If you’re looking to add a little style and colour to your garage, one of the best places to start is with the floor. Standard concrete slab garage floors are functional, but with a little extra effort, they can also be attractive and even comfortable.
There are many options for sprucing up a garage floor, and most homeowners have trouble deciding which way to go. An effective way to start thinking about a new garage floor is to divide the choices into two categories: coatings and coverings. There are four good options to consider.
Your concrete garage floor takes a lot of abuse from moisture, oil drips, chemical spills and road salt as it ages. Applying a garage floor paint coating or covering will not only improve the way your floor looks but also protect it against stains and deterioration, make it easier to clean, and hide cracks and other surface problems. A lot of different garage flooring options are out there, but will they work and look as good in your garage? The answer is—it depends. This article will outline the main flooring options and their pros and cons to help you choose a floor that’s feasible, durable and affordable.
There are two general types of garage flooring: coatings and coverings. If your garage floor is in good condition, you can pick either one. But if the floor has lots of cracks or pockmarks, a covering is better because it hides damage. A coating, even a low-sheen version, has a tendency to highlight blemishes. Coverings are also immune to moisture problems that can make coatings peel.
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Garage floor paint coatings
Floor paint products, like floor stain products, do virtually nothing to protect a floor surface.
Despite this fact, they’re one of the most popular options for homeowners looking to spruce up the look of their garage floor.
Why? Once again, they’re cheap and fairly easy to apply yourself, although it’s not like you can just sweep your garage floor, pop open a can of paint, and start rolling it on.
Coatings include floor paints, epoxy paint, stains and sealers. Coatings generally cost less than coverings if you apply them yourself. They protect against stains, corrosive chemicals (like road salts) and moisture penetration. But coatings can fail for two reasons: damp concrete and incomplete floor prep.
Coatings can’t be used where ground moisture rises through the concrete and keeps it consistently damp. Moisture prevents the coating from sticking to the concrete, and the coating soon delaminates chips and flakes. That’s why it’s critical to test your concrete slab for moisture before you apply a coating.
The main disadvantage of coatings is that they require several hours of careful floor prep. Depending on how dirty or greasy your floor is, this can include intensive cleaning with a pressure washer using solvents or degreasers to remove any sealers, grease or previous coatings. You need to repair cracks, holes and other surface problems and then finally etch the concrete with muriatic acid to leave it completely clean and penetrable. Look at online reviews to decide the best garage floor paint for your needs.
Coatings: Concrete floor paint
Concrete floor paint is just a tougher version of the paint that goes on walls and is by far the least expensive coating. You roll it on just like other types of paint; there are no tricky, unfamiliar steps. It’s also easy to touch up damaged areas or recoat the floor completely. Latex floor paint is easier to apply and clean up than oil-based paint. It dries to a low-sheen flat finish while oil dries to a high gloss. Oil-based paints must be used with a primer coat and are generally more durable than latex. Overall, floor paint isn’t as tough as other coatings and is especially vulnerable to road salts and other chemicals. Under typical conditions, you’ll have to touch up areas every year or two.
Polished Concrete Flooring – The Best of All
Polished concrete flooring is the best option for garages. Concrete flooring is generally hard and resilient. They can perform under high pressure without any wear and tear. Concrete floors are less priced and are easily available for customers with low budgets. Polished concrete surfaces look graceful and elegant that compliments the entire semblance. Polished concrete finishes are generally stain-resistant and easy to clean, making it the best option for garage flooring.
Epoxy Flooring – The Smart and Feasible Option
Epoxy flooring is quite feasible and a smart choice for existing flooring. Epoxy is a tough and long-lasting coating that can be used on any flooring. It can be used on concrete floors; stone floors any floor to increase its performance and durability of your garage floor. Epoxy flooring is available in many attractive colours and can be cleaned easily. Before trying to go for epoxy, make sure your subfloors are resistant to moisture, and no dampness is observed. Epoxy is not suitable for the floors that absorb moisture.
Rubber Tile Flooring – Easy to Install or DIY Option
Rubber tiles are available like flexible mats and tiles. This type of flooring can be easily installed and is a good option for DIYers. Rubber floor tiles are flexible and come in attractive interlocking patterns to provide extra strength and stability to the floors. These are mostly available in the dimensions of 12×12 inches or 24×24 inches. Rubber tile flooring requires less maintenance and can be cleaned easily. The most feasible option at a reasonable price is rubber tiles. They can withstand any climatic conditions. These floors can be installed on any sub-floors, especially concrete floors.
