DIY RockSolid Garage Floor Tutorial
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A couple of weeks ago, I checked-in about the current state of our garage and declared that I was about 55% done with my “dream garage” plans with about 45% of the work to go before I could call this space d-o-n-e.
The Bad News
If I’m being completely honest, I probably will never get to 100% of those plans because I don’t see this house as our forever house, and therefore don’t want to dump a ton of money customizing a garage that isn’t mine forever.
The Good News
Although ALL of my dream plans for this space probably won’t be a reality, I still want to check what I can off of this wish-list and a few weekends ago, I did just that!
Sealing Garage Floor – A DIY Project
With the help from my bestie, we now have a shiny, clean, and NEW epoxy floor!! <—- I can’t even believe I’m typing that out because it still doesn’t seem real. This was an item that I really, really hoped for one day in our garage but wasn’t always confident would become a reality.
Photo & Inspiration via Bower Power Blog
We were first introduced to the idea of DIYing this epoxy coating when one of our fav bloggers, Katie from Bower Power Blog, DIY-ed her own garage with Rust-Oleum’s RockSolid Epoxy a few months back. We followed along every step of the way and couldn’t believe the transformation (you have to check out the before and after here). Katie made this project look so attainable, and we were immediately interested in recreating this look in my garage!
So that’s exactly what we did. We watched her tutorials, read as many tips as we could, and got to work planning this project. My cracking, stained, and grungy garage floor needed some DIY attention ASAP.
Through our research, we learned very quickly that so much of how well epoxy covers rides on the preparation of the floor and making sure it’s extremely CLEAN and ready for the last step — the epoxy. So I spent the entire week following these steps in order to prep the floor for this Saturday project.
Here’s what the week looked like. *note: all of my prep work was done outside of my day job so some of these steps definitely could’ve been consolidated but because I was prepping after work each day, the prep took a little longer.
- Sunday: Shop for supplies
- Monday: Remove everything from the floor of the garage
- Tuesday: Etch the floor (etching = fancy word for deep clean with chemicals)
- Wednesday: Dry Time with fans all over the garage
- Thursday: More Dry Time
- Friday: More Dry Time
- Saturday: Project Day (about 9am – noon) + Dry Time
- Sunday: Dry Time… just to be safe
- Monday: Bring everything back into the garage
I learned so much for this process and shared ALL the tips I learned along the way right here. If you’re looking to epoxy your garage floor, I encourage you to check out this post for more details (aka I made some mistakes so you don’t have to). Today, I’m going to focus a little more in-depth on the specific steps to clarify exactly how we made my garage floor dreams come true!
- Rust-Oleum’s RockSolid Epoxy Metallic (the box says 2 boxes will cover a one car garage, we ended up needing 4 boxes for full coverage) <– EVERYTHING for the epoxy comes in the kit
- 5 Gallon Bucket
- Long Handle Mini Roller
- Rust-Oleum Etching Solution + MASK
- Stiff Bristle Brush
- Fans (optional)
- If you have cracks in your concrete, Rust-Oleum EpoxyShield
We removed everything from the floor of our garage and had to leave it out of the space for the whole week. We ended up bringing some of the stuff inside and storing it ALL OVER the place and we put the bigger/dirtier stuff (like the lawn mower) in the backyard.
Once the garage floor was clear, I took our blower and blew out any leaves, grass clippings, spider webs, and general dust. I did this several times just to make sure it was as free from as much dust as possible. Then it was time for the etching.
I never knew what etching was until this process and now I understand it as a super “chemically” way to clean the top layer of concrete. I would definitely recommend wearing a face mask throughout this process because the intense chemical smell will literally take your breath away. My advice for etching? READ the directions on the bottle and follow these instructions exactly.
After I blew out and hosed down the floor several times, I thought it looked SUPER clean, probably the cleanest I have ever seen it. After the etching process, I realized it wasn’t even close to clean then! The etching process brought a whole new meaning to clean because it magically removed a lot of the stains, paint, and just generally made the whole space look A LOT better… already!
Now it was time for lots of drying. It’s important that the epoxy is applied to a VERY dry and prepped floor, so I waited a few days and added a few fans into the garage to make sure it was very dry when project day rolled around.
Fixing Cracks + More Dry Time
We have quite a few LARGE cracks throughout our one car garage so I wanted to patch these before adding the epoxy. This was a pretty easy thing to do. I bought Rust-Oleum’s EpoxyShield for $22 and followed the directions on the box to get these cracks patched.
It took me less than an hour to get all of these cracks patched and then…. more dry time!
Finally…. it was time to add the coat of epoxy! We chose to work with Rust-Oleum’s RockSolid Epoxy Kit in Gun Metal because I liked that it only needed ONE coat and I really liked the metallic grey color. Plus, I wanted a quality product that would hold up to traffic from our car, especially in the winter with salt on the tires.
My parents had their garage professional done over a decade ago and it still looks amazing! However, that project came with a pretty large price-tag so the option to DIY my own floor for under $500 seemed like a much more affordable option.
Much like the etching, my advice to anyone looking to tackle this project at your house would be to READ the directions very carefully and follow them precisely. Once the product is mixed in the bucket, you have about 90 minutes to apply it so it’s important that you have a plan before starting to mix.
It’s way easier than we thought!
And just like Katie’s tutorial suggested, we mixed the epoxy, cut in the edges of the garage with a paint brush, poured the epoxy on the floor in small sections and started rolling it out just like paint. It really is just like painting a wall but instead you’re painting the floor. We followed these exact steps moving from the very back of the garage toward the front until the entire garage was covered.
The only bad part of painting a floor instead of a wall is that once you have painted it, there’s no going back and fixing anything because you obviously can’t walk on the wet epoxy. <– this stuff was hard enough to get off our hands, I can only imagine what would happen if you walked on it!! #yikes
The process overall was A LOT less intimidating than we expected. As long as the floor is prepped properly, this project should run pretty darn smoothly. The only negatives that we experienced was using more product than we expected (maybe it’s how we applied it?) and my garage did experience a few air bubbles. We did a lot of research on why this happened and I think it may have something to do with my garage floor (gas releasing from the ground).
I would also choose a non-metallic color next time because I think the flat color would go on more evenly (in terms of color throughout and when the sun hits it).
Now that this project is done, I can’t even believe it’s the same garage! It’s just feels so much cleaner and far less like a grungy garage. Don’t get me wrong, I still have A LOT of work ahead of me to bring this space to where I want it to be, but WOW… this was an amazing step in the right direction!! Plus, keeping this surface clean is so easy because I can hose it down and squeegee it out — I’m obsessed!
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.