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Thread: Concrete Floor Finishing?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Sparta, MI (West Michigan)

    Concrete Floor Finishing?

    A few questions for those of you who have elected to finish the floor of your workshop.

    I’m rapidly closing in on finishing my first real dedicated man cave/therapy room in the pole barn, aka “woodshop” (pictures and story to follow in a few weeks). Insulation is in, walls are up and painted, electric is done, heater install is next week and then I get to start moving equipment and benches back in, WooHoo!

    Before I get stuff moved back in, I’m considering the possibility of putting a sealer of some kind on the floor. Other than a few minor drywall mud splatters, the concrete is pretty clean and smooth to start, without any previous oil contaminates to deal with.

    Initially I wanted to go with epoxy because it looks good and is pretty tough stuff, but after pricing it, it is going to cost me about $400 to cover 600 sq ft by the time I figure in supplies, etching cleaner, color flakes, anti-skid additive and the epoxy itself– not to mention a few more days of work.

    For those of you who have gone the epoxy route – was it worth it? Does it really help with clean up? How slippery does the floor get with normal sawdust not caught by the DC? Any drawbacks to going with the less-nasty water-based epoxy vs two-part epoxy if I’m not going to be driving on it?

    Other options for floor finish include concrete paint, concrete stain, and just a clear sealer – all much cheaper than epoxy, but I don’t know how well they will hold up in the long run. If any of you have tried concrete stains or low-cost sealers - are you happy with them, or do you wish you had bit the bullet and done epoxy from the get go?

    Any replies or insight will be appreciated.

  2. #2
    I finished the main areas of my house with the Behr brand concrete translucent stain and a high gloss clear coat about 3 years ago. Mind you, it is not a shop, but I did put it down in the high traffic parts of my house. It has held up great so far. I think part of the trick with a stain finish is to put down plenty of protective clear coats, as that is really your wear layer. I do think it would get pretty slick with sawdust on it, as the protective coating is pretty glossy. Take that for what it's worth.


  3. #3
    I did mine with the Rustoleum water based epoxy and I'm very happy with it. It does get a bit slick with sawdust underfoot but I just take that as it's time to sweep and it sweeps up quickly without the raw concrete to hold the dust. You could add a little sand to it I suppose which would give better traction but then it would be harder to sweep.

    I've had it down for a year or so now, dropped all sorts of things and dragged all sorts of things accross it. The only thing that touches it has been occassionally moving my extension table which weighs several hundred pounds and has 4 feet which are the heads of large metal lag screws. Those will mark it, hasn't scraped through the paint but it marks it up. BTW, 600 square feet is about the size of my shop, it took 3 kits @ about $79 each. There was some left on the third kit...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Leesville, SC

    Check out "Euco Diamond Hard Concrete Sealer". It is really some super tough sealer. It can have a glossy look if you buff it out. If you don't buff it out, just looks like plain concrete.

    In my area, central SC, it's the sealer that Lowe's uses. This sealer has a chemical reaction with the concrete and is really tough stuff.....

    I think a 5 gallon bucket was about $80. 5 gallons did about 1000 sq. ft. for me. I used it on my car port and front porch.
    Army Veteran 1968 - 1970
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Bangor, PA
    If you don't seal it with something, you will sweep concrete dust forever. Besides, any liquid you drop on the floor can stain. If the bucks don't allow the ultimate finish, whatever that is, use a clear sealer for now and do something else later. My shop is two rooms. I used a high quality epoxy on the smaller side. I store wood and equipment on that side. The floor is too slippery for daily use. I would have had to apply grit to consider it safe underfoot and that probably would have made sweeping a problem. Of course, the dust in my shop isn't dirt, it's atmosphere.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Williamston, SC
    I just covered my shop with 2'x2' interlocking rubber tiles. It's easy to keep clean and is a lot more comfortable on your feet and dropped chisels.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Northern Oregon
    In my house and shop I have a very smooth steel troweled concrete. The shop is unfinished . I don't care if it stains. It's slightly slippery when wet, but safe. I just put down a rug at the entry for the rainy season.

    In the house I used equal parts of linseed oil,varnish and mineral spirits. The same "danish oil finish" I've been using on wood for years. The floor looks like polished grey marble. Very durable, it's 5 years old and gets more beautiful as it ages. Even the kitchen area has no stain spots from many spills in 5 years.

    Linseed oil is one of the oldest concrete sealers. Just like oiling wood you must rub off the excess oil on the last coat. You will want ventilation and respirators. If you have a large area you'll want help wiping.
    Last edited by Andrew Joiner; 10-03-2009 at 8:21 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Getting ready to paint the floor of my shop and Benjamin Moore has a Concrete paint that is silicone based and is designed to block moisture.

    I thought about epoxy and I'm not sure it can block the moisture since my garage is on a slab.

    This could be a consideration


  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    N.W. Missouri
    Clear liquid spills can be hard to see and very slick on coated concrete.

    We put a clear coat sealer, complete with pre-etch on our new warehouse floor at work over 15 years ago. Didn't take long for places to start peeling up. It has been an endless pain ever since.

    I would like my garage/workshop floor to be smoother, but I'm not going to risk dealing with another peeling floor.


  10. #11
    I acid stained my floor. It turned out to be about the color and texture of saddle leather. I finished it with two coats of a two part epoxy made for heavy traffic.

    Everyone asks if it is OK to come in since it's wet!

    Looks great and doesn't reflect light because of the darker color. The only drawback is that it will show a scratch if you drag something sharp across it. However, this will polish out without any trouble.

    The main advantage is that I use a dust mop instead of a broom and clean up is amazingly easy.

  11. #12
    I am leaning on getting my concrete floor polished with a clear on it after. It should look like a Home Despot floor when done. (If it is ever done)
    Bob S.

  12. #13
    Do it right. Put down the epoxy, skip the color flakes. Make sure you have waited for the concrete to fully cure - at least 28 days. Before you start it is a good idea to check for moisture penetration. Take a 2' x 2' plastic sheet and tape it down sealing the perimeter of the plastic. If you have a moisture problem it will be wet the next morning. Might have to go a different route.

    I had a moisture problem in my room and put the epoxy down anyway. Haven't had any problems yet, been 4 years.

  13. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Sylvania, OH
    Hi Jeff,

    I used the Rustoleum Garage Floor EpoxyShield kit and love the results. Most of the work was in the prep and it sounds like that should be easier for you with a new floor. I mixed in the anti-slip aluminum oxide powder that Rustoleum sells, using about half of the package instead of all of it. I think the result gives a perfect combination of non-slip and easy sweep up of saw dust. Even when wet, the floor provides a sure grip on your shoes. The aluminum oxide particles are small enough so they don't interfere with sweeping (no sandpaper effect on the floor). I also used the supplied decorative flakes because I like the finished look they give to the floor (not as industrial looking as solid color). Again, I used about half of the supplied flakes. My floor is just under 200 square feet and I used just under one kit. The floor has held up well over the past year and still looks like it's brand new.

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