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!