Choosing the best garage flooring option can be challenging. While you want something that fits the aesthetics of the rest of your home, at the same time, it should work. It needs to be able to handle things like the weight of your car and the occasional oil spill. So you are much more limited in your flooring options than in other areas of the house.
Today, we’re going to take a look at the best garage flooring options for transforming your tired concrete slab.
Unless you intend to convert your garage for an alternative use, such as a study or flat, then the garage poses a special challenge in choosing your flooring.
Whichever floor you choose should be very stable, as it will need to match the weight of your car. Your tires can easily come off or injure your floor when you are in and out of the garage if you don’t choose the right floor.
You will also want something that is durable. Your garage is exposed to a wider variety of debris, which is carried by car tires that can scratch your floors. Apart from that, you can also store other heavy or sharp objects in the garage, such as tools.
And there’s also the question of spills, and we’re not just talking about water; there are also oil spills and other chemicals.
Your garage floor also needs to be more stable in terms of expanding and contracting due to changes in temperature and humidity. Garages tend not to be as well insulated as the rest of the house, so floors are more affected by outside temperatures.
So. let’s take a look at the available flooring options to suit the task.
But remember, whatever flooring option you choose, it will not fix serious problems with the underlying concrete slab. This must be addressed before installing additional floors.
If you quite like concrete floors, but you feel like they are starting to look worn, but may prefer to coat the floor with something that enhances its appearance, rather than covering it.
The difference between coating and covering is that the coating is attached to the concrete itself, while your cover lays it on top of the concrete. So, coatings include sealers, paints, and epoxies. All of these coatings are great choices for your garage floor.
Concrete sealers basically represent the minimum amount you can do if you want to maintain your concrete floors. This is an affordable option that will make your floors sparkle and will ward off stains.
Choose between a solvent-based sealer, which lasts longer, and a water-based sealer, which releases less harmful chemicals into the air during installation. This is then an easy DIY job similar to painting.
Concrete sealers are very affordable at around $ 0.15-025 per square foot, but you will want to reseal the floor every one to two years.
Concrete Floor Paint
If you are happy with your concrete floor slabs, but want to add a little color, concrete floor paint is a quick and affordable way to improve your garage.
You can choose between latex and oil-based paints with non-slip finishes, the former giving you a matte look and the latter a shinier finish. You can also pay more for paints that contain one part epoxy, which will make the coat less likely to break and last longer.
Concrete floor paint costs between $ 0.15- $ 2.00 per square foot depending on what you’re looking for. This needs to be fixed every two to three years. There are tons of color options, so you can get almost any look you want.
In contrast to paints that have added epoxy, an epoxy coating is always a two-part epoxy. While sticking to the floor, they create a plastic-like coating on top of the cement, so it doesn’t look like concrete and is more like new flooring. Epoxy is the strongest and most durable coating option offering the best protection. It comes in a variety of colors, although there are fewer options than paint.
The surface is also waterproof, fire resistant, and resistant to germs and bacteria. While all of that is fine, it means that epoxy cannot be installed in a damp garage, especially if water leaks out from under the concrete. This is especially problematic because the epoxy forms a watertight barrier, trapping moisture in the concrete. When water builds up, it can permanently damage the original concrete slab.
Epoxy costs between $ 3.00- $ 7.00 per square foot, and the resulting floors last between seven and 20 years. Epoxy can make the floor eight times stronger than the original concrete..
Moving on to garage floor covering ideas, plastic tiles are a great option, and you can choose between rigid and flexible options.
Rigid plastic tiles, made of a hard plastic such as PVC, offer a strong and stable foot base, and more importantly, bottom wheels. They can withstand very heavy loads, including the pressure that can be exerted by tire jacks or supports.
Plastics tend to be easy to clean and resistant to damage from chemicals, oil, and grease, all of which can be in the garage. Another good thing about these plastic tiles is that they don’t expand and shrink due to heat or humidity, so they keep their shape and position and when you let cool and hot air in and out of the garage when opening and closing the door. .
Standard plastic tiles for your garage will be available in 12 × 12 or 24 × 24 inch tiles with ¼ inch thickness. They come in a wide selection of different colors and styles so you can personalize your look.
These tiles are easy to install as there is nothing you can do to prepare the concrete other than to rest it and ensure it is in good condition. They also generally come with snap closure systems for installation. But be careful, the lining is not waterproof, which can allow water to seep from the top onto the concrete layer below.
These rigid plastic tiles cost between $ 2.50- $ 4.25 per square foot, so they’re not one of the cheapest options on the market, but they are one of the most versatile. These types of tiles generally have a warranty of about 10 years.
If your garage doubles as a workshop and you spend a lot of time there, then hard floors like concrete and stiff tiles can be hard on your joints. In these circumstances, flexible plastic tiles may be a better choice.
They are very similar to rigid plastic tiles, except they have a flexible rubber finish that makes them soft on the feet. Coming in the same size and color, the seal on this tile is watertight. They’re also less slippery than rigid plastic tiles, but they’re also a little harder to clean.
Unlike rigid plastic tiles, flexible plastic tiles are more likely to expand with changes in temperature, so this needs to be considered when installing.
Flexible plastic tiles cost between $ 2.50- $ 5.00 per square foot, and usually come with a warranty of around 10 years.
Another common option is a large rubber mat, which rolls only over the floor. They come in different sizes and patterns, and you can cover an entire garage or just a specific area.
This mat is durable but not as durable as other covers. They can be burned by hot tires, picked up by motorcycle stands, and slippery when wet. They are more suitable as a temporary solution than long term flooring options.
Depending on the type of launch pad you choose, you can expect to pay between $ 2.50- $ 4.00 per square foot.
Interlocking carpet tiles, similar to interlocking plastic tiles, are also a popular covering option for those looking to bring a little warmth into the garage. While not suitable for the toughest garages where a lot of car maintenance or similar work is done, they can stand out as normal for empty garage traffic.
You can expect the bottom tile to be made of something like polypropylene and then covered with synthetic carpet. They come in similar sizes to plastic tiles and share a common lock system; However, there are also options with an adhesive back for extra adhesion.
This tile actually works well in a garage with humidity, as it allows airflow, while still being coated to keep the floor a little softer and warmer.
Carpet tiles cost around $ 3.00- $ 5.00 per square foot and often come with a limited warranty of between 7 and 15 years, although you won’t be protected against damage if you spill oil on them.
Floor Options To Avoid
Reading our list of recommendations, you may now be asking yourself, “what about …”? So, let’s take a quick look at flooring options that you think will look great in your garage, but don’t actually work very well.
While we may all agree that wood floors of all types from hardwood to laminate are not durable enough for a garage and that vinyl plank flooring is also too pliable to be a good choice, what about porcelain or ceramic tiles?
Although these tiles are very durable, they are not as strong as the plastic material. They are much more likely to break and crack under the intense load exerted by tire jacks or if something hard, such as a tool, is dropped directly onto them.
Even the weight of a car can damage the tile if not installed properly, as any unevenness can leave small edges of the tile that bear the weight of your car.
Porcelain and ceramic tiles can also become more brittle in colder temperatures or when exposed to extreme temperature changes. This means if they are installed in your garage where they don’t benefit from the same insulation as your home, they can become more sensitive and prone to cracking.
Tiles can also be damaged by elements carried from the outside, such as salt and deicers, but also oil and grease. While they don’t affect the tiles themselves, they can soak into the grout. This can not only quickly discolor the grout, making your floor look dirty, but it can also damage its structural integrity, allowing the tile to loosen, again making it more susceptible to damage.
The first thing to consider is the condition of your floor. While any major or structural damage needs to be repaired first regardless of what flooring option you choose, what about small cracks or slopes and rises that cause inconsistencies in levels?
