Applying the ShowRoom Epoxy Paint System 

Introduction

 

ShowRoom Garage Floor Paint is a user-friendly 100% solids epoxy that produces professional results for the do-it-yourselfer. 

The basic system consists of the following:

  • Prime Coat
  • Base Coat
  • Decorative Flakes
  • Non-skid

System Three also offers a polyaspartic topcoat that provides UV resistance and improved scratch and mar resistance.

 

Your garage or shop will be ShowRoom quality when you are done.

 

This project isn’t for the person who cuts corners. This guide is an honest representation of what it will take to do a professional job. As with any paint project, surface preparation is critical. Our guide will take you through the steps to ensure your job turns out great.

 

Your friends will think you hired a pro!

 

What to know before you begin

More than a weekend. It will take 3 – 5 days to install the ShowRoom Garage Floor Paint system in a typical 2-car garage.

Empty your garage: 4-400 hours, only you know how much stuff is in there…
Prepare the surface: 1-2 days
Primer coat: 1 day
Basecoat and flakes: 1 day
Clear topcoat (optional): 1 day

Extreme temperatures are bad. If you want to coat your garage in North Dakota in January or Phoenix in July, please use someone else’s product. See below for our temperature guidelines.

Oil, grease, and water are fine for your car, not your concrete. We will walk you through cleaning your floor and preparing it for an epoxy coating. Not all floors can come clean or be dry enough for the system.

Better than the national brand. Our system will leave you with 18-22 mils (1 mil=.001 inches) of solid epoxy on your floor. Six times more than the national brand. On your floor, more is better.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Our standard system comes with ¾ pounds of flake per 100 square feet (ft2). Some people will want fewer flakes and others will want more. The extreme loading of flakes is referred to as “refusal” when the epoxy is so covered with flakes, it refuses to take any more. To get to refusal, plan on using 15 pounds of flake per 100ft2. We have pictures of different flake density levels at systemthree.com.  If you choose to go to refusal, you’ll need to put ShowRoom Polyaspartic Topcoat over the top.

How much material?  Measure the area of your floor. Our standard kit will cover a 400 square foot (ft2) floor. We also have a smaller kit which covers 130ft2.

Standard 5.4-gallon Kit

Covers 400 ft2

Auxiliary 1.8-gallon Kit

Covers 130 ft2

If your garage is 900ft2 you’ll need two Standard kits and one Auxiliary kit.

ShowRoom Polyaspartic Topcoat covers 200 ft2 per gallon over regular and heavy flaked floors. If you flake your floor to refusal, you’ll get 80 ft2 per gallon.

 

Supplies

Let’s assume your garage is 400ft2.

Epoxy. You’ll need our standard floor kit which contains the following:

  • 7 gallons of primer (3 each 0.6 gallons of resin and 3 each 0.3 gallons of hardener)
  • 7 gallons of base coat (3 each 0.6 gallons of resin and 3 each 0.3 gallons of hardener)
  • 3 pounds of decorative flakes
  • 2 pounds of non-skid additive

Tools. We recommend our Pro Install Kit which includes:

  • 2-18” long 3/8”-nap roller cover
  • 1-18” roller frame
  • 1-18” notched squeegee
  • 2-3” chip brush
  • 2-1 Quart tubs
  • 2-5 Quart tubs
  • 1-set of spikes
  • 12-pair disposable gloves
  • 1-Jiffy® mixer attachment
  • 2-paint stir sticks

These items are also available individually at systemthree.com.  If you are going to use the optional ShowRoom Polyaspartic Topcoat, you’ll need an extra roller(s), brushes and quart tub.

Additional tools and supplies. You most likely have this stuff in your shop. If not, time to add some more tools to your collection.

  • ShowRoom Concrete Patch (1.5-pint kit for 400 ft2 garage). Larger kits may be necessary for garages with extensive cracking or chipping.
  • Thick painter’s plastic on a roll
  • Painters tape
  • Variable speed drill
  • Angle grinder + diamond grinding wheel
  • Thin diamond blade (widen hairline cracks)
  • Rags
  • Lacquer thinner or denatured alcohol
  • Shop Vacuum
  • Chalk line
  • Vise-grip® Locking Pliers x 2
  • Painter’s extension pole (4-6 foot)
  • Rubber flat blade squeegee (if degreasing/acid etching)
  • Synthetic scrub brush (if degreasing/acid etching)
  • System Three ShowRoom Cleaner/Degreaser (if degreasing)
  • System Three ShowRoom Acid Etch (if acid etching)
  • Safety glasses
  • NIOSH respirator (if grinding)
  • Hearing protection
  • Random Orbital Sander
  • Tape measure

