Garage Floor Tiles: The Expansion and Contraction Issue
Please note, these types of issues are the exception, as opposed to the rule.
In general in business, we are taught to use the word ‘we’ and rarely use the word ‘I’ in sales and when speaking about products. In this case, I am going to break that rule. I have been in this business for over a decade and the amount of misinformation surrounding this issue is astounding. I would prefer to lose a sale then have a customer not fully understand the issue.
If you frequent the forums like I do, you will find that every major brand of garage floor tile has had customers comment about the garage tile buckling. With the exception of a mistake I made in selling a product from China, I can count on one hand the number of issues we have had related to this. BUT, the threat is real and there are a lot of imperfect garage floors that people ‘settle’ for and never report as a problem.
It is true that some locking systems are better at dealing with the issue than others. It is also true that by unboxing your tile and leaving them out in the hot sun, you can mitigate the expansion and contraction issue; despite claims by some manufacturers to the contrary this is not going to fully resolve the issue. Most garage floor tiles are made from polypropylene. Polypropylene, like all building materials will expand and contract. Leaving a ½” gap around the floor will help, but it does not resolve the direct sunlight issue –nor does it resolve issues related to having heavy objects on part of a floor and not on other parts. Again, a ‘good salesperson’ may convince you otherwise, but the truth is this is an issue with every brand of tile and is inherent in the raw materials.
When expansion and contraction happens at the same rate throughout the entire floor and the appropriate gaps have been left, garage floor tiles perform as they should. Sometimes, the entire floor can not or will not expand and contract at the same rate. This issue is most often seen in the two specific cases outlined below, but there have been isolated cases with other causes.
If you have windows in your garage or if you tend to leave your garage door open and you get direct sunlight on part of your garage floor, those tiles are going to expand at a greater rate than the rest of the floor. The problem is the garage tiles that are being hit by the sun expand and contract at a different rate than the ones that are not being hit by the sun. This causes issues such as the temporary appearance of warping, tenting buckling and a wave look along the front edge.
The second issues that can cause the same results is a large temperature swing on a floor with heavy items such as a car, safe, etc. Some of the tiles are allowed to expand while others are held in place. This causes the same issues described above.
The True Lock Plus Premium Ribbed garage floor tile will resolve this issue. Because of the proprietary structure of the underside and the vented top side, the product will absorb less heat and any expansion and contraction is constrained to the tile itself. The polypropylene will still expand and contract, within the tile itself, but the overall size of the tile is not affected to the extent of a solid tile thereby eliminating the issues discussed.
I have personally seen this tile exposed to incredible heat and direct sunlight across the country. It is the clear and ideal choice for this application. I have even seen the product installed in exterior application in Las Vegas.
If you have questions, please feel free to give us a call, or contact me directly. Our business is getting you in the ‘right garage floor for you’ not ‘the right garage floor for me’. More information on our ribbed garage floor tile.
800-956-4301 Ext 203