The Garage Floor – Prepping For Epoxy

by Linden on May 11, 2007

In Part 1 of this series I spoke about testing you concrete to see if it is likely to allow epoxy to bond. Today we will take a look our options in preparing the parking pad for an epoxy coating.

As with painting a car, the success of an epoxy coat is dependant on how well you prepare your surface. It seems odd, but trust me the epoxy will only bond to the best of surfaces.

A few things to note before we talk about prepping:

  • You concrete must be cured for at least 30 days old before applying epoxy. It will not stick to freshly poured concrete.
  • Apply epoxy only when concrete is warm to touch (check manufacturers instructions).
  • Do not apply if rain is in the forecast (water will often soak up through you concrete and this can affect the bond).

Let’s talk about preparing the concrete. We have a couple of basic options with a million little twists.

Acid Etching:

Acid etching involves applying muriatic acid to your concrete. Please wear protective clothing (eyes, hands, respirator) when working with muriactic acid.

  1. Following the directs – dilute you muriactic acid with water (normally 1 part acid, 3 parts water). Add the water/acid slowly to avoid spilling and splashing.
  2. Sprinkle the solution all over the garage floor. Ensure you get in the corners and along the walls. Do not mop it on – sprinkle it on.
  3. Using a stiff bristled broom scrub the muriactic acid into the concrete.
  4. Note any areas where bubbling is not occurring – they will likely require further preparation.
  5. Power wash the concrete – this will remove the acid and loose debris
  6. Mix baking soda and water and sprinkle on concrete. This will neutralize any acid left in the floor.
  7. Wait a few minutes and rinse the floor again.


I have heard of cases where the muriactic acid has rusted pretty much anything that is metal in the garage. Remove all hanging tools, toolboxes, etc. while working with the acid.


Using an orbital sander or belt sander (you can save your self some pain and rent a standup sander) rough up your concrete until it feel like 150 grit sand paper. When done scarifying it is important you wash the concrete really well – use a pressure washer.

Shot Blasting:

Shot blasting is an excellent way to “rough up” your concrete and get it ready for you epoxy coating. You can rent a shot blaster at Home Depot or Sun Belt. Using a pressure washer clean your concrete very well when you are done shot blasting.

Once you are done acid etching, scarifying, or shot blasting and you pad is cleaned, wait for it to dry – this can take up to day.

Test Concrete:

Now you will want to test your concrete to ensure it absorbs water. Basically splash a few drops of water, they should soak into the concrete almost instantly. If they bead on top of the concrete you have more work ahead of you. I’d suggest testing the entire garage.

If a sealant was originally applied to your pad it ma not have been removed and may require shot blasting. Some sealants will actually penetrate deep into the concrete when applied; if this is the case no amount of shot blasting or acid etching will make your pad suitable for epoxy.

If oil has soaked into your drive and acid etching/scarifying/shot blasting has not done the trick you have a couple of options:

Burn it out:

Some have reported success applying heat via a torch to the cement the oil/petroleum will actually burn out of the cement. I have never tried this if you are going to make sure you take the necessary safety precautions.

Oil Stain Remover:

Purchase a concrete cleaner meant to soak up oil and petroleum stains. Most report about 75% success rate with these products. It comes down to how saturated your concrete is.

Things to watch for:

Often the areas you car tires normally sit will have leaked oils and petroleum’s into you concrete I am not sure if it from the tire breaking down or more likely containments brought in on the tire from the streets. You will want to test these areas to ensure water does not bead or you will be especially susceptible to lifting epoxy in these places in the future. If water does bead follow the directions above (burn it out or stain remover should work).

Repairing Cracks:

If your drive has some cracks in it use a grinder to widen the gap and then fill them with one of the products readily available at your local Home Depot. Follow the direction on the filler.

You drive should now be ready for the epoxy. In our next article we will take a look at the many products available.

Please click here and leave some feedback on this post. Did you enjoy it? Did I miss it? Are you anxious for the next part? Let us know.

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Until Next Time,


{ 2 trackbacks }

petroleum refining process
January 9, 2008 at 10:46 pm
floor heaters
April 12, 2008 at 5:24 am

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Johson August 10, 2007 at 11:35 pm

Here’s some tips on acid staining, thanks for yours:

Promo Code April 20, 2013 at 7:33 pm

Hmm is anyone else experiencing problems with the pictures on this blog loading?

I’m trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the
blog. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

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