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What colors are available?
    A. The epoxy is gray, like the Seattle sky. We offer three color schemes of decorative flakes. Neutral/gray, blue and green. See our website for representations of the flake options.
  2. I want flakes to match my 57 Chevy or my college colors, what do I do?
    A. You can order our system without flakes and provide your own. You can procure flakes from Torginol, link is at the end of the document.
  3. Can I do this project on my own?
    A. You can, but we recommend having a helper.
  4. What is included in the kit?
    A. Our kits include epoxy primer, epoxy base coat, non-skid, and colored flakes.
  5. My garage is below grade, can I use ShowRoom?
    A. Unfortunately, the risk of moisture coming through slab is very high when the garage is below grade. We don’t recommend an epoxy coating for this type of garage. Proceed at your own risk. Contact Technical Support (support@systemthree.com) with questions.
  6. Can I coat my woodshop in my basement?
    A. Again, the risk of moisture coming through slab is very high when the floor is below grade. We don’t recommend an epoxy coating for this type of application. Proceed at your own risk. Contact Technical Support (support@systemthree.com) with questions.
  7. My garage is exposed to continuous sunlight, is that a problem?
    A. You will want to use the ShowRoom Polyaspartic Topcoat over the epoxy to protect the epoxy from UV rays. See our section titled “Topcoat & Non-skid” below.
  8. I have access to a shot blaster to prepare my floor. Are there any issues with shot blasting?
    A. Shot blasting is a great method for preparing your floor. However, it takes off more concrete than is necessary, leaving a rough profile. After shot blasting, we recommend putting down a thin primer/seal coat before the regular primer coat. This will seal the surface and minimize air bubbles that will want to come out.

Is My Floor Suitable for an Epoxy Coating?

Inspect your garage floor to ensure that it’s a good candidate for an epoxy floor coating.  Some garage floors may not be suitable due to heavy oil saturation in the slab, elevated moisture levels, or structural instability, such as spalling or excessive cracking.

 

Test for existing sealer

If you know that your floor has a clear concrete sealer, then it will need to be mechanically removed by diamond grinding. For more information on diamond grinding, see the section on surface preparation.

If you are unsure if a concrete sealer is present, you can test for one by sprinkling water on the surface.  If the water beads up immediately on the concrete without turning the concrete dark, then there is likely a sealer present that will need to be removed.  If the water doesn’t bead up and slowly soaks in, then there is likely no sealer present.

If you are still questioning if a sealer is present, you can apply System Three ShowRoom Acid Etch solution to the surface of the concrete.  If the etching solution bubbles and forms a yellowish froth, then no sealer is present.  If the etching solution does not bubble, then a sealer is present that will need to be removed by diamond grinding.

 

Test for moisture issues

Moisture testing is strongly recommended for all jobs and is an essential part of the preparatory process for a quality garage floor coating application.  Failure to perform a moisture test can result in the failure of the epoxy coating.

The two most common methods for measuring moisture for DIY garage floor applications are the plastic sheet test (ASTM D4263) and the calcium chloride test (ASTM F1869).

The plastic sheet will tell you if moisture is present, but it will not give you a quantitative value.  A relatively low level could be present, or a high level that exceeds the recommended levels for concrete floor coatings.

The most accurate and reliable DIY test is the calcium chloride method.  This test accurately measures the moisture vapor transmission (MVT) through your slab.  You will get a quantitative result that lets you know the exact moisture content of your slab.  It’s an easy test to run.  It does require a small postage or culinary scale that is capable of measuring in grams at two decimal places.  We offer a scale and test kit on systemthree.com.

Once you have run the test, you will get a value by running a simple calculation.  The value is pounds of moisture per 1,000ft2 per 24 hours.

Concrete floors are rarely if ever in a steady state for moisture vapor transmission.  For instance, a test run in the summer will likely yield a result different than a test run in the winter months.  If possible, plan ahead and run the moisture test at the wettest time of the year to get the most useful measurement.

If a moisture barrier (heavy gauge plastic) is not in place, seasonal high water table levels can cause excessive moisture vapor buildup under the epoxy causing damage to the coating regardless of the moisture reading prior to beginning the job.

