Choosing a Garage Floor Sealer or Coating

How to choose a floor coating that improves the long-term quality, look, and feel of your garage.

What Is the Best Garage Floor Sealer or Coating?

Your garage floor is exposed to harsh elements. It’s constantly pounded by heavy tires, stained with chemicals or salts, and exposed to grime. It’s only a matter of time before an unprotected garage floor loses its luster. 

However, by adding a garage floor sealer or coating, you can restore the exuberance of your concrete floor. More importantly, top coats will add a layer of durability that lengthens the life span of your garage’s concrete surface.

With so many coating options out there, it’s important to consider your options before you lay down a floor sealer or coating. This article will explain how to choose a floor coating that improves the long-term quality, look, and feel of your garage.

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Chapter 1

What Are Garage Floor Sealers and Coatings?

In general, garage floor sealers penetrate the surface of the floor and add a layer of strength. Sealers usually include a densifier that fortifies concrete. However, unlike coatings, basic sealers don’t always drastically change the appearance of the floor. 

At the same time, coatings and some advanced sealers improve garage floors in two ways: aesthetic appeal and performance. They can beautify a concrete floor while adding durability through key qualities, such as abrasion, water, or chemical resistance. 

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In either case, it’s important to remember that coatings and sealers are not paint. Paint provides temporary, surface-level protection. Unlike paint, sealers and coatings penetrate concrete and bond with the flooring. This deep bonding means, unlike paint, sealers and coatings don’t chip, they don’t look cheap or tacky, and they increase the long-term strength of the floor.

Why Use Concrete Coatings?

Concrete coatings are designed to improve a garage floor’s durability, look, and feel. There are several reasons to add concrete coatings to flooring:

  1. They can revitalize or upgrade a garage floor’s appearance. 
  2. They increase the value of property. 
  3. They help you avoid the costs of a full-floor replacement.
  4. They protect surfaces from future wear.

What to Look for in Garage Floor Coatings or Sealers

With so many garage floor coating and sealer options out there, it may seem like an impossible task to choose the perfect match for your space. However, there are common qualities to seek out if you want to see a high return on your investment. Here’s what to look for: 

  • Short return-to-use time
  • Natural and organic compounds
  • Chemical resistance
  • Durability and abrasion resistance
  • Ultraviolet (UV) resistance
  • Hot tire pickup resistance
  • Free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

 

Chapter 2

What Are the Best Garage Floor Coating Options?

Acrylic Sealers and Coatingsquartz-03-1024x576

Acrylic sealers and coatings provide a quick and simple way to protect garage floors. They add a thin layer of protection, but they’re easy to apply and have a fast return-to-use time. 

Acrylics offer basic support against hot tire pickup and chemicals, but they tend to wear or stain if the floor is hit by heavy spills. Additionally, there are water-based acrylic sealers that are specially formulated to prevent UV damage and minimize wear from dirt or grime. 

Pros

  • Easy to apply and feature a short return-to-use time
  • Protect against water exposure
  • Hold up to moderate salt and oil spills, as long as stains don’t have time to set

Cons

  • Often don’t include UV protection and can yellow with sunlight exposure
  • Less durable than other coatings
  • Need to be reapplied every 18-24 months

Epoxy Finishes2013-11-17T09-31-47_6

Epoxy concrete sealers tend to be thicker and more durable than acrylic finishes. Because epoxy sealers are nonporous, moisture is less likely to seep into the concrete, swell, crack, or cause damage. These sealers excel at protecting floors from abrasions, and they don’t emit strong odors—making them a solid choice for garage floors without access to steady air circulation. 

Unfortunately, unless you use a 100 percent solid epoxy sealer, this substance may have a tendency to lighten or yellow under UV contact. 

Pros

  • Strong chemical resistance
  • Thick, allowing fewer coats to be applied
  • Low-odor and zero-VOC options available

Cons

  • Can be vulnerable to scratches
  • Tend to come in less clear finishes
  • Can be slippery when wet

Polyurethane Sealers

Looking for an even more durable sealer? Polyurethane sealers tend to be even more sturdy than epoxy, even though they’re made of thinner materials. They’re also known for their ability to hold up under harsh sunlight.

Traditionally, these sealers were clear, but they’ve advanced in recent years. In many instances, you can now choose from different coating textures, including various colors, high-gloss shines, and matte finishes.

garage floor epoxyHowever, it’s important to note that many bare concrete surfaces will require a primer before you lay down polyurethane. These substances also can become slick when wet, and they’re generally more expensive than epoxy. 

Pros

  • Excellent chemical and abrasion protection
  • Come in clear finishes
  • Resistant to scratches and UV wear
  • Generally come with nonslip options
  • Relatively easy application

Cons

  • Because application is thin, usually requires several coats
  • Tend to be more expensive than epoxy coatings
  • Can become slick when wet
  • Usually require a primer on bare concrete

Polyaspartic Sealers and Coatings

Polyaspartic sealers and coatings are quickly becoming a popular option for anyone who wants to combine stunning visual elements with high durability. The substance is known for its chemical resistance, abrasion resistance, UV resistance, zero-VOC makeup, and hot tire pickup resistance. 

Additionally, polyaspartic sealers have an extremely short return-to-use time, so you can get back to using your garage quickly. Unlike aliphatic polyurethanes, polyaspartics can be applied at higher film builds, with up to 15 mils of wet film thickness (WFT) in a single coat. Because of their high film build capabilities, many manufacturers recommend using polyaspartics as primers, body coats, and top coats. 

However, if you use this method, be cautious. It may cause potential problems in the future due to debonding with the substrate. Instead, it’s a good practice to use epoxy coatings for priming and body coats while using polyaspartics for sealing the surface.

What’s more, polyaspartic sealers aren’t just used in garage floors. They’re also well-suited for high-performance flooring systems used in industrial and warehouse floors, restaurants, retail outlets, amusement parks, auto showrooms, and commercial floors.

Pros

  • Superior chemical, impact, and scratch resistance
  • Come in high-gloss and visually stunning finishes
  • Rapid return-to-use time
  • Low-odor and low-VOC options available

Cons

  • Tend to be more expensive than most other options
  • Usually need to be applied by experienced professionals
  • Can be slippery when wet

 

 

Chapter 3

Learn How to Apply Garage Sealers and More

With a multitude of options at your disposal, the perfect garage sealer or coating can transform the performance and aesthetic appeal of your flooring.

 

Ready to get started?

Visit our training section to learn how to apply finishes or contact one of our experts for advice on your next garage flooring project

 

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