In today’s article, I’m going to take a look at the best upholstery and coverings to keep your garage floor in top condition to keep it looking good.
While you might think of a concrete floor in a garage as one of the easiest to maintain, it is a very challenging area of the home. Oil stains and other chemical stains easily appear; there was no way to hide the cracks and no easy way to polish it once it looked worn.
You’re also more limited in your options when it comes to the garage, as your floors need to deal with more dramatic temperature and humidity changes than inside your home, and therefore, need to be durable enough to handle garage traffic.
There are lots of great garage floor coatings and coverings out there, which can protect your floors from damage and give your garage a completely different aesthetic than that of a concrete box. Below, I’ll go over the best plating and covering options, the pros and cons of each, and when to use them.
Coatings vs coverings
When you want to freshen up your garage floor, you have two options: coating or covering.
An upholstery is a thin covering that attaches directly to your concrete floor slab. Think sealer, paint, or epoxy. It’s designed to modify your concrete floor, but still as is.
Covering is installed over your concrete floor and is similar to flooring options you may use in other parts of your home. The difference is, unless you are changing your garage for a different use, this cover should be more durable than the one you use indoors. You won’t want to install Vinyl Plank flooring in a garage, for example.
They must be able to handle the weight of the car, plus any debris that the car carries or is blown in when the garage door opens. Your garage floor should also handle more serious spills, such as oil and chemicals.
The floors you use in the garage are also less susceptible to damage from humidity and temperature changes. This is because garages tend to be less isolated to these elements than other areas of your home.
These factors have traditionally meant a less aesthetically pleasing floor in your garage than in the rest of your home. But the truth is that there are a huge selection of garage floor coatings and coverings out there; it can be functional and attractive.
Best garage floor coating and covering options
If you’re struggling with gloomy-looking concrete floors in your garage, but you’re on a budget, simply sealing your concrete floors with concrete floor coverings is an affordable option that may be enough to make a difference.
The sealer itself will ward off future stains, while the slight sheen on the sealer can make your floors look fresher and more stylish.
You will need to choose between a solvent based sealer and a water based sealer. The former offer the best protection and will last longer, but the latter release less chemicals into the air, so it’s worth considering if your garage is not well ventilated.
Although concrete sealers are an affordable and easy DIY option, there are a few drawbacks to keep in mind: the resulting floors can be slippery. Since this is not a long-term solution, floors will need to be resealed every few years.
A concrete sealer will set you back only $ 0.15- $ 0.25 per square foot, and as we’ve said, it’s a DIY job so there are no hidden costs.
While the manufacturer will guarantee the quality of the product after installation, this is unlikely to be accompanied by further warranties.
Concrete sealers aren’t going to revolutionize your garage floor, but if you’re having problems with your floors and you don’t have the budget to solve them, then it’s a great choice.
Concrete Floor Paint
If your main concern with garage floors is aesthetics, not real damage, then concrete floor paint is a fast and affordable way to give your floors a dramatic face lift.
Usually, you need to prepare the floor before painting, which means cleaning and filling in the cracks. But if the deep oil stain doesn’t go away completely, floor paint can cover it up. The painting itself is a DIY job; all you need is a paint roller and the right kind of paint.
You will need to choose between latex and oil-based paints. Latex paint is easier to apply because you can use it straight from the can, and it dries with a slightly glossy matte finish.
Oil-based paints give a very shiny finish, but you will need to use a primer coat. Wherever you choose to go, make sure to choose the option with a non-slip coating.
However, while concrete floor paint is a simple and affordable way to give your garage floor a dramatic new look, it won’t last very long. Paints are susceptible to solvents, salts, and other caustic materials, so you’ll need to repair or repaint every one to three years.
Concrete floor paint costs between $ 0.15- $ 2.00 per square foot depending on what you’re looking for.
A simple, generic color will cost much less than a very shiny metallic color. But the beauty of floor paint is that you have so many options. There is something for every taste and budget.
If you are looking for the strongest and most durable finish for your concrete floor, you will look at epoxy. Like paints, they come in a variety of colors and styles, such as matte or high-shine, so it’s a practical and attractive solution.
Although epoxy is also applied like paint, it works very differently and, therefore, gives different results. While the paint hardens through its solvent evaporation process, the epoxy layer hardens through a chemical reaction between the resin and the hardener. The result is a coating that is much more durable and long lasting.
There are two main types of epoxy available to coat concrete garage floors:
Two Part Epoxy With 100 Percent Solid
It is the best of the best because it doesn’t contain any solvents, which means a tougher, thicker and more durable finish. It dries quickly with a very shiny finish in about 24 hours.
The chemicals in this option are stronger than in other varieties, so you do need good ventilation. It is also the most expensive epoxy option on the market.
Two Part Water Based Epoxy
This option is good if you are looking for a lower chemical output, perhaps because the room is not well ventilated. It takes longer to dry, two to three days, and the resulting coating will be thinner and less durable. It’s also cheaper, so you’ll need to refresh the floor more often.
With both options, you can choose a solid color or you can add extra slip resistance and character to the floor with a color splash specially designed to work with epoxy. All you need to do is sprinkle it evenly on the surface while the epoxy is still wet. After that, all you have to do is sweep away any loose debris, then scrape the floor with a metal floor scraper to get the debris stuck, then sweep again.
