Garage and basement floors take a lot of abuse - whether driving your car on it, dropping tools or just plain storage - garage and basement floors need a paint with extra strength. Normal paints do not dry hard or thick enough to provide the necessary durability. The best paint to use is an epoxy paint. Epoxies dry extremely hard and will withstand abrasion, scuffing, impacts and hot car tires. True epoxy paints are two-part solutions that contain a resin and a catalyst. Once the catalyst is added to the resin, the paint will start to harden. So make sure you only mix the epoxy when you are ready to paint.
The tools you will need to paint your garage or basement floor:
A high-quality epoxy paint kit
Good paint rollers that are solvent-resistant
Strong roller handle
Good quality paint brush
Stiff bristle brush for cleaning before painting
TSP or other detergent cleaner
A concrete and mortar repair compound in case you need it for patching the concrete
Goggles for eye protection
Rubber gloves for hand protection
Mixer and drill
Preparing the Floor
Before you paint your garage floor it is important to see that the room temperature is between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that the air and the surface of the floor must be heated to this temperature so that the paint will adhere to the surface.
The next step is to clean the floor totally. Start by sweeping the floor to remove most of the debris. Next you'll want to scrub the floor with a stiff brush and a detergent to remove the remaining dirt and other debris. If necessary, you'll need to use a degreasing agent to remove any grease or oil stains. Once all of this is done, you will want to rinse the area with clean water and let it dry thoroughly.
Now that the floor is clean, you'll want to make sure it is dry and repair any cracks that you found in the concrete. You can use a good concrete or mortar-repair compound for small cracks or a good concrete patch for small areas.
Once the floor is clean and dry you will want to take a little water and sprinkle it on your floor. If the water absorbs into the concrete easily you can move on to the next step. If it does not, you will need to etch the surface concrete with a muriatic acid solution to open the pores so the epoxy will hold (available at most paint or hardware stores).
Painting The Floor
Once all the preparation is done, the easy part is painting. Use a top quality epoxy paint. Benjamin Moore makes the Garage Guard Waterborne Epoxy Floor Paint, an excellent product that is easy to apply and holds up extremely well. It is low odor and water-soluble (cleans up with soap and water), a big plus!
Mix the catalyst into the short-filled gallon of paint. A paint mixer attached to a drill makes this really easy. Make sure it is mixed together well. Most epoxies will require that you let it sit for a certain amount of time before using (follow the paint manufacturer instructions). Paint along the edges of your floor with your paint brush and then roll the rest of the floor. Let it dry until ready to recoat and then apply your second coat (you'll need to ix another batch of epoxy).
Once it is painted you'll need to tread lightly on the surface to give it some time to fully cure (e.g. don't drive on it). Normally it takes about 1 to 2 weeks and once this time has passed you can go back to normal use.
You'll have a beautiful floor that will be easy to sweep and keep clean and will last for years.