What Are the Costs of a Concrete Coating Project?
How much does a concrete coating really cost?
There’s no simple formula, but there’s a way for you to get a rough idea/ballpark of how much you will likely spend on your concrete floor coating. Webfoot Concrete Coatings has 18+ years of professional experience, and we have a great understanding of the factors that go into pricing a concrete coating project. Our expertise lends itself to a superior level of service and has allowed us to commit to an excellent quality product.
Webfoot installs polyurea concrete coatings in residential and commercial spaces, with a commitment to one-day garage floor coatings. Our pricing for projects varies just like all professional concrete contractors’ pricing should. Most homeowners that have a two-car garage will spend anywhere from $3,500-5,500 on a concrete coating (see our project example with price comparisons of different products). We’re offering insight on the 5 concrete coating cost factors that will help you define a price range for your specific project. We’ll explain how the square footage, product, existing condition of concrete, preparation, and customization options play a part in the total cost of a concrete coating. Whether you choose to go with Webfoot or not, we want you to know everything there is to know about why your project is priced the way it is.
To help you be prepared for the concrete coating process, we’ll cover:
- Pricing a Concrete Coating: The 5 Key Cost Factors
- Examining a Project Example: Two-Car Garage Floor Coating Cost
- When to DIY & When to Hire a Professional
- Resources & Tools When Getting a Quote for a Concrete Coating
Pricing a Concrete Coating: The 5 Key Cost Factors
Factor 1: Condition of the Existing Concrete
The existing condition of your concrete floor is a large factor that impacts the overall project cost. Aspects that are relevant to your existing concrete’s condition include cracks, an existing coating, hardness, and moisture.
On average, unless a floor is in remarkably bad condition, homeowners find that they have around 5-50 linear feet of cracks in their floor. This is typical and priced per linear foot (plf) at $11-15 plf, and can be a big impact on the overall price. The size, depth, and condition of cracks plays into the associated cost.
Removing a Previous Coating
An existing coating requires the use of PCD tooling with grinders to strip off the previous coating, which is a very slow process. Once the coating is removed, then diamond tooling is used to re-profile the floor. Existing coating removal involves 2 to 3 times the amount of grinding and cleanup compared to just a concrete slab. Thicker coatings can require grinding the floor 2 or 3 times before all of the existing coating is removed. In addition to the cost of more labor, there’s the extra cost of materials including propane for the grinder and expensive tooling discs. As a base cost, the price to remove an existing coating is $1.50 per square foot (psf), but can swing higher to as much as $3.50 psf for the removal of carpet and/or carpet adhesive.
If a contractor is not testing the hardness of your concrete, they are overlooking a critical factor that could cause your coating to fail. The hardness of existing concrete informs the type of diamond tooling that can be used on a project, and if the concrete is able to be coated at all. Webfoot uses a Moh Hardness Test Kit to test the hardness of your existing concrete. This tool measures your floor to a specific hardness level, which is an important factor to help our crews to show up to a project prepared with the right equipment. If the concrete is too soft we sometimes can’t coat it at all.
Moisture issues can impact price greatly because the surface requires the application of a moisture mitigation barrier before coating the surface. A Moisture Vapor Barrier is used when the moisture meter rating is higher than 5.5. The use of a barrier extends install time an extra day to allow for the barrier to work properly. Moisture block typically costs $2 psf but in some cases can be double that if multiple applications are required.
Factor 2: Material / Product
There’s a vast number of choices for product/material when it comes to coating a concrete surface, and your choice should be dependent on both your budget and the use of your space. You can opt for DIY kit options with less durable but more affordable materials, like floor paint or an epoxy kit. Or you can get professional installation of materials including epoxy, variations of polyaspartic coatings, or acrylic sealers, or polyurea concrete coatings.
DIY Stain, Paint, or Sealer
For a decently low price point averaging around $250, you can purchase DIY kits with buckets of paint or stain from a local hardware store. In stores, you have options to choose from, including paints, epoxy coatings, and acrylic sealers. You can apply one of these options yourself in a couple of days, but it will lack the durability of other products. Concrete paint or concrete sealer from a bucket will begin to chip fairly quickly, sometimes in a matter of days or weeks. This is due both to the material lacking professional-grade purity and the installation lacking quality of preparation (see Factor 3: Surface Preparation for more on preparation). It will likely require an amount of maintenance and touch-up that will cost you more time and money in the long run.
The professional-grade material with the lowest price point will be epoxy. With epoxy, you have the option to either buy a DIY epoxy kit that you install yourself or hire a professional contractor. Many professional epoxy contractors utilize Sherwin Williams epoxy, which is the same product you can buy from a local hardware store. With the DIY option, you save all labor costs, and are left with an average price point of $2.50 psf. The low cost is the main benefit of a store-bought epoxy kit, but you sacrifice the quality of professional installation and risk the errors that can result from doing it yourself. Also, you are spending your own time and energy, and it will probably take you more than a day to complete. Professional installation of epoxy is also a popular choice and averages $4.50-8.00 psf.
As a material, in comparison to polyurea concrete coatings, epoxy is far less durable. It is more prone to cracking, peeling, and general wear and tear. If you want it to be free of visible abrasions you’ll need to replace your epoxy every 3-5 years. Some professionals include polyaspartic top coats over epoxy with the claim that it improves durability. In Webfoot’s opinion, we find these top coats to hold up less than polyurea concrete coatings. If you are willing to invest the time and energy and are prepared for regular maintenance, then DIY epoxy may be your best choice. If you want quick installation and are willing to accept the long-term cost of regular replacement, then professionally installed epoxy may be right for you.
All polyaspartics are a polyurea, but not all polyureas are polyaspartic. A polyaspartic is a polyurea with a slowed-down cure rate. The purpose of this is to allow the coating to be applied over a longer time frame and in a more traditional manner. Polyaspartic mixtures function well for a topcoat application, but there are limitations when used as a basecoat. Polyaspartics applied to raw concrete can only form a surface bond. Over time, a surface bond will fail because of the natural cracking of the concrete, which will force through breaking the cap, or top layer of the concrete. As a result, a polysapartic basecoat does not have the strength and durability of a pure polyurea.
A professionally installed 2-layered polyaspartic system (polyaspartic base coat and polyaspartic top coat) will need maintenance every 3-5 years and averages $4.50-5.50 psf.
Pure polyurea concrete coatings in comparison to epoxy are known to be 4x stronger and 10x more flexible, meaning they won’t chip, crack, or peel under heavy use or in high temperatures. The durability and efficiency of polyurea coatings are due to a fast curing process and the penetrating chemical bond they form with the concrete. The adhesion of polyurea can be tested using a tool called an elcometer, which measures the amount of force needed to delaminate a coating, measuring by pounds per square inch of force. The industry standard for delamination is 500 PSI, but pure polyurea coatings outlast this level of force, and typically the concrete breaks before the coatings delaminate, as shown in this Penntek Adhesion Test video. As a result, pure polyurea coatings can be completed in one-day and will last longer than other products.
Not all marketed polyurea floor coatings are the same product. There are variations in the way polyurea products are mixed because polyurea is an elastomer substance that can be combined with others. Many companies market “polyurea concrete coatings” that aren’t pure polyurea, but only contain 51% polyurea or more, or they offer polyaspartic polyureas. Technically all polyaspartics are polyureas, but not all polyureas are polyaspartics. A polyaspartic base coat does not have the same long-term strength and adhesion as a pure polyurea. The purity impacts the efficacy of the polyurea and a mixture won’t have the strength and durability that make polyurea concrete coatings desirable. For this reason, we recommend not using a contractor who offers a polyaspartic base coat. When hiring any contractor to install a polyurea concrete coating, it’s valuable to question the purity of their product.
Webfoot’s product is a pure (100%) polyurea concrete coating that we get directly from the manufacturer, Penntek Industrial Coatings. As a pure polyurea, it differs from competitors who offer a polyurea, or polyaspartic polyurea. Our pure polyurea is the strongest and most durable form of polyurea. It’s more expensive, but we offer a lifetime residential warranty because we believe in the product’s longevity. Polyurea concrete coatings are a great choice if you are willing to invest more money upfront for a type of coating that will last long-term.
Different products have very different physical properties and life spans. Considering product and material as a pricing factor helps you to balance your budget, the intended use of your space, and your project’s overall goals. For a deeper dive into the pricing of an average 2-car garage, see the Project Example section of this page
Factor 3: Surface Preparation
For the highest-quality outcome, and maximum longevity, of a coating project, a professional contractor has to prep the surface thoroughly and correctly. This will impact the time a project takes and the cost as a result.
There are different approaches to prep work including acid etching, chemical washes, sanding, and grinding/profiling.
At Webfoot we use 650-700lb diamond-tooled grinders of two sizes; we have a 30-inch for large areas and a 7-inch for the more intricate edges. Using our heavy-duty concrete grinders, we grind down the existing concrete to a smooth finish. Then we sweep, vacuum, and squeegee the surface clean and clear. We use high-tech, triple HEPA-filtered vacuums to keep homeowners and crews safe from harmful dust. Lastly, we fill and repair any cracks, abrasions, spalling, pitted, or damaged areas with a mending sealer before the base coat is applied. These repaired areas dry to be as strong as concrete.
This level of preparation is what differentiates a professional installation from DIY, and what helps the finished result to be of the best quality. Our process for preparation will be amongst the most labor intensive and so the greatest cost when compared to acid etching. Webfoot's opinion is the resulting adhesion from proper profiling of the concrete surface far outweighs the additional cost. If you’re getting an unusually low-cost estimate from a professional contractor, it’s worth questioning them about their prep process and equipment.
Factor 4: Add-Ons and Customizations
Customizations can include color choices, seamless floors, and slip-resistant additives. They add production time or materials that increase the overall cost of the project.
There are existing different chip colors as part of our polyurea chip system, but you can also create a custom color combination for a $300 flat fee. If you want to customize further, there are also neon chips available for a $450 flat fee.
