Flooring for Your Garage
by Ron Geraci
What kind of flooring should I have in my garage?
That depends on how you use it. Is your garage primarily a spot for your car, or a workshop? Or is it a storage room and play area for the kids? Maybe it's a multi-functional space. If so, you might want different flooring in separate areas.
Here are some excellent garage flooring choices for each use.
If your garage is mainly a stable for your iron steed, your best garage flooring options are hard tiles or an epoxy coating over the concrete.
Hard tiles offer a lot of advantages; they come in a great variety of designs, the squares (often a rigid PVC, polypropylene or laminate) interlock or use adhesive for easy DIY installation, and they're specially made to withstand jacks, heavy vehicles and stains while lasting for at least 10 years with occasional spot replacements. The downside is price; they can run from $2 to $5 each, putting a typical two-car garage at $600 to $1,200.
Epoxy, with a polyurethane surface coat, will be the most durable garage floor choice if your garage sees a lot of car traffic or heavy-machinery storage. It'll give you a tough, attractive, easy-to-clean surface for less than $300, and it should last for 15 years with some upkeep work every few years. Two-part epoxy that you mix together before application is generally superior to the all-in-one products. Unfortunately, you'll face a much bigger project than required for tiles -- the floor must be perfectly prepped, which may include an acid wash. However, even a moderately-skilled DIYer should be able to do the job in a couple of weekends.
Need a quick, cheap job that still looks professional (say, for a lightly-used garage)? Consider garage floor paint. The prep work is easier than it is for epoxy and you can get a good-looking finish for less than $200. However, paint is not nearly as durable as epoxy or tiles; plan on a redo after five years.
If you use your garage mostly as a shop, gym or play zone, a hard floor will be unfriendly to feet, knees and dropped tools over many hours. Flexible garage floor tiles or mats made of softer PVC or rubber will be easier on your dogs. They offer the same ease-of-installation and design variety as their more rigid brethren -- along with the high costs.
Need a hard surface for your car along with a section of foot-saving terrain?
A soft garage mat or floor runner will provide padding only where it's needed. Similarly, if you only occasionally have a car in your garage, you can put a removable protective mat down on any kind of floor to protect it from tire wear and fluid spills.
Other garage flooring options range from simply sealing your concrete to spreading roll-out flooring to (if you're a rapper/actor) laying porcelain tiles. There are even cool lighted mats to help you do that valve job -- or give your man cave a futuristic touch.
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