Epoxy Floor Kits Are A Horrible A Mistake!
We all have been there when you do a home improvement projects.
You call around because your too busy or need help doing a project you have no experience with.
You need an epoxy floor
The show begins with paint and epoxy estimators coming out, do they show up at all?
They do a song and dance and giving you a hard sales pitch with big words such a polyurea, polyaspartic.Ryan Amato
Estimators Horrible Lies
We have the best product, the longest warranty and do the best epoxy resin floors around.Epoxy Estimator
You now have dedicated a half a day of your time as well as waited sometimes a week or longer to get your epoxy estimate back.
Instantly You Have Epoxy Price Shock?
Now you start to get pricing back, the first price is high in your mind, but you shrug it off as it is just the first epoxy floor estimate.
The second one comes back even higher, uh oh.
Finally the third epoxy floor estimate comes in and is even higher then the other two.
Your Dreams Are Crushed Immediately ?
You now realize this project is more than you anticipated and understand three professional epoxy floor companies are not wrong. This is the pricing.
Help I’m Epoxy Clueless ?
First, you do have a few options and this is where it usually goes wrong.
- Find that guy who does side work (No experience with professional epoxy floors but they are cheap)
- Keep getting estimates from professional companies. ( They will most likely all be similar)
- Think about doing it yourself ( More to come below)
- Give up, you cannot afford it
Shockingly Hire The Side Job Painter
Now is a bad idea in many ways
- Most likely they are under or have no insurance (If something happens watch out)
- Not all painters who say they can paint are professionals and epoxy is much worse
- Meanwhile it takes years and years to be able to learn about professional coating
- It takes very expensive machines
- The right application and prep is vital
- Have they shown you actual floors they have done?
- How many have they done
- What do they do when something goes wrong(it can and does)
The Treacherous Estimate Cycle
- You decide to get more estimates shockingly
- More wasted time you can be doing other things
- More waiting for responsive companies
- Some won’t show up
- Not all painting companies do epoxy floors or have the knowledge
- You will find most pricing is similar (Choose someone you are comfortable with and the communication is amazing
Startling DIY ?
- It takes the proper tools
- Rent them $$$
- How fast can you really work on a project you never did before
- Wasted time
- Possible wasted epoxy product
- A less durable floor
- What if something goes wrong
- Not saving that much money after purchasing and renting everything
The Big Box Stores Mistake
If you ask a person who has used a box store garage floor epoxy paint kit to give you a review, you will get a different answer almost every time. Many people do not have kind words for these kits. They complain of the epoxy paint peeling up fairly quickly or of the coating itself wearing out in places.
These are water based epoxy kits, a true two part system but they are approx. 50% solids by volume with the rest being water.
The water acts as a carrier agent just like paint.
What happens though is when the water evaporates your left with with just 50% of what originally went on the concrete. Actual thickness is about 3 mills down to 1.5 for others.
With a professional high solid epoxy, they are 100% solid, meaning what goes on the floor is what stays on the floor.
There is little to no evaporation. Thus a much thicker epoxy coating.
Deceptive Number Of Coats
Another thing to keep in mind is that the box store epoxy paint is a one coat product with a semi-gloss finish, where as commercial epoxy systems are a minimum of three coats with at least one of those being a glossy clear coat. This is what gives epoxy floors their shine and depth.
So as you can see, there is a big difference between a one coat product such as the box store epoxy and the much thicker and more expensive multi-coat system of commercial epoxy floors. You cannot expect to get the same protection, durability, and shine from these simple one coat kits that you do from a higher quality commercial product.
The big issue though is that many home owners are not aware of these differences in epoxy floors and expect the best from the lesser expensive kits.
The Advantage Of Comparing
Dollar for dollar, box store epoxy paint cannot compete with a commercial quality epoxy coating when you cost average your floor over years of service.
Many of the inexpensive “DIY” epoxy paint kits that you can buy at the local home improvement centers and online have as little as 48% solids.
This means that it is easier to apply as well as cheaper to buy because the solids content is much lower along with the quality. It goes on the floor almost as easily as paint does.
In fact, the easy application is one of the primary marketing points that makes these kits so popular to purchase.
