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Week In Review July 18th

Garage Flooring LLC Week In Review 7/18/2014

Corvette MatMost of our blog entries are written to be informative, but this week we had a HUGE update on the installation of garage floor mats. In fact it is such a huge update that we have saturated the site with added links to the article. Why?

There is a ton of information out there about the process of installing G-Floor products. Most of it, even ours, could do a better job of making sure people know there are multiple options and what those options are. I might even go as far as to say the garage floor mat installation update is one of the most important posts of the year. It covers floating installation versus modified floating installation (using a seam tape) versus fully adhered AKA gluing the thing down.

While it is very important, it was not the only subject of conversation this week. Parking Aids were also discussed as a method of keeping from running into the back wall of your garage. We covered the two basic types we offer. One you drive over and feel ‘the bump’ and the other is very literally just a stop sign that you tap with your front bumper.

For those of you who are considering doing garage floor tiles in anything other than a wall to wall application, we had an important post about the risks that you run when you do so. In some cases an underlayment will need to be used or the tiles will need to be pinned at the corners. We also touched on some of the variables that can make ‘sliding’ more or less likely. You can find that article here.

Parking Aids

Parking AidsThe story always goes something like this. ‘My wife (yeah sure) was pulling into the garage and went to far and dented the car and put a hole in the wall and now we are looking for a way to make sure she knows where to stop.

We have heard dozens of stories of people spending hundreds, even thousands of dollars repairing cars, trucks and of course the hole in the wall. In almost every case the person on the phone is purchasing for their spouse because they would never do such a thing :-)

There are several really good parking aid products  on the market today. That said hanging a tennis ball from the ceiling still works as well as any. The Park Smart Parking Aid has been very popular and does not need any assembly or batteries. We also offer the Park N Place product which is basically a plastic stop sign

Just keep in mind, common sense is still required and these products are not fool-proof. They do work well, especially of you are driving a larger car that barely fits in the garage

Can I install garage floor tiles in just part of my garage?

garage floor tiles

Ribbed Tiles At Workbench

A member on GarageJournal.com asked this question today and I thought we had talked about it here. Apparently we have not. Here is the basic scenario:

Lets say you have a classic car or perhaps a new 2014 sports car and you want to create a parking pad to show it off. You either don’t have the budget to do the whole floor or perhaps most of your floor is epoxy and you want a special place to park your hot rod.

We sell a lot of garage floor tile for this type of application. I would say the majority of them go in just fine but there is a small percentage that have an issue. The issues are more likely on highly polished, troweled or coated concrete.

Interlocking garage tiles get their stability from being interlocked over the entire floor. The more tiles you have locked together the more total weight you have and the less likely the tiles are to move.

When you install tiles in just part of your garage, the system weight is much lower and typically there is not a wall to help ‘stop the tiles’. When this happens the tiles are much more likely to move and in some cases even buckle. There are several fixes for this, and you should check with the manufacturer of your tile.

Rubber underlayment under the entire floor generally stops the movement. Rubber has some downsides including odor. Some of our customers have had good luck using shelf liner material under the leading edge.

The best option is to make sure the tiles are fully expanded and pin the tiles in all four corners. If it was my floor I would start with just the front two edges.

 

G-Floor Garage Floor Mats Updated Installation Information

BLT G-Floor Garage Floor Mats Installation Update

G-Floor Small CoinSelecting the best method of installing G-Floor garage floor mats is essential to your long-term satisfaction with the products. With over a decade in the market, G-Floor has a time proven installation method for most applications. As we explain too many of our customers, it is like purchasing a car. While a rear wheel drive convertible might be a great choice for Florida it will not do as well as a 4WD SUV might in the mountains of Colorado. It is important to pick the right product and method for your specific project.

In a recent video and blog post we discussed how to best install a BLT garage floor mat. It is important to note that there are several different ways to install G-Floor and the video was discussing one specific method. This post gives you a brief overview of the various methods but it is not designed to replace the manufacturer’s instructions. Ultimately the decision  how to install the product has to be made by someone on the job site. With any of these methods make sure you read the STOP AND READ and make sure you allow the product to relax

Free Floating – easiest to install. Just roll out

Perimeter Tape – easy to install. This method uses a double-sided acrylic floor tape (not double-sided carpet tape) to adhere the floor along the edges and keep the floor from moving.

