With people, cars, bicycles, and even push mowers wheeled in for storage, a garage sees a lot of traffic. This, coupled with all the do-it-yourself tasks that take place there, can lead to extensive wear and tear on a garage floor. Regardless how durable, the concrete surface will eventually reflect the abuse it takes. Water or extreme temperatures might cause it to crack, while vehicle fluids and other chemicals might leave behind stains. Eventually, these defects will sully the overall appearance of your concrete floor and put it at risk of more severe damage, such as crumbling or fires.
Fortunately, you can restore the looks of your garage and protect it from these threats by painting the garage floor. The two most popular types of garage floor coating are garage floor paint and epoxy paint; both roll on but are quite different. Read on to learn more about these two types, and find out why the following products are among the best you can buy.
- BEST OVERALL: Rust-Oleum Rocksolid Garage Floor Coating
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: KILZ 1-Part Epoxy Acrylic Garage Floor Paint Satin
- BEST EPOXY KIT: Rust-Oleum EPOXYSHIELD Garage Floor Coating Kit
- BEST ACRYLIC: Behr Premium Epoxy Concrete and Garage Floor Paint
- BEST LATEX: DRYLOK Latex Concrete Floor Paint
Types of Garage Floor Paint Finishes
Painting a garage floor will improve the look and feel of the space. DIYers have three primary types of paint from which to choose: latex, acrylic, and epoxy. Each comes with different considerations outlined below. Before choosing a can of paint, consider the garage’s intended use and the desired durability of the new floor.
If the project is part of a garage conversion, such as transforming the garage into a family room or hobby room, it presents an opportune time to paint or install different types of floor coverings, such as indoor/outdoor carpeting or tile.
Latex Garage Floor Paints
A water-based product, latex garage floor paint contains a small amount of acrylic resin (though less than acrylic paint), and brushes and rollers clean up with just soap and water. Latex typically costs slightly less than acrylic paint and substantially less than epoxy garage floor paint.
Latex paint produces little to no objectionable fumes and dries quickly, often within a few hours. However, it’s not as durable as acrylic or epoxy. When used on a garage floor that isn’t exposed to the weather, such as a garage converted to a family room, it can prove an attractive and affordable coating.
Acrylic Garage Floor Paints
Acrylic garage floor paint features a higher acrylic resin content than latex paint. It offers a measure of suppleness, which is well suited in a garage that lacks climate control. As the concrete floor expands and contracts with temperature fluctuations, acrylic paint is less likely than latex paint to crack and chip.
Acrylic paint can cost up to twice as much per gallon as latex paint, but it’s more durable. It’s also less likely to fade in sunlight, so colors stay brighter and more accurate. Both latex and acrylic concrete floor paint apply easily.
Epoxy Garage Floor Paints
True epoxy paints, sold in buckets or kits as a “2-part” formula, consist of epoxy resin and a polyamine hardener that must be mixed together before application. This product comes in both solvent-based epoxy and water-based epoxy. The two vary in terms of application, cost, looks, durability, and maintenance. With an understanding of what to expect from each finish, you can narrow your options and find the best garage floor paints to safeguard and style your garage floor.
If a paint is labeled one-part epoxy, it actually consists of latex or acrylic paint with a small amount of epoxy resins mixed in. The manufacturers create a stronger, more durable paint by adding the resins. However, since it’s not true epoxy, it is only a slightly more durable version of latex or acrylic paint.
Tips for Picking the Best Garage Floor Paint
Factor in the following criteria to home in on the right floor finish for your garage. Some types of garage floor paint cost more than others, and different options will produce different results. Depending on the garage floor ideas you’re entertaining, some products work better than others.
Choose latex garage floor paint for the least expensive option, averaging 15 cents (or less) per square foot of coverage versus around 30 cents per square foot for acrylic paint. Epoxy garage floor paint is pricier, costing as much as $1.50 or more per square foot of coverage. When comparing garage floor paint products, read the instructions to see whether they recommend one or two coats. A gallon of one-coat paint might cost more than a two-coat paint, but could save money in the long run if you only need to apply one coat. If a separate primer coat is necessary, factor in that cost as well.
When applied, both latex and acrylic garage floor paint tend to be runnier and less sticky in consistency than epoxy paint, and both dry into a less slick and lower sheen finish, which is ideal if you don’t want to draw focus to the floor. Epoxy, on the other hand, goes on thicker and stickier and cures into a glossier finish that provides an ultrapolished look.
