When its time to epoxy floor, the decision you’ll have to make is to DIY or hire a professional. One option that’s growing in popularity is installing an epoxy floor coating to spice up the space. How you use your garage, workshop, storage or entertaining area – epoxy is a popular flooring solution and suits any space. Choosing Epoxy can add a lot of value and function to your garage. But it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision on DIY or hiring a professional.
The main cost when deciding whether to DIY or hire a professional is the price of epoxy floor coating kits. You can find them at any home improvement store, and can vary depending on the size of your garage. If you have a three-car garage, you’ll probably need to buy two kits, which will obviously increase the cost. When you compare that to the price of hiring a professional to do the job it’s easy to see why people are tempted to tackle the project themselves. But there are many factors to consider before making your decision.
For example, if you’re not experienced in applying epoxy flooring, the results may not be what you’re hoping for. It takes skill and practice to get a smooth, even finish with no bubbles or streaks. If you don’t prepare the concrete correctly, it won’t adhere to the concrete and will start to peel. Another thing to keep in mind is that most professionals offer a warranty on their workmanship. This is something you obviously won’t get if you do the job yourself. So, while there are definite cost savings when you opt to do-it-yourself, there are also some risks involved.
Preparation and Application
Some may say that applying a DIY epoxy kit is the same as painting a room in your home. But unfortunately it’s not as easy as cracking a can and coating the floor. The first step – which is also the most critical, is to prepare the floor for the epoxy. Professionals like our SAGE Epoxy Flooring team will use a diamond grinder to mechanically clean and smooth the floor. This process is what ensures the epoxy will adhere properly to the concrete. Preventing the system from peeling or left with air pockets.
If you challenge yourself with this project and are without a diamond grinder, your best option is to acid etch the concrete. This technique is when you use an acid solution to wash the concrete area. It’s designed to clean the concrete and create a surface that the epoxy will bond with. While acid etching is a much better alternative than simply cleaning the concrete with soap and water. It doesn’t allow for the extent of adhesion that is necessary for the coating to last for years to come.
The next step is to mix the epoxy coating. This is a two-part resin that must be mixed together in the proper ratio. Once mixed, you have a limited time to apply it before it starts to harden. So you need to work quickly and efficiently. As mentioned before, getting a smooth, even finish takes practice and skill. If preparation and application are not performed correctly, you’ll find your epoxy flooring only looking good for the first 12 months or so. This is until it begins to peel away and needs redoing. However if you had a professional perform the installation the finish would last at least 20 years. As well as having a workmanship warranty.
When it comes to choosing the finish of epoxy, DIY kits have a limited range. Typically offering very neutral flake tones and limited top coats. These tones typically are a brown, or grey with a vinyl flake peppered throughout the mix. The reason for offering DIY flake mix is to distract the eye from any imperfections made in your DIY. This includes your; rolling marks, bubbles and air pockets, as well as pin holes – burst bubbles. When having flake, you are less likely to notice the faults once your DIY project is complete.
If you choose a professional, you have a huge range of colour combinations to choose from. This starts with natural stone looks, through to bright colours that can match your favourite sporting team! You can elect how dense you would like your flaking, to either see the base coat or not at all.
When comparing a professional to DIY, the biggest point of difference is in the durability of the job. DIY will find you with a floor that will crack, peel, lose its gloss finish, or yellow as it’s not UV resistant. You will still encounter general wear and tear like scratches, however you will not find the professionals’ work peeling away. This difference in long term durability all starts at the concrete preparation when our team grinds the floor. When comparing coating materials in a DIY kit, there are discrepancies in the quality and quantity of material supplied. On average professionals will add about 2-3mm to the floor. Whereas with DIY kits it can be inconsistent due to the limited quantity they come with.
The real question at the end of comparing is how much are you prepared to spend. When you see the price tag, you don’t always consider the longevity you will get from the product. If you are on a tight budget, and can access the adequate tools to complete the job – DIY could be for you. However, if you consider the long term value from investing in epoxy done by a professional instead of DIY, you’ll find that the work will last 5-10 times as long. Consider the lifetime of the flooring – this is where you’ll save time, money and the stress of repeating the process again and again! Contact our team to help you find the best option for your garage flooring project.