If a moisture barrier is not in place and you live in an environment where the water table can be dramatically affected by rainfall, be forewarned that moisture vapor levels could develop under the epoxy coating leading to a failure. 

High moisture content in your concrete can result from the following:

  • Permanent or seasonal high water table levels.
  • Underground or above ground springs
  • Broken drainage pipes or irrigation lines
  • Downspouts not channeling water away from your house

In the event there are broken pipes, irrigation related issues, or downspouts in disrepair, these should be fixed prior to moisture testing.  Once these issues are fixed, allow 3-4 weeks for the moisture levels to even out before moisture testing. 

You will also want to inspect for efflorescence deposits.  Efflorescence is a white, chalking substance that forms on the surface of the concrete.  It’s caused by moisture rising through the porous concrete dissolving mineral salts contained in the cement as it passes through.  The resulting mineral salt solution moves its way to the surface of the concrete.  When the water evaporates, it leaves behind a deposit of mineral salts.  If efflorescence is present, this can be indicative of moisture issues in the slab.

If, after testing, it’s determined that the moisture levels are above 6 lbs./1, 000ft2/24 hours, then contact System Three Technical Support (support@systemthree.com) for additional information.

 

Ambient temperature

Apply ShowRoom Garage Floor Paint between 50°F-85°F (10°C-29.4°C). Cool conditions will increase the cure time, while warmer temperatures will reduce the cure time.

For best results, store the primer and base coat at room temperature.

 

Surface Preparation

As we mentioned in the beginning, surface preparation is the critical step to a successful epoxy floor project.

 

Acid etching vs grinding

Everyone has an opinion regarding how to prepare your floor. While many of the well-known DIY garage floor coating systems will tout acid etching as the all-around preferred method for preparing the floor for epoxy floor coatings, System Three Resins is of the opinion that diamond grinding is superior to acid etching for achieving the proper surface profile.  This opinion is shared by the vast majority of professionals for guaranteeing their work.

Acid etching is suitable in most new construction houses in drier environments that do not have a sealer.  The concrete must be allowed to cure for at least 30 days.

How should my floor be prepared?

Review the following tables for our recommended surface preparation technique.

Type of Concrete

Recommended Surface Preparation

New Concrete (minimum of 30 days old) without sealer

Diamond grind to CSP* 2 or acid etch

New Concrete (minimum of 30 days old) with sealer

Diamond grind to a minimum of CSP 2

Old Concrete without sealer

Diamond grind to a minimum of CSP 2 or acid etch

Old Concrete without sealer that is highly tainted with oil or other contaminants 

Diamond grind to a minimum of CSP 2

Old Concrete with sealer

Diamond grind to a minimum of CSP 2

Concrete with existing epoxy coating

If the existing coating is in good shape and adhering well to the concrete, wash with ShowRoom Cleaner/Degreaser then completely de-gloss the surface with 100-120 grit abrasive.

High Moisture Levels or the presence of Efflorescence**

Test with a calcium chloride test kit at the wettest time of the year to determine the moisture level.

Spalling or excessive cracking.**

Contact Technical Support (support@systemthree.com)

*CSP or Concrete Surface Profile is the industry standard to determine the minimum surface roughness required for a protective coating over concrete.  Use a 15-30 grit diamond abrasive to achieve a CSP of 2.
** If this situation exists, your floor may not be a suitable candidate for an epoxy coating.

 

Substrate preparation where acid etching is appropriate

If you choose to take the acid etching route of surface preparation, you’ll need to clean/degrease the floor, then acid etch the floor.

It’s best to divide the area into 100ft2, easy to manage sections.  Clean/degrease or acid etch only one section at a time.  Do not allow the cleaner/degreaser or the acid solution to dry out on the concrete.

Cleaning/Degreasing Steps:

  1. Remove loose debris from the concrete using a shop vacuum or leaf blower.
  2. Using a garden hose, wet the first section with water. Then squeegee the excess water out of the garage.
  3. Prepare the System Three ShowRoom Cleaner/Degreaser by adding 16 oz. of concentrate to two gallons of water in a bucket. Evenly distribute 2 quarts of the cleaner/degreaser onto the dampened section.  Using a synthetic scrub brush, begin to scrub the concrete with the System Three ShowRoom Cleaner/Degreaser.  Thoroughly work the section with the scrub brush.  Repeat as needed to remove stubborn oil spots.  Some stubborn oil spots may need to be diamond ground to remove.
  4. Rinse the section with plenty of water and then squeegee the excess water out of the garage.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 until the garage is completed.
  6. Once the cleaning and degreasing are completed, thoroughly rinse the garage floor with plenty of fresh water one additional time. Squeegee the excess water out of the garage.  Thoroughly rinse the synthetic scrub brush with plenty of fresh water.

