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Workshop Renovation #3: New Floor

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Blog entry by Brian Shourd posted 10-28-2011 05:07 AM 6990 reads 2 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Tool Cabinet Part 3 of Workshop Renovation series no next part

This summer, the workshop renovation really kicked in to high gear. It’s actually finished now, but I thought that I would post a bit about it now that I have the whole thing done.

The first step is a new coat of epoxy on the concrete floor of the garage. I decided to do the floor before the walls, since it would be relatively easy to clean up drywall compound from the floor, but relatively difficult to remove epoxy from the walls. I think it could be done in any order, though.

To start, of course, I had to wash the entire garage. A lot. I went over the entire thing with a scrub-brush several times, using lots of heavy-duty degreaser, then plenty of rinsing to make sure that the floor was sparkly clean. This took probably about 2 hours total.

Next, I had to use an acid etch to ensure good bonding between the concrete and the epoxy. Pretty simple, but required another ridiculous amount of rinsing. It was cool to actually hear the acid working on the concrete – it’s a lot like Rice Krispies.

Now, after letting the floor dry completely (about 36 hours), I could fill the cracks. I used an epoxy crack filler to fill all of the dividers between the slabs of concrete in the garage. Although this increased the cost of the floor covering significantly, it is definitely my favorite part of the floor now. Sweeping up is a breeze, compared to before, and I don’t get grit and gunk stuck in the cracks all the time.

Now all that remains is to apply the epoxy, which goes on just like paint. I applied it to 10’ square sections at a time, and threw on some multi-colored paint chips. I wasn’t sure that I would like the paint chips, but I’m very glad I used them. For one thing, they look nice. But more objectively, they do a great job of hiding imperfections and dirt on the floor. So my floor never looks dirty, even if (when) I drop some paint from a project onto it.

I taped off areas I wanted clean,

And then rolled it on.

I put the epoxy coat on the wooden stairs, as well.

Once that had fully cured, I decided that I would like to have an extra layer of protection, so I covered the entire floor with a coat of heavy-duty polyurethane. The yellowing effect it had is unfortunate (you can’t see it in this picture, since I had just put it on), but I don’t mind it so much now. I just tell myself that the floor is green, not blue, and then it’s ok.

This is the one step that I might skip if I did it again. I’m not sure that it really provides more protection, and it was kind of expensive, compared to the relatively low cost of finishing the floor in the first place. The yellowing effect is unpleasant, and worst of all – I didn’t coat the floor evenly, so the yellowing is uneven as well. It makes the floor look like I spilled oil or something in places, when in fact the poly is just thicker there.

On the bright side, the poly is smooth like glass, so it cleans up easily. Also, if the floor gets too scratched up, I can just apply another layer of poly to clean it up – something I couldn’t do if it was just the epoxy. If the floor gets really messed up, or I spill something horrible on it, I can actually use some paint stripper to take off some of the poly without hurting the epoxy underneath, then re-apply and be done. So it may be good in the long-term. Only time will tell.

Thanks for looking. Next time, drywall and insulation!

-- Brian



9 comments so far

View ChunkyC's profile

ChunkyC

856 posts in 2717 days


#1 posted 10-28-2011 04:45 PM

What brand of epoxy coating did you use? It really looks nice.

c

-- Chunk's Workshop pictures: http://spadfest.rcspads.com/thumbnails.php?album=135

View Brian Shourd's profile

Brian Shourd

106 posts in 2056 days


#2 posted 10-28-2011 05:33 PM

Thanks! It’s Rustoleum Epoxy Shield. They have several different versions available: I used their “Professional Floor Coating”. It was slightly more expensive then their other versions, but we’re talking about a floor covering that I hope will last a decade or more, so I went with the best I could find.

-- Brian

View ChunkyC's profile

ChunkyC

856 posts in 2717 days


#3 posted 10-28-2011 05:49 PM

I’ve read mixed reviews on that brand. There are just as many good reviews of it as there are bad reviews. But I think ever brand has about the mix of reviews. It looks real nice on your floor. I have aspirations of some day coating my garage.

