Garage Flooring Options – How to Identify the Best Solution for You?
Here at RubberFlooringInc.com, one of the most common questions we are asked by our customers is “What kind of garage flooring do I need?” To best answer that question, we usually try to identify what kind of appearance, features, and price range each customer is looking for when it comes to their individual ideal garage floor covering. In this blog post, we will explain the most popular garage flooring options available today, explain each solution’s strengths and weaknesses, and give a general price range for each option. Our goal is for this post to be a quick and easy to use guide to help identify what garage floor solution would be best for you.
Garage Floor Tiles
Garage floor tiles are the most popular garage flooring purchased today by the do-it-yourself homeowner. Tiles are one of the easiest floor coverings to install and typically interlock or have a peel and stick backing. Garage tiles can be made of a durable polypropylene (basically a really strong high density plastic composite), a flexible PVC material (people like this because it feels like rubber underfoot and is quiet and has some cushion to it), or peel and stick vinyl tiles. Tiles are also a favorite of people who want a custom look since numerous colors can be combined in order to create custom patterns such as a checker board pattern, a floor with a border, and more. Tiles also have the largest variety of color options available and even have numerous surface patterns available. Coin pattern, diamond pattern, and a vented tile patterns are the favorites of most people however slate pattern and numerous other textured patterns are also available. Garage tiles, like all garage floor coverings, are designed to be chemical and stain resistant. However, should a tile become damaged in any way, they also offer the benefit of being able to be popped out and replaced.
So what is the down side to tiles? Price!!! Modular garage floor tiles have the widest price range of all the garage flooring solutions and can be the most expensive option. We have seen tiles as low as $1.98 / square foot all the way up to nearly $6.00 / square foot. Like anything, you get what you pay for. The more expensive the tile, usually the more expensive the material is. Some tiles are thicker than others, some are made of PVC which is more expensive than vinyl or polypropylene, and some have a more durable build to them.
Roll Out Vinyl / PVC Garage Flooring
Roll out vinyl or PVC flooring is the second most popular garage floor solution for the DIY homeowner. Rolled vinyl flooring a.k.a. PVC flooring (they are one in the same and when someone refers to vinyl flooring, it is always made of PVC for reference) is perhaps the easiest to install garage flooring. All you have to do is roll them out and make any necessary cuts with a utility knife. Tiles on the other hand may require a saw if you purchase a plastic tile. Vinyl garage rolls are available in numerous surface patterns such as coin pattern, diamond plate pattern and more. Numerous colors are also available. Maintenance of vinyl flooring is also very easy. The homeowner only needs to sweep or hose off the flooring as needed. Vinyl garage rolls are also one of the lowest cost garage flooring options. Prices typically range from $1.50 – $4.00 / square foot. The cost difference between the least expensive versions to the most expensive versions are due to a variety of reasons. The main causes are the thickness or grade of the vinyl, the color (some colors can cost more to make than others), and whether you are purchasing a custom sized roll to better fit your garage or a pre-cut generic sized roll.
There are a few downsides to roll out vinyl garage flooring. The first is that there really is no way to make a custom design. You will always end up with a single pattern (coin, diamond, etc.) and a single color floor surface. The second down side is that even though PVC is chemical and stain resistant, what do you do if the roll does get damaged? The answer usually is live with it or buy a replacement since you can’t just pop out and replace a tile. The third weakness in garage flooring rolls is that they don’t really look their best for 1-2 weeks. When rolls are shipped, it is not uncommon for flat spots to develop in the rolls. When this happens, customers roll out their new vinyl garage flooring and see waves in the flooring that don’t seem to go away. It usually takes 1-2 weeks for the vinyl to then settle and for the waves to disappear. Tiles on the other hand, look great right away which allows you to brag about your new flooring immediately. And yes, we brag too so don’t be shy about showing off your new garage flooring ;)
Garage floor coatings are the last major kind of garage floor covering. There are three major kinds of coating: Epoxy, Latex Paint, and Polyurea. Of these three solutions, only one is really recommended for the do it your-self home owner and that is latex paint over a brand new slab of cured concrete. Epoxy and polyurea also offer an excellent floor covering option however they usually should only be installed by a professional. The reason for this is that garage floor coatings require the concrete sub floor surface to be diligently prepared. This usually involves, sweeping off the floor, pressure washing the floor, diamond grinding the floor, and then acid washing the floor. That sounds a little difficult doesn’t it? Well it is. Once this is done, all the cracks in the floor should be repaired to ensure a smooth even floor surface. From there the latex paint can be painted on with a roller. The polyurea and epoxy solution require the installer to pour out a 1-2 mm base coat of coating. From there, color chips can be added for more splashes of color. Then after a day of curing, another clear coat of epoxy or polyurea should be added. Then after another day or two of curing, the flooring can be driven on. Even after all that is done, garage floor coatings are the one and only garage floor covering that will crack if your concrete sub floor cracks, which is likely over time. If that happens, you either live with it or call out a professional once again to patch the floor.
So what is the good news when it comes to a coating? Simple: Low Price!!! Cheap 1 car garage kits are available from hardware stores for $80-100 ($0.33 / sf). Commercial grade 2 car garage kits cost upwards of $400 ($0.83 / sf). If you have a spare weekends worth of time, have a limited budget, and are a very resourceful do-it-yourself-er, this might be the best solution for you. This is the garage flooring solution that is most likely to fail however and that is why we decided not to carry a garage floor coatings ourselves since our focus is on selling products the average Dad, Mom, or even teenager could install.
Well we hope that explains some of the basics about the different types of garage flooring options available today. If we did miss any important points or if you would like to contribute to this article, please leave a comment below. Thanks for reading and good luck picking out your garage flooring.