Everything you might need to know about doing an epoxy floor yourself
Once there is nothing on the floor, the concrete needs to be prepared for the base coat to really bond in. There are two options for doing this:
Mechanical grinding is the industry standard for professionals, and will provide the best surface for adhesion of the base coats.
There are several home-owner grade concrete coatings available. You can get high grade paints and moisture cure epoxies (water or solvent based). If you know the right people, you may even be able to gain access to the industrial grade, two-part solvent free epoxies used by the professionals.
With a proper preparation of the concrete, the high grade paints can give you 5-7 years of life and moisture cure epoxies can last 7-10 years before they wear through.
Each product will detail installation instructions and expected coverage, but you should expect 100-200 sqft a gallon of coverage, and application can usually be done with a 3/8" nap roller.
With an epoxy floor, your base coat can take the color flakes discussed in the next question. If you use also a quality polyurea topcoat, you can extend the base coat life by a few years.
Paint and water based epoxies cost $100-200 a gallon, and higher quality epoxies are $150-$250 a gallon.
That depends on your budget and expectations. Flakes are not required, but bring some value to your project.
Big box stores and local paint stores have color flakes available. There is only one major company making color flakes, so, you where you get them is really only going to impact your price and color selection, quality is really all the same.
As soon as the epoxy is on the floor, and before it has cured out, an even broadcast of flake will add some color accents, and if you get enough color flake for a full coverage floor (about 4 sqft a pound), the flakes will help protect the base coat from UV damage, bring in more colors, and add texture to improve traction.
Depending on the quantity and the store, color flakes cost anywhere from from $3-$10 a pound.
Whether or not you add the color flakes, a topcoat is a key component in a durable floor finish. The base coat bonds into the concrete and locks the color flakes in place, the topcoat is there to protect the base coat and color flakes. In a perfect world, you could actually skip the base and flakes and just apply the topcoat. The only reason you can't, is that the top coat doesn't bond as well into the concrete and will not last without the base to stick to.
All topcoats are a clear polyurea product. The way the urethane chemicals cure has the most impact on the hardness and hardiness of the coating.
Depending on the product, you will get anywhere from 100 to 250 sqft out of each gallon, and the most common application is a 3/8" nap roller.
The topcoat is the most expensive component in a quality floor. Prices will range from $150 to $400 per gallon.
There are many differences in the scope of products available to homeowners, but when they are compared to the products used by Summit Epoxy Floors, the main difference for you is the durability and life expectancy of the finish.
Home-owner grade materials available through big box stores, dedicated paint stores, or even online vendors can last up to 10 or 15 years if installed correctly.
The industrial grade products used at Summit will last decades after installation. The prep work combined with the durability of the industrial two-part, solvent-free epoxy and polyaspartic polyurea top coat provide a surface designed for heavy use. These floors look exactly the same at day 7,300 as they do at day 1.
If you use a chemical etch preparation, and do not add color flakes or a topcoat, you can save 65-75% on the initial installation, but the coating will need re-applied every few years.
For a comparable finish with homeowner grade materials, you can expect to save 25-35% doing a project yourself. With about a 50-65% life expectancy compared to a professionally installed industrial finish, that is a great savings if you are looking at the first ten years, but refinishing will be required after 10-15 years.
For a quality, lifetime floor, the floors installed by Summit Epoxy Floors are less expensive in a home's total cost of ownership.