Garage flooring isn't limited to the basic concrete slab anymore. Regardless of whether you have an 'everyday' garage that simply stores your cars or one that would warm the hearts of a Nascar pit crew, there are floor choices that will look good and function better than the old concrete standby.
Why invest in garage flooring? For one, it's functional. It protects the concrete slab from stains, chips and spalling. This is particularly true in snowy climates where road salt from melting snow deteriorates the concrete. It also provides a more comfortable work surface that's more easily cleaned than bare concrete.
A new garage floor is also more aesthetically pleasing, particularly with home designs that project the garage as the prominent feature in the front of the house. Whether it's a stylish checkerboard pattern or the clean uniform look of epoxy, a finished floor will convey a neat, finished appearance.
There are several groups of products available for garage flooring, each with their own unique characteristics and roles to play. One of their greatest attributes is that most of them are relatively easy and quick to install, something that's manageable by most do-it-yourself'ers.
Here are your choices for garage floors broken down into 3 general categories:
The plastic-based tiles are simple to assemble and join together by means of hooks or other type of built-in retention feature. They lay right on top of the garage subfloor essentially forming a 'floating floor' (no attachment to the subfloor).
Two varieties exist: a solid tile and a "grated" or flow-through tile.
Grated or slotted tiles allow things like water and anything else that runs onto them to pass through to the subfloor. Solid tiles typically have some physical feature molded into them to provide some texture and slip resistance.
Vinyl composition tiles or VCT are individual vinyl tiles that must be glued down to the garage subfloor. They don't have any means of connection between them. They provide a smoother look than the plastic tiles.
Any seams that do result from needing more than one roll can be joined by butting the edges and gluing them to a strip of material that sits underneath the seam between the bottom of the mat and the subfloor. Or, they can just simply overlap where they come together.
Mats are probably the easiest garage flooring to put down, consisting of rolling out the mat and trimming it to size.
Like all other home product choices, there are highs and lows that go along with them. The key is finding the right fit (pardon the pun) for your desired style choice, needs and budget.
Achieves a uniform finished look, wall-to-wall with no seams
Can be done by the homeowner using store-bought kits
DIY kits are cheaper than floor tiles though professional installations can be equivalent to tiles
Requires stringent cleaning and preparation of the subfloor to achieve a durable application
May stain more easily than other floor types depending on coating
Susceptible to "hot tire pickup" or "wet tire pickup" (peeling and lift-off) from hot or wet tires (dependent on good subfloor preparation and quality of coating used such as 1-part or 2-part epoxies)
Can't take it with you - it's permanent to the garage
Takes the longest to install and causes the most garage down-time of the various types of garage flooring (though some companies advertise a 24-hr turn time but it's dependent on air temperature and proper conditions)
Plastic interlocking tiles are easy and quick to install
Tiles can be cut with conventional saws
Portable-you can take the floor with you when you move
Can achieve decorative patterns by using various colors
No adhesives required for the plastic tiles
Provides some insulation from a cold concrete floor particularly in unheated garages and colder climates
Vinyl Composition Tiles (VCT) offer a nice smooth sheen and an attractive look
Seams between most tiles aren't watertight so some fluids will seep down under tiles
Vinyl Composition Tiles (VCT) can be slippery when wet or greasy due to their lack of texture
VCT installation requires adhesive and are dependent on appropriate conditions for curing (proper air temps. or in heated garages)
Installation of VCT is not as easy as plastic interlocking tiles and requires careful layout
No way of removing individual tiles without disassembling the floor from the nearest edge
Plastic tiles have a hollow sound as you walk across
Requires additional pieces (ramps) to transition from the tile to the surrounding subfloor and/or the driveway apron
Quickest installation of the various type of garage floors
Provides some "give" and a more comfortable surface to stand on than concrete
Very little prep work before installation - sweeping or vacuuming to clean the subfloor
Ribbed style mats help contain/control fluids like water and oil
Makes a quick fix for a concrete floor with chips, cracks and stains
Stain resistant but not totally immune from staining
Seams and edges provide a path for fluids to get between the mat and the subfloor
Rolled mats can be heavy to bring home and locate in place
As is pointed out above each kind of garage flooring has it's highs and lows and fulfills a different need or purpose. To make an informed choice consider the following points as they apply to your situation.
To get an idea on how the different garage flooring products price out compared to one another take a look at the table below. It compares coatings, tiles and rollout mats.
The costs included here reflect the total cost to cover a standard-sized, 450 square foot 2-car garage (approximately 21'x21').
|Garage Flooring Type||Total Cost|
|Paints & Coatings1
Store bought DIY kits
Commercial grade DIY kits
$85 - $125
$250 - $400
|Tiles2||$1300 - $2600|
|Mats3||$620 - $1500|
Choosing Garage Cabinets - Once you have the floor now it's time to equip your garage with storage cabinets.
Garage Doors - Understanding what's involved in choosing a garage door will help you make the right choice, both from a style and functional standpoint.