Garage Renovation with Epoxy Floors – Yes A Girl Can Do It!

Ever wish you had a beautiful garage? I really do. Not just a clean or organized garage – I want one that is so nice it can be considered another room in our home.

A garage is a place most people park their car or dump forgotten or rarely used items. That is exactly what our garage is now and I’d like to change that. I don’t have available room inside our house so I want to use our garage as a studio….a workspace for my furniture restorations and other DIY projects.

A few months ago, I embarked on a major garage renovation. Other than moving all the junk in and out of our garage and having weather and tool problems, it was a pretty easy task. And I even epoxied the floor! Yes, meeeeee!! Not my husband or any manly man. Just little ole’ girly me.

So here is how I did it.

First, I removed all the junk and boxes of forgotten and unused items out. I don’t have a picture of the real BEFORE shot but here it is with 75% of the stuff cleared out.

It was so much junk! I tried to give away things I hadn’t used or touched in six months but it wasn’t that easy! I don’t know why we feel we need to hold on to things we aren’t using. Help – hoarders! I need to go back through it and reassess. Otherwise, there is not going to be any available room to use this space as a studio.

Here’s the beautiful view my neighbors saw. Yeah…I bet they love me to death! By the way, if you are wondering about the garage door on the left, it is a pseudo door. It’s fake. It used to be a real garage door opening and that section of the building was actually part of the garage. The people that owned the house before us, closed the left garage door permanently and converted that section by attaching it to the pool house, making the garage much smaller and the pool house much larger.

So the left garage door is not real and our garage space is limited to the small single car section on the right side. (Removing or closing up that left door so that it no longer looks like it is part of the garage is another project I want to tackle in the future).

Finally!!! Everything is out!

Ok, let’s talk about the walls. Two of the walls were perfect. Relatively good condition even they they weren’t covered in sheet rock or finished off (tape, float and paint). Just very very dirty. I had to scrub and spray the walls with water to get them clean since dust had collected and hardened on them over the last 30 years.

The wall on the right was in pretty bad shape.

Structurally it was fine but it had a weird layer of cardboard type material that was attached to the entire right side. The layer was rotted and peeling off and very filthy.

I did my best to remove what I could and then cleaned with a broom and water like I had the other walls.

Let the painting begin!

I chose to paint two walls a medium toned grey color and one wall a deep dark orange. Orange..hmmm…sounds crazy right? I wasn’t forced to use orange because I had leftover orange paint. I actually went out and bought orange!

I wanted two walls a normal “easy on the eyes” color and one wall painted different and bright to be used as an organizing wall to hang tools. My thoughts were that something bright would draw my attention to it and compel me to actually use the wall for hanging items and organizing things. At least that is the goal.

I plan to hang a peg board I painted light green on top to help diffuse some of the orange brightness and add more organizing options for smaller tools.

As much as I would love to have my garage 100% utilized as a work studio, it still must help house some of our household storage needs. Organizing my garage is still a work in process but I plan to hang mine and my husband’s bicycles at the top of one of the grey walls. We have two shelving systems: one is chrome and visible in one of the pictures above. The other newly purchased from Costco. It still needs to be assembled but is longer and black and can hold a massive amount of weight. Since the storage space in our house is limited, these shelving systems can be used to hold household items that are not used every day like large kitchen cooking pans, party servers, winter clothes and our and skiing and snowboard clothes and gear.

Ok, so back to the garage work.

Grey was sprayed on the left and back wall. This was my favorite part of the task. It took a very little amount of time and was so easy!! Gotta love a spray gun!

I didn’t use primer and also did not tack away the loose electric cords (I have no idea what those are for and pray they aren’t “live”) that were hanging in the way. I’m lazy and I love instant satisfaction. I got out my gun and just started spraying.

Even though primer was not used, the grey color adhered fantastically.

The orange however was a different story. I didn’t prime the orange wall either. The wall on right side was significantly darker and the orange paint took several coats before it actually started to look orange. it took way more orange paint for the one wall of orange than it took to complete the two walls of grey.

Here’s where some problems began.

When I ran out of orange paint, I ran back to Home Depot and bought another can of orange paint…this time I bought the primer and paint combo (primer and paint in one can) hoping it would help adhere better.

