Sleeping 15 feet above a continually cracking garage floor for over 20 years finally produced one too many radon nightmares for me to ignore any longer.
Structural dreams that ended with my dogs waving at me from a slowly detaching concrete iceberg on their way to “the wild” were starting to affect how I felt about my home. Foregoing symptomatic treatment from elite Washingtonian psychiatry, I allowed myself to be wooed by advice from murky internet forums and the semi-happy, orange, hourly employees of big box retail.
This was where my simple concrete fix turned into a raging river of obsession that sucked the energy out of everything I came into contact with for a two-week period. Badly in need of a shave and friends that would talk to me, I wandered out of my garage-uncertain fog when I found garagejournal.com. This site is the end of the road for the man-cave afflicted, overrun with do-it-yourselfers seeking rainless concrete storage for everything from garden trowels to Ferraris.
My ongoing summit with the world’s faceless leaders of garage restoration shortly produced the course of action I was to undertake. Enter Rock Solid Metallic Floor Coating from Rust-Oleum. Featured in colors like Brilliant Blue, Cherry Bomb, Silver Bullet and Copper Pot, it is advertised to be 20 times stronger than epoxy due to its Polycuramine structure. A chronic victim of anything new and shiny, I fell for this stuff hard. After reading about and watching a very talented Oklahoman housewife-blogger apply this herself online, I decided I would do the same.
In my garage vision quest I boosted my working man’s vocabulary by leaps and bounds. Over breakfast, I casually dropped terms like “outgassing” and “acid-etching.” I was able to gloss over application deficiency criticisms from my wife with sentences that included phrases like “self-leveling properties.” I could not have done this, nor would I recommend, applying this product by yourself. A friend (thanks, Mac) helped me with this project. We both read about and researched each step before taking it. I called the Rust-Oleum Rock Solid helpline many times and they were a pleasure to deal with.
Every garage is different. I had a 1950s floor with 50 percent of it cracked, so chose to actually replace that section of concrete. (Thanks, Big Dog Concrete Construction.) I rented a concrete grinder and sent Kansas-like dust clouds through the neighborhood. Like every other thing in life you want to go perfect, prep work is what makes it happen, so DO NOT SKIMP ON THE PREP WORK.
Okay, so there are a few things to know about Rock Solid Metallic before you start. It says it will cover in one coat, but I used two. I also had never used a concrete grinder before, and gave the floor a bad case of acne that needed some serious cover-up. The square feet that the product claims to cover are off, so it will be more expensive than you think at first. My guess is they have to say this to remain somewhat competitive with other products when people are pricing this out. This stuff is absolutely, hands-down, so much cooler than anything else on the market that you won’t care. It will last a lifetime. I finished it with a clear-coat product they have with an anti-skid additive, and you should too.
If you choose to have someone else do this for you, do not use a painter. There is a whole industry out there that I had never heard of that deals with garage floors. It has been a long time since I woke up in the morning ecstatic to get to work on a project in my house, and this product did that for me. My garage floor now looks like someone put the shiniest ice cream on the planet in a blender, and then applied it to the floor. I now own 600 square feet of personalized bowling ball.
The Oklahoman blogger summed it up well (and this is where I was sold) when she said, “We have become total weirdos, forcing our neighbors to touch our garage floor, but afterwards they understand.”
For fun, and because I was so knocked out by this product, I went out and bought stock in the parent company of Rust-Oleum, RPM. I blame my caveman testimonials to friends and family for its recent four-dollar hike. The absolute and only reason that I did not host a small get-together with sushi in my garage for my neighbors when it was finished was that I didn’t want them walking on my cave floor.