Is your garage a second home? Are the walls coated in tool cabinets and memories? But is the floor a hot mess? Garage floors are one of the most overlooked spaces in our homes. They’re often rough, dirty, and worn down — but there is hope. This guide to the best garage floor coatings will break down the pros and cons of epoxy, paints, and one-part epoxy paints so you can get your garage floor looking its best.
Not only do coated floors look better they’re easier to clean and make it easier to work on your car or motorcycle. They can even improve the lighting, as well as make it easier to find dropped bolts or tools.
Options range from the cheap and simple concrete sealers, through to paint, one–part epoxy paint, and genuine epoxy coatings. There are products that operate the same way as epoxies but are actually different chemicals, and we’ll address those individually. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll group those in with all epoxy mixes.
The variation in cost and simplicity is aligned perfectly with the progression in results, durability, and difficulty of application. Epoxy coatings are harder to apply but more durable and more expensive. Paints labelled as one-part epoxy try to split the difference between paint and epoxy, but with limited success.
The easiest way to explain the difference in the products is the curing process. Paints and sealants cure because the water or oils used as a solvent evaporate with time. Epoxy products cure due to the chemical reaction between the resin and a hardening solution – which is why they’re more durable and resilient than other options.
Here, we’ll look at the best garage floor coatings in all three classes.
Rust-Oleum’s Epoxy Shield kit is popular among garage lovers for its impressive durability and stunning finish. Users love the decorative paint chips included in the kit, and the high-gloss finish once the two-part mix has cured. The kit also contains an etching compound, which you use to help prepare the surface ahead of applying the product.
Surface prep is absolutely critical in the application of all coatings. Dirt and water will cause your coating to fail, while cracks and chips will hurt coverage and could lead to holes in your finish. Once mixed, the Epoxy Shield has a pot life, (that is, the length of time before it cures in the mixing pot), of two hours, which is handy for those of us who like to take our time cutting in edges.
You can walk on it within 24 hours of application and drive on it in four days. The sealant will protect your floor from oil, salt, and grime from the road, and won’t stick to hot tires.
If you choose, you can leave out the paint flecks for a solid finish. However, the flecked surface looks as stunning as you’d expect. This is one of the most expensive solutions on the market and provides results that warrant the price. Epoxy Shield is available in grey gloss, dark grey gloss, and tan gloss.
Colored Epoxies offers a no-nonsense professional-grade epoxy that gives your garage impressive and durable protecting. This is a true epoxy, it comes in a two-part kit with the resin and hardener and contains no water at all. With a pot life of 30 minutes, you need to work quickly to coat your floors in this stuff.
Once applied, you’ll get up to seven years of abrasion and impact-resistant protection with a high gloss shine that makes your garage pop. Curing time is 24 hours, and it boasts low VOHAP (Volatile Organic Hazardous Air Pollutant) which makes it safer to use in less-ventilated spaces.
It is difficult to use, and like all coatings requires perfect preparation of the surface for best results, but once you spend the time, you’ll get an outstanding finish. One of these three-gallon kits is rated for up to 500 square feet of coverage. Older concrete or rougher floors may hurt that number, but you can safely buy one of these kits and get your entire single-car garage sorted.
Epoxy floor coatings can be slippery, but the range of offerings from Colored includes non-slip additives, as well as visual highlights like paint flakes and Mica powder.
For a proper, professional-grade garage floor covering you won’t beat Colored Epoxies.
The acrylic-based paint from UGL’s Drylok range is a great value, easy-to-use garage floor coating that offers moderate protection for most concrete surfaces. We like it, because of all the products on this list the Drylok paint has the best coverage and is easiest to apply. UGL suggests you apply the first coat with a 50/50 mix of water and paint for increased coverage, and to create a resilient base for the finishing coat.
This paint dries in just four hours and can be repainted with a second coat immediately after it’s dried. The paint won’t transfer to hot tires and is easy to clean thanks to its thickness.
It is unbelievably simple to apply, making your garage restoration a half-day job. There are five ready-mixed colours, white/light tint base, gull (grey), Dover Grey (dark grey), Persian Red, and Bamboo Beige.
UGL’s Drylok concrete floor paint is the pick for a fast and easy garage floor refresh.
Kilz offers a built-for-purpose one-part epoxy acrylic-based paint that goes on easy and offers a resilient, great-looking finish for your garage floor. Like the UGL offering above, the Kilz paint is easy to use and provides great coverage — 400 sq. ft. per gallon on most floors.
