The True Cost of a Cheap DIY “Epoxy” Floor

There is nothing so expensive as a cheap tool. My Father was good for many cliches, but this was his favorite. The idea is that when buying a tool that you intend to use a lot, cost should be a low priority . How cheap is it if you have to buy it twice? Or three times?

So, for my son, and his son, I am changing the cliche:

There is nothing so expensive as a cheap floor.

Nothing can be closer to the truth than that statement when it comes to cheap painted (note I did not say epoxy) floors. To illustrate this, let’s look at Jane’s floor (her name was changed to protect the guilty).

Jane Doe bought her “epoxy” floor from a handyman, which should be your first red flag. Anyone can lay epoxy…right? Wrong! That’s just like saying anyone can paint. Anyone can clean. Anyone can <insert your favorite here>. Jane paid around $600 for her floor, and it was done four months ago.

Let that sink in: FOUR Months ago!

The pictures are real. We asked Jane if we could take them, and though embarrassed she agreed. I assured her I could make her problem go away. No, I wasn’t going to off the Handyman, I am going to redo her floor. My price to do her 1 car, small garage was $1600…plus a small charge to clean up the coating that has to be removed before we can begin work. So to compare apple to apple’s, we were twice as expensive as the Handyman. Our lifetime warranty on blisters and peeling…vs this…four months. Our professionally installed floors…vs this…slapped on paint. Our full flaked floors that add strength and integrity to our floors…vs this…confetti flake sprinkled in for cosmetic reasons only.

Need I go on?

Listen, we get it. Not everyone can afford our floors. What question you have to ask yourself is this, can you afford a cheap one?

Why is it so much more expensive?

Epoxy Coating Quality – Strength, Dry Time, and Shine

Professional coatings are a much higher quality overall, which means:

      • Better adhesion between coating and concrete so the floor won’t peel over time.
      • Your colors won’t fade from UV sun exposure.
      • Most floor imperfections won’t show through the coating.
      • Drying time is a day or two depending upon the weather and accelerants, compared to a week or more with the cheap DIY epoxy floor kits.
      • The flakes are broadcasted more evenly and more fully.
      • More color choices.
      • The floor looks cleaner overall, because it is!
      • So, what makes the coatings so high quality? For the most part, it’s the percentage of solids in the coating and proper floor preparation.

Cheap DIY epoxy floor kits are approximately 30% solids and the rest is water. What is wrong with a formula that is so heavily water based?

      • The coating is thin and delicate.
      • Takes longer to dry.
      • The coating will show even the smallest imperfections in the floor.
      • Professional epoxy jobs will have 90% to 100% solid content, and that, is what makes the formula strong.

Floor Preparation

We have gone on and on about the differences between grinding a floor to get a proper mechanical bond and acid etching. Some of the cheap DIY epoxy floor kits don’t even acid etch!

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Cost Comparison of a Cheap DIY Epoxy Floor Kit and a Professionally Install Epoxy Floor

According to Angie’s List (now Angi) and based on their member’s data, a professional epoxy flooring job costs in a general range of about $2,100 to $2,550. The grade of epoxy will affect the price, as will the time of year, and the area in which you live. That is not too bad for a floor coating that will last over 15 years. At an average price of $2,325 divided by 15 years, $155 / year is pretty affordable. But what about the Cheap DIY Epoxy Floor?

A 2-car garage kit can cost as low as $100 to $150, but with all the materials and tools you will need for the application, you will be paying anywhere from $250 to $500 for the first application. Now, if you’re planning on trying to match professional-grade quality with the cheap DIY epoxy floor kit, which normally doesn’t work well, you’ll need to spend at least $150 re-coating your floor each year.

*Angie’s List averages based on provided member data. This does not reflect average prices for garage flooring by Michiana Epoxy
**Rough price of popular brand of cheap DIY epoxy floor kit – $150, plus estimated cost of other project materials not included in kit.

This makes the cost of DIY over a 15-year period (not including price fluctuations, inflation, etc.) roughly $2,600. The Angie’s List professional average is $2,325, with potential to be cheaper than that. If the professional job ends up lasting longer than 15 or 20 years, then you’re looking at well over $1,000 saved.

Not only do cheap DIY epoxy floors cost more, they are very time-consuming. By choosing a professional, you will likely save a decent chunk of change, an incredible amount of time, and get a far better floor.