The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

Garage Luxury from Ballistic Concrete Coatings by Rob Eckaus

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

By Rob Eckaus
San Francisco Bureau

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Having a garage is a luxury. Whether for two wheels or four, motorized or not, being able to store and work on your precious vehicles, covered and protected from the elements and crime is an essential for the enthusiast. Adding a floor covering makes it even nicer, to the point it feels like a new addition to the home.

Some use the garage only for storage, but that isn’t us, is it? A garage has always been a priority. When I relocated to California from Illinois, I specifically looked for an apartment that had a garage. Then when shopping for a townhouse, I specifically sought a two-car garage. A couple cars later I had to rearrange it twice to accommodate my 200” long Charger SRT-8 and Harley Davidson Softail Deuce motorcycle. My generous neighbors gave me storage cabinets and another a Shop Vac, which was really wonderful of both of them.

When I moved in with my future wife, we rearranged her garage, had some drywall repaired and painted, added some storage cabinets and hung some artwork. Definitely an improvement, not a bad place to be, but the floor was still the well-worn and stained original. Those additions were not inexpensive either. To my surprise I learned that the garage entry door was narrower in that home than the transition rental we stayed at for a few months.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

The dream wasn’t complete yet. Escaping from the rat race, congestion and crime of San Jose-Silicon Valley, we bought a home in Rocklin, CA that, we both agreed, had to have a three-car garage. This one already had cabinets and finished walls. Now we’re talking!

It was time to get to work. An 18,000 lumen overhead light from Home Depot with a motion detection sensor and hanging some framed posters were affordable upgrades that made it more inviting. Even more so when arriving home at night and the garage is nicely lit. A dimly lit garage is like a dungeon.

But the floor, now that absolutely transformed the garage. I didn’t want to a roll-on covering that could potentially bunch when turning the car or SUV wheels or be harmed by the motorcycle kickstand. Not to mention a less than perfect fit. The decking was also considered but I didn’t want seams, nor anything potentially trapped underneath like moisture from rain runoff, etc. I wanted an industrial grade floor with some texture. Epoxy was the way to go.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Calling multiple, highly rated epoxy floor companies resulted a bit of an education. Measure the square footage yourself, don’t let them give a little buffer for their profit with an inflated number. One of the companies failed to call me back and by the time they did, it was too late. When I politely declined, the late-night messages bad mouthing his ex-partner didn’t do him any favors whatsoever. To the point I was compelled to Yelp him as well.

Our part was cleaning out the garage, moving everything outside, covered by the porch or tarps. The motorcycle sat on the front walkway, covered and locked. Then the painting started to freshen it up. That was a lot of work, cleaning, patching and the ubiquitous color Swiss Coffee worked with the previously painted ceiling of the same color.

Expansion seams and cracks filled along with the stem-walls being coated, which are the concrete ledge that surrounds the garage floor, were included in the flooring estimate. I thought I wanted a really fine grain vinyl flake until my wife pointed out it will look like oatmeal. And the owner of the company I chose, Mike from Ballistic Concrete Coatings pointed out a larger flake pattern will be more noticeable from a distance as opposed to looking like a solid color.

The first step was a light grinding to remove all the dirt and surface imperfections. This is the noisy and dusty part. Then the cracks and seams are filled, and a moisture barrier applied to the surface. Then the flake was sprinkled throughout the garage and then the epoxy was mixed and applied. One tip, I suggest taping off the bottom of cabinets and shelf surfaces due to dust and the errant vinyl flakes that get missed or find their way inside.

In agreement for social media mentions, which I will gladly continue to do, Ballistic Concrete Coatings wanted to enhance the visual appeal and added a resin border around the perimeter which looks amazing and was done before the flake. It really highlights the floor and the effort. It took an extra couple of days due to the measurement, taping and application, but it’s cool as hell with great, swirling depth.

Without the border, pricing generally seems to be $4 per square foot and less but add for a border or custom work. One thing about a finished garage is it’s like adding a room to a house. Walking barefoot isn’t bad at all as opposed to the bare slab. What that meant, I soon learned, is wanting to keep that floor clean. Which now means I need a mop to clean the man-cave, typically water stains from rain run-off or car washes or the eventually dirt that gets tracked in from the tires. A small price to pay.

For the motorcycle, because the kickstand isn’t smooth, I used my kickstand pad that usually sits in the glovebox in case of a soft surface, sanded the bottom to remove any edges, and use that for the kickstand.

The last step is garage door insulation to keep the garage from getting so hot during the summer months. One recommendation is the Corning kit. It doesn’t have the smooth appearance like a panel kit with Styrofoam, but it does have an R-value that is nearly double, doesn’t make an awful mess when cutting and is more flexible to install. The Styrofoam kit was returned the same day it was bought.

With the epoxy the garage is visibly lighter, cleaner and much more inviting. The finished product makes for a warm environment that now feels like a home addition and doubles as a nice setting for photographing various vehicles besides a place to do projects. A huge thank you to Ballistic Concrete Coatings for a fantastic job.