Set up your mix area. Start by running duct tape across the
threshold of the garage. The inside edge of the duct tape can be
anywhere the garage door seal touches the ground. I shoot for the
middle. Remember I discussed that epoxies will amber under direct and
consistent UV exposure. Even UV stable epoxies will degrade somewhat
and weather over time, so it is best practice to keep the epoxy in the
garage. If you are having a difficult time adhering the duct tape to
the concrete, take some acetone on a wiping rag and clean the surface prior
to putting the tape down. It would also be good practice to mask off
anything else near the ground you do not want to get epoxy on, such as
baseboard trim if you have it.
Now, take your tarp and lay it out next to the duct tape border
you just made and tape the tarp to the duct tape. This tarp is the
mixing area and we will need to walk between the garage floor and the
mixing area without getting epoxy outside these two areas. So, best
practice is to have the mixing area butting up to the garage floor.
Now get all your tools and supplies laid out on the tarp. You don’t
want to have to leave the garage and tarp area once you have epoxy on your
Unless you are just doing a prime and color coat, you will be
putting down 3 coats of epoxy. I will discuss the proper method of
doing this for the primer coat, but all three coats go down in a similar
The goal of the primer coat is to get the floor completely covered
as thin as possible with epoxy. We want the primer epoxy to penetrate
the concrete as much as possible while developing very little build.
The purpose of the primer coat is to develop a solid bond by having maximum
penetration of the epoxy into the pores of the concrete and seal them off.
All slabs of concrete are continuously passing air and moisture through the
slab. The primer coat seals off those capillaries that are passing
moisture and air through. When you first put down epoxy, you may
notice air bubbles in the surface of the epoxy. If the primer is not
thin enough those bubbles will not go away and the capillaries will not be
closed off. We have then defeated the purpose of the primer.
Then you have a problem since those bubbles will need to be sanded down
once the epoxy cures and another primer coat performed.
If by the time you are done with the primer coat you can still see
areas where the concrete color is showing through, that is okay. I
cannot stress enough that you cannot put this coat down thick at all.
I tell my guys, THIN to WIN and it’s not because I am cheap. You can
do all the build you want in the next coat, but the primer coat is not the
place to do it. I recommend no less than 300 sqft/gallon coverage and
often I’ll be pushing 400 sqft/gallon.
Your prime coat mix will consist of:
Acetone, Xylene, or M.E.K. 5-10% by volume
First, calculate how much epoxy you need to mix for the primer
coat. If you are coating 600 sqft (average 2 car garage), at 300
sqft/gallon you will need 2 gallons. Since most floor coating epoxies
(and the one demonstrated in the videos) is 2 parts resin to 1 part
hardener we will make some adjustments to how much you mix. The
increments on the 5 gallon pail are in ¼ gallon increments. To make
it easy to understand, for every ½ gallon A resin, you will need to add ¼
gallon B hardener. There isn’t going to be a smaller mix than that
since the limiting factor is your B hardener increment. So your mix
is going to be a multiple of ¾ gallons. Therefore, instead of a 2
gallon mix, you will mix 2 ¼ total gallons, which is 1 ½ gallons A Resin, ¾
gallon B Hardener.
Obviously there are ways to mix smaller amounts, and you could
figure out how to mix exactly 2 gallons, but it isn’t necessary. That
extra ¼ gallon spread out over 600 sqft is less than 1 mil in thickness,
which is insignificant. Always mix enough, never not enough;
otherwise you will be scrambling to mix another small mix when time is
ticking on your first mix.
I recommend the use of a color pack in the primer coat. This
is not necessary, but is useful to give the prime coat some color as it is
a visual indicator of what you have done and what needs to be worked.
Don’t mix this in until the A and B epoxies are measured out.
Also in the prime coat is the addition of solvent. There are
primer epoxies available, but the easiest and most economical way to do the
whole job is to purchase the volume of epoxy you need for the whole job as
a clear and modify as needed for the coat you are doing. Primer
epoxies are really just “high solids” epoxies, which means 100% solids that
has the solvent already mixed in. This solvent thins out the epoxy
making it more workable and better able to penetrate the concrete.
The recommended amount is 5-10% by volume. So if you are mixing 2 ¼
gallons of epoxy, then you will measure out between 14-28 oz of solvent.
