Sealing Your Garage Floor Sealing Your Garage Floor

Since most garage floors are made from concrete and are as hard as stone, many people have the mistaken belief concrete garage floors are maintenance free. Unfortunately, a concrete garage floor is far from maintenance free and even though it seems to be stone solid, it really isn't. In fact, the concrete in a garage is often 'permeable' so moisture can work its way into the seemingly solid mass and will actually help break it down over time. As well, a permeable garage floor can also end up with unattractive stains from spills of oil, antifreeze, chemicals, or even soft drinks. Sealing your concrete garage floor will effectively fill the little holes in the concrete surface and stop any moisture from penetrating.

What's a concrete sealer?

There are two  types of concrete sealers on the market, film formers (sealers that create a film on the surface of  the concrete) and penetrating sealers that actually penetrate 1 to 4 mm (1/5”) into the concrete surface and bond with the concrete itself.

The different sealer types have their own characteristics and applications

  • Film formers are usually acrylic products that sit on the surface forming a shiny, hard to penetrate top layer.
  • This makes them ideal them ideal for applications where appearance is important. However, because they are on the surface film formers can be subject to peeling, scuffs and scratches and because  they wear over time,  manufacturers recommend film forming sealers be reapplied every three to four years
  • Penetrating sealers actually sink into the concrete and literally become part of it, filling up the tiny holes in the concrete so  are great for preventing moisture intrusion.
  • Since they are actually part of the concrete, penetrating sealers aren't as susceptible to wear and don't need to be reapplied every few years. 
  • Penetrating sealers work particularly well in areas where freeze/thaw temperatures are common.

Sealing Your garage floor

  • Sealing a garage floor is straight forward and doesn't require any special equipment of skills making it an ideal DIY project.
  • Start by clearing everything from your garage then sweep or blow out any dust or dirt. Pay particular attention to any oil or grease stains on the floor. No sealer can adhere to concrete if there is anything on the surface. Tough stains can be removed by spreading some TSP (tri sodium phosphate) powder or even kitty litter on the stain and leaving it overnight. (TSP is a cleaning product that will cut through any oil or grease stains).
  • Next thoroughly clean the entire garage floor using a commercial garage floor cleaning product or TSP  mixed with water.  
  • Allow the floor to dry thoroughly, then cut in the sealer along the edges with a paint brush and finish sealing the floor with a long handled roller or even a garden sprayer. 
  • When sealing your floor make sure the area is well ventilated and if you're spraying the sealer, wear safety glasses and a dust mask.
Murray Anderson is a veteran freelancer whose work has been appeared in books, newspapers and newsletters as well as on numerous web sites in both the United States and Canada. He writes on a wide range of topics including home, consumer, and personal subjects as well as general business and Marketing specific topics.

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