That’s when my paint sprayer broke.

What is not seen here is hours of agony and frustration. Taking apart the paint sprayer, cleaning it, putting paint sprayer back together, testing paint sprayer, no success, repeat entire process one billion times!

I could never get my paint sprayer to work again. And I was too lazy to hand paint the rest so I gave the orange paint project a rest and started on the floor epoxy.

The garage floors were fine – they were cement which is perfect for an outdoor work studio. But I wanted them to BLING! Like a car dealership display room. So I researched how to epoxy the floors.

I’ll be honest, I cheated and skipped several steps, including one major step in epoxying my garage floor. The major step skipped was grinding down the floor. It is supposed to be VERY important to prepare the surface by grinding down the concrete surface. Grinding should leave the floor feeling like 100 grit sandpaper. Grinding the concrete allows the epoxy to adhere and absorb better. In order to do this, some sort of grinding machine should have been bought or rented from a home improvement store. I skipped this step because I was 1) lazy 2) wanted instant gratification 3) my car is small and probably doesn’t have room for this mystery grinding machine and 4) my concrete floor did not appear to have sealant on it was seemed relatively porous.

Update on my cheating (no grinding) technique:

It has been several months since the floor was epoxied and there have not been any issues. No peeling at all. And we have gone through cold and hot temperatures (including rain and dampness) with the weather. However, please note that I never drove a car into the garage. Heavy things like boxes and shelving cases were loaded on the floors but other than that, there has not been any high traffic or major weight scrapped across the floors. Please keep that in mind if you also attempt my cheating (no grinding) method.

The epoxy process is a two part system. One part is a resin and the second part is a hardener. When I was researching methods for epoxy, there were a million different methods. It was quite confusing. Most methods seemed dangerous and toxic so I created my own little method. I might have simplified or cheated by skipping too many steps but here is what I did and it seemed to have worked well:

First paint floor with concrete paint.

I used this product – Behr 1-Part Epoxy Acrylic Concrete and Floor Paint (in white):

I painted one layer with a paint roller over the floor – it was fluid and the application process was surprisingly simple.

I painted sloppy and fearlessly and the paint seemed to forgive quite nicely. The paint was easier than typical paint used for painting furniture or a wall. It sort of smoothed itself out into one perfect even layer, kind of like nail polish.

The directions state to let the first coat dry 24 hours before applying a second coat. The directions also state that the paint should be dry to the touch within 2 hours. So, I cheated and painted the second coat after two hours.

Next was the sealant. Again… processes and methods were confusing so here is where I might have cheated again. I used a concrete “gloss” to seal the paint – Behr Interior/Exterior Wet-Look Sealer. A helpful man in Home Depot advised this alternative product and I was very pleased. It is a gloss used to create the “wet-look“. It applied just like the concrete paint – forgiving and balanced itself out into one smooth layer.

I let the concrete paint dry over-night before applying the sealant (gloss).

I like glossy glossy (Insert Black Eyed Pea/Fergie lyrics – “Flossy Flossy” here!), so I applied two coats. The directions stated to wait for four hours but since it was dry to the touch in one hour, I painted the second coat an hour later.

I didn’t include pictures of this process because, it was clear and basically nothing to see. The substance is thin and quite translucent – like water.

That was it!! Floor epxoy done!

I am really happy with my floors. They may not be epoxied the conventional way but it looks so much better than plain concrete floors and it is much easier to clean.

I actually started the garage renovation months ago but it started raining so I was forced to quit. It was necessary to stuff all our junk back in the garage so that it wouldn’t be damaged from the rain. I had to forego the organizational project of putting up shelves, etc…

I was going to share this project once I had completed everything (bicycles hung, peg board installed, tools organized, shelving installed and…the orange wall painted completely). But since the weather has been raining off an on, it might be quite a while before that day takes place.

So until then… here is the in between stage. I’ll post an update later once I finish all the final touches!

Update on Sprayer Issues:

I am not exactly sure why the paint sprayer broke but I speculate it might be due to the fact that my spray gun was not built to handle the primer and paint combo paint.