If you’re more interested in specific colors than gloss, you may have better luck with garage floor paint, as it’s sold in a wide range of colors, whereas epoxy comes in more limited colors and clear varieties. To change the color of epoxy, you’ll need to tint the final coat of epoxy with color flakes. To match existing paint, take a chip of paint to a paint center to have it analyzed by a color-matching computer. The computer will read the hue and create a color formula that closely matches the color of another item, such as trim or even the color of a garage door.
Flat or matte paints are more difficult to keep clean than semi-gloss and gloss varieties that contain additional luster ingredients. For those trying to cover imperfections in the garage floor, such as cracks or spalling, matte and flat make better choices because they don’t catch the light, whereas every dip, dent, ripple, and crack will draw the eye if the surface is glossy.
With epoxy coatings being slicker, they’re also more slip-prone. If this is a concern, look for an epoxy kit that includes anti-slip/skid compounds to offer more traction underfoot. Flat or matte garage floor paint will still offer the most traction underfoot.
As a general rule, the higher the gloss, the slicker the surface. Some latex and acrylic garage floor paints contain ingredients, such as fine silica sand, that are specifically designed to increase traction. The silica offers a slightly rougher texture that doesn’t detract from the paint’s overall look but does reduce the risk of slipping, especially if the floor is wet.
Epoxy requires extensive floor preparation. First, the floor should be power-washed with a degreaser. Next, it should be etched with either muriatic acid or an included etching compound to open up the pores in the floor and prepare them for the epoxy. Lastly, repair any damaged concrete with epoxy paste. Once prepped with a brush or roller, apply the epoxy primer followed by two coats (or more) of epoxy, with color flakes added if desired. Finish with a clear topcoat, which will usually be urethane-based.
Traditional epoxy floor coatings come in two parts that require thorough mixing before applying. Once you combine the two parts, you must use the product within a specific time, such as 30 minutes, before it begins to harden. While applying epoxy is often a DIY project, users should read the instructions carefully and familiarize themselves with the potential issues, such as the need to combine the two parts gently to keep out bubbles that can mar the look of the finished floor.
Applying latex or acrylic garage floor paint is more straightforward: Power-wash the concrete with a degreasing solution, then brush or roll on one or more coats of the paint. You often don’t need to etch or prime before painting the garage floor. However, failure to clean and prep the floor can result in peeling or bubbling paint.
A makeover with acrylic or latex garage floor paint usually lasts 1 to 2 years at most, with paints without any epoxy requiring the most frequent reapplication because they eventually flake off, chip, or stain from chemicals. True two-part epoxy garage floor paints offer the best impact and stain resistance of any garage floor paints, followed by one-part epoxy. Being nonporous and chemical-resistant, epoxy coatings can hold up for 3 to 5 years without flaking or chipping, even with exposure to extreme temperatures, vehicles, machinery, heavy foot traffic, and fluids or chemicals typical to a garage setting.
Both epoxy-coated and painted garage floors are susceptible to hot-tire pickup, meaning that when the finish delaminates, it might lift off the floor and onto a vehicle’s hot tires. If you live somewhere with regularly warmer climates, look for epoxies or garage floor paints labeled as resistant to hot-tire pickup.
Those with asphalt garage floors should avoid regular garage floor paints, which are designed for use on concrete. Asphalt contains oils and solvents that can keep regular paint from adhering. Opt instead for a tinted asphalt sealer that will coat the floor and update its color.
You can keep both painted and epoxy-coated garage floors dust-free by dry mopping or sweeping them weekly. For deeper cleaning, you’ll have to be pickier about which solutions you apply to epoxy coatings than to garage floor paint. Two tablespoons of dish soap and a gallon of warm water applied with a foam mop works for cleaning up garage floor paint, but soap can cloud the glossy finish of epoxy.
For reflective floors, stick to soap-free and acid-free cleaning solutions, such as ½ cup of ammonia diluted in 1 gallon of warm water. You’ll find slick epoxy surfaces require the least elbow grease to wipe or mop down, while flat or matte garage floor paints have more friction and, therefore, take more time to clean.
Some types of epoxy coatings create a floor surface so durable that a car can drive over it without damage—think showroom floors—but acrylic and latex paints cannot stand up to that type of abuse. Consider adding a rubber parking mat to a garage stall to keep the car’s dirt and black tire marks from marring the painted surface. Foam walking mats and rugs also help protect walkways.
Our Top Picks
Weighing the factors mentioned above, a handful of top-rated garage floor finishes stand out as top picks. Find out more below to help you choose the best garage floor paint for your project.