Acid Etching Steps:

Acid etching will create a fine cementitious slurry that can clog the pores of the concrete.  Care must be taken to thoroughly wash the concrete and remove the slurry.

  1. Wearing safety glasses and protective gloves, mix two pounds of ShowRoom Acid Etch with two gallons of water in a bucket until dissolved.
  2. Divide the garage floor into sections. Evenly pour out 2 quarts of the ShowRoom Acid Etch onto the first section.  Work the ShowRoom Acid Etch into the concrete with a synthetic bristle brush.  Be sure to keep the surface wet with the acid solution.
  3. Once the etching solution has sat for approximately 10-minutes, remove the slurry from the section with a wet/dry vacuum. Then thoroughly rinse the surface with fresh water to remove the residual concrete slurry from the pores. More water pressure is better. Squeegee the excess water onto the driveway.  Note: ShowRoom Acid Etch will self-neutralize and can be safely washed away without damaging your grass or other shrubbery.
  4. Repeat steps 2-3 with the remaining sections.
  5. Thoroughly rinse the entire floor with fresh water, while scrubbing with the synthetic bristle brush. Squeegee the excess water out of the garage.  Make sure that all the slurry is removed from the surface.  The slurry can be persistent, so take your time and clean the surface well.
  6. Important: When the floor has dried off, splash some water on the surface of the freshly etched concrete in various places. If the water beads up on the surface, then re-etch the concrete following steps 2-3.  If the water spreads out and begins to absorb into the concrete within one-minute, then the etching is sufficient, and the floor is ready for the epoxy to adhere to.
  7. Let the floor dry completely. A couple of box fans will be helpful. See the dry-time table below.

Dry Time Table

Conditions

Time To Let Dry

Hot/Arid

24-36 hours

Hot/Humid

48-72 hours

Cool/Under 70°F

96 +hours

 

  1. Once the floor is completely dry, proceed to the section on “Control joints, cracks, and holes”.

Substrate preparation where diamond grinding is appropriate

Wear safety glasses and a properly fitted NIOSH respirator when grinding your floor.  Avoid using cheap dust masks as they offer little protection from the concrete dust that is hazardous to breathe.

The most economical way to grind your concrete floors is to rent the 25-grit DiamabrushTM floor prep tool attachment and a 17” slow-speed floor buffer.  This setup is available at most Home Depot® tool rental outlets.  It’s an excellent choice for the vast majority of floors that are in good shape and have minimal surface irregularities.  The 25-grit Diamabrush is also available for purchase at systemthree.com.  If your rental shop has a dust shroud for the buffer, get it. (If they don’t have the shroud, check online.) When coupled with a shop vacuum, the dust shroud will keep grinding dust to a minimum.

Since the floor buffer and Diamabrush cannot get up to the very edge of the pad, (2-3” away), you will also need a hand-held angle grinder outfitted with a diamond grinding wheel.  We highly suggest purchasing a dust shroud for the grinder.  A standard shop vacuum attaches to the shroud and significantly reduces airborne concrete dust.  These shrouds can be purchased online.

Grinding With the Floor Buffer and Diamabrush

Ideally, you want the epoxy coating to terminate just under the garage door (when it’s closed).  The coating can also extend beyond the door and terminate at the edge of the slab.  Be mindful that doing so can expose the epoxy to extensive UV exposure leading to rapid degrading of the epoxy.  In this case we recommend using System Three’s ShowRoom Polyaspartic Topcoat, which offers exceptional resistance to the sun’s rays.

If you decide to terminate the epoxy under the garage door, you will need to snap a reference chalk line from end to end of the garage door opening.  The termination line should be centered under the garage door.  Once the reference line has been snapped and you are ready to grind, you will need a straightedge to keep the grinder from straying beyond the reference line.  A straight 2 x 4 works well for this purpose.  If possible, have a helper stand on the 2 x 4 while grinding to hold it in position over the chalk line while you grind.  Grind 4-6 inches out from the chalk line. 