-- Chunk's Workshop pictures: http://spadfest.rcspads.com/thumbnails.php?album=135

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5605 posts in 2695 days


#4 posted 10-28-2011 06:46 PM

I have 3 major projects left to do in my shop, and they all require I empty it out, this is one of them!

How did you get your shop space empty in order to be able to do this work? My family would throw a fit if I tried moving my shop equipment into the kitchen for a weekend to do this…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View Brian Shourd's profile

Brian Shourd

106 posts in 2056 days


#5 posted 10-28-2011 06:50 PM

I think the most important thing is to get the floor clean. I spent a lot of time and energy degreasing, and I still had some problems getting the wet epoxy to stick in the really bad spots. I could (and probably should) have spent even more time, and used an even heavier degreaser. And my concrete wasn’t too bad to begin with.

I can see that if someone was working in a garage that has seen a fair amount of motor oil on its floors, they might have an extremely difficult time getting a good adhesion, no matter what brand they use, unless they took drastic measures. The instructions make the cleaning part look easy, and I bet that leads a lot of people to put less work into it than necessary. At least, that’s where I think the mixed reviews might come from.

My recommendation: do it. The actual work involved wasn’t bad: about 6-8 hours emptying the garage and cleaning the floor. Only an hour or less to actually coat the floor, and then another 6-8 hours moving everything back in (which somehow takes longer than getting it out). There’s probably about 7 total days of waiting (for floors to dry, for epoxy to cure, etc.), though, while your garage is unusable and you have to have somewhere to put all of your shop equipment.

Overall, this was the easiest part of the garage refinish, and I think it looks fantastic. It really makes the place much nicer to work in, mostly for aesthetic reasons, but some practical reasons too. And it adds value to the house.

-- Brian

View Brian Shourd's profile

Brian Shourd

106 posts in 2056 days


#6 posted 10-28-2011 07:01 PM

dbhost, getting the shop space empty was a challenge. What you do depends on your particular situation, and how much equipment you have. I just have my big workbench, some shelving, a tool chest, a drill press, and a small table saw in the way of large equipment. Some of it took up space in the living room for a few days, and all of the small tools went into boxes in the storage room. I kind of got used to the look of the drill press next to the piano.

If you live in a safe neighborhood with good weather, you could just put the rest in your backyard under a tarp. That’s what I did with a bunch of shelving, my table saw, the lawnmower and all of my lumber. It even rained a couple of times, but there was no rust or problems.

If you have a lot of stuff, you could always get one of those storage pods in your driveway for a week. I don’t know what the pricing is on something like that, but it would certainly be a secure and easy way to deal with it. You wouldn’t have to move things far at all, nor worry much about organizing (unless you have a lot of equipment). If I had more stuff, or bigger stuff, I probably would have gone with this method.

-- Brian

View ShopTinker's profile

ShopTinker

884 posts in 2231 days


#7 posted 10-28-2011 11:19 PM

My son did his garage floor using the Rustoleum Epoxy. He has a deep two car garage. He moved everything the drive way while he cleaned the garage floor. Then he moved everything to one side of the garage, packed tight against the wall, and treated the other side. After the first side cure he moved everything over to that side and finished up. It took him three weekends to complete.

-- Dan - Valparaiso, Indiana, "A smart man changes his mind, a fool never does."

View ChunkyC's profile

ChunkyC

856 posts in 2717 days


#8 posted 10-29-2011 01:18 AM

Brian, Let us know what happens when drop something on the floor, say a screw for instance. My fear is that the paint chips might acted like camo and make finding droppers a little tough.

-- Chunk's Workshop pictures: http://spadfest.rcspads.com/thumbnails.php?album=135

View Brian Shourd's profile

Brian Shourd

106 posts in 2056 days


#9 posted 10-29-2011 02:02 AM

Dan, that’s a good idea. It would take a bit longer, because of the waiting for everything to dry, but it sure would make moving all of the stuff a bunch easier. I’ll have to keep that in mind for the next garage.

Chunky, I’ve had the floor now for about 3 months. You are correct, the paint chips definitely do their best to hide anything I drop on the floor. It’s a trade-off, but I like the chips anyway.

-- Brian

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