Step 2: Etch the floor

etch the floor with etching sloution and water
Photo: Kolin Smith
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For new or bare concrete: Mix the etching solution with water in a plastic watering can, following the manufacturer's directions. Make sure to wear protective gloves, rubber boots, and safety glasses when working with the chemicals.

Wet the floor with a garden hose. Pour the solution over a 10-by-10-foot area in the corner farthest from your exit point. Using a bristle broom, scrub the area in one direction, then go over it again in a perpendicular direction.

Continue etching the floor in small sections. Once you've finished the entire garage, rinse the floor with a garden hose, starting in your first corner and moving forward. Continue rinsing until the water runs completely clear. Allow the floor to dry at least 4 hours.

TOH Tip: Stubborn, dark discolorations may be the sign of a set-in oil stain, which will require additional scrubbing with fresh solution.
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    Tools List

    • push broom
      Bristlepush Broom
    • paint pan
      Paint Roller Tray
    • watering can
      Plastic Watering Can
    • floor maintainer
      Electric Floor Maintainer (optional—rents for about $40 a day)
    • roller frames
      Roller Frame with extension handle

    Shopping List

    1. GARAGE-FLOOR EPOXY KIT
    Includes etching solution, colored epoxy paint, and color-fleck additives (which you can order more of if necessary). Measure the square footage of your space, then check the manufacturer's coverage and coating recommendations to see how much you'll need. clear epoxy top coat Comes in a separate kit and includes the antiskid granules.

    2. ALL-PURPOSE CLEANER
    to prepare the floor, for previously painted floors only (in place of the cleaner that comes with the kit).

    3. PLASTIC SHEETING
    to protect the surrounding walls during the cleaning and epoxy application. 4. PAINTER'S TAPE
    to secure the plastic sheeting.

    5. 3/8-INCH-NAP ROLLER COVERS
    to apply both epoxy paint and clear top coat. You'll need three if you plan to do two coats of epoxy and one of clear coat.

    6. 3-INCH POLYESTER PAINTBRUSH
    to cut in at corners, seams, and edges.

    7. PAINT-TRAY LINERS