Full Adhered install – this method with gives you the best results for the flooring

Free Floating Installation

In our opinion this is perhaps the most user-friendly and most commonly used installation method. It also has a lot of variations. A modified version of the free-floating installation is what we show in our installation video. It is how I did my garage.

The benefits of a floating installation are simplicity and the ability to easily remove the floor. In its truest form, the floating floor consists of one or more mats that are simply rolled out and trimmed.  A gap has to be left all the way around each piece to allow for expansion and contraction.

Most of our customers use a modified version of a free-floating installation. In a modified version the mats are butted together and seam tape or a center strip is used. In most cases this installation method works very well. Like any installation method there are some potential pit falls.

Both free-floating installs and modified free-floating installs have some potential issues associated with them.  In most garages we have heavy storage items and relatively large temperature changes. BLT garage floor mats are made from PVC and like all PVC and other plastics it expands.  If your flooring can expand and contract in some places and not others it is possible that from time to time you can develop a ripple or bubble. Often when the temperature normalizes the mats will contract and everything will go back to the way it was.

Sometimes it is necessary to secure the areas to the floor using a double-sided acrylic tape or 3M #80 spray adhesive. Other times simply repositioning the mats and allowing them to relax again will fix the problem. In a small percentage of cases these two solutions will cause other areas to ripple. If that is the case you may have to consider a fully adhered option.

I’ve been in this business for over a decade. It is still my professional opinion that the benefits of the modified floating installation far outweigh the downsides.  While we have certainly had a few projects with the issues described above, it is important to understand that this is a very very small percentage of the garage floor mats we sell –and in many cases it’s because the directions were not followed. Well over 90% and perhaps as high as 99% of the mats we sell are installed in this way with very few issues.

 

Perimeter Tape Installation

This is just what it sounds like. The mats are rolled out, trimmed and dry fit. They are then allowed to completely relax. A double-sided acrylic tape is installed around the perimeter of the area to be covered and along the seams. The mats are then secured to the floor using the double-sided acrylic tape.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have never attempted this installation method. The manufacturer does not offer the tape and we have not sourced one. The upside is the mats are not likely to move. The downside is in the wrong conditions the middle of the mats will move and the edges cannot. You end up with bubble or ripples like you would with a floating floor.

Fully Adhered install

This is a permanent and professional installation method that when properly done will yield the best results. It should almost always be done in commercial, industrial and trailer applications. Professional flooring installers and contractors should give it serious consideration in residential installations. The average DIY consumer needs to proceed with extreme caution before attempting this installation.  It is extremely important to note that issues that arise from this type of installation are generally due to improper installation or poor site conditions and are not covered under  the manufacturer’s warranty.

The mats should be rolled out, allowed to relax and then trimmed to fit. Seam tape should be used at the seams. The appropriate adhesive should be selected and applied to properly prepared substrate.

Surface prep will vary depending on the adhesive and the installation. Generally you want a clean, oil free floor that is neither sealed nor coated. In some cases you will need to prime the floor. It is very important that you follow the directions from the manufacturer.

Once the surface is prepared, the adhesive is applied and the mats are rolled back out.  Then a heavy roller should be used to  make sure there is positive adhesion.

The fully adhered install presents major advantages for commercial and industrial applications. This is especially true in shop settings where heavy equipment is being rolled around on the floor on a regular basis. When properly done you will have a quality, almost seamless floor that is as professional in appearance as it is durable.

Common issues we see with this is failure to use the adhesive properly causing bubbles or poor adhesion. We also see people trying to adhere the floor over coated or improperly prepared substrates.  Different adhesives do better in different circumstances. If you are considering a fully adhered floor please give us a call so we can discuss the best options.

In most cases I would highly suggest residential customers start with a modified floating installation and use the fully adhered method only as a last resort. One last note. Installation methods are always changing. Web sites and articles, including this one can become outdated. You must read the current installation information provided with the mat and we highly suggest contacting the Garage Flooring LLC or Better Life Technology with questions on which method is best for you. Again, because you are the one who knows your job site conditions best, only you can decide what is likely to be the best method of installation for your project.

Week of July 11th In Review

Probably not the best example of garage storage.

Probably not the best example of garage storage.

We had some great posts this week to educate our readership. We covered a couple of great ways to cool your patio area. We also wrote an in-depth article trying to help educate people on what should and should not be stored in the garage. This article also covered some basic garage storage products and some very important layout tips.

