Choosing the best garage floor option can be challenging. While you want something that lives up to the aesthetic of the rest of your home, at the same time, it needs to be functional. It needs to be able to deal with things such as the weight of your car and the occasional oil spill. So, you are much more limited in your floor options than in other areas of the home.
Today, we are going to look at the best garage floor options to transform your tired concrete slab. With these garage floor ideas, you’ll be just as happy to show guests your garage as you are your new kitchen or dining room.
- Plastic Tiles
- Carpet Tiles
- Flooring Options To Avoid
- How To Choose The Best Flooring For Your Garage
- Preparing Your Floor
- FAQs About Garage Flooring
- The Verdict
Unless you are intending to convert your garage for alternative use, such as a study or flat, then the garage poses specific challenges when it comes to choosing your floor.
Whatever floor you choose will need to be very stable, as it will need to put up with the weight of your car. Your tires can easily dislodge or dent your floor as you drive in and out of your garage if you don’t choose the right flooring.
You will also want something durable. Your garage is exposed to more of the type of debris, brought in by car tires that can scuff and scratch your floor. Plus, you might also keep other heavy or sharp objects in the garage, such as tools.
And there is also the question of spills, and we aren’t just talking about water; there is also oil and other chemical spills.
Your garage floor also needs to be more stable in terms of expansion and contraction as a result of temperature and humidity changes. Garages don’t tend to be as well insulated as the rest of the home, so the floor is more greatly affected by the outside temperature.
So. let’s have a look at the available flooring options that are up to the task.
But remember, whatever flooring option you choose, it won’t repair serious problems with the underlying concrete slab. These will need to be dealt with before laying any additional flooring.
Best Garage Floor Options Reviewed
If you quite like your concrete floor, but you feel that it is starting to look worn, but might choose to coat your floor in something that enhances its look, rather than cover it.
The difference between coatings and coverings is that coatings adhere to the concrete itself, while covering you put on top of the concrete. So, coatings include sealers, paints, and epoxies. All these coatings are good options for your garage floor.
Concrete sealer basically represents the minimum you can do if you want to retain your concrete floor. It is an affordable option that will give your floor a sheen and will ward off stains.
Choose between a solvent-based sealer, which lasts longer, and a water-based sealer, that releases fewer nasty chemicals into the air during installation. It is then an easy DIY job similar to painting.
Concrete Floor Paint
If you are happy with your concrete floor slab, but you would like to add a bit of color, then concrete floor paint is a quick and affordable way to give your garage a facelift.
You can choose between latex and oil-based paint with a non-slip finish, the former giving you a matte look and the latter more of a high-gloss sheen. You can also pay more for paint that includes one part epoxy, which will make the paint finish less likely to chip and last longer.
Concrete floor paint costs between $0.15-$2.00 per square foot depending on what you go for. It will need to be retouched every two to three years. There is a huge range of color options, so you can achieve pretty much any look your desire.
Different to paints that have added epoxy, epoxy coatings are always two-part epoxy. While they adhere to the floor, they create a plastic-like coating over the cement, so it can look less like concrete and more like a new floor. Epoxy is the strongest and most durable coating option that offers the best protection. It comes in a range of colors, though there are fewer options than with paint.
The surface is also water-resistant, fire-resistant, and resistant to germs and bacteria. While those are all good things, it does mean epoxy cannot be installed in damp garages, especially if the water is coming up from underneath the concrete. This is especially problematic as the epoxy forms a watertight barrier, trapping the moisture within the concrete. As the water builds up, it can permanently damage the original concrete slab.
Moving onto garage floor covering ideas, plastic tiles are a great choice, and you can choose between rigid and flexible options.
Rigid plastic tiles, made from hard plastics such as PVC, offer a strong and stable base underfoot, and more importantly, under wheel. They can stand up to very heavy weights, including the pressure that can be exerted by a tire jack or kickstand.
Plastic tends to be easy to clean and resistant to damage from chemicals, oil, and grease, all of which can be present in the garage. The other good thing about these plastic tiles is that they do not expand and contract due to heat or humidity, so they will keep their shape and position and as you let cold and hot air in and out of your garage when opening and closing the doors.
