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What is the best coating for my garage floor?

cars on garage floor

With countless floor coatings for garage floors on the market, it is easy for garage owners to purchase paint that isn’t particularly suitable for their garage floor.

Many garage owners find themselves having to paint their garage floor regularly due to the constant wear and tear of the flooring. This can be caused by heavy impacts, car tyre marks and chemical spills, such as oil, paint and white spirit leaving unsightly patches on flooring.

Before painting a garage floor, it is important to understand what the problem areas are in order to buy the most suitable product as a solution.

Considerations for choosing the best paint for your garage floor

Question garage owners should ask, include:

  • Does the surface that is to be re-coated already an existing painted surface?
  • Are you re-coating new or old paint?
  • Is the paint completely adhered to the substrate and is simply showing signs of wear/being worn away?
  • Is your garage floor blistering/bubbling/peeling/flaking?
  • Is there oil on the surface?
  • Do you have rising damp issues?
  • Is the substrate dusty/delaminating?

Not only do these questions act as a guide in choosing the best coating for your garage floor, they also allow you to get to the root cause of the problems in the first place. Application of any coating or paint to a floor contaminated will oil, is almost guaranteed to be deemed as a ‘waste of money’ as the surface hasn’t been correctly prepared to prevent the oil from seeping through.

Treating your floor before coating them

It is important to ‘treat’ your surfaces before coating them to prevent issues post-paint.

  1. Repair your floor:
    Before painting your garage floor, it is important to repair any cracks, holes or expansion joints in your concrete to prevent an un-slightly finish to your flooring once it’s painted.
  2. Prime your surface:
    Professional Primers are specially formulated to penetrate deeper into the pores of the substrate in order to achieve a better mechanical bond. Their adhesion is often greater than the top coat due to the inclusion of adhesion promoters. Specialist primers are also formulated to solve many common problems such as rising damp, oily surfaces, dusty concrete, unstable substrates. It can be used on a lot of surfaces such as concrete, ceramic, metal and even marble.

Primers are designed to seal the surface from the out-gassing of the concrete, where air will rise and be expelled from the concrete which is often caused by a rise in temperature or a change in humidity. Another major cause to poor flooring is rising damp. Due to a poor or non-existent DPM (Damp Proof Membrane), the damp is caused by a rising water table and/or the immediate surrounding areas being waterlogged.

Air entrapment is a common issue that can occur if the surface isn’t primed before being coated. This is where the air pushes bubbles into the resin coat which later bursts, leaving ‘craters’ and ‘pin holes’ in your floor paint. This can also be caused when the resin has been mixed too quickly – it is important to use the correct tools to mix to avoid issues. Primer tackles this issue by soaking further into the surface to fully seal the entire surface area of concrete floors. Air is then less likely to push up, and on the rare occasion that it does, the bubble will pop and the resin now being thinner, will generally revert back and refill the ‘pin hole’ caused by the bubble.

Which Primer is best for my Garage Floor?

Not all garage floors are made of concrete, some may be vinyl tiles, cement render or even wooden. It is important to use the correct primer for your surface to really take advantage of the benefits.

Non-toxic and Non-Taint Primer

If you require a primer that is non-toxic, you will need to purchase an extremely strong water dispersed epoxy. These are specially formulated for non-toxic and non-taint applications (food factories or populated areas) but is perfect for use on damp areas.

 Dusty Unstable Surfaces

For areas that are dusty and unstable, you will need an ultra-low viscosity epoxy that has been designed for maximum penetration while providing a good film build by re-bonding the substrate together, returning the floor to a solid sound surface.

Oily / Contaminated Surfaces

Where the floors have been subjected to oil and grease, using hot compressed air was the common solution to tackle this problem. Due to Health and Safety and obvious fire precautions, this solution is no longer used. Primer can now be used to solve this problem without any risk to the health and safety of the applicant – by sealing dry or damp surfaces completely soaked with oil and grease, the formulation is designed to bind up to 15% water into the resin (without any emulsion or bubble formation) enabling application to oil soaked concrete floors. We recommend steam cleaning your floors before application of any paints of coatings once primer has been used.

Rising Damp

A floor coating does not do well if you have moisture issues.  Hydrostatic pressure from the moisture can actually cause the coating to peel up, sometimes taking pieces of the concrete with it.  Should floors be devoid of an effective Damp Proof Membrane (DPM), virtually any paint will lift and peel off the surface. Indeed, even self-levelling screeds can be pushed up by water pressure. This is another nightmare regularly experienced by many companies. For this reason, a DPM primer is recommended as a solution.

What is the best garage floor coating?

 A successful garage floor coating should be able to protect the concrete from acid/oil attacks and salt attacks. Salt is a common surface problem found in garages, especially during the Winter months where it is picked up from the roads. It is important to choose a coating that is imperious and has high chemical resistance properties.

Single pack paints cure atmospherically which in turn often leaves a micro porous finish. This is one of the main reasons for failure in standard paints that are widely available from most paint stores. Twin pack resinous coating cure chemically as the two parts are mixed together. Due to the chemical reaction, this ensures that they are totally impervious and far more resistant to damage and staining.

If a durable surface that is both wear and oil resistant is required, the recommendation is to choose a twin pack resin coating. Found in the finest of homes and garages, the coating will usually be a 100% solids epoxy. Commonly used in warehouses and factories, manufacturing plants is can also be used in garages and showrooms.  The finished coating is many times stronger than the finish of the actual concrete itself and will offer a complete seal to the substrate, protect from those annoying liquid spills.  Other coatings used are either polyurethane or polyaspartic coatings although these are not so easy to lay and require expert installers.

Should you have an extremely busy commercial garage that gets constant wear and tear from rolling tool boxes and trolley jacks, as well as heavy foot and vehicular traffic, it is important to choose a coating that can survive some of the toughest challenges in the industry!

If you are still unsure about the best solution for your needs, give our friendly Sales and Technical team a call on 01234 846400.

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