Full Flake Single Part Polyurea Install Monster Post

Here’s a long-winded novella about my floor decision-making process and installation. Maybe it will help someone in the future if anyone is crazy enough to do a floor like this.

Put down heavy coverage of Garagellc’s single-part polyurea by squeegee and back-roll. Squeegeeing out evenly is key to good results. It looks good :thumbup:

Newly built 24x30 detached garage needs a coating.

I previously coated my garage floor with epoxy, which you can see at the end of this post. I was satisfied with the epoxy, except for yellowing in some areas, which was caused in some places by me missing with the topcoat, and in others where the epoxy clear was just put on too thick.

While I considered the single part polyureas, I really wasn’t planning on using it because of the newness of it, price, and also that I was comfortable doing epoxy. I also didn’t like the idea of not using something 100% solids. I hate to go to the trouble of putting something down just to have it evaporate. So my initial plan was 4 gal epoxy primer, 4 gal epoxy basecoat, and 6 gallons of high solids polyurea or polyaspartic skim coat. That would give me about 30 mils of coverage for my 720 ft. Pricing from some local suppliers for Tnemec epoxy and APF polyurea, I was looking at about $1500 in material, plus the cost for some more chips-I had about 85 lbs left over from when I did my garage.

I had obsessed over this for many months while my shop was built and around the time my slab had cured around 30 days Justin of Garageflooring LLC posted here about a 1000 ft polyurea kit he had for sale at half price and informed me that the kit would contain 15 gallons of the polyurea. I did about 10 minutes of investigation into the specs/instructions on his website and decided to buy it. Although I would give up a little build (21 mil vs 30 mil), I only have to deal with one vendor and don’t have to worry about incompatible products. Price for the polyurea kit, which included roller covers, anti-skid, and maybe 10 lbs of flakes-which I didn’t use-and some gray tint was around $1300.

Ground the floor. Used a 5” grinder/wheel that I had bought when I did my garage. Although this was a new slab, it seemed much harder to grind than I remember my garage. Vacuum dust. Vacuum dust. Vacuum dust. Although I used a hepa vac while grinding, there’s still a lot of dust everywhere. Damp mop, Damp mop. Ready

Planning is key to an epoxy floor, and also a polyurea floor if you do it like I did. Since I wanted as smooth a floor as possible, my initial thought was to take the 15 gallons and do a 5 gallon basecoat with chips, and then two 5 gallon clear coats. This is toward the upper limit of what the polyurea datasheet provides and Justin recommended sticking with coverage rate of 200 sq ft/gal or 4 coats of 3.75 gallons. I thought about this a while, and then decided to ignore Justin’s advice and stick with the 5 gallons/coat. One reason being that I didn’t like the idea of less material for chips to sink into and I really didn’t like the idea of having to do 4 coats instead of 3. I also planned on using a squeegee and back-rolling rather than dipping out of a tray. This probably isn’t normally done with the one-part polyureas, but thought it would help me get constant coverage. And, I had a serrated squeegee left over from when I did my garage and wanted to use it again. I would always recommend that you don’t do what I did-do whatever your vendor recommends. :D

Get materials and equipment ready. Since I was doing a five gallon coat I laid out the garage in 5 sections, using one gallon per section.
A list of all equipment I used for the coating, a lot left over from when I coated my garage:

15 Gallons polyurea, 5 with tint
130 lbs of 1/8 in flake
2 pair of spiked shoes (Loctite the screws…)
2 - 18” Roller frames
4 - 18” Roller covers
1 - 9” Roller Frame
2 - 9” Roller covers
1 Gallon Xylene
Nitrile Gloves
Masking Tape
Measuring tape
Duct Tape
Contractor Paper
4 – 3”chip brushes
24” Serrated Squeegee
3 Extension poles for squeegee and rollers
Rags for clean up
2 Respirators
6 – 5 Gallon Buckets
1 - 5 Gallon bucket lid
4 – 2 Gallon Buckets
1 quart sized pail with lid
Werner Work Platform-sit on while putting on spike shoes
Large pieces of cardboard for mixing station and placing dirty stuff

