poxy is a hard plastic coating made from epoxy resin and polyamine hardeners. It’s applied in a two-step process and is commonly used to seal and protect cement floors. After the application and drying process, the liquid epoxy becomes a solid that is known for its high shine, durability and resistance to corrosion. Epoxy is especially popular for use in garages to prevent salt damage and the wear and tear of winter driving from deteriorating the cement floor. It also has a specific aesthetic appeal with its high gloss finish. Epoxy floors are easy-to-clean and help prevent dust and dirt from being tracked into the home.
Condition of the concrete floor
The current condition of the concrete floor is a major factor in how much it will cost to finish it with epoxy, says Sonny Nuculovic of NSI Epoxy in Waterford, Michigan. Here are three typical situations:
The concrete is in fair shape and nothing beyond standard cleaning is needed to prep the floor for the epoxy application. This scenario is ideal because it costs the least.
The concrete has never been sealed, it’s torn up by salt, and there’s a lot of wear and tear. This situation will cost more because contractors need more time and materials to fill the cracks and pits.
At some point, the customer did a DIY application of water-based epoxy from a big box store and now it’s peeling. Contractors will first remove that coating and then grind down the concrete to prep it for primer. The extra labor will add to the overall cost.
- The lesson here, says Nuculovic of NSI Epoxy: Stay away from water-based epoxy—it will fail within a short period of time. Pros use 100 percent, industrial-strength epoxy that lasts.
The floor size to be finished with epoxy directly affects the overall project cost. The larger the floor, the more expensive the total cost, but the price per square foot usually drops with larger spaces. NSI Epoxy mostly finishes two- or two-and-a-half-car garages, which are about 400–450 square feet. Here are price examples based on floor condition and size:
Fair shape 400- to 450-square-foot garage floor: ~ $3 per square foot = $1,200–$1,350 total
Damaged concrete on a 400- to 450-square-foot garage floor: ~ $3.25 per square foot = $1,300 - $1462.50
Water-based epoxy that needs to be removed from a 400- to 450-square-foot garage floor: ~ $3.25 per square foot = $1,300 - $1462.50
- A 400- to 450-square foot garage takes a two-person crew two days to complete.
Fair shape 600- to 800-square foot showroom floor: $2.75 per square foot = $1,650 - $2,200
- Fair shape 10,000-square-foot industrial floor: $1.75 per square foot = $17,500
Epoxy is, at minimum, a two-day process, says Nuculovic of NSI Epoxy. It’s critical to apply a primer coat the first day and allow it to dry overnight. "Don’t trust anyone who wants to apply the primer in the morning, go to lunch, then do the second step in the afternoon," Nuculovic says. The primer coat is one of the most important parts of the epoxy process. It’s designed to penetrate the concrete and allow the epoxy to adhere—and it needs to dry overnight. Even the epoxy manufacturers won’t warranty their product without a primer coat. To ensure that you’re covered, ask the contractor: “Will this be a two-day process?” and “Will you allow the primer coat to dry overnight?” You can walk on a new epoxy floor 24–36 hours after application. Wait 48 hours to put items such as lawnmowers or boxes on it. Wait five to seven days before bringing in a vehicle because of its weight.