Logos, Patterns & Glitter
Other customization options include specific chip patterns, logos ($500 each), or the addition of glitter to chips. These few options add a significant cost because they often require an additional day of labor with an add-on price beginning at $2000.
Another aesthetic-focused customization is the look of seamless floors. Normally, your concrete coating will feature seams where the different slabs of concrete meet. An option is to use joint filler to fill those seams giving your floor an endlessly smooth look. Webfoot utilizes a flexible plural component polyurea joint filler, which is priced at $16.50-20 per linear foot (plf), depending on the width and depth of the seams.
Depending on the purpose of your space, you may want to make sure your floors are slip-resistant. This is required if you’re coating pool decks, but also useful if you’re using your garage for an at-home yoga studio or similar. Slip-resistant additives don’t make a big difference in price, but Webfoot offers two types of silica sand as options: 4095 heavy grit and a lighter, Shark Grip. You can also use a mixture. They’re priced individually at $0.25 per square foot (psf), and the combination is $0.50 psf.
Factor 5: Time & Materials
In company with the other cost factors, concrete coating projects are priced by time (labor hours) and materials (all supplies) needed. The resulting price goes up and down based on the size of your space and is increased with any additions or customizations. This base calculation of time and materials determines the base cost per square foot.
The base cost per square foot includes set-up, application, and drying time. With a small space, there is still a minimum amount of time and labor needed. With a larger space, the set-up and drying time will be the same, so the resulting cost per square foot (psf) goes down to account for this. On average, Webfoot’s times and materials costs range from about $6.90 psf (for a 900-square-foot space) to 9.00 psf (for a 300-square-foot space). When you have a smaller space, the price per square foot is increased.
Project elements charged in addition to the base cost per square foot include verticals/stem walls, garage aprons, and step coatings. These additions will help the aesthetics of your space by adding a continuous look to the new addition of your coating.
Verticals (or Stem Walls)
Verticals (also known as Stem Walls) are the structures that connect your floor to your wall. Coating them is a nice finishing touch to reduce the contrast between floor and wall. Verticals are priced per linear foot (plf), depending on their height. Verticals range in price from $6-15 plf, and range in height from under 5 inches to beyond 12 inches respectively. Some stem walls require extra prep due to rough texture and holes.
A garage apron is a section of the floor that extends beyond the garage door to connect with the driveway. This area is added to the overall square footage of a concrete coating project and priced accordingly. Some contractors consider this detail optional, but at Webfoot, we always coat the apron to achieve a finished look. As a result, this price is included in our overall cost rather than reflected separately.
The process of coating steps requires more intricacy and is priced separately. There generally have a unit pricing and can range from $150-300 minimum per standard step, depending on the length and step height.
The average price per square foot does vary by contractor. This variation is caused by the time and labor estimated, the source of their product and material, and the quality of their installation, as explained by previous factors.
Examining a Project Example: Two-Car Garage Floor Coating Cost
Every home and every homeowner is different, which is why we don’t believe in giving ballpark estimates before we’ve learned about your space and project goals. However, you can use these 5 Key Cost Factors to estimate a price range. We understand that concrete coatings are an expensive project and it’s important to us that you’re informed from the beginning.
Let’s take the example of a typical two-car garage. Two-car garages range in size from 450-700 per square foot (psf). A two-car garage with average height stem walls, a normal amount of wear and tear, and one of our polyurea chip systems would cost $7.50-8.00 psf, or in the total cost range of $3,500-5,500. The following chart compares the median price of polyurea to that of other popular options over the span of 15 years.
When to DIY & When to Hire a Professional
The price of a concrete coating seems impressive, but it’s important to keep in mind that you’re paying for more than the material cost. With that in mind, it’s possible that DIY is a great choice for you.
The challenges with DIY include the amount of time and amount of energy that it takes to apply a coating. You should know that you won’t be as quick as a contractor who has industrial-grade equipment and professional experience. You should expect a multi-day project, including shopping, preparing your space, applying the product, and curing time. On a scale of 1-10, we’d rate this DIY project as an 8-9. If you’re an avid DIYer who has experience with large home improvement projects, then this option may be right for you.
If you’re not ready for a weekend-long DIY project, then Webfoot is committed to being a reliable professional. Our polyurea concrete coatings come directly from the manufacturer and are higher-quality than product kits available at the store. We also have industrial-grade equipment that allows us to thoroughly test and prep your floor to have the best result. Beyond our product and materials, we’ve gone through the effort to become Penntek-certified professionals.
You can probably coat your floor yourself, but professionally done coatings do yield professional results.
Resources & Tools When Getting a Quote for a Concrete Coating
Breakdown of the Estimate Process
Webfoot swears by the estimate process because it’s the best way to get an informed quote about the price of your project. When you schedule an estimate online, a concrete professional will come to your home and take a close look at your space, providing a cost estimate based on the 5 cost factors listed above. You can learn more about what exactly happens in an estimate to be prepared for the day.
Learn More About Webfoot Concrete Coatings
Webfoot Concrete Coatings is your premier, Penntek-certified provider of one-day concrete coatings. You can schedule an estimate online today.
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