The “lip.” The transition for my garage was a PITA because my garage door sits right on top of it, rather than a few inches in front of it. Because of this, I had to leave my door cracked up a bit until everything was dry. I’ve seen people doing floors with doors open, but I don’t think you want to do that in Oklahoma. Before my help arrived I popped open the polyurea, put a little in a pail and coated/chipped the lip with clear. Didn't bother with tinting this:

A big plus for the polyureas here, not having to worry with mixing a small amount of epoxy. I could have tried to do this at the same time as the floor, but it would have been difficult.

Help Arrives. My Old-Man friend Jimmy helped me with the basecoat and chips. He seemed reluctant at first, but I told him that anyone that can “work on the farm” can help me pitch chips on my floor. That is, if he can walk around in spiked shoes.

Mixing. Mixing the tint into polyurea is just as much hassle as mixing epoxy to me. I had a large piece of cardboard inside that I mixed on. One big plus for polyurea is that unlike epoxy, you don’t have to immediately get it on the floor. You can just leave it in the bucket while you clean the mixer blade and get spiked shoes on and get Jimmy a bourbon.

-Mixing station on a later coat. Longer handle on chip brush makes it easy to cut in without bending over too far in the spike shoes.

Spent 10 minutes placing flakes in place for each section, getting shoes on and accustomed to and going over the plan with Jimmy. Note: if you’re an old man like me, don’t sit down on the ground in spike shoes, it’s hard to get up.

-Chips laid out for each section. Also need something for other tools while coating:

Basecoat/Chips Day 1 - 1:30 PM , Outdoor Temp 59 deg., Indoor temp 65 deg. Open all the windows and turn exhaust fan on.

Poured a gallon on first section. Not sure how, but ended up trying to pour two ribbons lengthwise near the edges of the section and then squeegeeing it out evenly. Jimmy cut in edges with 9” roller and I started back-rolling. As soon as I had a section large enough, Jimmy would start spreading flakes. Initially he was a little hesitant to put the flake down heavy and it ended up that we both needed to flake in order to finish section prior to me starting another one-keeping the flake 6-8” away from the wet section edge. This was OK since had 2 containers of flake ready per section-one would have been pretty heavy. You can see a little line where our first/second sections butted together where we got ahead of ourselves with the flake. This makes it look like they’re a different hue, not sure what’s up with that.

Finished the rest of the garage in the same manner working out way out of the entry door while moving buckets, mix-station, etc outside.

-Jimmy getting a flake out of his eye.

-Me showing my chip technique

Didn’t get the exact time it took, but Jimmy was cleaned up and headed home by 2:45.

Left all the windows cracked, exhaust fan and mini-split running overnight at 62 deg. Outdoor temp was in the low 40s, but the minisplit will keep it nice and toasty.

Getting Ready for Clearcoat Day 1 - 9:30PM-11:45 PM
Blow chips.

-Can't really see it, chips are about 5 inches deep in the corner there.

Sweep up chips. Full 5 gallon bucket full of chips is reusable.

-For the next job. Around 35 lbs of original 130 could be reused. Untold amount vacuumed up after scraping.

Vacuum chips.

Scrape off chips with drywall knife. Blow chips, vacuum chips. Hit chips with pole sander and 80 grit paper. Vacuum. Vacuum.

Rethink the plan.
I was kind of unsure after the basecoat about what to do with the clear, and considered rolling it. The polyurea, based on my memory of working with epoxy, to be much more viscous and less “self-leveling” than the epoxy. It seemed that the epoxy was much easier to “move” around with a roller than polyurea. With the polyurea it was more important to do a thorough squeegee spreading trying to get level coverage before trying to roll. You really have to lean on the roller to get the polyurea to spread anywhere. Mind you, this is based on my recollection of putting the epoxy down over 5 years ago under different environmental conditions. For the next clear coat, I decided to use 4 gallons, which would leave me 6 gallons which I could roll on in 2 steps based on how it worked.