  1. Use the hand-held grinder to grind the edge of the pad 4-6 inches from the walls and posts. Lighten the pressure as you get away from the wall, leaving a smooth transition between the hand-held grinder and the Diamabrush grinder.
  2. Now, set up the Diamabrush grinder attachment with the buffer. Make sure the dust shroud is adjusted so that it is approximately 1/8” off the ground.  Then attach a shop vacuum to the dust port on top of the buffer.  Note: if you have never run a floor buffer before, it can be a little tricky at first.  Go to the middle of the floor and give yourself plenty of room to practice. https://youtu.be/4xSSXaz3IgU?si=t_7R1hi36CpCrUEE
  3. Divide the floor into equal sections.
  4. Begin by grinding the first section, starting in the corner next to the wall. Move slowly across the section.  Once you reach the end of the section, move over and overlap the last pass by 1/3 of the width of the Diamabrush and move back until you reach the end of the section.  Continue in like manner until the entire area is completed.
  5. On the same section, repeat step 4, but now do so by grinding in the opposite direction, perpendicular to the first cut. Continue overlapping by 1/3 on each pass until the entire section is completed.  Each section should be ground a minimum of four times, yes four times.  (Remember, surface preparation is critical for a successful epoxy floor.)  Each time alternating the direction from the prior pass.
  6. Based on the condition of your concrete floor, you may need to grind it further to achieve a satisfactory surface profile. Note: The concrete should have an even light-colored appearance throughout.  Dark colored areas could be low spots requiring more grinding or possibly oil contamination.  If necessary, use the hand-held angle grinder to remove stubborn spots.
  7. Complete the rest of the sections in the same manner, following steps 4-6.
  8. Thoroughly vacuum the floor to remove the concrete dust.

Control joints, cracks, and holes

Control Joints. Most garage floors have control joints.  They are either saw-cut or trowel-grooved joints that are designed to relieve the natural stresses placed on the concrete slab during seasonal thermal expansion and contraction.  Since you can expect seasonal movement of these joints, it’s best to refrain from filling them with a rigid epoxy filler like System Three ShowRoom Concrete Patch.  If you want to fill them, do so after the concrete has been epoxy coated.  The best material for the job is a polyurethane elastomer that can withstand seasonal movement, such as Sikaflex® Self-Leveling Sealant.  This sealant is readily available at the big box stores in the concrete section.  It can also be ordered online.

Stress Cracks, Chips & Holes. These imperfections in your floor can be filled with System Three ShowRoom Concrete Patch.

  1. Hairline or narrow cracks should be widened with the angle grinder and a thin diamond blade. The wider profile promotes greater adhesion of the epoxy concrete patch.
  2. Use a vacuum or clean, compressed shop air to remove dirt and debris from the repair area. Also, make sure that no oily substances are present that would inhibit adhesion.
  3. Using disposable safety gloves, combine two parts of the Concrete Patch (Part A) with one part Hardener (Part B). Mix the components until uniform in color.  Initially, mix a small batch.  As you get familiar with Concrete Patch, larger batches can follow. You can achieve a high degree of measuring accuracy by putting down three equal-sized dollops on a flat surface, such as a section of cardboard: two dollops of the resin component and one dollop of the hardener component. ShowRoom Concrete Patch is also available in a convenient cartridge where the epoxy is mixed in a mix tip as it exits the cartridge.
  4. Force the patching compound deep into the cracks, using a putty knife, squeegee, etc. Prevent slumping by slightly overfilling the repair areas.
  5. ShowRoom Concrete Patch takes 4-6 hours at 70°F before it can be machined. Keep in mind that cooler temperatures will slow the rate of cure, while warmer temperatures will speed up the rate of cure.
  6. Use the Diamabrush, angle grinder or a random orbital sander with 60-80 grit sandpaper to remove the excess ShowRoom Concrete Patch.
  7. Thoroughly clean the floor with a vacuum or leaf blower.

Getting started with the epoxy

Your floor is prepped, congratulations! The worst part of the project is over. Let’s get all the stuff set up to make your project awesome.

Garage door status

Leaving your garage door up for 4-5 days is going to allow excess dirt and debris (or the neighbor’s dog) to contaminate your project. Here is our recommendation on handling your garage door.

Roll out the thick plastic the full length of the garage door plus an extra foot.  Cut the plastic to length.  Then cut the plastic approximately 36” in width.  With the garage door in the down position release the door from the electric drive by pulling down on the release switch rope.  Lift the door to the point where a gap opens approximately ½” between the bottom panel and the second panel. To safely hold the door in this position, clamp locking pliers onto the garage door tracks on each side.

