As winter arrives and the temperature begins to plummet few of us feel like getting out and applying a new coating to our garage floor. But the winter time is as good as any to carry out this simple task – as long as you are prepared and follow a few simple rules. So here are five things to remember when applying a garage floor coating when it’s cold outside.
Read instructions carefully
The first thing you want to do is review the technical data for the epoxy you are using which is usually included with the product or in the instruction manual. Here you will find the required information about temperature specifications for application as well as specifications about humidity levels and dew points. If you are unsure about any of these, consult with the epoxy company, manufacturer or even a local hardware store for clarification.
Take it one layer at a time
If you are installing a multi-coat epoxy system, be sure to check the temperature requirements of each of the different products that you may be using. A primer can have different requirements than a base coat for example and a top coat such as polyurethane can be different than the base coat.
Check the floor temperature as well as the air
It may feel reasonably mild outside, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the ideal time to apply a floor coating. The most important temperature to pay attention to is that of the floor, not the air. In cold weather, a concrete slab is almost always colder than the surrounding air and Epoxy will immediately take on the temperature of the slab once it is applied. So this is the temperature range you need to pay attention to. You also need to check the slab temperature around doorways, vents, and walls. These areas can provide for the coldest spots in the slab with a heated garage and should be in the correct range before applying the epoxy.
Consider pre-heating your garage
This can work depending on how cold it is, but remember, it can take days for a slab floor to come up to temperature, not just a matter of hours. If you do decide to go this route, stay away from kerosene heaters as these can dispense contaminants in the air that will end up in your floor.
Use a Polyurea or Polyaspartic coating instead
If you’ve reached the point where the weather is just too cold and you still have your heart set on a coating for your garage floor, then you may want to consider a polyurea or polyaspartic coating. These can be applied in much colder temperatures than epoxy and provide for even better protection.