1st Clearcoat Day 2, - 8:00 AM Outdoor Temp 42 deg. Indoor temp 62 deg.
Me solo doing this. No real need for someone else other than for another pair of eyes (which is really helpful if you have someone handy) or moral support. Not worth the bourbon it would cost me for Jimmy to help. By this time, I think I had learned my lesson, didn’t rush the squeegeeing and tried to get everything as level as possible. In hindsight, I had plenty of time to roll out the section after using the squeegee.

2nd Clearcoat Day 2 - 3:30 PM Outdoor temp 63 deg. Indoor temp 63 deg.
Same as above, except I used 5 gallons rather than the 4 I used on the first clearcoat. That left me with a gallon leftover for touchups, etc. or doing a table or something. I also decided to not use any anti-skid since there seemed to be plenty of texture from the flake. I also don’t like the way that anti-skid cuts down on the shine-at least it did with my epoxy floor. In the end the texture is just right for me.

Things to note: Things will happen, like your roller cover will fall off the frame after it gets loaded up. Be ready. Have an extra roller and some solvent around. Don’t panic, just take your time and everything will work out.

Cutting in. I used a 9” roller and/or chip brushes to get against the wall. With the clear, I just got it close enough (or up to) with the squeegee and bumped the wall with the roller.

Nitrile gloves. I don’t really like to wear them. When I do wear them, it seems like they get material all over them and you end up getting it on your tools, clothes, buckets etc. cause you don’t know it’s there. I prefer to just keep some solvent and a rag around. You do want to have some gloves handy when the roller falls out of the frame onto the floor.

Results. Not perfect, but I’d say very good. My photography skills stink. I find it very difficult to get good pictures of these floors.

There was this:

That’s about ½ “ high and 3 in. long. It’s right near my last section transition before I moved out the door. Maybe I pushed up a little puddle with my roller and didn’t notice it. I cut it down flush and hit it with a little clear and now you can't tell where it was. Polyurea very nice for touchups like this.

And these:

These are places where the clear looks a little hazy when the light hits them at the right angle. Can’t see them when looking down. Not sure what the heck caused it.

There was a little bubbling in the topcoat. It’s not too widespread. This is really no issue with a full flake floor. I can see how these would be a drag in a single color or clear floor.

There’s also a noticeable spot around 4”x4” where I left the clear a little heavy and it looks a little amber from angles-but very smooth! See it in the reflection here:

Final Thoughts

-My biggest issue was that I felt rushed trying to get the flake down. In hindsight, I had plenty of time to flake after getting it back-rolled. It might be a little different if you’re rolling smaller build coats out of a pan.

-If you’re pouring on the floor as I did, get as level/distributed as possible with the squeegee. The polyuyrea doesn’t spread easily with the roller and it is difficult to move from one area to another with the roller

-Fumes are annoying but not overbearing. It’s now been 5 days since I installed and can still smell some fumes. I’ve kept it wide open during days and windows cracked/exhaust fan running at night. Some of my neighbors like the smell, said it smelled like chocolate. I don’t get that, but whatever.

-It looks good. If it is as anywhere near as durable as epoxy, I’ll be very happy with it. Biggest difference is I have a 21 mil floor (not accounting for flake) vs. what would have been a 31 mil floor with epoxy. I’ll update this thread in a couple of years or in the interim if I learn anything.

-Would I recommend a single part polyurea? Sure. Especially if you can get it for a good price, like mine was :bounce:. The polyurea is pretty expensive to be using as base/build coats, which are better left for epoxy. Especially these single-part, low solid polyurea. But, It’s a very simple option, especially if you want to dip/roll your floor. If I do another floor again, I’ll likely do epoxy base with high-solids polyurea skimcoat.

-And, if you’re in the Oklahoma City area, I can hook you up with some loaner tools if you’re doing a floor :thumbup: