What floor covering should you choose for your garage
Last modified: 2019/02/20 | Approximate reading time 6 mins
The garage can serve many purposes, whether it simply holds your cars or acts as a workshop, an at-home gym or even an office. Of course, depending on the function of this space, the décor will vary. However, it’s always important to consider the flooring in any room and the garage shouldn’t be the exception to the rule.
Your garage floor should definitely suit your needs, while also looking good and remaining comfortable. While there are plenty of options on the market when it comes to choosing a garage floor, we’re here to break down the best options for your home. Read on to determine which flooring material you should use for your garage!
Garage flooring: what are the best options?
Two main categories: coating and coverings
Since the garage faces plenty of wear and tear, we need to think about the floors in terms of the two primary categories: coatings and coverings. As may be obvious, coatings will be applied to the already existent flooring and generally painted directly over the floor. If this is the direction you choose, paint and epoxy are going to be your main options. Coverings will go on top of an already existing floor, and in most cases, garage flooring is made of concrete. Generally, these floor coverings will be removable and will come in different types of tiles or mats.
It’s important to mention that before moving forward with any garage flooring project, you’ll need to make sure the surface underneath is already in good shape. If you find any cracks or breaks in the existing garage floor, repair these before installing any additional materials! Further, if you plan on turning your garage into an alternative living space, you’ll need to consider a method for insulating the floor itself. Luckily, we’ll go through this process in our article.
Garage floor coatings
As mentioned, a garage floor coating will sit over your existing flooring and this includes floor paints, epoxy paint stains as well as sealers. These will be the more cost effective options in comparison with the others listed. Putting a coating on your garage floor is not only to help it look better, but also to protect against staining, corrosive chemicals such as salt as well as any moisture finding its way into the cracks of the concrete.
Moisture buildup can cause serious corrosion and compromise your foundation, so this should be taken fairly seriously. Unfortunately, if your garage gets particularly damp or sits in a position downstream to your home, you may find that your floor coating could fail.
This is because a large amount of moisture will keep it consistently damp and prevent the coating from sticking to the surface. Over time, your garage floor coating will begin to chip and flake and thus, the process will be unnecessary. For this reason, it’s critical to test your concrete slab or the original garage floor surface for moisture, especially before moving forward with applying a coating.
As we mentioned, the cost-effective nature of floor coatings, as well as their versatility, make this method appealing, the main disadvantage is that the floor requires careful preparation before these products can be applied. If your garage floor has a layer of dirt, grease or grime, this will need to be cleaned before applying a floor coating.
Depending on the amount of dirt and grime, you may require a pressure washer if you aren’t already in possession of one. If there was a previous coating on the garage floor, this will also need to be removed. As mentioned, any cracks, holes or additional problems with the surface will need to be filled in or dealt with. Make sure that the floor is left completely clean so that any new coating can stick.
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There are two main options when it comes to choosing a paint for the floor of your garage, and they are concrete and epoxy.
Concrete paint is essentially the same as normal paint but works a little bit tougher. It can be applied in the same manner as normal paint and there are no unfamiliar steps to follow. Latex floor paint is easier to work with than oil-based paint. If you prefer to work with oil-based paint, you’ll need to apply a primer beforehand. Oil-based paints are more durable than latex, yes. But do bear in mind that any floor paint will likely need to be touched up every year or so.
Epoxy Paint comes in two different parts that will need to be mixed together. The end result of using an epoxy paint is beautiful, shiny and much more durable than working with a regular floor paint. However, they can be especially difficult to work with and the preparation portion of the job is the most important. Also, epoxy paint dries very quickly, and thus, will need to be applied quickly. Lastly, epoxy paint must remain untouched while it sets and so your car will need to be stored somewhere else for the time being.
Stains and sealers
Stains are mostly in place for decoration and add a marbled element that comes close to the look of stone. However, it’s important to mention that stains do not protect the concrete so following the application, it will be necessary for you to apply a coat or two of urethane sealer. Without this, there is a chance the concrete will be compromised.
When it comes to concrete sealers, they can be compared to paint but are much tougher. Depending on the one you choose, they will dry to a semigloss or clear finish, but some brands will have tinted versions as well. There are a variety of sealers on the market including acrylic or latex sealer and urethane sealer. Again, choose a sealer in relation to the traffic you expect in your garage as well as what it will be used for!
Garage floor coverings
When it comes to finding a cover for your garage floor, there are two distinct options and these are interlocking tiles and rollout mats. Floor coverings are excellent because they are easy to apply and versatile.
Unlike painting or priming your garage floor, there is very little prep work involved. The only real preparation will be to sweep and vacuum the space before moving ahead with the installation. This would be the best option if your floor is particularly damp or damaged, as floor coverings work to hide these areas.
Snap-together floor tiles are generally made from a rigid and durable plastic, and as a result, can handle heavyweight such as your car. This is also important if you’re using floor jacks, kickstands or anything of that nature. If you live in an area with extreme weather conditions, then you might choose these tiles over other floor coverings. This is because there are perforated versions that allow for drainage of spills or melting snow.
Not only this, but they are very easy to clean. Further, if you work with a lot of chemicals in your garage, these tiles are more chemically resistant than softer plastic tiles or mats. Snap-together tiles are very easy to install and only require lining them up, and stepping on them to click them together.
This type of tile is good for the creative homeowner among us, as they come in an abundance of patterns and colours that can be intermixed and matched. These are slip resistant while also offering better resistance to liquid.
Further, they are the most comfortable option underfoot, so if you’re turning your garage into a yoga studio or home gym, this could be an excellent option. Although the tiles are subject to stains, any affected individual tiles can easily be changed. For this reason, leave room for a bit of expansion around walls and other obstacles.
Rolling flooring is another versatile choice for your garage. It’s a thick, rubber-based mat that can be found in a variety of sizes, shapes, colours and patterns. Like snap-together tiles, the only preparation necessary is a quick sweeping of your floor. Next, you’ll want to unroll the mat and butt the edges together. In some cases, they may need to overlap and then be trimmed with a utility knife to fit snuggly in place.
Yes, rollout mats are durable, but unfortunately, they aren’t invincible. They can become permanently damaged by chemicals, tires, motorcycle kickstands, gravel, and other common garage conundrums. It would be recommended to stick to tiles if you live in an extreme climate, as rollout mats will change shape and size in extreme weather conditions.
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