Garage floor etching is recommended by nearly all manufacturers of epoxy garage floor coatings. Some manufacturers instruct that it be done prior to performing any garage floor repair, such as crack-filling or leveling of low spots. Your editor's recommend that it be performed after any garage floor repair work, so that the repair compound gets etched along with the concrete surface.
Step 3 - Garage Floor Etching
The purpose of etching is to slightly roughen the floor surface prior to applying the epoxy garage floor finish. Think of it as a light-sanding of a pre-painted surface prior to applying new paint. The etching creates microscopic grooves and scarring that allow the new finish to seep-into, thus creating a tighter bond.
Depending upon which epoxy garage floor finish you purchase for your garage, the kit may or may not contain the etching acid. Generally, you will be working with muriatic acid heavily diluted into water. Some claim it is a 2% solution. If you have never worked with this solution before, you need to be cautious and read all instructions as to mixing and applying this solution to the surface.
Wear whatever protective gear is recommended by the manufacturer such as, but not limited to, heavy rubber gloves, eye protection and rubber boots. Even a 2% solution of muriatic acid will burn your skin from prolonged exposure.
If your garage floor drains toward your driveway - as you rinse the solution off of the garage floor it will be going onto the driveway surface - and it will effect a dry concrete driveway. The best approach here is to heavily wet-down the driveway surface first, and put a garden sprinkler on it to keep it wet until you have all of the acid rinsed from the garage. Then rinse the driveway. Once you have done this, the solution will be heavily diluted and should not cause a problem in the street.
The basic approach is to work in a 12' x 12' zone wetting the garage floor surface. Work it in to the surface hard with your stiff-bristled brush moving every direction as you go to get absolute coverage. Then rinse the zone off with a garden hose and squeegee the excess rinse water toward the front of the garage. Continue this process in each zone until you have completely covered the entire garage floor. Then rinse the driveway off to further dilute any run-off that will reach the street.
If you have access to box fans, use them, as it is essential to dry-down the garage floor surface thoroughly before starting the application of your epoxy garage floor finish. The faster you can get the garage floor dry and the epoxy garage floor finish applied, the better! If you have to air-dry the garage floor it allows dust to settle onto the surface which will defeat a strong bonding of the finish.
Garage floor etching is just one of a number of essential steps for proper garage floor preparation that contribute to a long-lasting epoxy garage floor finish. You don't want to by-pass this step if you are seeking a successful finish that is durable and will last more than ten years.
Next, visit our page: Applying Epoxy Finish to learn about that process.
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