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Importance of Concrete Preparation When Installing Epoxy

Epoxy is an inexpensive and durable solution for garage flooring. It looks great, lasts long and can be an easy DIY project, right? That’s where many homeowners make a mistake. Application of the epoxy coating appears to be simple enough, and if you don’t worry about perfection, you can probably apply epoxy yourself. However, what many people don’t realize is the amount of preparation that has to happen on their concrete garage flooring before epoxy can be installed. Allow our Maryland epoxy flooring experts walk you through and show you the importance of all this concrete preparation work.

Is your garage flooring suitable for epoxy?

The first step in concrete preparation is to determine whether epoxy is even the right solution for your garage flooring. At this point we would closely examine the concrete, looking for signs of damage, tough stains or other problems. Here are some of the issues that may disqualify your garage flooring from being a good candidate for epoxy:

  • Moisture problems (moisture seeping through the concrete)
  • Previously applied sealers and paints
  • Certain concrete additives
  • Damaged or uneven concrete

Many of these issues can be fixed, such as paints, coatings and sealers can usually be stripped. However, things like moisture problems can be serious. As a non-porous coating, epoxy will trap any moisture inside the concrete, which may cause your epoxy floor to detach over time and even break open under hydrostatic pressure.

Make Sure it’s Clean

Once it’s been determined that epoxy can be safely used on your garage floor, the next step is cleaning. Most garage floors have oil stains, dirt and other surface contaminants that may interfere with proper adhesion of epoxy. And to get rid of these contaminants you will need much more than soap and water. We use specialized cleaning agents, as well as a water-jetting machine that ensures deep cleaning.

Help Epoxy Adhere

A clean garage floor is a good start, but it still won’t guarantee proper epoxy adhesion. Of course, each project is different, but many garages we’ve worked on required a certain degree of profiling. Profiling is the process of opening up concrete pores and creating a rough surface that helps epoxy penetrate deeper into concrete for a stronger bond. Think of it as sanding a wooden shelf before you paint it.

Profiling is usually done by grinding or shot-blasting—both of these procedures require specialized equipment. There is also the acid etching method that requires pouring an acid-water mixture on the floor. This can be a dangerous procedure and can cause more harm than good if you don’t know what you are doing.

Fix Surface Defects

Does your garage floor have cracks or other visible defects? Now is the time to address them. You wouldn’t build a house on a shaky foundation, so why pour epoxy over an uneven or damaged floor? Plus, if you’ve ever painted a wall with a high-gloss paint, you would know that it shows all the imperfections you failed to sand smooth. So if you are using high-gloss epoxy on your garage floor, make sure it’s smooth so that it looks its best.

What if I skip concrete preparation?

Does all of this sound like a lot of work? Well, that’s because it is! But it’s important to get the concrete preparation done right, so that your epoxy flooring lasts. If you skip concrete prep entirely or rush it, you risk wasting a lot of time and money. You typically won’t notice problems right away, but in a few weeks your epoxy will start peeling and detaching. At this point, there is no fixing it and the job has to be redone.

Check out the video below that goes into detail about the whole concrete preparation process. And feel free to give us a call if you decide to trust this job to professionals!