Recently, my boss/uncle and I decided that our IT office needed some renovations. We worked in a basement with an ugly concrete floor and plain white walls, and we wanted to add some color. The cheapest option was to paint the concrete with an epoxy - this would create a nice-looking and durable floor; however, things didn't turn out the way we planned. Here's the 4 steps we tried to make our floor look nice.
1. Stripping Off Old Paint
Before we could paint a new color on the concrete, we had to remove the old scratched-up paint. We bought a paint stripper recommended to us by a Home Depot employee. This paint stripper ended up being the worst product we had ever used. It took five hours before you could scrape it off, and scraping it off was nearly impossible because it was thick and sticky. It ruined every tool it touched.
We ended up going to Menards and buying a cheaper paint stripper that only took 15 minutes to work. This product worked much better than the stuff from Home Depot - It was still messy, but it was more like a liquid that we could scrape off.
2. Etching The Concrete
In order to prep the concrete to bond with the epoxy paint, we had to etch it using muriatic acid, this process was actually one of the easiest parts - it only took about three hours to etch the whole 600 square feet.
3. Painting The Floor
At last, it was time for us to paint the floor with the epoxy. Again, we went with a product recommended by a Home Depot employee - it was a one-part epoxy for concrete and basements. Sounds perfect, right? That's what we thought, too. We followed every instruction and painted the whole floor with four gallons of this paint. We painted two coats and allowed it five days to dry, which should've been more than enough time.
The floor looked great, until we placed a ladder on it to reach one of the windows and noticed that the paint just chipped right off, revealing the old concrete floor. That's right - our EPOXY paint couldn't withstand a ladder being placed on top of it (epoxy is supposed to be super strong). After closer examination, we discovered that we could literally scrape the paint off with our fingernails.
4. Sealing the Concrete
We returned to Home Depot once again and told the employees our struggles. They recommended that we seal the floor with a fast-drying polyurethane. We bought two gallons and returned to the office. We painted one corner with the sealer, being sure to follow all instructions for the best result.
Well, just because the universe hates us, this didn't work either. We tested the sealed section with a method we now called "the ladder test" (you can probably guess what the test was). Lo and behold, the floor still got scratched.
So, not only have we wasted tons of money on paint and sealers that don't work, but we also wasted weeks of time on this project. The only way to fix this is to either A) do the process all over again with a two-part epoxy or B) call it quits and put in a different type of flooring.
It is for this reason that we've decided to use peel-and-stick vinyl tiles. The tiles will look nice, but it's honestly heartbreaking to see all of our hard work get covered up. None of this would've happened if Home Depot hadn't sold us shitty fake epoxy paint.
We'll buying our tile at Menards.