Keep exterior floors in garages, patios and more looking good
You probably spent a lot of time deciding how the floors in your house were
going to look. Carpeting color and type in the bedroom, stain for hardwood
floors in the hallway, linoleum or tile for the kitchen — all of it was
carefully considered. Many people, however, neglect the floor of their garage,
porch or patio when considering how they want their house to look. While it’s
true that garage floors are subject to oil, dirt and grime on a regular basis,
that doesn’t mean they can’t look good. Applying paint and stains to floors
located outside your house can keep them looking shiny and clean for extended
periods of time in spite of the daily rigors they face. Consider the following
questions to learn more about the paints and stains you can apply to outdoor
Paint, Epoxy, Stain and Application
Garages are one area outside your house that will benefit immensely from being painted or stained. In addition to adding aesthetic value, painting a garage floor will help protect it against stains. Dingy porches and patios can be brightened up considerably, providing a more enticing and comfortable outdoor space. Unlike paints and stains used indoors, substances designed for outdoor application are made to withstand more extreme temperatures and harsher wear. Applying paints and stains is fairly easy, though it can take some time for them to dry, particularly in a garage. Make sure you have all of the materials necessary before you start and plan to park your car outside for at least a few days.
Paints: Paints used on floors, whether they are wood or concrete, are generally oil- or latex-based. They can be used on porches, decks, basements, patios, siding, trim, patio furniture, trellises and more. Latex is the most commonly used type of paint. It adheres well to different surfaces, is easy to apply and lets water vapor escape to prevent delamination, or the separation of paint layers. Spilled latex paint can easily be cleaned up with water. Oil-based paints provide a hard, shiny finish. Instead of water, mineral spirits are used for cleanup work after oil-based paints are applied.
Epoxy: Epoxy, a durable plastic-like material, is a type of paint that
is most effective when used on garage floors. It is available as a one- or
two-part mixture and consists of a water-based coating that utilizes a
chemical reaction to strengthen it. It is tougher than other paints and stains
and is designed to stand up to what is known as hot-tire pickup. As cars drive
on hot streets during the summer, much of that heat is absorbed by their
tires. When you return home and park in the garage, that intense heat sears
your garage floor, ultimately causing paint to peel or stain to disintegrate.
Epoxy does the best job of remaining intact despite the presence of hot tires.
While it offers many advantages, epoxy cannot be applied to floors that
consistently hold moisture, as water will interfere with the bonding process.
If you notice that your garage floor is often damp, you may not be able to
Stains: Concrete and floor stains are often easier to apply than
paints, though they will also require more frequent reapplication.
Solvent-based stains are tough and durable while waterborne acrylic stains
don’t create fumes. Acid stain is one type of stain that can be used to both
protect and add a unique appearance to concrete. Rather than coating concrete
like paint, acid stain causes a chemical reaction that alters the color and
appearance. In addition to garage floors, it can be used on walkways,
driveways, patios, bathroom floors and more.
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Application: After being poured, it may take up to 90 days until concrete is ready to be painted or stained. Prior to applying paint or stain to any surface, you’ll need to make sure it’s completely clean. Get rid of as much oil, dirt and grease as possible. You’ll also need to remove previous coats of paint or sealer if you’re applying a stain. Floors may need to be etched before they are primed. After paint or stain has been applied, drying time will vary according to temperature and humidity. Cooler temperatures and higher humidity levels will require longer drying time. You may have to wait up to a week before parking your car in the garage after applying epoxy. Always make sure the area you’re working in is properly ventilated and use gloves and goggles to protect your skin and eyes. Garage floors that are constantly damp may be impossible to successfully stain or paint.
Nonskid Additive: Painted surfaces may be slippery, especially when they’re wet. Applying a nonskid additive to your newly painted floor will help you avoid accidents when it’s raining or snowing.
Cleaner: Cleaning a floor is an essential step in prepping it for application of paint or stain. Many multipurpose cleaners are available that will do an excellent job of removing a wide variety of stains. If your floor is heavily mildewed, look for a mildew stain remover.
Modular Plastic Floor: If you don’t want to spend time cleaning and applying paint or stain to an outdoor floor, you may want to consider a modular plastic flooring system. These interlocking tiles snap together with ease and can be used to cover large areas. They come in a range of colors and are both impact and stain resistant. Vinyl floor mats are somewhat less impressive aesthetically, but they provide a more economical alternative.
Paintbrushes and rollers will be needed to apply paint and stain. Tape, drop cloths and tarps will help keep the surrounding area clean.
If you’re applying paint that requires a primer, choose the right one from The Home Depot’s wide selection.