Tips of the trade for painting your garage

Painting a garage

Nothing is a substitute for experience and when it comes to the do’s and don’ts of painting garage floors, we have more experience than most! Below are some of our tried and tested tips for getting the best results from your work to give you a garage floor you can truly be proud of!

Tips for painting a garage floor using single pack floor paint

First, be sure to wash the whole floor using a degreasing solution. Next you should rinse the floor until it’s completely clean. If the floor is especially dirty, particularly smooth or perhaps power floated, you must either mechanically roughen the surface it or treat with a product such as Regal Clean and Etch.

Once this first step is done, you should check whether the Regal Clean and Etch has worked by pouring water onto the concrete floor to observe if it absorbs. If the water fails to absorb and instead beads on the surface, you will need to repeat the etching process until the surface is correctly prepared.

Areas of the floor that have imperfections in them will show through the final coat. For this reason, these blemishes must be sanded, scraped or ground down in order to achieve a smooth surface. Brush or vacuum the residue off the floor, along with any remaining flaky paint.

If there are any holes or cracks remaining in the concrete of the garage floor, you should take the time to fill them using a trowel and a patch compound, making sure you let it dry properly before continuing.

You might need to “cut in” the edges of the pillars, walls, posts and doorways with a hand paint brush before using the paint roller. This process will reduce the chances of paint splatter from your floor roller. It’s worth knowing that there are experienced contractors who may tell you that they skip this process, but if you are in any way unsure, the old adage ‘better safe than sorry’ applies!

Next the fun begins and you get to see real results – apply one or two coats of the garage floor paint using a floor roller, then allow a full 24 hours between coats and a minimum of 48 hours after finishing that final coat, before allowing any vehicles or heavy machinery onto the floor.

Please note that when painting larger floors it is far better to divide the floor into square patches when painting. We suggest squares of approximately 3 x 3 metres. By doing the work this way, it allows you to roller the paint in one direction initially, then rolling the floor from the side at 90 degrees. By back rollering in the other direction, it will prevent obvious roller marks and enable you to achieve a far better finish.

To achieve a beautiful finish, an optional final coat can be added of Regal Clear Finish.  This product will protect the paint surface and will add a beautiful glass gloss finish to the floor. Glitter or paint flakes may be added to the Regal Clear Finish if desired – this provides extra aesthetic appeal to the floor. You can apply it with a floor roller and then simply wait 24 hours for the paint to dry.

Tips for preparing for painting with two-pack epoxy floor paint

As with painting a garbage floor with single pack paint, when looking to apply epoxy floor paint, you should wash the floor using a degreasing solution. You should then rinse the floor until it’s clean. If the garage floor is very dirty, smooth or power floated, it needs to be either mechanically abraded or else treated with Regal Clean and Etch.

In order to check whether the Regal Clean and Etch has worked, simply pour water onto the concrete to see if it absorbs. If the water forms beads on the surface, you will then need to repeat the etching process.

Areas of the floor that show imperfections will end up showing through on the final coat. Imperfections must be sanded, scraped or ground away to in order to achieve a sufficiently smooth surface. You should brush or vacuum any concrete dust off the floor, along with any flaking paint.

If there are holes or cracks in the concrete, you should fill them in using a trowel and a patch compound. Let it dry before continuing.

Again, It may be necessary to “cut in” the edges of the walls, pillars posts and doorways with a hand paint brush first. This will reduce the chance of paint splatter from your floor roller. 

Importantly you should allow drying time of 24hrs (per coat) The sealer will usually be ready for top coating after 24 hours. However, it is important to test the sealer before top coating to ensure it is completely dry. If the sealer is still soft or sticky, then a topcoat could entrap solvent in the sealer. A common mistake is to assume that if the surface is dry, it is ready for another coat. What happens if you paint too soon is that a layer on paint becomes sealed in which will then be unable to dry properly, spoiling the surface.

5°C Minimum Floor Temperate – It is always better to apply floor coatings in the morning as this ensures that they have the warmest temperatures to begin the curing process. It is especially important to make sure that the temperature of the substrate is above 5 degrees C. If you paint when the floor is below this temperature the epoxy will not begin to activate.

An avoidable and common mistake but when setting our your cans, you should ensure the different epoxy coats (ie sealer or topcoat) are separated to ensure the right activators are assigned to the right paint base. You should then pour the activator into the paint base and mix.

An electric drill fitted with a mixer paddle should be used to mix the two components together. It is really important to thoroughly mix the two components together. This will ensure that the heavier ingredients, which may settle to the bottom of the can, are combined evenly through the can.

The mixing processes in all two pack epoxies – sealer, primer and topcoats are the same.

After you are content that the two components are thoroughly mixed, let the can sit (sweat) for around 10 minutes. This is called the induction period, and is vital in order to allow the activator and the base to begin working together. It has the effect of reducing the possibility of air bubbles in thicker coats.

Pour out the sealer coat onto the floor in a thin line, then roller this thin line of paint using a floor roller.

Finally, a note for larger floors – it is much better to divide the floor into square zones of approximately 3 x 3 metres. Doing this allows you to roller the paint initially in one direction and then from the side at right angles to it. Back rollering in the other direction will avoid roller marks and produce a much better finish.

Once the sealer coat has dried, apply one or two coats of the two-pack epoxy floor paint (topcoat) or the high-build epoxy garage floor paint. The mixing procedure for the topcoat is exactly the same as for the sealer. The pouring and rollering procedures are also identical. It is advisable to leave the floor for a minimum of 48 hours after top-coating before working on or operating machinery on the floor.