Epoxy offers DIY solution to dingy garage floors, spill cleanup

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Two of Tyson Hugie's Acuras are shown after he had his garage floors epoxied by a professional. It's a bigger job, but a handy person could accomplish the same look. | Tyson Hugie photo
Two of Tyson Hugie's Acuras are shown after he had his garage floors epoxied by a professional. It's a bigger job, but a handy person could accomplish the same look. | Tyson Hugie photo

The evidence of caring for and repairing cars is often displayed by garage floors that wind up stained with oil and other chemicals that can be nearly impossible to remove.

Even the most expert mechanics have a spill now and again that can leave concrete floors looking dingy. Enter epoxy, a potential do-it-yourself solution that can be a big upgrade to protecting your car workspace.

Let’s start at the beginning: Epoxy is basically a type of plastic, a liquid that hardens into a durable surface. It’s especially good for flooring uses because it bonds well to base layers -– aka concrete -– and can stand up to the hardships of automotive repair and modification work.

Epoxy also has the benefit of giving a more professional or polished look to a garage space.

“Since I consider the space a mini showroom in a sense, I wanted something with a premium look & feel to it,” ClassicCars.com Journal contributor Tyson Hugie said in explaining why he had epoxied flooring.

Both Hugie and editor Bob Golfen said the epoxied floors make clean up easier when a classic car leaks or something gets spilled.

“All it takes is a paper towel to wipe up oils and chemicals,” Hugie said.

Hugie said he opted to leave his flooring smooth, which looks nice, but can be slippery in the event of a spill or parking cars that have been out in the rain or snow. Golfen said his was applied with a fine grit additive that increases traction.

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Both praised the epoxy’s durability, though Hugie said he’s noticed a couple of minor marks he plans to repair.

Hugie and Golfen had their floors professionally installed, but it’s not beyond the skills of a handy DIYer looking to save some money.

A quick Google search yielded thousands of results for a step-by-step process, but a video from home improvement show This Old House took a no-nonsense approach in its tutorial.

Essentially, the process is:

  • • Degrease and acid wash the floor.
  • • Rinse and vacuum up any excess water.
  • • Allow floor to dry.
  • • Apply first layer of epoxy.
  • • Allow floor to dry.
  • • Apply second layer of epoxy.
  • • Add decoration or grit as desired.

Drying times will obviously vary, but given the right conditions, the job could be done in a long weekend.

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Carter Nacke is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. He began his career at KTAR News 92.3 FM in Phoenix, the largest news radio station in Arizona, where he specialized in breaking news and politics. A burgeoning interest in classic cars took him to the Journal in 2018. He's still on the hunt for his dad's old 1969 Camaro.

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