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How to Epoxy a Concrete Basement Floor

Epoxy is a seamless, tough, and beautiful way to upgrade your client's basement floors, and is a great upgrade from standard floor paints (which tend to chip and peel over time).

This easy-to-use mix-and-apply option is a durable, non-flammable surface that easily adheres to concrete. The surface can easily withstand heavy dropped objects (perfect for basement home gyms), can tolerate the weight of a vehicle, and stands up to spills, making this a kid and husband-friendly option for families.

As a commercial flooring contractor, epoxy floors are a great option to present to customers looking for a low-maintenance option that will last a lifetime—enhanced concrete floors are a beautiful option.



Types of Epoxy for Basement Floors

Epoxy floor paints are purchased as two separate parts that are mixed together and then applied to a well-cleaned and prepped concrete floor.

There are three types of epoxy, each with its own set of pros and cons:



1. Solid Epoxy

This is the purest form of epoxy, that does not contain solvents. This type of epoxy is expensive, difficult to find, and harden very quickly, and therefore it's recommended that this kind of epoxy only be applied by a commercial flooring contractor.



2. Solvent-Based Epoxy

This epoxy contains 40-60% solids, adheres to concrete well, and is available in a wide range of colors. However, the solvents are potentially hazardous, and therefore you must wear a respirator when applying, and make sure to ventilate the area as much as possible while keeping kids and pets away.


3. Water-Based Epoxy

3. Water-Based Epoxy

This epoxy also contains 40-60% solids, with the benefit of no hazardous solvent fumes. It's sold at most home and hardware stores and is a popular alternative to solvent-based epoxies.

There is also a large range of style options for pre-tinted and metallic epoxy floor coatings, including colored flakes that create a speckled pattern in the surface.

You can easily create a customized look for coating basement floors that match your client's aesthetic and style, and there are many beautiful examples of epoxy floors done right.



How to Apply Epoxy to Basement Floors

To get started, here are some things to consider when beginning an epoxy project:

1. Time Is of the Essence

When working with epoxy, time is the most critical factor because it quickly begins to harden once mixed and is only workable for about 2 hours. 

However, the application is essentially as easy as rolling paint onto a wall—although you also have to consider how you'll paint the surface of the basement so you can paint yourself out of the room

2. Plan for Enough Epoxy

You'll need to apply at least 2 layers of epoxy to the surface, most epoxy kits supply one coat of coverage, but this is obviously dependent on the size of the project area.



3. Prep the Concrete

The concrete should be even, smooth, and very clean. To prep the surface, you may have to use a concrete grinder.

Once you've made the concrete surface smooth and even, you'll need to clean the surface of the concrete and remove any dust or debris.

Before getting started, know that curing time for epoxy floors takes about 12 hours, and for optimal curing, the concrete should be completely dry and at least 55 degrees, with ambient air temperatures around 60-90 degrees. 

What You'll Need for Prepping Concrete

Before you start, here are some items you need:

  • Scraper
  • Vaccum
  • Garden hose 
  • Power scrubber with a brush attachment
  • Stiff bristle brush
  • Squeegee
  • Plastic watering can
  • 32% muriatic acid
  • Gloves
  • Vapor respirator

All projects will be different, and depending on the state of the concrete floor prior to painting, you might not need all the supplies on the list. Read through the steps before purchasing.


Prepping for Coating

Remove any previous flooring, like vinyl, carpet, tile, and more, in order to expose the concrete which the epoxy will be painted on to.

Clean the concrete surface using a scraper or shovel to remove any debris or carpet glue. Vacuum the floor.

Wet the entire basement surface using a hose, and working in small sections, use the power scrubber to clean the surface of the floor. For edges and corners that the machine can't reach, use a stiff bristle brush. Once the floor is clean, squeegee the water into a central location and vacuum it up with a wet/dry shop vacuum.

Using a vapor respirator, mix muriatic acid in the plastic watering can, mix with a paint stirrer, and sprinkle over the floor. Etch the concrete using a long-handled acid brush, and then rinse the floor at least three times to remove the acid. Let the floor dry overnight.


What You'll Need for Applying Epoxy

To get started on painting the epoxy, get these items:

  • Paintbrushes
  • 9-inch roller and pole
  • Duct tape
  • Plastic bag

The rollers and poles are the most important part of applying the epoxy, it's recommended to purchase some extra rollers, as the epoxy will harden and potentially ruin the rollers.


Applying First Epoxy Coat

Duct tape the edges of your space to create straight lines.

Mix your epoxy following the instructions, use a drilling and the stirring bit to mix.

Using a paintbrush, apply the epoxy to the edges, painting over the inner edge of duct tape.

Plan ahead how you'll cover the floor based on where the exit is—make sure you don't paint yourself into a corner.

Paint the entire space using the 9-inch roller and roller pole. Half-dip your roller into the epoxy, then apply in 4-foot sections using a large "W" pattern, and backroll to fill in space and smooth out roller marks.

The first coat must cure for a minimum of 12 hours. Apply a second coat, and add in any non-skid floor coating. Sprinkle color flakes into wet epoxy.

You can finish your space by painting the bottom 4-inches of your basement wall with the same epoxy applied to the floor. 


The Best Epoxy for Basement Floors

The Best Epoxy for Basement Floors

There are many epoxy options on the market, but here are some of the best brands on the market:

  1. Rustoleum Epoxy Sheild Basement Floor Kit
  2. Supercoat Stone Epoxy Floor Coating
  3. Colordepoxies Epoxy Resin Coatings

There are a number of products on the market, chat with your local hardware store about what they would recommend. 



Upgrade Your Client's Basement With Epoxy

There's a wide range of options to finish your client's basement that doesn't include classic vinyl or carpeted flooring, which makes epoxy a great option for alternative finishings.

Though a big project to undertake, epoxy floors are great for at-home gyms, play areas for kids, workrooms for artists or hobbyists. 

If you found this article helpful, check out our other informative guides on flooring finishing, upgrades, and product guides.

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