Working with epoxy paint
I’d like to paint my patio and garage with coarse epoxy paint; how should I go about it?
Heinrich Ehlers of Sansbury Unparalleled Renovations replies
Epoxy is a tough, long-lasting coating that you paint onto concrete. It resists grease, oil and other substances that would ruin ordinary paint. It also cleans easily and can be found in a variety of colours. But not all concrete floors will accommodate a coating and preparing concrete can be labour-intensive.
Remember that success lies in the prep work. Spend the first day removing oil spots, cleaning and degreasing the floor, etching it with a mild acid as well as scrubbing, vacuuming and rinsing. On day two, fill any cracks and apply the first coat of epoxy followed by a second coat on day three. It’s a good idea to rent a walk-behind power floor-scrubber with a stiff brush attachment from a tool hire shop such as Sales Hire (saleshire.co.za). Brushes work better than scrubbing pads on concrete, but buy two pads if a brush isn’t available. Also, rent a wet vacuum if you don’t have one.
Before you even consider epoxy paint for your floor, test to determine if damp is rising through the concrete. Check for moisture by adhering a piece of plastic (about 1 x 1m) with Duct Tape or packaging tape to the cement floor and leaving it overnight. If there is condensation on the plastic the following morning, the floor is still damp. If moisture is evident, your floor isn’t suitable. Also, forgo the project if a concrete sealant was previously used (you’ll know because water beads up when applied to the surface).
If you’re dealing with a new slab, you must wait at least 28 days, preferably two months, for the floor to cure and dry thoroughly before applying a garage floor coating. If you are dealing with a previously painted floor, it’s best to remove the paint, especially when applying a solvent-based epoxy that could soften any leftover paint. Then make sure the weather is set to play along. The temperature of the concrete must be a minimum of 12°C with an air temperature between 20–30°C for optimal curing/drying. >>