Epoxy Garage Floor Paint – Hot Tyre Pickup

Epoxy Garage Floor Paint

Are you considering using epoxy garage floor paint? Perhaps the main concern expressed by people considering using Epoxy Garage Floor Paint on a project is a phenomenon called, in the trade, “Hot Tyre Pickup” otherwise known as “Hot Tyre Lift”. Many people who choose a light duty garage floor paint can have that brief moment of satisfaction on a completed job quickly ruined by a surface that then peels away following contact with a hot tyre! This article looks at the causes of Hot Tyre Pickup, the issues people often experience with inferior epoxy coatings, the importance of proper cleaning and preparation, and the value of using a suitable primer.


So what causes Hot Tyre Pickup?

When the weather is hot, the internal temperature of car tyres can increase significantly. This happens even more often when you have been travelling on a motorway, at higher speeds.  The increase in temperature results in tyre expansion. When you return your car to the garage the internal tyre heat radiates to the tread of the tyre and then onto the garage floor below.

As the tyre cools it also contracts. It is this contraction that leads to the tyre literally grabbing the garage floor paint, pulling at the surface of the paint.  It is this “grabbing and pulling” which occurs along with one other contributing factors such as poor surface preparation or failure to use a suitable primer that can cause Hot Tyre Pickup, where the tyre pulls the Epoxy Garage Floor Paint right up off the floor.

The good news is that if you take appropriate steps to avoid these contributing factors, you should easily avoid issues with Hot Tyre Pickup.

Issues with inferior epoxy garage floor paint

The most common contributor to hot tyre pickup issues is the use of an inferior epoxy coating like single coat water based epoxy.  Whilst these garage floor paints are widely available through DIY chains, they are sometimes unequal to the task and cheap water based epoxy paints frequently disappoint. When the heat of a tyre transfers to the garage floor it this can result in the reactivation of the curing process of the epoxy. This is due to the low heat tolerance of these inferior products.  In this situation, the epoxy softens beneath the tyres so when you combine softened epoxy along with the weight of the car and constricting force of the tyre tread, the epoxy can “delaminate” resulting in the paint pulling up off the surface of the concrete garage floor.

The importance of proper garage floor preparation

The importance of floor painting preparation cannot be overstated! To ensure your garage floor project is a success you need to first ask  “Do I need to prepare the floor before applying epoxy garage floor paint ?”. The answer is that it depends on the condition of the floor! It is vitally important that the floor should be clean and prepared (profiled) correctly before applying a concrete floor paint.
Profiling can be achieved by using acid etching or even mechanical grinding of the concrete. This profiling process opens up the “pores” of the concrete surface. In doing so it helps the epoxy garage floor paint form a strong physical bond as epoxy doesn’t adhere effectively to smooth concrete. An important note on typical clean and etch products is that many cheap water based epoxy “kits” that you can buy directly from your local DIY outlets include less powerful citrus based product.  Unfortunately, this etch will not profile the concrete sufficiently which only contributes to the likelihood of a poor bond.

If you don’t put the effort into correct preparation, you can easily end up with a poor mechanical bond, which along with the effect of hot tyres can cause even the best epoxy floor paint with greater heat tolerances to eventually pull up.

A note on tyre residue and tyre dressing

Additional factor that can contribute to this issue is the frequently overlooked problem of the build-up of tyre residue which can become embedded in bare concrete. Often found where the car tyres frequently rest.

When tyres are made, plasticisers (a blend of polymer compounds) and paraffin are used as part of the the mix of rubber compounds.  The function of these plasticisers is to help to produce a rubber tyre with greater flexibility.  As rubber can lose its black colour and crack over time, the paraffin waxes are used for ozone protection.

Now, when tyres get hot, these plasticisers and paraffin oils move to the outside of the tyre. From here it is deposited on the concrete where you park your car.  This tyre residue can gradually build up on the concrete floor where the car tyres sit and prevent the epoxy garage floor paint from bonding to it properly.

Tyre dressing is an even more problematic issue. Tyre dressings contain a blend of silicone agents. It it these that keep tyres appearance looking black and shiny.  Where problems occur is when the silicone tyre dressing effectively forms a seal when it comes in contact with the concrete so if tyre dressing has been applied very liberally or sprayed on to the tyres in the location where the car often parks, the silicone in tyre dressing can drip down and completely seal the concrete over time so nothing will adhere to it!

How can you prevent “Hot Tyre Pickup”?

The good news is that you can avoid hot tire pickup with Epoxy Garage Floor Paint. By following the steps below you should be able to create an epoxy coating to your garage floor that will last for years without any issues.

TIP 1 – Use better quality Epoxy Garage Floor Paint

As with any other product, you get tend to what you pay for.  Cheap water based, single coat epoxy kits are no comparison to superior water based epoxy coatings with high solids content. Our products feature solvent based epoxy, and 100% solids epoxy. They use new, higher quality epoxy formulations featuring greater heat tolerance and a variety of degrees of improvement in bonding characteristics (depending on the product used). From a practical and aesthetic perspective, they also create a much thicker garage floor paint coating. Investing in a good epoxy garage floor paint may increase the initial cost of the project but it will be more than offset by the increased quality and lifespan of the floor produced.

TIP 2 – Carry out proper preparation and concentrate cleaning

Sufficient attention to detail really has to be paid to the prep work required to prepare the floor for epoxy garage floor paint. The concrete of the garage floor really must be cleaned properly and profiled correctly.  Doing a professional job prior to painting the garage floor will significantly reduce the probability of hot tyre pickup as well as peeling epoxy paint.
Acid Etching your garage floor with Clean n’ Etch will produce a much better profile than that produced by a regular citrus etch.  Please note also that if you are able to, mechanically grinding the concrete of a garage is better still.  Whichever method you choose, employing these techniques will produce a much better surface for the epoxy coating to adhere to.

NOTE: One technique you can use is to carry out a “water test” of the garage floor concrete surface to check that the surface is profiled correctly.  This can be achieved by putting a few drops of water on various locations of the garage floor.  Where the water is absorbed quickly into the concrete, the profile is good, however, in areas where the water beads up / takes more than 20 seconds to be absorbed, you will need to profile it further.

Another important note is to make sure you check areas where the car tyres typically reside using this same method.  You can easily tell by noting that these areas will appear a little darker than the rest of the concrete if you had tyre residue effects.  If this area passes the “water test” then you fine to proceed with painting, however, if it fails the test, you must clean the area again or mechanically grind the concrete to remove remaining residue.

If silicone tyre dressing is the issue, the only suitable method is to grind away at these areas of the concrete until the tyre dressing is removed properly.  In the most extreme circumstances, your very best alternative is to use an oil stop epoxy primer on these problem areas.

TIP 3 – Use an epoxy primer

Epoxy primer is designed to sink deep into concrete. In doing so, it provides a powerful bond.  When the base coat or a colour coat of the higher quality epoxy floor paint is applied on top of it, the epoxy primer and the floor paint bond chemically, providing an even better bond.

Using an epoxy primer on the concrete first in conjunction with a better quality epoxy garage floor paint, you will remove just about all chance of Hot Tyre Pickup of the epoxy coating.