Epoxy floors are durable, scratch-resistant, and economical in the long run. They’re also convenient to heat with standard floor-heating systems, which make them perfect for most non-coastal areas of the United States. But before one embarks on an epoxy coating project for their floors, one has to know the costs.
An epoxy floor will cost $4 to $9 per sqft, including the moving, storage, and surface preparation. Excluding the expenses of aspects other than materials and labor, the rate ranges from $2 to $7 per sqft. Market demand, labor supply, and application methods also affect the project’s cost.
In this article, you will get a complete breakdown of the expenses involved in epoxy flooring, including ones you might not have factored in. You will also discover tips to get a better deal on materials, labor, and storage so you can get your epoxy floor at a lower cost.
Cost of Materials for an Epoxy Floor
- Cheap/Low-end: $0.25 per sqft
- Standard: $1 per sqft
- Premium: $2 per sqft
The first factor to consider is the type of epoxy you’ll use for your floor because it will affect the price as well as the quality of the project. Ultimately, an expensive floor that needs no maintenance is preferable to a cheaper one that requires recoating every year.
With epoxy, the results (and the costs) can lie at different extremes. If your epoxy floor uses cheaper resin, it will be pretty inexpensive, costing $0.25 per square foot. However, such an epoxy surface will scratch easily and not function well as a floor.
If you use a premium countertop resin or a garage-grade epoxy, you’ll have a sturdier floor with little to no risk of scratching and denting. The materials for this will cost around $2 per square foot, expensive in the short term but worth it in the long haul. If you bargain-hunt for materials, it is advisable not to go below $1 per square foot because that’s the retail price of average garage grade epoxy.
Going any lower puts you at risk of being sold diluted resin with a compromised structure. Since it takes longer to test an epoxy product’s durability, refunds are not an option. That’s why you must make sure you get the best quality resin for your floor by following these best practices.
- Always get your floor epoxy from a construction material brand instead of a standard resin manufacturer.
- Get your epoxy online to avoid being talked into purchasing faulty resin systems.
- Purchase an item with over 500 reviews and read both negative and positive verified reviews.
- Ensure that the product’s sales page mentions floor compatibility and positions the epoxy as a floor cover
As long as you do the above right, your epoxy floor cost will not increase due to unforeseen maintenance expenses. That said, you should also make sure you don’t get ripped off on labor as that’s the second-most-important and the first most-expensive aspect of an epoxy floor project.
Cost of Labor for An Epoxy Floor
- Unskilled: $0.50 per sqft
- Intermediate: $2 per sqft
- Experienced: $5 per sqft
As mentioned above, labor charges will be the greatest contributing factor to the project as a whole. The prices vary from state to state and even within cities. It is a game of supply and demand, but for estimation’s sake, we can go with a United States median for this kind of work. Epoxy poured by non-specialized staff will cost around $0.50 per square foot.
This is the cheapest and riskiest tier of labor. While one can hold labor accountable and bank on them doing a great job despite lack of experience, it is much more inconvenient recovering the losses of wrongly layered epoxy flooring than it is to hire slightly more expensive staff.
For the bargain hunters, I recommend getting a deal no lower than $1.5 per square foot. Any lower than this brings the labor expertise into question. Some homeowners purchase self-leveling epoxies so that intermediate workers can produce desirable results. This is a sound strategy but doesn’t work if the labor has no experience with epoxies.
Intermediate labor in high-demand areas and expert workers in low-demand neighborhoods will charge $2 per square foot. A rise in demand can raise the prices to $5 per square foot. In fact, for most of NYC, the prices for epoxy floor application are never below $5, even with intermediate workers. To get the best deal on epoxy floor application, you can take the following steps.
- Find a deal through a house-flipping business – If you have a friend who flips houses or even knows someone who does, you might get a valuable contractor referral that can save up to $0.5 per square foot. House-flippers get “bulk purchase” deals on home improvement labor. These deals can often extend to their friends and family.
- See the reviews – While the habit of checking reviews of products before purchasing them has become an American consumer staple, the practice is rare in offline service transactions. Upon meeting the contractor, you must ask for their business name and page.
Look at their Google Reviews and Facebook feedback. It is crucial to check feedback on sites they cannot control so that you don’t get an overpolished half picture. Ultimately, paying an expert price for an intermediate worker or the intermediate price for a novice is a waste of money.
- Try to get prepping elsewhere – Most contractors charge separately for prepping but having an expert prep your surface will cost you expert dollars. But if you get an average home improvement contractor to prep the surface, it will cost around $135 per day per worker.
Though prepping requires expertise as well, an average worker who preps the floor to the expert epoxy layer’s satisfaction has done a good enough job. Since you’re already hiring an experienced worker for the epoxy application, you can use them as a judge for the prep work done by the cheaper worker. Alternatively, you can also prep the surface yourself.
Cost of Application Method for an Epoxy Floor
- Inefficient method: Labor costs around $5 per sqft
- Efficient method: Labor costs around $2 per sqft
This factor is rarely considered because of the actual cost implications it manifests in labor costs. Humans and machines have had this relationship for a long time: things made easier via machines are cheaper to build because of lower labor costs. Regardless of what application methods come to the market, the ones that make use of the most productive machine are going to be the cheapest.
