How to Remove Tire Marks on an Epoxy Garage Floor

by Michael Franco
Black tire marks are shown on the gray epoxy garage floor of a residence, tire marks, marks, tire, tires, concrete floor, concrete, epoxy, epoxy floor

When it comes to a garage flooring option that is both extremely durable and aesthetically pleasing, epoxy is the standard. Apart from being able to resist scuffs and gouges, epoxy coating offers unparalleled resistance to common chemicals like motor oil, gasoline and bleach, making it a favorite for those who like to tackle automobile-related projects in their garages.

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However, epoxy flooring isn’t perfect. Like any other flooring option, it has its own set of do’s and don'ts when it comes to maintaining its aesthetic and functional integrity. One rather unfortunate characteristic of an epoxy-coated garage floor is its tendency to develop tire mark stains. Once these black tire marks appear, they can be rather difficult to remove. That is, if you aren’t using the proper method.

Plasticizer Migration

In most cases, tire marks that end up on garage floors are entirely due to the temperature of the tires. Because of the warming effects of friction, your tires are hot to the touch after driving. And when your tires heat up, a process called plasticizer migration occurs. Plasticizer is a mixture of polymer compounds and chemicals that’s added by tire manufacturers to enhance the traction, elasticity, and overall performance of the tire. However, when the tires get hot, the stuff drips out of the tire and onto your nice epoxy flooring.

Unfortunately, these marks left by the polymer compounds can be extremely stubborn stains, especially if they’ve been there for a while. Fortunately, there is a relatively simple method for getting rid of the stains.

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How to Clean Your Epoxy Floors

Got some stubborn tire marks on your epoxy floor garage? Follow these steps to remove them:

Things You’ll Need:

  • Hard foam mop
  • Warm water
  • Biodegradable cleanser (Simple Green or ammonia)
  • Stiff, nylon brush
  • Dry towel

Step 1: Clear Your Space

Like any other floor cleaning project, you’ll want to start by removing any and all large objects from the floor of the garage. Obviously, move your vehicle from the garage as well as any furniture or tools you may have in the way.

Step 2: Prepare the Cleaning Solution

Prep the solution you’ll use to clean the floor. For this, you can use a biodegradable cleanser like Simple Green’s concrete degreaser. Or, you can use ammonia. In a pinch, you can use an ammonia-based window cleaner like Windex. From there, mix 1/2 cup of your cleanser of choice with 1 gallon of warm water. Be careful not to mix too much cleanser here, as an over-concentrated solution can leave streak marks on your floor. Let the solution sit for roughly five to 10 minutes before continuing.

Step 3: Mop the Floor

Using a hard foam mop and your cleaning solution, briskly mop your epoxy floor. Make sure that you properly wring out the mop to get rid of the excess solution before applying it; you don’t want the solution to pool on the floor.

Once you’ve mopped the floor with the cleaning solution, follow up the process by rinsing the floor with warm water. After you’ve rinsed, use a soft, clean towel to dry the floor.

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Step 4: Treat and Remove Stubborn Tire Marks

After mopping and rinsing your epoxy floors, there might very well be some stubborn stains remaining. In that case, apply the cleansing solution to the affected area, let it sit for five to 10 minutes, and then use a stiff bristle brush to scrub away each individual stain. You might need to repeat this process a few times until all the remaining stains are gone. Once completed, rinse with warm water and dry with a towel.

Prevention Is Key

Remember that the longer tire marks are left to “cure” on the epoxy flooring, the more difficult they will be to remove. That’s why regular cleaning of your garage floor is key to keeping it spot-free. If and when you notice those black tire marks beginning to show up, go ahead and remove them as soon as possible.

Also, if you have a car that sits for an extended period of time on an epoxy floor, it’s likely that stains will form under those tires. You can avoid this by parking your vehicle over small pieces of cardboard, or, for a more aesthetically pleasing option, use a parking mat instead.

Believe it or not, epoxy flooring can maintain its durability and its luster. Just make sure you add the routine cleaning of it to your home maintenance checklist.

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