Concrete is standard in many garages. However it is easily stained, a
pain in the butt to clean, and can even crack making it look worn and
old. Protecting the concrete floor can be easy and even stylish. There
are several garage floor options and choosing the one that meets your
needs can be easy to do. There are several things to keep in mind!
One of the biggest reasons people choose the garage flooring option they do is because that is all their budget can handle. You need to sit down and figure out how much you can afford to spend on the garage flooring and then go from there. This will determine the products that you can afford to look at.
The least expensive option for your garage floors are paints. These offer protection from stains, chemicals, cracking, and some protection against scratching. No matter which paint option you choose it will take some time to put down, dry, and cure before you can use your garage. Paints can also be damaged and have to be repainted every few years or so.
- Latex paint-
The very least expensive option is latex paint. Several companies are
offering latex paints for concrete. Make sure you read the can and that
it can be used on your concrete garage floor. These paints come in a
variety of colors, offer protection, and are easier to clean. However,
they can be damaged, have to be repainted every 2 to 3 years, and need
a lot of prep work in order to provide good coverage. They also need
about 72 hours before the garage can be used.
- Epoxy paint-
These paints are actually paint mixed with epoxy. The adhere better to
concrete then latex options and are more durable and chemical
resistant. However, applying them isn't always easy. Sometimes the
paint will bubble, streak, or develop a white or gray colored film.
When these things happen the paint needs to dry and then be sanded,
washed, and repainted. Epoxy paints do come in a wide variety of colors
and are usually easy to apply. They take 3 to 5 days to cure and need
to be repainted every 3 to 5 years.
While polyurethane isn't an option on its own because it won't adhere
well to the concrete, it is a great option to put over epoxy paint or
primer. It is clear and the color of the paint or primer beneath it is
going to choose its color. It is more resistant to damage, lasts longer
then the paint alone, and provides a high gloss floor. If you top your
epoxy paint with polyurethane you will extend the life of your epoxy
floor; it will only need to be painted every 4 to 8 years rather then 3
to 5. It can be very slippery when wet and will significantly raise the
price of your epoxy floor.
You can actually finish your garage floor by using concrete stains. These provide a lot of varied, deep, and beautiful color tones and can be used to make the floor look like rich leather or stone. They are absolutely beautiful. Once the floor is stained it needs to be coated with an acrylic seal. This provides a finish that is resistant to cracks and stains, but isn't damage proof. Many owners mention that scratching is easy to do when you move furniture or tools across the floor. Additionally it as to be waxed once a year and resealed every 5 to 6 years. While beautiful this is going to be a medium cost it will also be the option with the most maintenance.
There are also several options for floor mats. Floor mats are a roll out option, aren't permanent, come in a wide variety of colors and texture options, and are fairly easy to put down. Many people complain about how hard they are to get to go around built in features such as a work bench and also how hard it is to put them in odd shaped garages. You have to buy the mats and lay them next each other if you desire to cover the entire floor. They are very resistant to stains, chemicals, and fairly resistant to damage. However when they do become damaged they are hard to repair and often the entire mat has to be replaced. Most common are PVC mats or roll out polyvinyl in large sizes (7.5' by 17' or 9' by 20').
The most expensive option available is garage tiles. Garage tiles offer a lot of advantages. First they come in a wide range of sizes, colors, textures, and can be used to create awesome patterns on the floor. They are made of a durable plastic that are snapped together. They are the most resistant option to damage and if a tile does get damaged you can replace a single tile and not the whole thing. They aren't damaged by chemicals and are stain resistant. Additionally they are very easy to clean, you just hose them down and let them dry. This isn't a permanent option so you can take the tiles with you when you move (should you decide to). It is also a non-skid surface so when it is wet you don't have to worry about slipping on it. Installation is a snap (literally and figuratively). You can move everything in the garage to one side, lay down your tiles, and then move everything to the finished side so you can finish the other side. You can then drive on it immediately. It is also easier to work with built in workbenches and odd shapes then it is with floor mats. While this is the most expensive of the garage flooring options it is for a reason.
Another fantastic thing about the garage tiles are the colors and textures. You can come up with fantastic designs. Mix and match colors and textures. Create a pattern, add fancy boarders, or even include your initials if you desire. The options are only limited by your imagination.
To choose the flooring option that will work best for you, you will need to consider your budget first. Then you will want to figure out how much maintenance you want to do, how much time you have to completely the project, and the best option for how much wear and tear you are likely to put your garage floor through. Then go with your gut and have fun choosing your colors!