Rollers, squeegees, trowels, and sprayers are among the different epoxy application options, each having labor quantity and working time implications. To get the best application method, one must talk to a concrete worker not working on the project.
This way, you can be sure that you’re not being talked into signing off on a method that will extract more money from you. That said, keep in mind that you should not try to bring your labor costs too low per square foot. Disgruntled workers can spell disaster for an otherwise excellent project.
Cost of Equipment for Epoxy Floors
- High-end equipment: Crew charges $6 per sqft
- Standard equipment: Crew charges $2 to $5 per sqft
Unless you’re hiring a novice, most crews have their own equipment and charge for their use within their labor quote. Some projects include the cost of the equipment in the materials. Either way, this factor is rarely seen as a standalone contributor to the project’s price.
Coverage Area of an Epoxy Floor
- One room/garage: standard costs
- Three rooms: save $0.1 per sqft on labor
- The whole house: save $0.5 per sqft on labor and materials.
Because the cost of the project is being calculated per square foot, many people tend to take the coverage area for granted. Of course, the total square footage affects the price of the project as you need more material and labor hours (or workers) for a larger area. What homeowners forget is that you can get a better deal for larger projects.
So, not only does the coverage area dictate the price of the epoxy floor, but it also affects the price per square foot. Whether you buy epoxy in bulk from the manufacturer and get a supplier price, or you get a discount from a concrete coating contractor, having a larger coverage area can cost less per square foot.
That said, these economies of scale do not kick in unless you get a whole house’s worth of floor cover. If you plan on getting an epoxy floor garage, covering your driveway won’t improve cost per square foot and will drive up the overall cost of the project.
You can also go the other way when trying to reduce costs with coverage area. By opting to have a smaller area covered with epoxy, you reduce the labor and epoxy material costs. While having epoxy treatment done one room at a time at different intervals is a way to pay for the project in installments, you end up paying more.
So, go small but not any smaller than you need. When you pay for the labor, you might as well have them cover all the areas in your ultimate plan. With a unified application, materials, and drying time, you will have a more convenient and wallet-efficient project.
Floor Prep for Epoxy Floor
- Unskilled: $300 per room
- Intermediate: $500 per room (recommended)
- Experienced: $700 (not needed)
We briefly went over floor preparation for epoxy floors in the labor costs section. Floor prep is required with some surfaces and takes time. Usually, this step doesn’t require experience, so it is advisable to use non-expert workers for this as it is one area where you can save money risk-free. Even if the surface is badly prepped, the expert you hire to pour epoxy will let you know, so no epoxy will be wasted.
Most non-porous surfaces will require abrasion before they’re ready for epoxy. High-adhesion epoxy that can be poured over epoxy doesn’t require as through a surface-prep, though. However, most epoxy floors are laid over concrete; surface prep isn’t as extensive as it would be over vinyl or tiles, the latter of which might need to be uprooted.
Prepping the surface is also a process you can handle yourself without involving hired hands. With the right application method, depending on your experience, you can pour epoxy without help as well. In that case, you would save yourself $300 per room/area. In states where there’s a higher supply of contractors, you will pay $150 to $200 per worker per day (5-hour shifts).
In more expensive locales, you might have to pay $300 to $450 per worker per day for the same time. Ideally, you’ll have two workers prepare the surface in a day or two. Alternatively, you can have a single worker doing twice the time. Since the cost adds up to the same figure, it is better than having two people doing the job faster so you can get to the epoxy-laying step.
Furniture Moving and Storage Expenses
- Expensive cities/suburbs: $300 per room
- Low-cost neighborhoods: $90 per room
This is an expense overlooked simply because people tunnel-vision on the floor itself instead of thinking about everything that they need to do to get an epoxy floor. The process is cheapest for a new house where furniture and possessions haven’t arrived. In such instances, the cost of moving and storage is $0. But depending on how many rooms/areas need to be coated and what occupies the space, you may need to spend well over $300 per room.
Let’s suppose you want to have an epoxy floor for your garage. The items in the garage might fit in a single storage unit that you can rent at $50 per week. The moving charges would add up to $115 on average, including gas, for the back and forth spaced across a week. Given that you hire two workers for surface preparation and have the epoxy coating done within a week, you’ll pay $165 in storage and transportation.
This becomes exponentially expensive as you scale the flooring project. It is, therefore, advisable to get epoxy flooring done one room/area at a time if you’ve already moved into the house. This way, an unused room can work as a storage unit for the items that are supposed to occupy the room under renovation.
There is no gas or transportation fee as well. But since epoxy flooring an entire house gets you a better per-square-foot deal, you should tally the savings with moving costs and see if it is worth it to evacuate the house. Generally, it is not worth it, and pouring epoxy across the entire floor plan is best left to house flippers and empty homes.
Epoxy floors can seem to cost a lot but are cost-effective in the long run. Follow the advice given above and get the right epoxy at the right cost, and hire intermediate labor for surface prep, and you can have your entire home epoxy-floored in under a week and save enough money to stuff the Christmas stockings.