Perhaps one of the most important articles we have written is a recent BLOG post on what to do if you have  a problem with your garage floor. The article discusses some things you can do to avoid problems up front. If you have a problem with your floor the article includes the steps you can take to resolve the problems and even provides my direct contact information if you need extra help.

 

Turn Your Patio Into A Cool Zone

Top Deck Pation TileMaybe your weather is not like our weather. We are going to break 100 degrees three times this week and will easily be over 95 degrees the rest of the week. Try walking on your patio in weather like that — never mind sitting down to a nice outdoor meal with a glass of wine or better yet a beer. You walk outside your feet are burned and you are sweating instantly. Here are two cool tips. One from http://www.garagflooringllc.com and one from DIY

TopDeck Patio tiles are the perfect solution to cover your old damaged concrete and in many cases even cool the surface temperature. They are very attractive and incredibly easy to install. Personally I find the product in beige very comfortable and attractive.

Top Deck is just our drainage garage floor tile repurposed for exterior use. The tiles have the UV resistance necessary and when properly installed give a very low maintenance solution at a fraction of the cost of other materials.

DIY recently posted an article on how to install misters on your patio. We are definitely going to give this a try. While our climate is hot, it is also very dry so misters are an excellent choice to cool off outside areas.

 

What is Garage Storage

garage-storage-twoThe Washington Post has an interesting article about what you should store in the garage. HGTV also has an interesting article about what NOT to put in the garage. It seems if you ask 10 different people you are likely to get 20 different answers about what makes up garage storage.

The picture on the right is a half-serious staged shot because of the popularity of a silly picture we had posted of a wine glass in the shower. But there is a point here. While there are countless articles on what you should or should not keep in the garage the real question is what do you need? For example while none of my customers have beer and vodka sitting on a shelf (that I know of), I have a ton of customers with wine fridges and eve keg fridges and everything else planned around them

In my case, a huge part of our storage revolves around bikes. This is something that is somewhat new and not that different. The new part is today we use the bikes much more than we did several months ago. This means not only do we need a way to store our mountain bikes and road bikes, but we need it to be convenient. That said, even before we started mountain biking we had more than 10 bikes in the garage and they were perhaps the most obvious ‘need’ for us.

One of the beauties of things like Handiwall is it creates a flexible wall system that can be used for almost any need — and you can and we do change the layout regularly. While HGTV states that you should not store things you use every day in the garage, we have found that with the proper layout that might not be the case.

We do agree that items like propane, gasoline and other flammable and even paints should not be stored in the garage. It also really is a crappy place for a refrigerator in this part of the country because it will have to work extra hard because of the temperatures. Important papers and yes, even wood furniture, paintings and photos definitely could become damaged. If they are important to you the garage is not a great choice. If they are not important to you then THROW THEM OUT.

Garden tools is another item that can be organized. We have placed a storage section dedicated to rakes, shovels, pots and other gardening things (can you tell this area is not my passion) directly inside the door that goes out to the back yard.

Overhead we have placed several racks for rubber bins filled with items that we don’t use often but definitely need to keep and have access to. This includes things like Christmas decorations and alike. We also keep our suitcases up there — as a small business owner and family of 8 vacations are not something we do often.

Clear to one side we have two shelf units. We use units that are adjustable and a lot of thought should go into the height you place each shelf at.  We reconsidered the heights we had the shelves at and made room underneath it for longer flatter items that were taking up a lot of room elsewhere. We are also in the process of moving to uniform sized containers and the shelf height is being adjusted to a height that is just slightly taller than the bins we are going to use.

We have also made a designated spot for our car batter charger, pumps and our two-year-old’s outdoor  toys. This brings us to the last point about the layout itself. When you design a kitchen, you consider workflow, right? The drawer for the utensils is strategically laid out in proximity to the dishwasher, etc.  If you buy all the best organisational products and pay no attention to layout, you have wasted your money.

Elaborating on this a little more, the bikes and car battery charger is stored close to the overhead door because to use it we would have to pull it out of the garage. Our recycling center is located just to the right of the door to the house. We add items to recycling every day and only take it out twice a week, so proximity to the home was more important than proximity to the door.

Our garden storage area is… You guessed it, by the door that leads  to the backyard. And our shelving unit is clear to the other side of the garage because we just don’t add or remove stuff from the shelves .