Don’t mix this in until the A and B epoxies are measured out.
Make sure you have available:
Mini Roller frame with mini roller
18” Roller frame with roller
Flat blade squeegee
Wooden pole for squeegee and roller frame
Drill with mixing paddle
Once everything is staged, put on the spike shoes and latex gloves
and you are ready to mix. For this example, we are mixing a 2 ¼
gallon kit. First, measure 1 ½ gallons of A resin into the 5 gallon
graduated pail. Then, add B Hardener to bring up to the 2 ¼ gallon
mark. This starts the clock, so make a note of the time. Then
add a color pack and the solvent. Mix thoroughly for two minutes with
the drill and mixing paddle. Move the mixing paddle around the pail
ensuring the sides and bottom are scraped with the paddle. Do not mix
extremely fast as this will whip air into the epoxy mix.
As soon as mixing is complete, take the pail and dump the entire
contents evenly across the floor near the back wall.
Take the flat blade squeegee and using moderate pressure begin
spreading the epoxy evenly by walking the bead back and forth, getting as
close to the walls as possible. It’s easier if you make an initial
pass along the wall lengthwise and then do back and forth passes.
When you get to the end of the garage, you will probably still
have a small pile left over. Leave it there for now. Set down
the squeegee and put the pole on the mini-roller frame. Use this and
the 3” chip brush where needed and “cut in” the edges. Use the pile
of epoxy left over to “load up” the roller before you start cutting
Once you have finished cutting in, take the wooden pole and attach
it to the 18” roller frame. Use the dust pan to scoop up the extra
epoxy and dump it into mix bucket. You do not want all this extra
epoxy to be spread out on the floor. Remember, THIN to WIN.
There will still be too much epoxy on the floor where the pile was, but
that’s okay. Use your dry 18” roller cover and “load up” your roller
in this spot where the pile was. Now you can start back rolling the
floor. Start near the back of the garage at one wall and make a 6’
pass with the roller perpendicular to the direction you squeegeed.
Roll forwards, then backwards letting the pressure of the roller do the
work. You may have to roll it more than once to get the thin coat to
roll out evenly. Then pick up the roller at the end of the backstroke
and move it over being sure to overlap your next pass. Repeat this
process until you reach the other wall. Then move back 6’ and repeat,
being sure to overlap your previous row. You will probably have to do
3-4 rows until you are completely backed out of the garage.
This entire prime coat process shouldn’t take longer than 30-40
minutes for a novice from the time the clock started when you first mixed.
Just beware that the longer it takes the harder the epoxy will be to roll
out, especially when you start pushing 45-60 minutes. This is okay
for now, but when you do your finish clear coat, you will have two previous
coats to get “proficient”. This last coat is the one that matters the
most, so get your practice in now so you can get the clear coat down
faster. As a general rule, I try and be down working the epoxy by the
30 minute point. You will achieve the best results this way.
When you do your last coat, it will go down thicker and the epoxy will more
or less self level like glass after you roll it out provided you finished
early enough. You don’t want to be out working the epoxy after 45
minutes. That’s the point where it gets a little iffy if the epoxy
will level out nicely.
Now that the prime coat is done, remove the roller covers and
discard them into the mix bucket and set that aside. Clean up the
roller frames and squeegee, your spike shoes and the mix area. You
have a little time to kill.
Now, like I said the purpose of the primer is to seal off the
surface and provide a good bond. The next coat is a thicker color
coat. This has to be put down before the recoat window has expired,
which is generally 24 hours for most floor coating epoxies. Most
epoxies will have a stated recoat window of say 12-24 hours. That’s
fine. I have found it doesn’t hurt at all to push that initial window
up greatly. I generally like to put down my next coat about 3 hours
after the primer coat. At about the 3 hour point the primer coat has
achieved enough tack to prevent any out gassing from occurring. You
can wait until the next day if you like, I’m simply stating that it won’t
hurt anything if you choose to do it sooner rather than later.
Just be warned, the surface will still be tacky, and this is normal.
This is why most stated recoat windows are 12-24 hours. At about the
12 hour point, depending on temperature, the surface should be near tack
free. It will still be extremely soft, so don’t go walking on it with
shoes, but shouldn’t be tacky if you rub your fingers across it.