It seems like every time you turn around these days a new garage floor coating company has popped up. Epoxies, polyaspartics and hybrid blends... lots of jargon surounds this industry. Here's a few things you should know before you start trying to find a company to coat your garage floor.
What do you want to put down? Most garage floor coatings have a slightly slick, seamless look. This makes them great for keeping the floor clean but can be slippery when wet. If you want some more texture ask people how many chips they throw into their chip garage floor coatings. If they just sprinkle some in, don't use that company. You want someone who 'throws to refusal' and then scrapes away the excess the next day.
National or local company? National garage floor coating companies have the advantage of someone other than the local contractor picking up the warranty , but they're still only as good as the local owner. So ask the same questions for all the people who give you a quote. Policies differ from region to region within the same company, which is why you'll have to call them up yourself. PremierGarage is definitely the leader of the pack, but check out others like Flexmar and Slide-lok to make sure you're getting the best fit for your garage floor.
Ask each company how they prep the garage floor. The different in coating types is almost immaterial compared to the preparation process. You can have the best garage floor coating out there, but if you don't prep right, it won't stick down. The best prep method is a mechanical grind with diamond blades. Shot blasting, sandblasting, bead blasting and other similar methods are also acceptable. A company that just does an acid wash is taking the cheap way out on the prep - which could mean trouble for your garage floor coating down the line.
See what kind of quote the company will give you to do your garage floor coating over the phone. A company who knows what it's doing will not give you a firm quote over the phone, although they may give you a range or ballpark figure. The reason for this is that some garage floors take a lot more prep than others, depending on the state of the concrete, any sealers on it, the number and width of cracks, the hardness of the concrete and the finish on it. A company that quotes you a firm price over the phone will probably do a standard prep on your garage floor, not one customized to insure the best possible bond.
Ask about what type of product they use. Epoxies are pretty standard, but there's a wide range of different quality ones available. Polyaspartics dry faster and harder but are more expensive. "Hybrid Polymer Coating" seems to be the catch phrase for 'we don't want to tell you exactly what's in our product.
Make sure to ask about their warranty carefully. I've seen a lot of seven, ten or even life time warranties that don't include labor, or only cover 10% a year (so, 100% covered in the first year, 90% in the second year, 80% in the third, etc). ALL coatings will wear down with time, so ask when they would recommend redoing the topcoat and how much that costs. Epoxies are generally in the 4-6 year range, newer garage floor coating products may last up to 10.
Tips & Warnings
- Bargain with the prices once you have your bids. Particularly if you're having your garage floor coating applied during the winter, contractors are desperate for work. Most will go down 10-15% of their final bid just by asking. When the bids are coming in at 2-5 grand, that's quite a savings.
- Many garage floor coatings have toxic chemicals in them, be sure to ask about this prior to installation.
- Even zero VOC products can cause migraines in people sensitive to smells.
- Photo Credit acmepowerwash.com
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