Unlike the UGL offering above, Kilz infused their paint with resin to give it more rigidity and durability against traffic and use. This isn’t as durable as a true epoxy, but is tougher than a non-epoxy paint.
We like it because the Kilz product looks great and features a slip-resistant satin finish. It’s also stain resistant and easy to clean.
DryWay’s water-repellent concrete sealer is a quick and affordable way to preserve your concrete and protect it from stains and drips. This is easily the cheapest product on our list in terms of coverage and cost per gallon, and it gives your floor a glossy protective topcoat that makes it easier to clean. It also does great repelling water while still allowing the concrete to breath. For that reason, it’s one of the best options for damp garage floors that are set below ground level and fail the moisture test.
This coating is an emulsion of siloxanes and silanes. The polymers penetrate the substrate, react chemically, and bond to it, curing into a protective layer. You can imagine this sealant as if you were filling the pores in the concrete with silicone caulking.
It will resist oil drips, road salt, and other dirt and grime your car tracks into the garage. This isn’t abrasion or impact resistant, so it’s not as effective as epoxies; and, it’s not coloured so it’s not as aesthetically pleasing as paint. But if you’re after an affordable, no-fuss product to use on your brand-new floor then a concrete sealer is a good option.
The Polycuramine-based garage floor treatment from Rocksolid is fast-curing and offers industry leading durability. You might recognize the styling on the packaging — Rust-Oleum recently acquired Rocksolid, so this is now a Rust-Oleum product.
It is not an epoxy, though it works in the same way. The product comes in burst pouches that are designed to simplify the mixing process for DIY users. It is highly viscous (runny) so it is self-levelling. The big downside of this treatment is that it becomes expensive. While a single kit is in the same ballpark as the two products above, it is nearly impossible to match the factory claimed coverage rate. Because this stuff is so viscous, it fills in holes and cracks quickly and soaks into rougher, more porous surfaces rapidly.
On the plus side, it is walkable in 10 hours and drivable in just 24 hours, with a finish that is as good, if not better, than the other epoxy offerings on this page.
If you have a brand new, or smooth floor, this is the best option in our list for durability.
The key to any garage floor treatment is surface preparation. If you don’t prepare your surface properly, the coating will fail. It may flake off, it may not cure, or in the case of paint it may dry with all the dirt and contaminants trapped inside.
The prep needed for paints is simple, but you need to be thorough.
For best results with paint:
1. Sweep or dry vac the entire floor thoroughly
2. Power wash the floor with a degreaser and let it dry
You don’t have to repair all the cracks or divots if you don’t want to – they will be visible but won’t impact the rest of the painted surface.
For best results with epoxy:
Poor surface preparation is behind most of the failures of epoxy coatings on garage floors.
It’s easy to get bogged down in confusion given the amount of garage floor coatings available on the market. When choosing the option that’s best for you consider these factors:
As mentioned above, epoxy and epoxy-like coatings are more expensive than paints and concrete sealers. Concrete sealers are the least expensive of all three types. However, epoxy floors last longer than painting, so you have to consider the cost over time as well. If you’re likely to paint once every two years, then you’ll likely spend less over 10 years with an epoxy.
How comfortable are you with DIY jobs? If you’re a novice, paint is much easier to apply. The preparation and complexity of epoxy coatings make them harder to use. They’re also less forgiving of mistakes because you can’t simply paint over them.
How are you going to use your floor? If all you do is drive on to park and then walk into the house, paint is fine. If you’re a DIY mechanic who uses your garage for working on your cars, motorcycles or other equipment, an epoxy will give you an easier surface.
In that case, also opt for a solid colour, rather than a paint fleck – I know from experience that finding a small washer on a textured floor can be a pain. Clean floors in a solid colour show small bolts quickly.
We mentioned before that epoxy coatings are slippery. Especially when wet. If you are worried about being able to move freely on your floor in winter, then a painted floor is a better choice.
Paint is grippy, which makes it hard on brooms and very hard on mops. Epoxy floors are much easier to clean – but remember, they’re slippery when went. You can use any detergent on paint but be careful and try to stick to ammonia when cleaning your epoxy floor.
Paint comes in a wider range of colours and allows you to apply designs or mark your floor with guidelines. It’s also less glossy, so if you want to coat your floor but not draw attention to it, a simple matte finish paint might be better.
Epoxy colour choices are more limited, but it offers you a glossy, show-piece floor that really pops.