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Your garage occupies over 10% of your home’s square footage.  Now that you have decided to reclaim this space for better use it is important to understand your options.

Resilient Flooring System

Resilient floors involve the application of polymer (plastic) based paints which are applied in multiple coatings over a concrete surface.  Epoxies and urethanes are typical for this application, as they resist a high level of physical and chemical stress, at minimal thickness. 

  1. Assess the condition of concrete:  It is important that a proper assessment is performed to determine the condition of the concrete substrate (floor).  Moisture content (as a percentage) must be taken into consideration.  Ideal conditions are equal to or less than 3%.  As epoxies and urethanes rely on a heat reaction to cure, additional moisture will compromise their potential to do so.  In addition to this, the floor must be examined for damages such as: pitting, cracks and spalding.  It is important that these characteristics be noted for repair during installation.  If not, these compromises will create a failure in the installed floor. 
  1. Concrete preparation:  Before painting a deck, it is typical to sand first.  By doing so, you will ensure that the coat of paint will bond well to the wood and not peel away.  Concrete is no exception.  Surface preparation requires the use of either diamond grinding or shot blasting, to essentially “sand-off” the top 1-3mm. of concrete.  This allows for a more porous profile, increasing the surface area of the floor.  When the primer coat (first coat) is applied to the proper profile, it will attain optimal adhesion, thus ensuring performance and installation specifications.
Diamond Grinder setup on dolly Diamond Blade
Diamond Grinder setup on dolly Diamond Blade
  1. Coatings:  Because protective surface coatings are typically thinner than a millimeter, they are measured in mils thickness. The thickness of 1mil is 1/40 millimeter (or 40 mils in a millimeter).  The primer coat is typically laid at a thickness of 6 mils followed up with 1-3 coatings. These coats may include solid colours or incorporate decorative options such as epoxy flakes or quartz sand.

The first option which involves a solid colour coating will include 2 coats, each at twice the thickness of the primer coat (approximately 12 mils). Refer to colour chart to see options.

Decorative options: This may incorporate either a flake or quartz broadcast into a second coat (after primer coat).  There are a variety of palettes available which can co-ordinate with an existing exterior colour or proposed garage wall colour.  Density or coverage of the broadcast is another option, and usually ranges from 50%-100%.  Although these materials are decorative, they do add thickness to the build (between 10-20 mils) of the floor contributing to overall strength.  A density of 75%+ is recommended.

Diamond Grinder setup on dolly

Decorative flakes set in second coat of epoxy.

To seal the decorative materials, two top coats of either a clear epoxy or urethane are applied.  Each provide outstanding protective features, yet are specialized to different settings.  Unlike urethanes, clear epoxy will amber in appearance over time, however they hold up much better to tire marks.  Urethanes are best used for interior applications (i.e.: basement floor concrete). 

Each of these top coats is laid at 10-12 mils creating a total floor thickness of approximately 1-2 mm.

Top Coats

A final product that is low-maintenance and will last for years.

Other Options

Epoxy Stains:
Stains are a popular option for homeowners looking to enhance the natural appearance of their concrete floors. The process involves laying a primer coat of clear epoxy with a stain colour injection, and either a second coat of epoxy or urethane. The total thickness of the finished product is a little more than half a millimeter, yet this system still provides a high protective value. In terms of cosmetic options, the stain comes in an endless number of colour options and transparency levels range from 5%-25%.

Stain Options

Stains come in a variety of colours and concentrations.

It will take 7 days to achieve full cure on an epoxy flooring application. Light traffic is acceptable after 24 hours. Recommended waiting time is approximately 3 days before bringing any vehicles or heavy equipment/machinery back over the floor's surface. With a newly installed resilient flooring system, your concrete will not only be aesthetically pleasing, it will provide you with many years of durability and easy maintenance.

Polished Concrete:  This application is an increasingly popular option for concrete flooring.  The process starts with proper preparation to create a surface profile.  Once this is accomplished, the surface is buffed with a resinous material.  The resin works to coat and fill the concrete’s porous profile into a smoother one.  Similar to a fine natural finish on wood products, the concrete is treated with a second, finer application of resin.  This brings out a smooth and glossy finish to the concrete. The time line for this application is minimal and does provide an added level of surface protection, not to mention a beautifully natural finish.