Garage Flooring: Your Best to Worst Options
Face it, the concrete floor in your garage is undoubtedly the most abused part of your home. Everything from snow, rain, dirt and road salt get tracked in via tires and footsteps; not to mention the oil spills, chemical spills and anything else that might get dropped or dragged across the floor, depending on what else you store and use in that space. All this and of course, it still has to hold at least one two-ton car (assuming you don’t park another car or vehicle in this same space.) All that wear and tear can result in many different forms of damage, from cracks and scratches to permanent stains, discoloration and more. Installing some kind of garage flooring or applying some kind of coating is a great way to help clean up the garage’s look and protect the bare concrete against some of the most damaging forms of wear and tear. Beyond just aesthetics and property value reasons, adding a uniform form of flooring will also make it easier to clean and maintain moving forward.
If you’re looking for the best garage flooring options and need to decide on best/worst options, you need to judge it based on what’s more important to you. Some options are best for a small budget, while others cater to a more straightforward installation process. Here’s our guide:
Garage Flooring Coatings
For coatings, there are garage floor paints, epoxy paint, stains, and sealers. If you need to keep it as cheap as possible, coatings tend to be the most affordable out of the main types of garage flooring when you apply them yourself. The only exception is if you choose 100% solids epoxy or a high percentage of solids epoxy which get more pricey. Coatings cannot be used where there is consistent ground moisture as it will keep the coatings from binding with the concrete and will result in delamination, chipping, and flaking. It is imperative that you test the concrete slab for moisture before deciding on coating.
Concrete Floor Paint: Concrete floor paint is just a more durable form of paint that is used to paint walls. You’ll find acrylic paints, oil-based paints, latex paints, and polyamine paints. If ease of application and affordability are at the top of your list, this could be one of the best choices for you since you just roll it onto the floor like regular paint. The floor prep just consists of cleaning. You can recoat the floor completely when it starts to wear off; you can just touch up the areas that need work. Latex floor paint dries with a low sheen and has a flat finish; oil paint tends to have high gloss when it dries. However, they require a primer coat. Due to the multilayer nature of it, it tends to be more durable than latex paint. Normally, the maintenance requires a touch up every year or two. For affordability at the moment, this could be argued as the best option, however, in the long run, you may end up spending more on retouching materials over time than if you had chosen something more long-lasting from the get-go.
Epoxy Paint and Epoxy: Epoxy paint is a latex acrylic product that has a small amount of epoxy mixed in. This will be a more durable, higher quality option when compared with regular floor paints that do not contain epoxy. It is, however, not as durable or high quality as an actual epoxy coating. On the other hand, epoxy paint is easier to apply than epoxy coating.
An epoxy coating has two components: epoxy resin and polyamine hardener. These two must be mixed together prior to being applied, and unlike paint, it cures rather than dries. Epoxy coatings are the most resistant to staining, chemicals, spills, and abrasions out of all coverings and coatings. Epoxy coatings are also the best looking of all the coverings and coatings and have even been used in high-end showrooms and dealerships. Epoxy is also the most durable, lasting for many years. It is, however, not the easiest to apply. If you’re doing this yourself, it takes a very extensive prep process that includes a thorough cleaning, surface preparation such as etching, grinding, or shot blasting. Then, you must mix the two components if they aren’t premixed, apply the primer, body coat, broadcast layer, and topcoat. However, this involved process pays off to give the thickest, toughest, most durable, and long-lasting coating you can choose.
Concrete Sealer: They are like floor paint, but tougher. They’re the next most affordable choice after paints, and they are just as simple to apply, using a roller or brush. The dried result is a clear satin or a semi-gloss look, depending on what you choose. There is a water-based and solvent-based concrete sealer. While it is easier to apply than other coatings, it is inferior to epoxy in terms of durability as it will need to be reapplied every few years or at least have a protective waxing applied.
Garage Floor Coverings
In the realm of garage floor coverings, you can choose between garage floor mats and garage floor interlocking tiles. These are great choices if you want something that you can take with you if you plan on leaving the property in the near future. They are both relatively quick and easy in terms of installation, with the ability to complete installation for as big as a three-car garage within just a few hours. Both are superior to coatings if a quick installation process is the most important factor to you; they don’t need extensive floor prep – just a thorough floor cleaning. Coverings, however, can tend to be much more expensive than most coatings.
Garage Flooring Mats
If ease of installation is the most important factor to you, rollout mats are the clear winner. Once your floor is clean, you literally just roll out the mat and cut where you need to accommodate custom edges along with the room or columns inside the perimeter of the room. You can use products to seal off any seams created by two mats laying next to each other, or you can overlap them. Mats are easy to clean and to move. Mats are relatively durable, but not quite as resistant as, say, an epoxy coating. They are susceptible to hot tires, harsh chemical spills, perforation via motorcycle kickstands or other sharp objects.
Garage Flooring Tiles
Flooring tiles come in a variety of textured designs and colors, allowing you to customize the look of your garage floor. There are rigid plastic tiles, flexible rubber tiles, PVC vinyl garage tiles, snap carpet tiles, and interlocking tiles. They are all easy to install. Flexible rubber tiles require cutting the tiles with a utility knife and tapping or pressing the interlocking edges together using a rubber mallet or wallpaper roller. Interlocking tiles utilize male and female edges to snap the tiles into place. Tiles are a more slip-resistant product than rollout flooring and offer friction for improved safety. Diamond and ribbed patterned tiles are among some of the most popular designs. Many people taking on garage flooring consider the garage floor tiles over mats or coatings because of easy installation and the fact that it doesn’t need such extensive floor prep. Also, it is easy to take with you if you leave the property.