DIY EPOXY NIGHTMARES: A DO-IT-YOURSELF STORY
Does a DIY Epoxy Flooring Job Save Money?
Being part of the garage enhancement industry we understand we’re not going to land every epoxy flooring estimate we give. It’s part of the sales process in any field. All we can do is provide our potential customers as much information to make the best decision for their situation. Sometimes people might think the quote is a little more than they wanted to spend which is completely understandable. Still others look at what we do and think, “Hey, I’ve seen that stuff at the store, and I’ll just do it myself.” Again, we can understand the thought process, but we’ve seen and heard this story far too many times. We tell this story not to scare anyone into getting us a job, but to share the information we’ve gained from years of experience. Here is one such story.
Case Study: John’s DIY Garage Floor Resurfacing
Let’s use John, since that is a pretty non-description name. John one day decides he wants to put in an epoxy garage floor. He calls us out for an estimate, and we give him all the details. We explain, for instance, how we’ll first fix the cracks and chips in his floor first. We continue to explain how the floor then needs to be treated before we place any epoxy flooring. Finally, we explain all the benefits of our professional-grade flooring options: our coatings make your garage floor easier to clean, easier to maintain, and overall just easier on the eyes. John asks, “How long?” “Typically, we can do a job in a day and a half.” Then we see the glimmer in John’s eye. He believes he can just do it himself, and save a lot of money. So he tried.
John’s Epoxy kit was more expensive than he anticipated.
John was a pretty thorough guy, so he didn’t just run out there and buy something. He priced out what I call over-the-counter epoxy garage floor coating products that you can buy at your local big box store. He ended up buying one that came with an accompanying product that degreases, cleans, and etches the concrete. Ultimately, the kit cost him $400 for the material itself. He still had significant time he was going to have to invest.
More tools are needed before John can start the job.
After purchasing the product, John watched the instructional DVD and read the instructions that came with his materials kit. As a result, he realized that he had to purchase additional tools for the job to be done correctly. These tools were another $200 dollars, so he was up to $600.
The cost of time adds up, and the results are disappointing.
Eager to transform his garage floor into the same beautiful, glossy wonder shown on the front of the epoxy can, John picks spends his whole weekend in the garage. Overall, he does exactly what the instructions tell him to do. He’s meticulous in his attention to detail, and waits between stages as the instructions stress. The final product? Well, it’s an uneven coating of epoxy with roller marks and with a blotchy pattern of flakes sprinkled on top. John’s floor does not match the promised beauty on the can! In addition, he has to park on the street an entire week for this low-grade epoxy to cure (rather than the day and a half of our professional-grade options). To add insult to injury, the first time he rolls into the garage, his warm tires peels up the epoxy and sprinkles, leaving a bare concrete spot behind! Each time he rolls in and out, he sees more tire marks and stains on his floor.
Why it’s hard to get the same results as the professionals.
It’s not you, it’s them! First, it’s the quality of materials used. As professional installers, we have access to products that are superior to what consumers can buy in stores. Ours cures faster and results in a non-porous finish. Second, experience does matter. We’ve worked in different temperatures and different humidity levels, so we know how our products respond. Thus, we can adjust our application as needed for the best results during the current weather situation. Finally, our tools are top of the line. Again, the quality of roller heads and other tools the consumer can buy don’t match the quality of our tools. We match the tool to the desired result, rather than trying to force the result from a subpar tool. It all adds up to superior application and superior durability. Your floor will look better than the pictures on the DIY cans!
The REAL price of John’s DIY job.
All in all not, John’s floor could have been a lot worse. Still, it’s not the transformation he was hoping for. Instead, he now has a single epoxy layer with no protective clear coat to protect against stains and tire mark lines. After a year or two, he finds himself investing more money and time, re-coating the floor and hoping that this protective clear coat he found will work with the compount he put on the floor. It yellows and bubbles. Now he’s made his floor worse. No worries, he has next year to do it again…right? Three years in, he has spend more than $2,000 in materials, tools, and time. Worst of all, he still doesn’t love the results.
With professionals, you know it’s done right the first time.
So if you might be thinking about a do-it-yourself epoxy garage floor installation, at least explore hiring a professional. It is safer, you are guaranteed to receive a great looking product, and you get to save the time and hassle of trying to do it–then fix it–yourself!