Making Garage Storage Practical For You

So chances are your garage is nothing like my garage so you need to do what is practical for you. Where do you start. Two pieces of paper. On one piece draw out your floor plan. On the other piece, divide it into three columns and however many rows you need. Start listing items you need to find a home for, but group them together by category. Then take that group of items and decide on the most practical place  to put it. It really is that simple. The next step is to find the product that will best fit your needs based on the items themselves and the layout you have selected.

 

Houston You Have a Problem

Houston You Have a Problem

You decided to redo the garage and as part of that you convinced your wife that that garage flooring was the place to start. You decided on a product and picked a vendor you wanted to purchase it from. You took everything out of your garage, installed the floor and perhaps you even put everything back. Now what? Your wife is mad. your neighbors are laughing (or so it feels) and you are beside yourself. Hundreds, if not thousands of dollars and hours and hours of hard work — not to mention the build up you have been giving your friends and family. The triumphant moment has ended in peeling epoxy, a mat that won’t lay flat or tiles that are buckling. Where do you go from here?

If you purchased it from a Home Center you can probably pull it up and bring it back for a full refund — except of course your time and pride. If you purchased it from  cheaper than dot com site you may have a manufactures warranty you can work with. If you are like me, none of those options feel real good.

garage flooring problems We would love to tell you that we never have a customer with an issue. Unfortunately that is not the case. Sometimes issues come up. Sometimes they are product related, sometimes they are about an installation method that could have been a little better and sometimes it is hard to say what really happened. The bottom line is this. We are a garage flooring company and we happen to have a .com address (in addition to a real street address).

As a garage flooring company, our job is to make sure you come away with the best garage flooring for your garage and that the installation is as close to perfect as we can get for DIY. Now, we are not there putting the floor down for you, so we can’t ‘guarantee’ that. But we can tell you we will do everything we can to help you fix a problem that might come up.

Here are a few things you can do to make the process easier:

  1. Avoid the issue from the beginning. If you take your time and watch our videos and read the manufactures instructions, a lot of problems can be avoided.
  2. Take lots of pictures
  3. Send us an email. Include all the details. When you placed your order, when it showed up and when you installed it. How hot it was and what it is like outside now. The pictures from step two. GOOD contact information. Describe in detail the install process (what you really did, not what you wish you did) and if it is not apparent, describe the problem in detail.
  4. Be patient. Chances are we know what the issue is pretty quick. Just to make sure we have a procedure that is followed that includes local management and management at the manufacturer in question. In order to get the best solution its important that we follow these steps and these steps can take time.
  5. Be willing to try different fixes. Sometimes fixing an issue is a mater of trial and error
  6. Don’t be defensive.  Chances are if you are to busy being worried about defending what you did and why you did it we are not going to be able to figure out what’s wrong. The goal is to fix the problem, not assign blame.
  7. Give me a call. I have been doing this for over a decade. A lot of my competitors will call or email me (or us) when they have an issue because our expertise has been established over a very long period of time. I don’t hide in a corner office somewhere. I can be reached at 800-956-4301 x203 (as soon as the recording picks up press 203)

 

July 4th Week in Review

Yes we know this post is a little late. We hope you enjoyed the holiday. Hopefully you had the chance to thank members of our armed forces for keeping this great nation free. Our freedom has come at great expense to many who were brave enough to serve.

This Week we covered the following important pieces of information:

G-Floor Seam Tape Justin Krauss of Garage Flooring LLC took you inside his garage and showed you how he installed the G-Floor seam tape on his small coin garage floor mats. This post included an embedded video!

33% Off Select Garage Flooring .  Honestly when I first entered that coupon code, I had to make sure I was reading it correctly. We NEVER offer huge discounts like that. In this case we were able to acquire a large amount of Corvette, Camaro and other GM product before the license expired at a huge discount — and we passed that discount onto you.

Garage Flooring Reviews: As an individual, I do not like to boast. As a business, nothing gives me more pleasure than talking about the nearly perfect ratings over 1,000 customers have given us. We are not a big box store, just a small business that competes on a national level. Our staff services our customers which means our customers get more than just a great product at a great price — they get the knowledge and experience that only we can offer!

How to Use BLT G-Floor Seam Tape

How To Use BLT G-Floor Seam Tape

Check out our full installation video on our Video Resources Page . You can purchase seam tape and other accessories here.

This video is an excerpt from two of our other videos that go into further details about seaming options and garage floor mat installation. The video is not a substitute for the manufacturers instructions.

We find a lot of value in the fact that we produce our own videos in our own garages in real world situations. These are not expensive infomercial videos but real people using real product in real world situations.

 

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