We frequently hear customers talk about how they tried doing their own garage floor with a DIY Box Kit, but it has failed and not lasted. Many DIY projects go wrong because the installer is not aware of the issues with epoxy flooring.
Many homeowners say, they followed the instructions carefully, but still, they got terrible results.
Here I will briefly show you 4 possible situations that cause a DIY epoxy floor to peel, even if the instructions are followed completely.
1. POOR SURFACE PREPARATION
To produce a top quality long lasting garage floor, one we consider a permanent lifetime floor, a surface must be prepped perfectly. We seek to create two types of bonds between the new coating and the concrete surface, mechanical and chemical.
This means it should be clean, dry, dust-free, and the surface must be grinded or shot-blasted before applying the primer. Grinding re-surface the concrete profile to some extent, and our DIY kit preparation acid does a poor job to make physical bonds feasible.
Most epoxy “paint” kits will instruct the DIY user to just clean the floor or etch it with muriatic acid. Cleaning by itself will make zero difference. No matter what type of degreaser you employ, it will have no impact on the concrete profile.
Acid etching, while a valid preparation method, will only work if the concrete’s pores are open enough to allow the acid to react and remove the thin cement paste on the very top. The preparation made by acid etching is just skin deep. As a result, acid etching will not be enough for areas of the concrete which are sealed, oil stained, painted or contaminated.
Even if you do follow the instructions, there is still a good chance that your concrete profile remains mostly the same. And that is one of the reasons your DIY project may peel off within a year or two, even if you follow the instructions CAREFULLY.
Epoxy doesn’t bond well with water. Presence of moisture and humidity can cause serious problems.
Moisture will change the course of chemical reaction that is going on in molecular level, and will not result in your desired durable garage epoxy floors. But moisture may causes a more serious issue. When too much moisture is trying to migrate upward through a concrete slab, it will put pressure on the coatings. Once high enough, that pressure will force either the coatings of the concrete or the coatings will pull apart the near-wear-surface of the concrete.
This is to the extent that Epoxy manufacturers will not guarantee epoxy coating when surface exceeds a certain humidity level. So, make sure that the surface is completely dry. If not sure, feel free to use a fan heater to dry it out completely and then check it after a while if there is any sign of moisture.
The other form of water that can cause a problem for flooring is humidity.
Excessive humidity during the coating installation can affect the inter-coat adhesion that is the strength of the bond between layers of polymer coatings.
In general, polyurethane, polyurea and polyaspartic are more humidity sensitive than most epoxies and acrylics.
3. WEAK AND/OR INCOMPATIBLE SUBSTRATE
Chances are that you are doing an epoxy flooring for garage with an aged concrete.
The concrete slab is worn out and you have decided to apply a new shiny epoxy coating to rejuvenate your garage floor.
This presents a different kind of problem to all other previous ones.
The Epoxy resin will be much stronger than the substrate. So instead of epoxy detaching from the cement, the cement will be torn apart.
The picture below shows the catastrophic effect of applying epoxy resin on a weak substrate very clearly.
4. INSUFFICIENT WICKING / WET-OUT
Any type of coating should “wet-out” the substrate. Epoxies are no exceptions.
Properly prepared concrete should be completely wet by the epoxy resin – meaning the resin soaks into all the open pores and surface imperfections that are created by the prep process.
This is where professional coatings shine and DIY epoxy paints fail.
A good coating will have an adhesive strength that exceeds the concrete surface pull-strength.
Most kits fail here, as they are often just an epoxy fortified latex paint or have too many fillers. This modification makes the epoxy easier to roll out and cheaper, but greatly decrease its bond strength.
Garage floor coatings can make a garage look gorgeous, that for sure. But the purchase of a garage floor is like everything else, you get what you pay for. Box Floor Kits are cheap for a reason. Kit floors are popular because they are a cheap alternative. However, Box Kits seldom provide a customer with long-term performance. They are little more than paint. They go down at room temp. The instructions allow you to use chemical etching.
Professionally installed coatings are advanced chemical formulas with 3 parts, mixed at a chemical mixing station, onsite. Professional installation company’s do things with a laborious intensive floor prep process to insure quality, beauty and durability. Visit http://www.LifetimeEpoxyFloors.com for more info. Visit our face book page, https://www.facebook.com/EpoxyFlooringCompany to see thousands of pictures of our work. Our crews are well trained, highly skilled and highly experienced.
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Nick Dixon Jr.
Owner of Lifetime Epoxy Floors and Garage Shapeups, LLC of Boaz Alabama.
The author of this page is Nick Dixon, owner of Lifetime Epoxy Floors.
Our Family of Home Improvement Companies can be seen at the following websites:
GarageShapeups.com, HuntsvilleGarageShapeups.com, SlatwallSolutions.com, LifetimeEpoxyFloors.com, RubaSafe.com and PoolDeckRescue.com.