Standard plastic tiles for your garage will come in either 12×12 or 24×24 inch tiles that are ¼ inch thick. They come in a variety of different color and style options so you can personalize your look.
These tiles are easy to install as there is nothing to do to prepare the concrete beyond leaning it and ensuring it is in good condition. They also generally come with a snap closure system for installation. But be warned, the seams are not watertight, so they can allow water to seep through from the top to the concrete layer underneath.
These rigid plastic tiles cost between $2.50-$4.25 per square foot, so they are not one of the cheapest options on the market, but they are one of the most versatile. These types of tiles generally come with a warranty of around 10 years.
If your garage doubles as a workshop and you spend a lot of time on your feet there, then hard floors such as concrete and rigid tiles can be hard on your joints. In these circumstances, flexible plastic tiles may be a better option.
They are very similar to rigid plastic tiles, except they have a flexible, rubbery finish that makes them soft underfoot. Coming in similar sizes and colors, the seals on these tiles are watertight. They are also less slippery than rigid plastic tiles, but they are also a little more difficult to clean.
Unlike rigid plastic tiles, flexible plastic tiles are more likely to expand with changes in temperature, so this needs to be considered when installing.
Another common option is large rubber mats, which are simply rolled out over the floor. They come in a wide variety of sizes and patterns, and you can either cover the whole garage or just selected areas.
These mats are durable but not as durable as other coverings. They can be burnt by hot tires, gouged by motorcycle stands, and get slippery when wet. They are more appropriate as a temporary solution than a long-term flooring option.
Interlocking carpet tiles, similar to interlocking plastic tiles, are also a popular covering option for those who want to bring a bit of warmth into the garage. While they aren’t appropriate for the most heavy duty garages where a lot of car maintenance or similar work takes place, they can stand up to normal to light garage traffic.
You can expect the under-tile to be made from something such as polypropylene and then covered with synthetic carpet. They come sizes similar to plastic tiles and use the same lock together system; however, there are also options with an adhesive back to give them some extra sticking power.
These tiles actually work well in garages with moisture, as they allow for air flow, while still inslating to keep the floor a little softer and warmer.
Flooring Options To Avoid
Reading through our list of recommendations, you might now be asking yourself, “what about…”? So, let’s quickly look at come flooring options you might think would look good in your garage but actually don’t work well.
While we can probably all agree that wood floors of all varieties from hardwood to laminate aren’t durable enough for the garage and that vinyl plank flooring is also too supple to be a good choice, what about porcelain or ceramic tiles?
While these tiles are very durable, they aren’t as tough as their plastic counterparts. They are much more likely to shatter and crack under the intense weight exerted by a tire jack or if something hard, like a tool, is dropped directly onto them.
Even the weight of a car might break a tile if they are not laid correctly, as any unevenness can leave a small edge of a tile bearing the full brunt of the weight of your car.
Porcelain and ceramic tiles can also become more fragile in colder temperatures or when exposed to extreme changes in temperature. This means if they are installed in your garage where they do not benefit from the same insulation as your home, they can be even more sensitive and prone to cracking.
Tiles can also be damaged by elements brought in from the outside, such as salt and deicer but also oil and grease. While these do not affect the tiles themselves, they can soak into the grout. Not only can this quickly discolor the grout, leaving your floor looking dowdy, but it can also undermine its structural integrity, allowing tiles to come loose, again making them more prone to damage.
How To Choose The Best Flooring For Your Garage
The first thing to consider is the condition of your floor. While any major or structural damage will need to be fixed first regardless of what flooring option you choose, what about small cracks or dips and rises that cause inconsistency in the level?
If you have a lot of cracks, you will probably be better off covering the floor than painting or sealing. If your floor is lumpy, this will be uncomfortable under rigid tiles, so you may be better off going to flexible plastic or carpet tiles.
What type of garage do you have? Is it just for parking your car and storage? Is it also a workshop? Do you do your own car repairs? Do other members of the family use the space for recreation?
