The Simple Way To Install Garage Floor Tile
Let me give you a brief warning here. This is designed for a quick and easy install. Before proceeding, let me ask you a simple question. If you have a garage that is 20’6″ wide and you start with a full tile and end with a half tile, will that drive you nuts every time you pull into the garage?
If you answered yes then this post will drive you nuts. You should stop reading now and follow the manufacturers suggestion for starting in the center of the garage. That said, about 90% of our residential garage customers are not that concerned about having the left side and the right side start with the same size tile. If that is you then these installation instructions will make life MUCH easier!
Also its important to note that Swisstrax garage floor tile and our Premium Garage Floor tile have a slight change to this method which I will describe later. So if you are using our Premium garage floor tile or if you are purchasing tile from Swisstrax you will need to make one minor change which will be described later.
Lets start with some pictures so we can get terminology down.
The photo above shows two standard interlocking garage floor tiles. These happen to be MotorMat garage floor tiles but that could just as easily be that other leading brand.
When we talk about the edges of the tile or edge pieces, we refer to them as male and female. Here the left side and bottom of the photo show the male side of the tile. The top of the image and the right side of the image show the female edge of the tile.
The second image shows a closeup of one male lock on the tile. The reason for this closeup will become evident later. It is also important to note that for reference purposes the front of the garage will be where the overhead garage door is. The back of the garage will be the opposite side. When I refer to left and right I am standing outside your garage looking in.
- Go to your local lumber yard and purchase some 1/2″ plywood. You will be ripping this plywood into 2″ strips for spacers. After you have ripped the plywood into strips, use it as a 1/2″ spacer all the way around the perimeter of your garage. Note: If your garage is out of square you will need to take this into account. You want your spacer strips to form a square picture frame around your floor. See hint on item 10.
- Take your first tile and set it far enough back to leave room for the ramp edge pieces & your 1/2″ gap. In this case the edge pieces are 1-7/8″ wide. Set the tile so that you have a male edge to the front of the garage and a male edge to the left (Exactly as shown above) Exception: If you are using Swisstrax or our Premium Garage Floor Tile rotate each tile above 90 degrees clockwise such that you have a male edge to the left and a female edge to the front.
- Using a pliers break the tab off the left side of the first tile in each row. This will allow you to have the tile edge butt directly against the spacer strip.
- Continue the row from left to right until you get to the last tile. Cut the last tile so that it fits flush against the spacer.
- Start the next row, making sure to break the tab off. Lock each tile into the tile in front of it and to its left. Repeat all the way across the row and cut your last tile again.
- When you are a few rows in, it is a good time to stop and check and make sure your tiles are being installed square. You might have to adjust the spacer strip.
- Repeat the process until you reach the last row. For the last row you will need to cut the portion going against the back spacer and the right side.
- Remove your spacer strips
- For tiles like the ones show purchase FEMALE edge pieces and lock them into the first row on the front side only. If you have Swisstrax or our Premium Garage Floor tile purchase the edges and install with no clips (effectively using Male edges).
- If this were my garage I would buy some baseboard Moulding to cover the gap. Just be sure to install it above the tile so the tile can float without interference. HINT: Cut your plywood spacers the same height as your Moulding and use it to shim your Moulding out. Then if necessary use some quarter-round, caulk or other Moulding to finish the top edge