Center the plastic sheet so that each end of the plastic extends 6” beyond the garage door opening on each side.  This extra plastic (6” on each end) will be taped to the door surround trim and used to seal the door opening once you’ve finished applying the epoxy.

From outside the garage use a putty knife or spatula to push the plastic through the 1/2” gap in the door. (Do not use your fingers!)  From inside the garage, pull the plastic through the gap a few inches.  Secure the plastic to the backside of the door with masking tape.  (You may need to first wipe the surface to remove dust to ensure that the tape will stick well.)  Once the plastic is firmly taped from end to end, remove the locking pliers, and lift the door up to the full open position.

 

Image 1 Image 2 Image 3

Final Preparation

Tape off anything that is in contact with the concrete floor that you do not want to be coated with epoxy, such as garage door tracks, hot water heater stand legs, furnaces, bench legs, etc.  When taping, be sure to leave about a 1/16” – 1/8” gap from the floor.  This will allow for easy removal of the tape after the epoxy has cured.

If you are terminating the epoxy under the garage door, be sure to apply a strip of masking tape to the edge where you ground with the angle grinder and straight edge.  Firmly press the tape down to the concrete.  Once you have taped everything off, secure the vise grips to the garage door rails approximately 4” from the surface of the concrete.  Make sure that the vise grips are firmly secured to the rails and set at the same height.

Set up a workstation area near your floor with a disposable drop cloth. Organization is key for a smooth application process.

Pro Tip: The roller cover should be pre-treated before use to remove loose fibers.  Use a lint roller or masking tape for this process.  Treat the entire roller cover a couple of times.  Once this process is completed, the roller cover can be put on the roller frame.

 

Thoroughly vacuum the garage floor to remove the fine concrete dust and other debris. We know, you already vacuumed the floor, do it again. Dust and dirt in your epoxy is to be avoided.

 

Application

We highly recommend having a helper to assist you in the coating process.  Jobs larger than a standard two-car garage will require an additional helper.  One for mixing, one for cutting in, and one for squeegee/rolling out the epoxy.

 

Timing


Do not apply ShowRoom Garage Floor Paint in the direct sunlight!

 

For the prime coat, you will get the best results by waiting to apply the epoxy in the late afternoon or early evening once the temperature has begun to drop.  Applying the primer at the cooler time of the day prevents air from releasing from the concrete and forming bubbles in the prime coat.  If you apply the prime coat while the temperature is increasing, the likelihood of air outgassing from the slab and forming bubbles is more likely.

The base coat can be applied at any time during the day, provided that the sun is not shining on the floor and temperatures are not exceeding 85°F (29.4°C).

Measuring and mixing

Activate only one kit at a time.  Activating more than one kit will reduce the pot life and could result in wasted material.  Always use the slow-speed setting on the drill to mix the epoxy.

These steps apply to both the primer and the base coat.

  1. With the electric drill and Jiffy mixer attachment, stir the ShowRoom resin (Part A) to remix any settled material for 30 seconds.
  2. Pour the hardener (Part B) into the short-filled resin (Part A) container, and with the electric drill and Jiffy mixer attachment, thoroughly mix the components for one minute. With the mixing stick, scrape the sides and bottom of the container.  Scrape the mixing stick on the side of the container and then resume mixing for one more minute.  Scrape the sides and bottom one additional time with the mix stick.  Mix for one additional minute.
  3. Pour the mixed ShowRoom into the provided 5-quart tub. Scrape the sides and the bottom of the original mix container, emptying the remaining epoxy.  Now mix again for 30 seconds.  ShowRoom is now ready for application.  Reuse the 5-quart tub for each kit.  Two 5-quart tubs are included in the Pro Install Kit. One for primer and one for the basecoat.
  4. Pour some of the mixed epoxy into the provided 1-quart tub for cutting in. Refill as necessary.  Two 1-quart tubs are included in the Pro-Install Kit. One for primer and one for the base coat.

 

Primer coat

We already told you this above, but it is important, so we don’t want you to miss it. Apply the ShowRoom Primer in the late afternoon to early evening when the temperature starts to decrease and the floor begins to cool. If you apply the ShowRoom Primer before the temperature has dropped, outgassing may result causing bubble formation in the cured primer.  Avoid applying primer in the direct sunlight, as this too can cause bubble formation in the cured primer.

