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Great Garage Flooring Options and Ideas

Updated on February 4, 2014
Vinyl composite tile with an epoxy top coat
Vinyl composite tile with an epoxy top coat | Source

When looking for ideas about garage flooring, sometimes the best thing to do is review the many different garage flooring options that are available today to help get the ideas flowing for your own home. However it can sometimes be overwhelming, if not confusing, when evaluating what you think you like and what’s best for you. So let’s take a look at what garage flooring choices you have, determine their features and benefits, and see what’s required for their installation in order to help you decide on the best ideas for your floor.

Epoxy garage floor coating
Epoxy garage floor coating | Source
Metallic epoxy garage floor
Metallic epoxy garage floor | Source

Garage Floor Coatings

The first flooring option on our list would have to be a garage floor coating. When installed correctly with a multiple coat system, this type of garage flooring is one of the most durable and stain resistant floors you can have in your garage. They usually consist of a primer coat, color coat, and one or two top coats. These floors are extremely resistant to oil stains, chemicals, and abrasion. Their glossy finish can provide for good light reflection and they are very easy to keep clean. They can be a little slippery when wet, but anti-slip additives can be applied at the time of installation.

A nice feature about these floors is the multitude of colors and styles that you can choose from that enables you to be creative and unique if you like. You can opt for the traditional single colored coating or you can add multiple colored paint flakes of your choosing to create a nice terrazzo effect and a little bit of texture to the floor. You can also choose from the latest trend in flowing metallic colors.

The most common of these coatings is a 2-part epoxy which mixes 1-part of epoxide resin with 1-part polyamine hardener. The resulting chemical reaction creates a coating that goes down thick and cures to a very hard consistency. Since the curing process is slow, you have to wait 24 hours before you can walk on it and an additional 24 to 48 hours before you can drive on it.

Garage floor coating options

If you don’t have the time to wait that long, you can always install the newer polyurea and polyaspartic coatings. These can be installed in one day and driven on the next. While some of these newer materials can provide even better protection than epoxy, they do cost more and need to be installed by a professional.

Garage floor coatings such as these require the most work and preparation of your floor when compared to any other garage flooring option. They can be installed by the ambitious do-it-yourself home owner; however, most of these coatings are installed by professionals. Expect pricing to start at $4 per square foot and go up from there.

There is one note to make about these garage floor coatings. Do not confuse them with the epoxy paint garage floor kits offered by your local home improvement center. These are not of the same quality and are designed to be applied as a one coat application. You can read more about installing garage floor coatings here.

Interlocking floor tiles
Interlocking floor tiles | Source

Garage Floor Tiles

One particular trend in garage flooring that has been gaining momentum is garage floor tiles. The most common of these are interlocking floor tiles. These are plastic tiles constructed of either rigid polypropylene or more rubber like PVC that interlock or snap together like a puzzle piece. They are available in up to 16 different color choices and 6 different tread designs that enable you to custom design the garage floor of your choice. This alone can create a variety of different garage flooring ideas when you start designing your floor with the tile design software available from the many different manufacturers that sell these tiles.

Not only do these tiles look great, they also do a good job at resisting most stains and chemicals. They are easy to keep clean and provide for a good non-slip surface. You can learn more about the difference between polypropylene and PVC interlocking tiles here.

The nice thing about this garage flooring option is that little to no floor preparation is required and it can take only a few hours to install in your garage with very few tools. Pricing starts around $2 per square foot and can go as high as $6 depending on brand and type.

Vinyl composite garage floor tile
Vinyl composite garage floor tile | Source

One of the more traditional garage flooring ideas that people like are the black and white checkered design. Vinyl composite tile, otherwise known as VCT, is generally the flooring of choice for this. When coated and polished properly with wax, this flooring will give fairly good stain resistance but needs quick attention with chemical spills or gasoline.

Though this type of floor is easy to clean, it does need a periodic stripping and reapplication of wax to stay looking nice. A nice advantage to this floor is that it is relatively inexpensive starting at .70 cents a square foot, particularly if you install it yourself. If cared for properly it will last for many years.


Porcelain tiled garage floor
Porcelain tiled garage floor | Source

The most durable and tough of these tile options is the use of porcelain tile. While not typically thought of for a garage floor, porcelain is used extensively in commercial applications for mechanic shops and dealerships. It is impervious to most stains and chemicals, is easy to clean, and is extremely hard to chip or break. The key to keeping it looking nice is to use a darker colored grout that is sealed.

