DIY Concrete Floor Epoxy Coating Preparation

DIY Concrete Floor Epoxy Coating Preparation

Watching DIY videos online, it is easy to believe that taking on a project in just about any area of your home gives you control of the timing, the materials, and the cost, saving you money. For some projects it just might, but for others, take a minute to think it all through.

You want to apply an epoxy coating or a concrete stain to your concrete garage floor or patio, for example. Many products claim that you can do it yourself but do they tell the whole story?

safety equipment

Safety First

We have mentioned before that preparation for an epoxy coating or concrete staining is key. Most failures occur due to improper prep of the floor. Like any coating project, surface prep is the key. You will need to clean, repair, and etch or grind your floor in most cases to prep it for the coating. You may need to purchase concrete fillers repair products  to handle the repairs, and take the time to clean thoroughly. The etching or grinding step requires some specific safety procedures. Please note that the etching solution that Armrpoxy carries is a mild/buffered acid used for etching, but reasonable precautions should be noted:

  • Do you have the proper skin and eye protection (safety glasses, rubber gloves, long -sleeved clothing)?
  • How about a respirator that is rated for organic vapors if you etch your floor?
  • If you end up renting a concrete grinding machine from the local rental or home center, do you have a dust respirator to protect your lungs from the fine concrete dust that will be in the air while you work? Are you using eye protection?

Building Codes and Pollution Control

You need to be aware of what you can and can’t do in your town without permits. Easy with coating a garage floor, probably no permits are required, but check with your local authorities. During the etching process any acid used gets diluted so much from the washing step that it normally requires no special handling or precautions.


Most coating projects can be easily completed in just a few days or less.  Materials that you use to fill cracks may need curing time.  Each phase of the project has its own timetable for drying and curing before the next step can be started so make sure to allow proper time for that. Temperature can also affect cure times, slowing them down as it gets colder. If you are doing a coating project in temperatures colder than 55 degrees F, you may want to consider using a low-temp faster curing coating. Also, once a step is begun, you can’t stop in the middle and pick it up later without the risk of losing material from hardening and having the job turn out  with an improper result. All of these must be taken into consideration before you start.

What if something goes wrong?

You are confident that you understand the material you are working with and that you have prepped the garage floor perfectly. You have the correct safety equipment and the time to tackle each next phase. Plan as best as you can for contingencies.

Long Term

There are a number of questions here.

  • Will this last as long as a professionally done job? Most likely yes if you have followed your supplier’s instructions, and purchased a high-quality product.
  • Check to see if you can easily maintain your coating with topcoat easily and inexpensively.
  • Don’t forget the cost of buying or renting the grinding equipment if you go that route needed to accomplish your project?

If you think carefully about the pros and cons, you may decide that you can and want to tackle the job, and ArmorPoxy has products and kits to make your DIY life easier. On the other hand, if you stacked up more cons for the DIY column, consider ArmorPoxy products installed by Prep- Crete (servicing the NY Tri-State area), professionals who know the ins and outs and will guarantee that you end up with a professionally applied coating that will last for years and add value to your home.

4 Responses to “DIY Concrete Floor Epoxy Coating Preparation”

  1. Lisa October 30, 2021 at 7:07 pm Permalink

    Thank you for all of this great info! Based on your info, I have decided to do a sample area first. Going from the house into the garage, there is a 3-1/2 ft square concrete pad raised a couple inches above the main concrete floor (which is severely cracked & stained). This is an older home from 1961 and I do not believe the garage has ever been “finished.”
    I was wondering why you’d need to clean up oil spots (I could understand filling the cracks!) so I appreciate that you took the time to include the importance of degreasing, etc. For my little pad, I have heavy duty concrete floor cleaner, concrete/masonry primer, epoxy paint (even going to include speckles!) and a top coat sealer. Bought a special epoxy roller as well, since it’s such a small area.
    I’ll let you know how it turns out! I am taking before/after photos. This project is a surprise for my son who is deployed. He just bought this house a couple years ago and has been gone so much he hasn’t had time to take care of these random homeowner projects!
    THANK YOU for putting together all of your posts on this subject. They are very informative. I am going to have to have a professional come in for the main floor, that’s for sure! Never thought of etching or grinding, but this little area, thankfully, doesn’t need either. Thanks again! I’ll let you know how this turns out…

    • Alex November 1, 2021 at 1:51 pm Permalink

      Hi Lisa,

      We are glad you found the post informative. If you do no properly prep the oil stained areas the oil stained areas will cause issues down the road. If the epoxy is applied without grinding down the areas or using an oil stop primer the oil stains will eventually show through the final coating. It’s very important to treat these areas prior to application to avoid potential future issues.

      Good luck on the project and let us know if we can be of any assistance along the way.

      The Armorpoxy Team

  2. Bonnie Rudie May 20, 2022 at 2:52 pm Permalink

    Can I do the etching process over already painted surface?

    • ryanb June 8, 2022 at 1:22 am Permalink

      We recommend diamond grinding any old paint off the floor to ensure proper epoxy adhesion.

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