Begin by dividing your garage into sections. The first section (nearest the back wall) will be about 120ft2. The rest of the garage should be segmented into 140ft2 sections. In some cases, the last section nearest the garage door opening will be less than 140ft2.  Make note of what the square footage is for future reference.

You may be wondering why the first section is 120 vs 140ft2? We found that wetting out the roller cuts the coverage rate in the first section by about 15%.

garage divided

Example. Your garage is 20 feet wide and 20 feet deep. Start at the back wall and measure 6 feet toward the front of the garage (6x20=120ft2).  Mark both side walls at the 6-foot mark using masking tape, this is section 1. Section 2 is the following 7-feet from section 1 towards the door (7x20=140ft2). Section 3 is the final 7-feet to the door (7x20=140ft2).

 

The person applying the primer with the squeegee and roller should put on the spikes.

  1. Begin by mixing a single 0.9-gallon ShowRoom Primer kit. Have your helper start painting the outside edge of the floor, 3” wide along the entire back wall.  After that, proceed to paint the edges of the floor 3” wide along both side walls until you reach the tape marking the section.  If there are expansion joints, paint the primer on the sides of the expansion joint within the section.
  2. Now establish an imaginary line connecting the two tape marks on the side walls. Pour the primer evenly 1’ in front of the imaginary line from wall to wall in a single ribbon.  If there is an expansion joint avoid pouring epoxy into the joint. 
  3. Use the 18” notched squeegee to evenly spread out the epoxy by pushing the ribbon toward the back wall and pulling any excess material back toward the imaginary line in a M pattern. Continue this process until the ribbon of primer is evenly spread out.
  4. Using the 18” roller, start on one side of the section and begin rolling the primer up to the back edge blending into the 3” painted strip. Move across the entire section.
  5. To ensure even coverage of the freshly applied primer, roll over the surface again, but in the direction perpendicular to the direction in the previous step.
 Pro Tip: You only need light downward pressure on the roller in this step.

 

Pro Tip: As you are rolling out a section, have your helper mix up another 0.9-gallon kit of primer so that it can be ready to go once you begin the next section.  Your helper can also be going ahead of you painting the edges and expansion joint in the next section so that its ready for you.

 

    1. Continue following steps 1-5 until the second section is finished. If the last section is less than 140 ft2, do not pour out the entire 0.9-gallon kit along the imaginary line.  Pour out the last kit of primer incrementally to avoid getting too much primer on the floor.
Placeholder Image
  1. Once the entire floor is coated, pull up the masking tape at the termination point under the garage door. Carefully lower the garage door onto the Vise-grips.  Secure the plastic, that was taped to the door, to the ground with heavy objects to prevent it from blowing around and possibly settling into the wet epoxy. This will help keep dirt, dust, and dogs off the wet epoxy.
  2. Thoroughly clean the squeegee with denatured alcohol. Make sure that the notches are clean and free of epoxy.
  3. Time for a beverage, you’ve earned it!

 

Pro Tip: After the primer has cured, you may notice some surface defects (a small gouge or crack) that need to be filled. Fill the defect with ShowRoom Concrete Patch, let cure for 4-6 hours, then sand with 150-grit sandpaper. No need to re-prime over the ShowRoom Concrete Patch.

 

Base Coat, Decorative Flakes & Non-skid

The ShowRoom Base Coat must be applied within 30 hours of the application of the ShowRoom Primer.  If the primer coat cures longer than 30 hours, it must first be sanded with 100-150 grit sandpaper before the base coat can be applied. Sanding epoxy isn’t fun, so don’t miss the 30-hour window.

The ShowRoom Base Coat is applied at the same coverage rate as the ShowRoom Primer.

Before you begin applying the ShowRoom Base Coat, position the decorative flakes so they are easily accessible near the garage door opening. Vacuum the floor one more time before beginning the base coat application.

  1. Follow the same application procedure as the ShowRoom Primer until the floor is painted.
  2. With the decorative flakes in hand and spikes on your feet, carefully walk out onto the wet epoxy. Be sure to deliberately pick up your feet while walking in the epoxy to avoid drag lines from the spikes.  Start in the far corner of the garage.  Take a small pinch of the decorative flake and with a flicking motion, toss the flakes high into the air.  Move systematically across the floor, casting the flake into the epoxy.  It’s best to apply the flake on the light side, to begin with to ensure that the entire floor is adequately covered. If you are applying flakes to refusal, see notes below.
  3. Go back to the starting corner and begin to fill in light spots throughout the floor. Dispense the flakes until you are satisfied with the results.
  4. Apply non-skid now. Start off by applying the non-skid sparingly to ensure that the entirety of the floor gets covered.  Then go back and apply more as necessary to achieve a uniform coverage..
  5. Carefully lower the garage door onto the Vise Grips. Secure the plastic to the ground with heavy objects to prevent it from blowing around.
  6. Thoroughly clean the squeegee with lacquer thinner or denatured alcohol. Make sure that the notches are clean and free of epoxy. Do an extra good job of cleaning the squeegee if you are applying the polyaspartic topcoat.