Properly rated porcelain tile can be purchased for as little as 1$ per square foot. If you are familiar with laying tile you can save even more with the installation. If not, expect $2 - $4 per square foot for installation depending on your area. Even with installation, porcelain garage floors are a good value for the money.

Fun informational video about garage flooring options

Garage Floor Mats

If you are looking for a garage flooring option that is easy to install yet still gets the job done, then look no further than a good garage floor mat. These mats are made of polyvinyl and come in a variety of colors and tread patterns. You can choose from diamond tread designs, coined, ribbed, and more. They are available in different lengths and widths to give you the flexibility of simply creating a parking pad for the car or completely covering the garage floor.


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The advantage to these mats is that they are easy to clean and install. In fact, the only tools required would be a sharp utility knife or scissors along with a tape measure. They do a good job at resisting stains and chemical spills, but the lighter colored mats do have a tendency of picking up brown stains from the oils of certain car tires. If you think you may be bothered by that, then a darker colored mat would be best for you. Mats made in the USA cost a little more than the foreign made brands, but they are of much better quality and last longer.

Though mats do offer great protection and looks for the average garage, they don’t stand up as well to heavy use from home garage mechanics that may frequently be using car jacks, jack stands, and other heavy equipment to work on their vehicles.

Garage Floor Paint

One the oldest and most traditional of options for garage flooring is paint. People have been painting the concrete in their garage long before a market had been established for garage flooring products. The advantage to garage floor paint is that it’s cheap and comes in a variety of colors. You can paint an entire garage floor for as little as $50 depending on the size.

Garage floor paint with color flakes added
Garage floor paint with color flakes added | Source
Hot tire lift from garage floor paint
Hot tire lift from garage floor paint | Source

The problem with garage floor paint however, is also the same as the advantage – it’s cheap. Paint on a garage floor will only look nice for a year or two before it needs to be touched up or repainted. There is also a good chance that you will experience peeling of the paint if the floor was not prepared properly. There is also problems with a condition known as “hot tire lift”. This is created from warm car tires that break down the paint when parked. When you back out of the garage, the tires will lift the paint off the concrete.

When choosing paint, be sure to spend the extra few dollars for paint with epoxy added instead of traditional latex concrete paint. It will adhere better and give better protection. A better product would be the 2-part epoxy paint kits that are sold at your local home improvement centers. These are technically a true epoxy coating that will give much better protection than paint. If applied properly, these have been known to last 5 years or more in the average garage.

Concrete Garage Floor Sealers

Finally there is the protection of a concrete garage floor sealer for those who like the looks of bare concrete but still want to protect it. This garage flooring option is relatively inexpensive as well as easy to apply. With that in mind, there are two types of sealers to choose from – penetrating sealers and topical sealers.

Penetrating concrete garage floor sealer
Penetrating concrete garage floor sealer | Source

Penetrating sealers actually penetrate into the concrete and seal up the pores. They do this by reacting with the Calcium Hydroxide within the concrete. This actually produces Calcium Silicate Hydrate which seals the concrete and makes it stronger as well. The concrete does not change color and looks the same after application. A good penetrating sealer will render the concrete dustless, cause water to bead on the floor, stop moisture issues such as efflorescence, and a treatment will last for years. They are very easy to apply with some concrete preparation required. You can use a garden pump sprayer or mop for application.

One thing to be aware of is that oil and other stain causing fluids can still create a slight stain if not cleaned up in a reasonable amount of time. Because this type of sealer is considered sub-surface and not film forming like a topical sealer, oil can come in contact with the very top of the concrete if allowed to sit.

Acrylic concrete floor sealer in a matte finish
Acrylic concrete floor sealer in a matte finish | Source

Acrylic topical sealers are a film forming sealer that go on clear and are available in a matte or glossy finish. They leave a very thin film of acrylic on the concrete which will give moderate protection against oil stains, chemicals, and abrasion. The advantage to this type of sealer is that it is easy to apply with only moderate floor preparation required. You can walk on it within a few hours and drive on it the next day.

This sealer will wear with time and a typical garage application will last 18 months to two years before it needs to be reapplied. No worries though, reapplying it is even easier than the first application.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are quite a few garage flooring options to choose from when looking for ideas for your garage floor. The key to most of these applications is good preparation of your concrete before applying your flooring of choice. Just do your research and remember that garage flooring is like most things; if you spend a little more money for the better product, you will receive more value in the long run.

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