Epoxy paint is a durable and popular coating for new concrete floors – it offers a lot of benefits. However, if you’re interested in knowing how to remove epoxy paint from concrete garage floor areas, it can be tough to find reliable information. Let this post serve as your ultimate resource!
What You'll Learn Today
What is Epoxy Paint?
Epoxy paint was extremely popular a few decades ago, though it isn’t quite as commonplace now. There are more durable choices that you can use for your garage floor, which is why many people (especially those who have purchased older homes) decide to get rid of their epoxy paint.
A heavy-duty resin, it is a chemically-hardening material that exists either as a liquid or a putty and is usually applied to garage floors by professionals to help them resist wear and tear.
The good news about epoxy paint is that it can be removed, even if you don’t have a ton of expertise in this area.
What Dissolves Epoxy Paint?
Epoxy paint can be removed with a variety of chemicals.
Many people turn to alcohol or paint thinners to tackle the task of dissolving epoxy paint, but that isn’t the best route. Both can damage the porous surface and not be quite as effective as you’d like.
Acetone is a better alternative. It soaks easily into the porous surface of the concrete to loosen up the epoxy and surround it from all angles (rather than just from the top). Plus, leftover acetone will evaporate in the air.
How Do You Remove Dried Epoxy Paint?
If you have a garage floor with an epoxy coating that is flaking, old, or was improperly applied, you can remove it for yourself.
Removing epoxy from the garage floor is a tough, time-consuming process. You’ll need to scrape at the material for several hours, so be prepared to be tired at the end of the day!
Also, keep in mind that you’ll be working with chemicals that you probably shouldn’t allow to come into direct contact with your skin and eyes. Wear a pair of gloves and eye goggles. You may also want to put on a pair of knee pads to protect your legs while you are kneeling on the concrete garage floor.
If you are planning on replacing the old epoxy coat with a new one, then do your best to remove as much of the material as you can but don’t get discouraged if it’s not possible. Enlisting some extra hands to help you can be useful, but you still may not be able to get rid of every last trace of this material.
What You Will Need
- Before you get started with this task, make sure you have the right PPE (gloves, eye protection, long sleeves, etc) to tackle the job. You’ll be working with chemicals and you don’t want to hurt yourself!
- In addition, you will need some rags, a garden hose, and a stiff metal or plastic scraping tool.
- Of course, you will also need the chemicals. The best thing to use is acetone or specialized epoxy remover but lacquer can also work. Try to avoid using paint thinner or alcohol for the reasons described above. In a pinch, though, these can also work.
Remove Items From Your Garage
First, get rid of any and all items from the garage so you have a clean slate to work with. Sweep the floor to remove dirt and debris.
Give the Garage Floor a Thorough Cleaning
Before you start trying to remove any epoxy paint, make sure you give your floors a good cleaning. This video will walk you through the steps involved in doing just that:
Next, you will need to scrape the floor. If you can, enlist a few friends to help you (beer and pizza serve as good bribery tools!). The more people you have, the easier it will be.
Get down on your knees and start scraping the floor. It’s a slow, tedious process, but you need to remove as much of the coating as you can before you continue with the rest of the process.
Once you’ve removed as much of the dried epoxy as you can, you will need to pour solvent onto the floor.
Why scrape before using these solvents? It’s simple. Scraping the floor first will make it easier for the solvent to get through the tough epoxy coating. It will also make the rest of the scraping – you aren’t done scraping yet! – a bit easier.
After you’ve applied the solvent and let it settle for a while, go back to scraping the floor to get rid of the rest of the epoxy coating.
One note here – when you are working with these solvents, it’s important to keep the room adequately ventilated. Petroleum-based solvents in particular can be quite potent and it’s important to keep the air clear.
Rinse the Floor Down
Finally, use your hose to rinse the floor off. This will remove the remaining epoxy coating and let you work with the floor to apply a new epoxy coat (or whichever other alternative material you have decided to use instead).
Removing High-Performance Epoxy Flooring
The great news about getting rid of epoxy paint is that this is something that is relatively easy to do. The story changes, however, when you are thinking about removing high-performance epoxy flooring or coatings.
This material is meant to chemically bind with concrete and is often used in garages, kitchens, factories, and other places that receive a lot of wear.
To remove this kind of flooring, you will need to use an industrial diamond grinder. Chances are, this machine isn’t something you have kicking around the house! For that reason, most people hire professionals to get rid of the floor.
Rather than using a floor grinder, some people choose to use metal or plastic scraping tools. This is tedious and backbreaking work and it isn’t always effective.
How Hard is it to Remove Epoxy Flooring?
Epoxy paint is pretty easy to remove. Worst case scenario, it might be necessary for you to remove the epoxy flooring entirely. If that’s the case, hire an established professional to tackle this task for you.
That way, you won’t risk damaging your garage or spending lots of money on a DIY job that will end up being ineffective in the long run. For more cleaning tips, check out the following guide about cleaning your garage after winter or this one about getting rid of spray paint. Good luck!