This will dictate what type of floor is right for you. If you are doing your own oil changes, you will probably want to avoid paint or carpet, as those stains will be very hard to remove on a day-to-day basis. Do you spend a lot of time in the space on your feet? A softer floor will feel better on your knees.
Do you live in a place that is cold in winter and warm in summer, or are you one of the lucky few who enjoys moderate to warm temperatures all year round? Do you often put snow tires on your car and bring in salt and deicer?
If you live in colder climates with ice and snow, you might want to move rigid plastic tiles to the top of your list as they can put up with the pressure of your sow tiles, won’t be affected by salt, and don’t expand and contract with changes in temperature. If you live somewhere warmer, you have more options.
Cost, Installation, And Maintenance
While some of these garage flooring options are cheaper than others, they are all relatively affordable and also all pretty easy to install and maintain. While epoxy can be challenging, all of these floorings are a reasonable DIY project.
They are also all relatively easy to maintain. You can cover stains with epoxy or paint, and it is fairly simple to swap out any tiles when they get damaged. Carpet tiles will be harder to clean and maintain, but this is why they are only recommended for less busy garages.
Preparing Your Floor
Whatever option you go for, you will need to prepare your original concrete garage floor before installing. Preparation in all cases is pretty simple and starts with making sure the floor is in good condition.
Cracked and broken floors will continue to be cracked and broken under a new floor, and the situation can worsen out of your sight. Any serious structural issues need to be addressed before installing any kind of floor.
If you have doubts about the structural integrity of your slab, it is time to call a professional. Large cracks of more than ¼ inch and unevenness are the major signs to look out for.
You will also need to conduct a moisture vapor test on your concrete, as not all floorings are compatible with damp conditions. The simplest way to conduct this test is to attach a 16×16 inch plastic sheet to the floor with tape, ensuring the edges are airtight.
Leave for 24 hours, and then peel it up. If there is condensation on the plastic or black spots on the floor, moisture is coming up from underneath. In this case, you will need to avoid certain flooring options, such as epoxy.
If your concrete is in good condition, preparing it to receive a new floor is easy. Simply repair any minor cracks with matching material and sweep thoroughly. With paint and epoxy you may need to add a primer, but just follow the instructions that come with your selected product.
FAQs About Garage Floors
- What Is The Best Flooring For The Garage?
- How Much Does It Cost To Do A Garage Floor?
- What Is The Best Color For Garage Floors?
- What Is The Most Durable Garage Floor Coating?
What Is The Best Flooring For The Garage?
The best flooring for your garage floor depends on the condition of your floor, how you use the space, and your personal preference.
For the most durable options for garages that endure the most in terms of heavy loads and oil spills, consider an epoxy coating or rigid plastic tiles. If you also use your garage as an art space or recreational space, a softer, flexible plastic tile floor or even carpet tiles might be more comfortable.
How Much Does It Cost To Do A Garage Floor?
Depending on the type of flooring you choose, whether you DIY or employ the services of a professional, and how much preparation and repair your concrete slag requires, you can expect to spend between $750 and $5,000 to renovate a single car garage of about 150-square-feet.
What Is The Best Color For Garage Floors?
What color is best for your garage depends on you and your taste. Bear in mind that darker colors will do a better job of covering tire marks and other stains, while lighter floors will open up the space and make it appear larger.
What Is The Most Durable Garage Floor Coating?
Epoxy is the most durable garage floor coating and is generally five to eight times stronger than your concrete floor on its own. If you prefer to cover your floor rather than coat it, you can get a similar level of durability and strength by using rigid plastic tiles.
There are a lot of options out there for renovating your garage floor. Which is going to best for you depends on the condition or your floor, how you use the space, and your personal preference. But, whatever you choose, you are going to need something that can stand up to the vigors of day-to-day use.
If you are looking for the most durable garage flooring options, consider an epoxy coating or rigid plastic tiles. If you need something a bit softer underfoot, then think about flexible plastic tiles. If you want to make a statement with color, you will find no limit of options with concrete floor paint. If you actually like the concrete look, you might get away with just using a sealer.
Start your search by considering what you need, and then see which of our recommended options best fits the bill.
Have you renovated your garage and updated the floor? Please share your experiences with the community in the comments below or via social media.