Depending on the type of epoxy you use, the finish can make your concrete floor eight times stronger. You only need to refresh the coating every 7 to 20 years. It is waterproof, fireproof, and also resistant to germs and bacteria. But the toxic fumes that can accompany epoxy floors should not be ignored. It can also be very slippery when wet.
Epoxy coatings are slightly more expensive than paint, and you can expect to pay between $ 3- $ 7 per square foot, with solid options at the top. But you can save money as this can be a simple DIY project. Most manufacturers will offer a five-year limited living space guarantee when epoxy is used in indoor spaces.
If you’re looking for some serious protection for your garage floor, as well as a grand new look, epoxy coating is by far the best coating option on the market.
Moving from cladding to coverings, rigid tiles are another option that can be laid over a concrete floor and offer a solid, stable base that is hard beneath the ground.
These types of tile are usually made of a very hard plastic, such as PVC, that can withstand heavy loads, such as those that might be used when you use tire jacks or supports. They also tend to be resistant to chemicals, grease, and grease, all of which are common in garages.
These tiles also won’t expand and contract with changing heat and humidity conditions. These can be important in a garage, as they are less likely to be as well insulated from the elements as the rest of your home.
Rigid plastic tiles typically range in size from 12 × 12 inches to 24 × 24 inches and are about ¼ inch thick. They will stick together, which means they are easy to install on a prepared concrete floor and are easy to remove. There are many different styles available and these can create a very dramatic look.
This means that the liquid can seep underneath and cause mildew problems between the concrete and tiles.
These types of flooring don’t come cheap, starting at around $ 2.50 per square foot for the most basic options and going up from there. The average price of these tiles is close to $ 4.25 per square foot mark. You can expect these tiles to come with about a 10 year residence warranty.
These rigid tiles are a great choice if you are dealing with cracked floors, so coating alone is not enough. However, beware of proper installation to ensure moisture problems under the tiles.
If your garage is more of a workshop than a storage area, then the hard floor under the feet can damage joints after a few hours. If so, a flexible tile cover is a better choice.
They work very similarly to rigid tiles, but made of rubber or flexible plastic, often in cool colors that resemble Lego bricks, but there are plenty of options out there.
They’re installed with a simple snap-together system that tends to be more water-resistant than rigid tiles, meaning you’re less likely to suffer from water seepage and mildew. They are also the slickest flooring option on this list.
However, unlike rigid tiles, these flexible tiles are prone to expansion and contraction in changes in temperature. This is something to look out for when installing and while maintaining the temperature of your garage space. But, if you are using your garage as a repair shop, this is something you have probably already thought about.
These tiles cost about the same as rigid tiles, between $ 2.50- $ 5 per square foot. Many of these durable tile brands offer limited lifetime housing warranties, and you certainly shouldn’t buy any tile that has a warranty of less than 10 years.
The final option on our list is the roll pad, which is a large rubber base that you can find in a variety of lengths, widths, colors and patterns. It’s very easy to install and is a flexible choice as you can cover the entire garage or just roll out one in a problem area.
This mat is durable, but not as durable as other covers. It can catch fire from hot tires, be picked up by a motorcycle stand, and can be slippery when wet.
Depending on the type of launch pad you choose, you can expect to pay between $ 2.50- $ 4.00 per square foot.
This can be a great temporary option if you’re not sure what you want to do in the long run, but you want to protect your floors as much as possible in the meantime.
What Are The Best Garage Floor Upholstery?
Epoxy is the most durable material available for tile floor coatings. Solid epoxy, which contains no solvents, can increase the strength of your concrete slabs by up to eight times. There are various color options available, and you can also beautify the floor with colored paint flakes.
The main thing to watch out for with epoxy is that it can release harmful chemicals in the air for several weeks after application. For this reason, solid epoxy should only be used in well-ventilated spaces. If ventilation is a problem, it’s best to use an epoxy solution which contains a water-based solvent.
What Are the Disadvantages of Epoxy Floors?
The main disadvantage with epoxy flooring is that it releases toxic chemicals into the air when applied, which can take a long time to dissipate, and therefore, poses a health risk.
Another thing to watch out for with epoxy is that it should not be applied to concrete that has a high humidity level. This creates a watertight barrier, which protects your concrete floor from water from above. But it also traps water that exits through the concrete within the concrete itself. As water fills the porous spaces in the concrete, it can cause significant structural damage.
Once you’ve applied epoxy to your garage floor, you can expect it to last for 5 to 10 years and stay in pretty good shape.
There are plenty of options out there if you want to freshen up your garage floor, protect your concrete slabs in the long run and add some character and style to your space.
Your first choice is to coat your floors. If you’re just looking for color, you can do it with a simple concrete floor paint. If you want to create a firmer coat and add some color and style, then epoxy is an excellent solution that will create a durable and attractive surface. Be careful of toxic chemical fumes when installing in a poorly ventilated space.
If you prefer to cover your slabs, perhaps it is better to protect and cover the cracks, then there are several plastic tile options on the market. There are tough, durable plastic tiles that can withstand the weight of a car jack easily or flexible rubber plastic tiles, which will feel better under the feet if your garage is also your workshop.
No matter what you’re looking for, all of these options are easy to install and maintain, and they can completely change the aesthetic of this often overlooked corner of your home.
But remember, no type of finish or finish can solve serious structural or moisture problems in your garage’s concrete slab. If you are looking for a solution to this problem, it is time to get in touch with a professional.