What type of garage do you have? Is it just to park your car and warehouse? Is this also a workshop? Do you do car repairs yourself? Do other family members use the area for recreation?
This will determine which type of flooring is right for you. If you are doing the oil change yourself, you may want to avoid paint or carpets, as these will be very difficult to remove every day. Do you spend a lot of time in the room with your feet? Softer floors will feel more comfortable on your knees.
Do you live in a place that is cold in winter and warm in summer, or are you one of the lucky few who enjoy moderate to warm temperatures all year round? Do you often put snow tires on your car and carry salt and deicers?
If you live in a cooler climate with ice and snow, you may want to move rigid plastic tiles to the top of your list because they can withstand the pressure of your sowing tiles, won’t be affected by salt, and won’t expand and contract with changes in temperature. If you live in a warmer place, you have more options.
Cost, Installation and Maintenance
While some of these garage flooring options are less expensive than others, they are all relatively affordable and also all fairly easy to install and maintain. While epoxy can be challenging, all of this flooring is a sensible DIY project.
They are also relatively easy to care for. You can cover the stain with epoxy or paint, and it’s easy enough to swap out any tile when it breaks. Carpet tile will be more difficult to clean and maintain, but this is why it is only recommended for less busy garages.
Preparing Your Floor
Whichever option you choose, you will need to prepare your original concrete garage floor before installing. Preparation in all cases is fairly simple and starts with making sure the floor is in good condition.
Cracked and cracked floors will continue to crack and break under new floors, and the situation can get so bad that they won’t be seen by you. Serious structural problems need to be addressed before installing any flooring.
If you have any doubts about the structural integrity of your slabs, it is time to call in a professional. Large cracks over ¼ inch and unevenness are major signs to look out for.
You will also need to do a moisture test on your concrete, as not all floors are suitable for humid conditions. The easiest way to do this test is to attach a 16 × 16 inch plastic sheet to the floor with tape, making sure the edges are airtight.
If there is condensation on the plastic or black spots on the floor, moisture will escape from under it. In this case, you should avoid certain flooring options, such as epoxy.
If your concrete is in good condition, preparing it for a new floor is easy. Just repair any small cracks with a suitable material and sweep them clean. With paint and epoxy, you may need to add a primer, but just follow the directions that came with your product of choice.
The best flooring for your garage floor depends on the condition of your floor, how you use the space, and your personal preferences.
For the most durable option for a garage that is most resistant to heavy loads and oil spills, consider epoxy coating or rigid plastic tile. If you’re also using the garage as an art or recreation room, a softer, more flexible plastic tile floor or even carpet tile may be more comfortable.
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Depending on the type of flooring you choose, whether you DIY or use a professional service, and how much slag concrete preparation and repair you need, you can spend between $ 750 and $ 5,000 to renovate a 150-foot single-car garage.
What Are The Best Colors For Garage Floors?
What color is best for your garage depends on you and your taste. Keep in mind that a darker color will cover tire marks and other stains better, while a lighter floor will open up space and make it appear larger.
What Is The Most Durable Garage Floor Coating?
Epoxy is the most durable of garage floor coatings and is generally five to eight times stronger than your own concrete floor. If you prefer to cover the floor rather than cover it, you can get a similar level of resistance and strength by using rigid plastic tiles.
There are many options out there for renovating your garage floor. Which one is best for you depends on your condition or floor, how you use the space, and your personal preferences. But, whatever you choose, you’re going to need something that can withstand the guards of everyday use.
If you’re looking for the most durable garage flooring option, consider an epoxy finish or rigid plastic tile. If you need something a little softer on the bottom, then think about flexible plastic tiles. If you want to make a statement with color, you won’t find a limit to the options with concrete floor paint. If you really like the look of concrete, you can probably get away with just using a sealer.
Start your search considering what you need, and then see which of our recommended options fits the bill best.