Some garages house a large toolbox or two, a car – if it fits, a few bikes and a rake along with some other miscellaneous “stuff”. Other garages look more like the man cave they were originally intended to be since the advent of the garage. The inventor of the garage wanted men and maybe some women to have a place to hang out, “work”, admire their tools and keep the place clean enough to rival a hospital all while impressing their friends and neighbors. Many garage-floors are made of concrete, while concrete is tough, durable and long lasting – it just doesn’t wow enough to leave it as it is. Adding vinyl-tile will make your friends and neighbors drool and their eyes will turn green with envy.
You have quite a few choices when it comes to adding a commercial grade vinyl-tile to the garage-floor depending on your style and tastes. Tile comes in a variety of styles, sizes, colors and finishes that allow you to turn the garage into a 1950’s throwback space or an ultra modern, futuristic space or maybe even a cabin-like setting. Installing commercial grade vinyl-tile over a concrete garage-floor offers the garage dweller choices ranging from simulated stone to a high gloss ceramic.
A handy do it yourself type homeowner, who loves his garage more than his house can complete this project in a few days.
Preparing the Concrete garage-floor for a Change
Remove everything from the garage to expose the entire floor.
Sweep all dust, dirt and debris off the concrete surface with a stiff broom.
Check the garage-floor for cracks, holes, chipping or flaking concrete. Repair the concrete surface damage and allow repairs time to dry. Look for high spots and depressions, fill in the low spots and grind down the high spots.
Look at the expansion joints between the concrete slabs to determine if they require repairs. If the expansion joints are rotting, missing or lifting, make repairs to the expansion joints prior to adding vinyl-tile to the garage-floor.
The garage-floor has to be flat and even because variation in height will cause the vinyl-tile to crack.
Choosing the Tile for the garage-floor
Find a commercial grade vinyl-tile seller.
Look for vinyl-tiles with a slip resistant finish. In case you actually do work in your garage rather than bask in its glory, spilled oil or grease presents a hazardous condition where you can get hurt if the vinyl-tiles don’t have a rough texture on the surface. You can still choose a bright and shiny red tile, the finishes are not noticeable.
If you find the tile you want, but the finish isn’t appropriate for a garage-floor, get the tile anyway. You can paint a coat of clear sand paint over the surface to create the slip resistant finish.
Laying Ceramic Tile Over a Concrete Floor
Measure the garage from side to side and write the down measurements. On the garage-floor itself, mark the halfway points along the walls with chalk. Measure the garage from end to end on each end and write the down measurements. Mark the halfway points on the garage-floor.
Pull a chalk line from the center mark on the side of the garage-floor to the center mark on the opposite side of the garage-floor and snap the chalk line.
Pull a chalk line for the center mark at the end to the center mark at the opposite end and snap the chalk line.
You will now have four big squares on the garage-floor.
Add dry mortar mix to a bucket and add water according to the mortar manufacturer’s directions. Mix the mortar by hand or with a paddle mixer installed in a power drill.
Lightly mist the garage-floor with water from a garden hose to cover the entire concrete surface. If you don’t wet the concrete, the existing concrete will pull the moisture out of the mortar and the vinyl-tiles will not form a secure bond with the concrete. The mortar will crumble. The chalk lines may fade, but do not wet the floor enough to wash them away.
Put on a pair of kneepads.
Scoop up mortar with a trowel and spread a very thin layer over a small 2 by 2 foot manageable section.
Spread a ½ inch coat of mortar on top of the wet mortar up to the chalk lines. The chalk lines are going to be somewhat blurred at this point, but the center doesn’t have to be exactly perfect, just close.
Turn the trowel on its side where the notches are and drag it through the wet mortar to crete wavy lines.
Scoop up more mortar with the trowel and apply a layer to the back of the vinyl-tile, which is commonly referred to as buttering the vinyl-tile.
Place the first tile at the point in which the lines intersect and push it into the mortar.
Many commercial grade tiles may have their own spacers attached. Attached spacers look like a lip at the edges of the vinyl-tile. If the vinyl-tiles don’t have the lip, put a spacer at the corner of the vinyl-tile.
Butter the back of the next tile and press it into the mortar to the left or right of the first tile and put a spacer at the corners. Continue to butter the vinyl-tiles and set them above, below, left and right to create an expanding pattern.
After three to four tiles have been placed, lay a level across the tiles. If the bubble in the level is out of level, place a piece of wood on top of the tiles that are not level and gently tap the wood above tile with a wooden mallet to sink the tile into the mortar.
Continue to spread mortar, lay the tiles and check levelness tile in 2 by 2 foot sections until garage-floor is covered with tiles.
Wait until you reach the edges of the floor or encounter obstacles to make cuts to the tile. Use a wet saw, tile cutter or nippers to make cuts.
Let the tile set overnight.
In the morning remove the spacers.
Mix grout with water and spread the grout over the tiles with a grout float, pressing the grout into the gaps between the tiles.
Wet a natural sponge and wipe down the tiles to remove excess grout from the face of the tiles. Rinse the sponge frequently.
Let the grout set for 72 hours.
Apply sealer to the grout to keep it from staining.