How To Paint A Concrete Floor
There are many reasons for painting concrete floors, but among the most popular are aesthetics and durability. A concrete floor that has been painted correctly will be more appealing, easier to clean, and more durable against spills and chipping. Painting the concrete gives the floor resistance to the elements that are involved in the weathering and erosion processes. Once the floor has been painted, the concrete is better suited for normal wear and tear, and will be able to take on environmental attacks with ease. There are a few important steps when painting your concrete floor and it is important to do the job the right way for longevity.
The first thing one needs to do is find the right product for the job. There are a variety of concrete paints available, however, epoxy floor paint is one of the more popular concrete paints available. An epoxy works well because it bonds to the concrete very well and it cures to a very hard surface. The epoxy coating can also be made non slip by the addition of faint flecks or grit spread on the top of the surface after the epoxy is rolled out.
It is important to get enough paint for the job because you don’t want to run out with just a small portion left to do. You can calculate the amount of paint needed by the square footage of the concrete surface which you are going to paint. I always increase the paint amount by 10% just in case. You can always take it back as long as it was not tinted specially for you and you do not open the container.
Once you have allocated the paint, make sure to do a thorough cleaning of the floor. I think that this is the most important step in the entire painting project. The cleaning should start with removing all debris and loose concrete particles. If there are any cracks or divots be sure to remove any pieces that are not attached. You also need to remove any chemical or petroleum spills that may interfere with the paint bonding to the concrete surface. This is done with a degreaser product. You can find either liquids or powder forms of this material. Start by wetting the floor and then spreading out the degreaser. Then use a stiff bristle brush to scrub the entire floor area. I like to use an 18” floor broom because this will allow you to get a lot of downward pressure on the floor.
You need to scrub until all the contamination is gone. To check if the floor has been degreased, use the water bead test. Rinse the floor completely with clean water and then squeegee it off. Next, spray a light coat of water and see how it reacts. If it beads up in a certain area then this means there is still contamination. If it appears to soak into the floor then the material has been removed. Finish by clearing the water from the floor and then allowing it to dry till the concrete is a light color. This will probably take till over night and a space heater will help with this step by raising the temperature so the water evaporates faster.
When using an epoxy for painting your garage floor it is best apply the two-part product. This is composed of a resin and a hardener. It is very important that you mix the hardener into the resin and not the other way around or you will not get a floor that cures to the proper strength. After mixing, some epoxy solution need to stand for a few minutes. Check this with your instructions and allow for the proper prep time. This may be different due to your climate and the season.
This is the time to add a non slip additive. This type of material is an industrial grit that offers very good traction when the floor is wet. It is not absolutely necessary if you are going to use paint flecks but it is recommended. For my money, the garage floor should always have an anti slip medium added because if nothing else, the floor is going to get wet when you drive the car in the rain.
Finally it is time to start painting your concrete floor. Be aware of the old adage to not paint yourself into a corner. This means that you should start painting at the furthest corner from the door and then work your way toward the outside. You can start by using a 3 inch brush to cut in all the edges. These areas are hard to reach with a roller so I always do these first. I follow this same step when painting a wall. Some people like to do the roller work first and then brush the parts they missed but I usually am tired out by the time I get done rolling.
The cure time on a two part epoxy is relatively quick so you should only mix up small batches at a time and roll this out before mixing up the next batch. This is a good time to cast out the paint chips. If you wait till the entire floor is coated then the first part may already be skinned over so they will not stick. Usually you want to do 4’ X 4’ areas or 6’ X 6’. This amount of surface gives plenty of time to get the paint applied before it cures over.
Generally your floor can be walked on within about 12 or 18 hours depending on the temperature of the space. I always go with the upper limit just to be sure I don’t scuff the paint. Allow at least a week before driving your car onto the floor or any other heavy vehicles. Even if the surface seems cured it can de-bond from the concrete if you park a car with hot tires on it too soon.
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