A Step-By-Step Guide to Seal a Concrete Garage Floor

Sealing a garage floor can help protect it from the elements

D.P. Taylor
Written by D.P. Taylor
Updated June 22, 2022
A garage with concrete floor and sandboards
Photo: Klaus Vedfelt / DigitalVision / Getty Images
Difficulty

Intermediate

Perfect for handy homeowners.

Time to complete

168 hours

This includes drying time and how long you’ll wait to be able to drive on it again.

Cost

$90–$883

You’ll spend a lot on supplies, but you may still save money by DIYing.

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What you'll need:

TOOLS

  • Stiff-bristled broom
  • Pressure washer or hose
  • Lint-free paint roller or sprayer
  • Paintbrush

SUPPLIES

  • Concrete floor sealer of your choice
  • Protective items like gloves and a face mask
  • Painter’s tape
  • Etchant
  • Floor wax (optional)

You can use your garage for way more than just storing cars. It can turn into a woodshop, or an auto repair center, store all of your tools, or even be the workshop for your next hobby. As a result, you should keep your garage maintained and prevent concrete cracks from forming.

One way to do this is by applying a concrete floor sealer. This solution will prevent damage from the elements over time, keep the floor looking pristine, and prevent you from having to pay big bucks to restore it later.

But how do you go about sealing a concrete garage floor? It seems daunting if you've never done it before, but this guide will demystify the process.

  1. Buy the Sealer of Your Choice

    First, you'll need to buy the sealer. The cost of a concrete sealer may vary greatly depending on which you choose. For example, an acrylic sealer may cost just $0.15 to $0.20 per square foot, but you may pay up to $2 or more per square foot for higher-end epoxies. You can find a complete guide to concrete sealer types at the end of this article for reference. 

  2. Choose the Optimal Day

    Depending on the sealer you choose, you may only be able to apply it in certain temperatures (anything below 50 degrees Fahrenheit is too cold). You will also likely have to leave things out of your garage for an entire weekend or longer. Read the manufacturer's instructions carefully and in full before getting started to ensure you’re working in the right conditions.

  3. Prep Your Garage Floor

    Clear the garage floor of any bikes, boxes of holiday decorations, cars, etc., you may store in there. If you’ve recently poured the concrete, wait until the concrete has cured and any stains have dried completely before attempting to seal it.

    Then, sweep your floor and spray it down with a hose or, ideally, a pressure washer. You’ll want to make sure your floor is free of any debris, so be thorough with this step. Cover your baseboards with painter’s tape to avoid getting sealer on them, too. 

    Then, especially if you’re using epoxy or another similar coating, you’ll want to get an etchant. You can buy this at a hardware store. Make sure to wear a mask, gloves, and boots when you use this product, and keep the garage open for ventilation. When you pour it, the etchant will start bubbling, and you will need a stiff brush to scrub the floor.

    With most sealers, you’ll need to wait for the floor to dry, ideally for 24 hours, before getting started.

  4. Ventilate the Space

    Put on your protective gear again and open all doors and windows; you're still dealing with chemicals, so ventilation is important. 

  5. Apply Your Sealer

    Apply a thin coat of the sealer with your paint roller or sprayer. Use the hand brush to get into any smaller areas. You won’t want to step on any spaces where you’ve recently applied sealer, so be sure you have a game plan for your application process. 

    Exactly how you’ll apply the garage floor sealer and how long you’ll allow it to dry when you're done will vary depending on the type you choose. Although it may feel dry sooner, wait at least the amount of time the manufacturer recommends before continuing.

  6. Apply Another Coat of Concrete Sealer

    Following the manufacturer's instructions, wait the recommended amount of time and then apply another thin coat and allow it to dry. After your final coat, plan to keep everything out of your garage for as long as the instructions recommend.

  7. Wax Your Floor (Optional)

    From here, you can wax your floor if you want to or finally pull your car back into its rightful place.

What Type of Garage Floor Sealer Should I Use?

Different sealers have different approaches. Some provide a layer of protection on top of the floor, while others penetrate into the floor to reduce the porousness of the concrete. You'll have four types of floor sealers to choose from: acrylic, silane/siloxane, polyurethane, and epoxy. Which you choose depends on what you're going for in terms of attributes and aesthetics.

Acrylic Sealer

Acrylic sealers are good at repelling moisture, oil, and other buildup that can threaten the look and integrity of your garage floor. These sealers are ideal for homeowners concerned about chemical damage and stains to their garage floors.

Cost range: $0.55 and $0.70 per square foot

Silane/Siloxane Sealer

Silane works by making concrete less porous. Sometimes, it's used in concert with acrylic sealers. It can cut down on cracking and spalling, as well as freeze and salt damage. 

These sealers are great for homeowners in cold climates because they can protect against freeze-thaw damage and salt exposure.

Cost range: $0.15 to $0.25 per square foot

Polyurethane Sealer

Polyurethane sealers don't require as much maintenance compared to acrylic sealers and are tougher. They’re a great option for preventing color fading as well. You can also try this kind if you're worried about improving the overall durability of your garage floor and just want a simple, straightforward option.

Cost range: $0.20 to $0.25 per square foot

Epoxy Sealer

Epoxy sealers are the thickest and thus provide the toughest protection against scratching and cracking. You may need to use it in combination with polyurethane to prevent fading and concrete floor discoloration.

Epoxy can be expensive, but you get a lot of value for your money. It's highly resistant to damage and a lot more attractive than other sealers. This one is a good option if you want solid results and don't mind the price or its long curing time (up to 72 hours).

Cost range: $0.55 to $0.85 per square foot

When Should I Hire a Professional to Seal My Garage Floor?

If you don't have experience sealing floors, it might be wise to hire a pro. It costs an average of $2,230 for materials and labor to seal a concrete floor, with the price for labor between $1 to $7 per square foot.

A pro has the necessary gear, knows how to do the job properly, and is less likely to cause damage you'll need to fix later. Not to mention, it's a lot of work—wouldn't you rather spend your Saturday with your feet up?

Contact a driveway sealing professional near you to set up a consultation. They can take a look at your garage, make some recommendations on which sealer to use, and provide you with a quote so you can fit it into your budget.

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