You might not like what you are about to read. If you are thinking about a garage floor coating that comes in a high gloss box from your national chain home improvement center, PLEASE STOP. If you think you are going to get a quality garage floor epoxy and proper advice on preparing your floor from a home center, generally speaking you are wrong. While there are some exceptions, generally speaking home center kits are incomplete, low quality and often contain floor prep solutions that simply do not work.
Using a garage floor coating requires extensive preparation and hard work. The floor needs to be ground or at minimum acid etched. Next you need to moisture test the concrete. Then for a good system you are going to need to prime it, apply a base coat, your broadcast media and a layer (or two of top coat) All in all you are probably going to need to be off your floor for a week or more.
If this sounds like too much work or if you think we are making it sound worse than it is, you are better off with a garage floor mat or tile. If you still want to do a coating, then there is some basic information that you need to know.
Percentage of Solids: This is the amount of material that actually stays on the floor. The base coat should without exception be 100% solids. Sometimes the primer or a urethane top coat will have a lower solids level.
Top Coat: If someone tells you that you do not need a top coat, you need to pick a different supplier. There are many high end garage floor coating suppliers such as Legacy Industrial . They will give you an honest opinion on what you need to finish your floor.
Primer: Like top coat is highly necessary. It improves the bond and reduces flaws like fish eye. Although many systems, even high quality ones, do not require a primer, we highly suggest you order one — and order from the people that you order your coating from.
Full Broadcast Vs. Random Broadcast: Full broadcast means your floor is completely covered with the broadcast media (such as flakes) and you should never see the base coat. This is the high-end way to go. It looks better and provides much better long term performance.
Random Broadcast is when you simply apply a small amount of flake for decorative purposes. While it may add some degree of traction it is basically for decorative purposes only.
Urethane Top Coat Vs Epoxy Top Coat: Urethanes are generally less likely to yellow. Make sure you use an aliphatic urethane if you are going to go that route. There are also some very good UV resistant clear epoxy products on the market. Just make sure they are both chemical resistant and UV resistant.
Make sure your concrete is fully cured. Rule of thumb in the industry is 30 days but often that is not enough. Check with a local coatings company or a professional garage floor epoxy website.