They can be applied to your garage floor more easily compared to the more premium epoxy coat systems.
Keep in mind that this also means you have much less of it on the garage floor resulting in a much thinner coat.
This affects the performance and durability of the coating when compared to epoxy brands with a higher solids content.
Does this mean that these epoxy paints are bad? No, it just means that you are getting what you pay for.
Many of these kits cost under $70 and cover up to 250ft². Two kits will cover a typical two-car garage.
They are usually available in either grey or beige with a semi-gloss finish and include a small bag of paint chips to add if you like. Credit Top Gun garage
Crushing Preparation Issues
Preparation and Application
The first and most important step in installing the epoxy floor system is to prepare the floor for the epoxy coating.
Professional installers will use a diamond grinder or a shot blaster to mechanically clean and abrade the floor.
The diamond grinder removes enough surface material to open the pores of the concrete, allowing the epoxy to adhere much more securely to the concrete.
For the homeowner who does not own a diamond grinder or a blaster, an acid wash can be applied to the surface to clean and etch the concrete.
Many DIY kits contain a dilute muriatic acid solution.
Etching does not open the concrete pores to the same degree as the diamond grinder. The result is that within a year or two, the DIY epoxy will begin to peel away from the concrete.
A professionally prepared floor with premium quality materials will last up to twenty years or more.
While DIY epoxy kits look nice after application, design options are limited.
The two main choices are a solid color or a solid color with a light spread of vinyl flakes.
While the flakes add interest, they mainly serve to cover up blemishes in the epoxy since roller marks, bubbles, and pinholes are inevitable.
With a professionally installed coating, design options are better.
A professional installation offers the choice of a full spread of vinyl chips with none of the base coat of epoxy visible.
Discover Your Options
A full spread of colored quartz aggregate or a metallic spread is an option.
A marbled epoxy is also available. The selection is wide-ranging, and the appearance is rich and elegant.
The DIY project will last a few years without peeling, flaking, or cracking. The gloss finish will soon dim or turn yellow from UV exposure. Re-coating the DIY project requires the removal of the original surface before the new surface can be applied.
A professional coating will endure for a lifetime without ever peeling, flaking, or yellowing. Scratches from normal use can and will happen, but the full spread of either vinyl or quartz will make the scratches less noticeable.
The preparation of the concrete and the quality and thickness of the coating used by professional installers explains the vastly superior longevity and beauty of the epoxy floor system. A typical DIY garage floor coating is no thicker than five mils. A coating from a specialist ranges from fifteen to thirty mils, which is three to six times thicker than the DIY kit.
Cost With A Polyaspartic
Also, the professional-grade epoxy is generally a 2:1 mix of epoxy and a hardener.
Both parts are 100% solids. Most DIY kits are really epoxy paints containing as much as 50% water.
Epoxy solids are much harder than epoxy paints and bond more effectively with concrete.
The pro installer will often apply a polyaspartic topcoat that is even harder and more chemical and abrasion-resistant than the epoxy itself.
Why Would You Struggle ?
Regarding big-box store brands that are sold as DIY kits, one industry expert wrote, “Not all epoxy coatings are made the same.
Epoxy coatings come in both water-based (watered down) and one-hundred percent solid resin-based formulas.
The generic water-based formulas are sold at big box stores and the high-end one-hundred percent solid epoxy coatings are sold by individual concrete coating manufacturers that specialize in making these coatings.
We have not had much luck with the big box store brands that are sold as DIY kits. [They] have a short life span and wear/peel in a short period of time.
The DIY kits sold at big box stores are more or less thick paints only and will never perform as well or have a long lifespan.
The best epoxy high-end coatings are one-hundred percent solid, high build garage floor resin-based coatings that undergo a chemical reaction that results in a thick coating, tightly bonded to the prepared surface.
These coatings are two-part systems that when mixed, catalyze into a superior thick bond that is four-five times stronger than the DIY epoxy kits sold at big box stores.
The one hundred percent solids resin-based epoxy coatings are what we use as contractors and are what any quality professional will use.
While mostly sold to professionals, the one-hundred percent solids epoxy coatings can be used by homeowners that expect their coating to last for many, many years.” Courtesy Proarmour