Prepare the Site
Many DIYers wind up having their epoxy floor kit crash and burn their first time because they didn’t realize that they had to prepare the floor first. However, every kit has specific prep instructions to ensure that you receive the best results for their brand. At a minimum the floor should be cleaned, and power washed, although your product will tell you the exact steps that you should take.
Check for Moisture
Some builders do not include a vapor barrier for their poured concrete surfaces. While you wouldn’t know this without checking, additional moisture seeping up will ruin a brand new epoxy floor. Checking for moisture issues is easy, albeit a little time consuming. Simply tape a small square of plastic over the concrete surface for a 24-hour period. If moisture has appeared on the plastic within that time, you’ll need a moisture barrier installed first.
Another thing to take note of is the weather. Before you begin, make sure that the weather isn’t going to adversely affect the temperature or the moisture levels in and around the cement surface. If the concrete becomes too cold or too wet, it will ruin the epoxy before it can even dry.
Remove the Concrete’s Sealer First
Although most concrete, especially in home garages, are unsealed, a sealed space will not take epoxy. Epoxy needs the raw, porous type of cement to stick to it, and a seal will prevent that from happening. If your concrete is sealed, the seal will have to be removed first. Chances are, you won’t be able to pour a seal remover on simply; a mechanical grinder will more than likely be needed to scrape it away.
Expose the Pores
Once the site has been properly prepared and cleaned, it will be time to bring out the pores in the concrete, also referred to as profiling. Profiling the concrete will increase the strength of the bond developed between the epoxy and the floor, giving it a better finish and a longer lasting coating. This can be done from etching the cement with muriatic acid; however, if you’ve already ground away from the initial seal of the concrete, you may as well continue scraping the bare floor to profile it. Whichever way you’ve chosen to profile the concrete, be sure to clean it again; otherwise, dust or toxic residues will stay behind and leave you with a poor quality finish.
Correct Problems Before Epoxy
If you’ve noticed significant cracks or chips taken out, now is the time to repair these problems. Just be sure to avoid using a latex-based product in your repairs. Doing so will hurt the bond between the floor and the epoxy, and over time, the latex may even shrink and create a dip or depression in the floor.
Use the Kit
Follow the specific directions found on the container to ensure the best results. If you are using color chips, make sure to go heavy on them to make sure that they’ll be visible. Also make sure to have all the tools you need before you start, as you won’t be able to pause in the middle of the application. You should also know where or not you need to thin the epoxy down; straight solid epoxy will take longer.