Vinyl Flooring – For Low Traffic Garages
Selecting vinyl flooring for garages is not at all a wrong choice. If your garage doesn’t face much traffic and heavy pressure then enhanced Urethane coated vinyl tile flooring is the best option. These tiles are flexible and comfortable. You can enhance a unique look to your garage by picking the multiple colour shades and attractive vinyl composite tile flooring available in the market. Vinyl flooring requires very little upkeep and cleaning is extremely easy and comfortable with the cleaning agents available at home.
Stone Flooring – Excellent but Expensive Option
Stone flooring like sandstone, graphite, and flagstone are excellent choices for garages but are a bit expensive. Stone flooring is extremely cold in winters hence considering your budget and local climatic conditions are vital before going for stone flooring for your garage. Stone flooring is resilient and extremely hard and available in eye-catchy designs and pleasant colours.
Polyaspartic floor coating
If we’re talking about your garage floor protection options, we may as well start with the best – a polyaspartic floor coating.
This high-performance coating is comprised of professional-grade materials that are applied by trained pros using special equipment to deliver long-lasting flooring protection.
Unlike most cheaper garage floor protection products that provide a less effective topical surface bond, polyaspartic coatings penetrate deeper into the concrete.
This creates a stronger foundational bond with the concrete that makes it more impermeable against water, chemicals, and other elements that can cause floor damage.
With its durable topcoat, polyaspartic floor coating resists damage from impacts and abrasions, chemicals, and permanent markings left on the floor from “hot tire pickup”.
Because a good floor coating doesn’t wear down as quickly as a bare concrete floor, your garage will also produce a little less dust.
And whatever dust is present from floor wear and normal, everyday use won’t even be very visible. Polyaspartic floor coatings have decorative coloured flakes broadcast across the floor before the topcoat is applied. This obscures dust and adds a decorative flair to your garage’s interior look.
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Epoxy floor coating
If you’re thinking of taking the DIY route when it comes to your garage floor protection upgrade, an epoxy floor coating kit is probably what you’ll buy.
We’ve all seen them in home improvement stores. Their box advertising promises to work wonders on your garage floor and boasts of how easy the product is to work with.
And they promise all of this at a surprisingly cheap price. Instead of being lured by a lower price tag, perhaps you should be wondering, “Hmmm…so what’s the catch?”.
The catch is that while epoxy coatings can do a serviceable job protecting your garage floor and updating the room’s décor, they fall well short of polyaspartic coatings in every measure of how the coating looks and keeps your garage floor protected.
Any epoxy coating kit’s materials will be substandard when compared to professional-grade polyaspartic coating materials.
Applying any coating product requires thorough preparation of the floor surface, properly mixed materials, and usage of the materials within a certain amount of time.
With epoxy and polyaspartic floor coatings, the temperature and humidity levels must also be taken into consideration. Unlike polyaspartic coatings, epoxies can’t be applied in extreme hot or cold temperatures.
There’s little room for error in the floor coating process. Otherwise, you’ll be left with a finished floor that’s visually unsatisfying and not providing you with complete garage floor protection. You’ll also need to revisit your garage flooring project for touch-ups or a complete redo sooner than you’d like.
Polyaspartic floor coatings require more expertise and specialized equipment to apply properly, which is why these projects are usually handled by professionals and cost more. Keep that in mind the next time a low-cost epoxy flooring kit catches your eye.
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Garage floor tiles
Garage floor protection red floor tile instead of directly upgrading your concrete floor surface, another viable option is to use interlocking floor tiles in the garage.
Floor tiles may be better suited to your floor upgrade budget. If you have floor damage that’s out of your price range to fix, floor tiles are also a cost-effective option to cover up an unattractive surface.
While floor tiles won’t remedy any issues with garage floor degradation, they do help minimize further surface damage from wear and tear occurring.
Floor tiles are made from plastic or stronger PVC materials for added durability when placed on your concrete floor.
Some types require adhesives and mortar to install but look for the much-easier-to-work-with type that features interlocking teeth.
Aside from their cost-effectiveness and protective benefits, here are four other good reasons to consider interlocking floor tiles for your garage:
- fast installation time
- they’re versatile and can also be used in basements, laundry rooms, and storage rooms
- when a tile eventually gets damaged, it’s extremely easy to replace
- create a custom floor look with different tile colours and styles
One of the products that will probably show up on your radar when you’re considering different garage floor protection options are concrete resurfacers.
Concrete resurfacers are made up of a mixture of sand, Portland cement, polymer materials, and additional additives. A trowel, brush, or squeegee are typically used to apply them.
