• Garage Flooring Choices

    August 31, 2015 | Blog
  • Photo credit: DiamondBack Truck Covers on Flickr (cropped)

    Our humble garages come stock with plain concrete floors just begging to be dressed up. Of course, it depends on how you use your garage—just for parking your wheels or as an extension of your living space. But there are a number of options to make even a barebones parking space not only stand out but also more durable and usable.

    Preparing the Garage Floor Surface

    While various finishing methods can certainly fix up an eyesore floor, they’re not a solution for one that’s not sound.

    1. Be sure to repair any cracks in the concrete so that they don’t grow (unseen!) underneath flooring, or compromise coatings.
    2. You’ll also get better, longer-lasting results with a clean floor—taking special care to remove oil and grease residue. Oils will repel finishes, as will dirt and debris (which can also get permanently trapped in the coating, creating an unintended texture).
    3. And to prevent a host of problems, address any moisture issues—both inside and outside. Seepage can cause damage to concrete, wooden structures, and even the flooring or finishing you’re preparing to apply.

    Coatings for Garage Floors

    Garage floor coatings fall into two categories: paints and epoxies.

    • Paint: for an easy and inexpensive upgrade, you can paint your floor using a paint specifically intended for concrete. It’s important to not just use some leftover paint from a previous project, because concrete-specific paint offers durability that other paints aren’t made for—like being driven over by hot tires, and adding slip resistance. Concrete paint also handles the temperature extremes ordinary indoor house paint would suffer under.
    • Epoxy: the next step up in coatings is epoxy. Some concrete paints (marketed particularly for garage floors) are 1-part epoxies, meaning that no pre-mixing is necessary to apply the finish (on top of a primed surface). Epoxies are more durable than paints, and actually seal the surface, so 1-part epoxy paints are more durable than regular latex paint, but 2-part epoxies offer the most protection (but at higher cost, and can be more difficult to apply). The end result is a shiny surface that looks great while also resisting dirt, spills, and stains—it wipes up like a kitchen counter!

    Coatings are ideal for homeowners who want to park their cars in a garage that not only looks clean but has a floor that stands up to “traffic” while being easier to maintain. They’re also the most economical, but do require a well-prepared smooth concrete surface in relatively good condition.

    Coverings for Garage Floors

    The next level of garage flooring options is coverings, including tile or floor mats.

    • Tile: floor tiles can be constructed of rubber, plastic, or composite wood fiber.
    • Mats: similar to floor tiles, mats are easy to install and can offer some more design options than paints and epoxies. Prices can be higher than coatings, but the lower end is a bit more affordable than tile.

    With design flexibility and fast installation, this flooring can be worth the added cost over paint or epoxy, especially if your garage doubles as living or work space. Durable rigid plastic (PVC) tiles will stand up best under cars, while rubber (tiles or mats) and wood tiles are comfortable surfaces to stand on for the converted-garage workshop. This finish is a great solution for giving new life to concrete floors that have seen better days, as it can be installed over minor cracks and blemishes. And it can make your garage look more like a living room than an industrial space.

    It’s amazing how much a flooring redo can change the character of a space, so consider a floor coating or covering to elevate your garage to an attractive entrance to your home!