DIY Epoxy Kits vs. Professional Installation

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4-Car Epoxy Floor

Without question, this topic has been covered numerous times, from countless sources. I’m a do-it-yourselfer, I get it. Typically, i’d rather build it myself than hire certain things out; I do know my boundaries, but there is a level of satisfaction attached to getting a project done in your own garage.

Tackling a large project yourself isn’t always ideal if you think about the long-term ramifications. Or in this case, short term ramifications.

Lasting a Lifetime, or a Couple Years?

What do I mean? The most common DIY epoxy garage floor coating is a water-based product from Home Depot or Lowes. To cut right to the chase, the level of preparation they outline in the installation instructions just doesn’t cut it for a true, worry-free, life-time bond to the concrete.

I know from experience – long before starting this business I used one of the DIY kits from Home Depot and sure-enough, it only took just-shy of a year before it started peeling. It was a huge disappointment. My expectations were higher. Keep in mind, if you tackle this yourself, it is a LOT of work regardless of the prep methods used – it is just-plain time consuming.

epoxy garage floor coating hot tire pickup

This is a great example of what will eventually happen with a DYI Do-it-Yourself epoxy garage floor coating. Here you can see how thin the coating is and how the heat of the tire melted the thin water-based epoxy, pulling it right off the floor. As outlined in this article, its mostly a matter of inadequate preparation and a thin coating.

Lightly into the Details

Thickness is also a factor – it weighs heavily in regards to durability – that is a common question we get asked when talking to customers: “how thick is the end product?”. To compare, our Platinum Granite product pushes 35mil in thickness; whereas the DIY is typically around 2.5-3mil without their sealer; you might push it to 6mil with their sold-separately sealer.

Next thing to address, in relation to the thickness topic, is the solids content. This simply relates to how much evaporates into the air throughout the drying process. A product that is 100% solids (like ours) does not evaporate, which results in a thicker coating. While we’re comparing, the DIY water-based product is typically 50% solids (to reiterate, half of the chemical rolled out on to the floor, will evaporate).

concrete floor after diamond grinding

Here is a close-up image of a concrete floor after diamond grinding. This is the proper way to prepare a concrete surface for an epoxy coating. Diamond grinding profiles the concrete to allow the epoxy to soak in and bond correctly.

I’ve read comparisons where the epoxy manufacturer would break down the cost-per-mil when comparing the do-it-yourself brands against a professional-level product. Without going into details, yes its a better deal going with a professional-level product, but to be blunt, I don’t think most customers care about the finite comparisons like this.

Recognize Your Expectations

Here’s our own most direct and honest approach to the comparison: It depends on what you want and what your expectations are – more than likely the DIY kits will fail fairly soon (1-2 years), then you’ll have an ugly mess of peeling & flaking paint on your floor.

This sounds like a typical sales pitch, but again I’m merely gauging expectations – if you have higher expectations and want a beautiful floor that will always be easy to clean and rock-solid for the life of your home, you probably want to step it up and hire a professional operation to do the installation.

When it comes down to dollars & cents, a DIY kit can’t be compared to a professional installation when considering the cost over the lifetime of owning your home.

Most of the work we do is repairing faulty epoxy installations – people will deal with “it” for a while, but there is a breaking-point where they just want it done right.

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