For a durable, tough garage floor, check out Rust-Oleum’s Rocksolid Coating. Made from a proprietary blend of epoxy-like ingredients called “polycuramine,” Rocksolid is tough and long-lasting. The self-leveling formula naturally settles into a flat, smooth surface and cures to a hardened, high-gloss finish that will withstand dirt, grease, and even chemical spills.
The most significant difference between two-part epoxy and this product boils down to premixing. Rocksolid’s low-VOC product comes premixed and dries quickly. It takes only a single coat of Rocksolid to coat a clean, dry garage floor. The coating, which goes on with a roller, comes with color chips to sprinkle on while the coating is still wet to achieve a terrazzo flooring look. One kit covers up to 500 square feet.
Spiff up that garage floor without spending a lot of money. The KILZ 1-Part Epoxy Garage Floor Paint combines the flexibility of acrylic with the hardness of epoxy in a single product. The paint comes in a 1-gallon bucket in a gray shade that complements concrete garage floors and gives them an updated look.
This water-based paint creates a durable surface with a satin sheen that can withstand high traffic, plus it offers a measure of protection from oils and other spills. Instructions recommend two coats for the best coverage. It dries quickly, allowing the addition of the second coat about 4 hours after the first one. A single gallon will cover 400 to 500 square feet.
For those looking for an all-inclusive garage floor painting kit that includes prep materials, look no further than Rust-Oleum’s EPOXYSHIELD Garage Floor Coating Kit. The kit includes an etching compound, decorative chips, and 3.75 quarts of floor finish, which should be plenty to cover 200-250 square feet or a one-car garage. Once users mix the two parts of the formula and apply it by brush or roller, the cured coating protects the garage floor from unseen threats at home or carried in from the road, such as road salt trapped in tires.
The long-lasting coating is more than just durable. Its high-gloss sheen, coupled with the decorative chips included in the kit, can boost the beauty of a “blah” garage.
Offering better durability than ordinary latex paint, this no-mix, ready-to-use, water-based acrylic paint with epoxy in the formula handily keeps hot-tire pickup, scuff marks, fading, cracks, and paint blisters at bay. The potent paint’s impressive resistance to chemicals and vehicle fluids, such as oil and gasoline, reduces the need for frequent cleaning.
The paint’s smooth satin finish makes chemical spills or accidental paint overspray a cinch to wipe off or mop up with only soap and water to bring back a floor’s spotless condition. The gallon-size paint can cover up to 500 square feet in a wide range of preset colors or in a custom hue selected via computerized color-matching at the store.
Who needs primer? This latex concrete garage floor paint is ready to brush or roll on straight out of the gallon-size can without a foundational coat. Yet, this product from DryLok still manages to best ordinary floor paints in longevity when exposed to hot tires, heavy traffic, frequent washings, extreme temperatures, or either acidic or alkaline spills.
With a no-fuss application, a generous coverage area of up to 500 square feet, and the ability to serve as paint for creative stenciling on the garage floor, this is an all-around quality choice. While the white hue of the product can be tinted, the paint is sold in multiple colors, from Persian Red to Dover Gray, to add bold or subtle glamor to bare or previously painted carports.
Things to Consider When Painting Your Garage Floor
A coat of paint won’t fix a damaged garage floor. For the best results, before painting, remove all dust and dirt, fill any cracks, and remove stains. The concrete should also be dry for the paint to adhere well.
If your garage floor is asphalt, use a tinted asphalt sealer rather than a paint product. The oils in the asphalt will keep regular paint from adhering, and it could soon peel off.
FAQs About Garage Floor Paints
If you still want more info about buying and using the best garage floor paint, read on for answers to some common questions about these products.
Q. What is the best type of paint to use on a garage floor?
Epoxy garage floor paint is the most durable, easiest to clean, and will last the longest.
Q. Is painting a garage floor a good idea?
Paint offers a simple way to upgrade this high-traffic area. Just make certain the garage floor is clean, dry, and in good condition before applying paint.
Q. Is latex paint a good choice for a garage floor?
Because latex paint dries quickly (often within a few hours) and doesn’t produce objectionable fumes, it can be a good choice for a garage floor that’s not exposed to weather, such as a garage that’s been converted to a family room. While it’s not as durable as acrylic or epoxy, it can be an attractive and affordable option..
Painting a garage floor can update the entire space, giving the garage a fresh, clean look. It’s a DIY-friendly project, but preparing the concrete floor actually can take more time than the painting process. For the best results, don’t skimp on the prep work, as greasy stains can bleed through and come to the surface, and paint won’t stop peeling concrete from continuing to peel. So, make certain to clean the floor thoroughly and make repairs before painting.