the interim, as you may soon realize when the coating starts chipping and flaking. DIY application is only feasible with epoxy paints, not epoxy coatings! Plus, applying an epoxy coating on a garage floor is so labor-intensive, having learned from experience. So get some help! Professionals are well-versed in their crafts, so rest assured you’ll get good results in the long run.
I want to clarify one salient point regarding UV light exposure: epoxies are not designed for outdoor use! You should exclusively use them interiorly! Trust me on this, epoxy and sunlight are mortal enemies! The idea I’m trying to drive home is that you have to shelter your floor under a roof; otherwise, your epoxy coating will degrade under sunlight.
Can You Put Concrete Paint Over Epoxy?
I cannot emphasize this enough before you apply any paint or coating on an epoxy-coated floor; you need to prep the floor accordingly! Concrete paint follows the same protocol; you have to grind the floor, etch, clean up to remove the existing paint, stain, and grease. Again, grinding or sanding still serves the same old purpose of adding grip to your surface so that the new paint will gel well with the floor.
So it’s a resounding yes! You can put concrete paint over epoxy; all you have to follow are the above steps for a successful outcome.
Why Should You Epoxy Your Garage Floor?
A bare, unpainted garage floor can bear vehicular weight, is relatively easy to clean, heat resistant, and strong; after all, it’s made of concrete! But why should you epoxy your garage floor? Is a bare concrete garage floor good enough in the long run? Does it make the cut in this regard?
Even though an unpainted garage floor is strong, it isn’t strong enough; even though it is easy to clean, it is not easy enough; it may be capable of bearing vehicular weight, it’s still not enough; by all accounts, your garage floor is not good enough for long-term use.
And this is where epoxy coatings come in, and nothing else does a better job filling the gaps, as mentioned above. I’ll give you a quick rundown on the reasons you should epoxy your garage floor:
- Increases floor durability: As you already know, 100% solids epoxy is the main content of epoxy coatings. The resin and hardener parts of the base coat strengthen your concrete floor, giving it a longer lifespan. In general, the epoxy coating covers the cracks, divots, and other defects on the floor, thus halting destructive processes that may be underway.
- For aesthetics: The flakes and quartz for broadcasting come in various hues; you get to choose the color that suits your taste, or you can even mix the colors. The top coat adds to the aesthetic effect by giving a glossy touch to your garage floor. The flakes, together with the topcoat, work in synergy to give your floor the alluring charm you’re looking forward to.
- To maintain floor cleanliness: As I’ve highlighted atop this review, the preparatory steps for epoxy application are sanding, vacuuming, acid etching, priming, et cetera. All of the above steps remove stubborn stains, grease, and oils from your garage floor. Additionally, the epoxy topcoat leaves a smooth, non-sticky surface for easy cleaning; and any stain, grease, or oil that spills on the floor will simply flow off. In short, your floor becomes extraordinarily stain-proof and ever so presentable.
- Convenient for operation: The epoxy surface is skid-free, even when wet, thanks to the flakes: this provides a safe work environment and improved efficiency. The skid-free surface also holds the vehicles and equipment in a steady position, still for convenience of operations.
- Lastly, the epoxy coating reduces the overall repair costs that you may incur on your garage floor: this is because the coating is moisture resistant, chemical resistant, heat resistant, and impact resistant.
Can You Put a Second Coat of Epoxy On Garage Floor?
The initial complete epoxy coating comprises the epoxy primer, 100% solids epoxy, and the topcoat. The primer is the first coat, the 100% solids epoxy (also known as the base coat) is the second coat, and the topcoat is the third coat.
It is important to put this second coat of epoxy as it forms the bulk of the epoxy coating. The best base coat comes in two parts, namely the epoxy resin and epoxy hardener, which must be mixed thoroughly before application, as discussed in this article’s earlier segments. Remember to let the floor cure for at least 10 hours between the coats and not more than four days between the epoxy coats.
If you lay down the second or third coat before the 10 hours elapse, they won’t bond properly, while if you let your floor rest more than four days between coats, it will be too dry, and you’ll have to start over from the sanding and priming stage.
From a slightly different dimension, let’s say you’ve finished laying down an epoxy coating on your garage floor, but the coating didn’t adhere well, or the floor still looks damaged due to poor prepping; can you put another coat of epoxy on your garage floor under these circumstances?
Well, you can, and you definitely should! But you have to grind and sand the existing epoxy coat before applying another coat as it will ensure a better adhesive surface for your coating.
Finally, we’ve come to the closing segment of this article, and at this point, I’m sure you’re well-versed in matters involving epoxy paints, especially on concrete floors. So…
Can You Paint Over Garage Floor Epoxy?
You definitely can, but you have to follow the right procedures, as detailed above, to achieve the desired outcome.
I need to clarify one point; once you start applying any coat/layer of epoxy, you must not stop until you finish the entire surface! It’s particularly important as you have to maintain a wet edge throughout the process of laying down any given coat. If you coat partially, a cascade of bad outcomes will soon follow – the curing time won’t be the same for the entire floor, you’ll have to mix the following day again, the floor will absorb unevenly, and a host of other negative effects.
Other takeaways from this review address the following:
- Is it better to paint or epoxy garage floor?
- What kind of paint will stick to epoxy?
- Can you pour epoxy over uncured epoxy?
- How long does epoxy garage floor last?
- Can you put concrete paint over epoxy?
- Why should you epoxy your garage floor?
- Can you put a second coat of epoxy on garage floor?
If you happen to have skipped any bit of the above list or read in a rush, you can always scroll back up and read again. All of the above points tie to each other, so I advise you to go through the entire article for a keener understanding; I say this in the affirmative!
All said and done, I wish you a good time and enjoyable experience painting over your garage floor epoxy!