The product’s natural cement grey colour can be enhanced with decorative pigments to create a more dynamic floor look.
The words “concrete resurfacer” certainly imply that this product will renew a flawed floor surface. That’s only partially true.
Intended as a more cosmetic fix for garage floors in need of a refresh, the floor protection benefits of concrete resurfacers are rather modest. This is partly because their application coat is usually fairly thin compared to epoxy or polyaspartic coating.
Concrete resurfacers are more ideal for floors with light, superficial damage (meaning minor cracks and pitting). Bigger floor problems such as wide and deep cracks, spalling, and extensive pitting would need extensive repairs before applying a resurfacer over them.
Garage floor coverings
Garage floor protection car parked on mat garage floor coverings like mats, rugs, parking pads, and trays tend to be used more in colder climates that get snow, which leaves garage floors a wet, sloppy mess during the winter.
These products can help protect your floor, but once again, the protection they offer is fairly superficial and limited.
The function that’s most appealing about them (other than their low cost) is they’ll help contain excess moisture from rain or melted snow and ice that’s tracked in by vehicles. That keeps your garage floor cleaner.
They’ll need to be emptied outside occasionally in order to drain the collected water. That can be a bit of a chore since they can get heavy with all that water and be quite messy to move.
One big drawback of these types of floor coverings is that if the pooled water isn’t emptied often enough, the extra moisture can increase your garage’s condensation levels. That’s not good. And if any collected water leaks underneath the covering, the cement is at risk of damage.
Another shortcoming with these products is that vehicles entering and exiting a garage can cause the coverings to shift and need repositioning. Some models with anti-skid bottoms will be more stable, and using double-sided tape to keep them anchored might be helpful.
Another popular product homeowners choose to protect their garage floors are roll-on sealers. They’re inexpensive, relatively easy to apply and come in acrylic, latex, and urethane types.
But do they offer much flooring protection? As their name implies, this product does provide a seal for the floor that can protect it from stains and water damage.
However, sealers don’t perform at the same level as polyaspartic and epoxy floor coatings when it comes to protecting a floor.
They don’t bond to concrete as well as higher quality coatings. They also wear away faster.
Clear concrete sealers won’t hide blemishes from patches and repairs made to the floor before the sealer is applied. Tints can be used to add some colour and may produce better visual results.
At this point on our list, the durability of the remaining garage floor protection options falls off dramatically.
Sure, repairing a garage floor using crack sealers and fillers, concrete patching compound, or water stop cement does prevent further damage to problematic floor areas.
There are a few reasons, however, to rethink this “bare minimum approach” to dealing with your garage floor’s issues.
First of all, these types of fixes using inexpensive tubes of sealant and filler aren’t a long-term floor repair solution. They typically don’t last and will need to be readdressed in a year or two.
Secondly, these types of repairs are only practical for smaller areas, not an entire garage floor in need of fixing.
And last (but not least) is the simple matter of aesthetics. Patches, touch-ups, and spot repairs just aren’t conducive to a good interior garage look, especially when they don’t match your floor’s colour.
- garage floor protection clutter in the garage
- Fixing floor cracks with repair products never look very good and usually needs to be redone sooner rather than later.
They’re not as well-known as floor paints, but floor stains are another product you’ll see that promises to transform your garage floors.
They’re chosen purely for their decorative appearance, which adds colour or even a natural stone look to a garage floor’s surface. Floor stains are usually found in water-based and acid types.
Because stains add colour to the floor, they can help to hide surface blemishes. But in terms of garage floor protection, stains do very little for a surface since they barely penetrate the concrete.
A sealer topcoat can be applied over the stain’s thin surface coating. This provides some protection for the stain and floor surface, as well as helps to make the stain stand out more.
Some surface preparation is required, whether it’s repairing cracks or other damage, or using a heavy-duty degreaser on the floor to help the paint adhere better and to get rid of tough stains.
It’s a common misconception from consumers that floor paints protect your floor. Unfortunately, once the paint has been applied and dried, all you’re getting is a cosmetic upgrade to your floor (and a relatively modest one, too).
Garage floor paint applications are notorious for being a short-lived floor improvement “solution”. The paint chips and flakes quickly and will need to be touched up or fully reapplied sooner rather than later.
Any good DIYer knows a garage can be key to successful home improvement. It’s the place where you stash tools, paints and lawn care equipment, so it has got to be tough enough to stand up to hard use (and two-ton cars). And if it’s easy to clean, that’s a big plus.
Garages flooring performance is dependent not only on flooring choice but also on its maintenance. What floor do you have in your garage? Let us know in the comment section below.