If you plan on applying the polyaspartic topcoat, it will need to be applied no later than 30 hours after the basecoat application.  If you go beyond 30 hours, the floor will need to be sanded with 100-150-grit sandpaper.  Keep in mind that some of the decorative flakes and non-skid that are sitting proud of the surface will likely get sanded flush. This 30-hour window is just as important as the earlier one, don’t miss it!

If you apply flakes to refusal, you will need a scraper to scrape off the excess flakes that don’t get set into the epoxy. You may remove upwards of 20% of the flakes you put down. You will need to cover the flakes with ShowRoom Polyaspartic. The polyaspartic will fill the nooks and crannies around the flakes, which is why you’ll only get about 80 square feet per gallon.

Pro Tip: When applying the flake to refusal, it’s a good idea to back roll and seat the flake into the wet epoxy.  This is best done by using a new roller cover with the plastic packaging on the cover to prevent the flake from being disrupted.  Apply light down pressure on the roller for this process.

Topcoat

If you are not using System Three ShowRoom Polyaspartic Topcoat, you can skip this section.

ShowRoom Polyaspartic Topcoat is an outstanding clear finish to put over your epoxy floor. It is an easy to apply, single component, roll it out and you are done product. However, in the spirit of this being an honest tutorial on our system, we can’t omit the fact that the products smells, a lot. In our testing, the odor dissipated in about three days. The more air you can move over the coating (once it is dry to touch) towards the outside the better.

A good NIOSH respirator should be available at a quality paint store.

Unfortunately, our friends on the South Coast of California cannot use this product as it exceeds the VOC limits for that area. (A little secret, our low VOC waterborne topcoat should be ready 3Q2024).

  1. If your furnace and/or hot water heater are in the garage, turn off the pilot light(s) during application.
  2. Apply the ShowRoom Polyaspartic Topcoat using the squeegee method, same as you did with the primer and basecoat.
  3. Using the 3/8” nap roller, roll out the topcoat to a nice even finish. While the finish is still wet, inspect the floor for puddles or heavy spots. 
  4. Once the topcoat is dry to touch, get some fans blowing over the floor, towards the open garage door.
  5. If the smell is too much, go inside and cook a couple onions and some bacon, everything is better with bacon.

 

 

Clean-up and return to service

ShowRoom Primer and Base Coat can be cleaned from tools while in the wet stage, with denatured alcohol or lacquer thinner.

Return to Service:

ShowRoom Garage Floor Paint (without topcoat) is fully cured in 72 hours at 70°F (21°C). You can use the floor as follows:

Light foot traffic   24 hours
Moving items back into the garage 48 hours
Vehicle traffic  72 hours

                                                      
If a ShowRoom Polyaspartic Topcoat has been applied, you can use the floor as follows:

Light foot traffic 24 hours
Moving items back into the garage 48 hours
 Vehicle traffic 7 days, yes... days. Be patient, you don’t want the topcoat to attach to your tires, do you?
 

Useful Links

System Three Resins: www.systemthree.com

System Three Technical Support: support@systemthree.com

Torginol (flake manufacturer): www.torginol.com

 

 

 

Appendices

Fine Print

Warranty: No representations or warranties of fitness for specific application are made. Product sold without guarantee. System Three Resins, Inc.’s sole liability shall be limited to the refund of the purchase price or replacement of the product.

CA Prop 65: WARNING: This product can expose you to chemicals including Oxirane, 2-(chloromethyl)- that is known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information, go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov.

System Three is a registered trademark of System Three Resins, Inc. Diamabrush is a trademark of Diamabrush LLC. Sikaflex is a registered trademark of Sika Corporation. Vise-grip is a registered trademark of Irwin Tools. Jiffy is a registered trademark of Jiffy Mixer Manufacturing Corp. Home Depot is a registered trademark of The Home Depot, Inc.