Your garage is one of the ultimate multi purpose rooms in your home. With more than ten ways to use your garage, you might have some unique needs beyond the traditional unfinished concrete that comes standard in most homes.
Here’s everything you need to know about upgrading your garage flooring, including the most popular flooring types, how to install them, and the pros and cons of each.
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Garage Flooring Buying Guide
Depending on how you use the space in your garage, you may want to shop for conventional finishing options. These materials will be water and wear resistant, and appropriate to park your car on top of.
If you use your space unconventionally, such as for a home gym or man cave, you might want to explore some of the alternative options that will make the space more functional. Here is the rundown on the most popular options.
A. Most Common Garage Flooring
The three most common types garage flooring are tiles, rolls, and an epoxy coating. Let’s look at the details, pros, and cons of each.
Unlike ceramic tiles in the home, garage tiles are an option that’s extremely easy to install. One of the most popular do-it-yourself options, you can create intricate patterns or designs like a checkerboard look in your space.
If you want to be like Ralph Lauren, whose three garages are color coordinated to the cars and brands they house, garage tiles are a great way to achieve that look.
Typically made of a durable and moisture resistant material like polypropylene, PVC, garage tiles can stand up to traction, liquids, dirt, and the weight of a vehicle. They are also easy to maintain; you can hose them off or sweep them off without causing any damage to keep your space clean.
Garage floor tiles are usually installed in one of two ways. Some options are peel and stick, while the more expensive, and generally more durable choices, are tiles that snap together.
The tiles not only come in a variety of colors, from classics like black and silver to bold choices like orange and pink, but they also have different texture options. You can choose vented tiles if you want moisture to fall through to the concrete garage floor, or solid options with various types of texture and traction.
While high-quality garage tiles are built to be very durable, they are also easy to replace if they get damaged. An additional perk, if you find that a few tiles are stained or need to be replaced, you can simply change out those few squares. You won’t need to replace the entire surface.
Although there are lots of pros with garage tiles, there is one downside to consider, the price. Expect to pay between $2 and $6 per square foot for the tiles depending on the quality you choose.
These are one of the most expensive options for the space, but they are also one of the most versatile.
Source: Home Depot
Garage rolls are made of PVC and come in a large, rolled up to form similar to carpet. By far the easiest option to install, you simply roll them out into space and then cut them to fit the edges with a utility knife.
Some manufacturers also offer custom or pre-cut options so you could take measurements of your space and order specifically sized rolls to fit it correctly.
Like garage tiles, they come in a variety of color and pattern options. You can choose a traditional palate, or something bolder and from textures like coin and diamond.
The main difference is that your entire floor will be both one color and texture, and you won’t have any customization flexibility with a roll like you do with tiles.
Maintaining garage floor rolls is also easy. They are water resistant and will stand up to typical garage activities, so you can sweep or hose them off without damaging the surface.
A more affordable option than tiles, you’ll pay between $1.50 and $4 per square foot for garage floor rolls, and won’t need to worry about any additional installation costs. The higher the quality and thickness of the roll, or the more customized with sizes or colors, the more you’ll pay.
While this option is more affordable, there are a few potential drawbacks to consider. Should your floor get stained or damaged, it is not as simple to replace as a few tiles. Most homeowners either live with the damage or have to shell out the money to replace an entire roll of flooring.
Also, while the installation can take less than 30 minutes to complete, it might take longer for the rolls to settle completely. Think about when you unroll a sheet of wrapping paper or an area rug; sometimes the edges stay curled, or there are lumps or wavy portions until it gets a chance to settle.
Your garage rolls will be no different. It can take up to two weeks before they settle completely, so don’t start cutting until you’re sure they will fit your space.
Epoxy is a compound that, when applied to your garage floor, acts as a glue, paint, and sealant. This all in one solution is by far the most affordable option but isn’t without its limitations.
It comes in a can like paint, and there are many ways to customize the finish. You can choose from hundreds of color options, and add extras like flecks, a high-gloss finish, or texture to the sealant.
Some epoxy products have extra non-slip capabilities. This is a great addition to make your space safer if you work with liquids in your garage, or have children or others at risk of slipping and falling who live with you.
Epoxy is a highly affordable medium, and you can find high-quality options starting at as little as $0.50 per square foot. However, it also has one of the more complicated installation processes, and some homeowners prefer to hire a professional to ensure it’s done properly.
Before you apply an epoxy coating to your garage floor, you’ll need to sweep the space, pressure wash the floors, grind them to add texture and ensure they’re level, and possibly finish with an acid wash. These steps are necessary for both a beautiful and long lasting finish.
Additionally, while the epoxy surface is resistant to stains, chemicals, and moisture, it won’t last as long as garage rolls or floor tiles. Also, your epoxy floors are only as good as the subfloor they’re sitting on.
If your garage floor cracks, the epoxy will crack with it, and fixing the problem isn’t as simple as just reapplying. You’ll need to repair the subfloor crack, and then re-prep the floor to apply the epoxy coating just like you did the first time.
There are lots of customization options with epoxy, it’s essentially a paint after all, but be cautious before attempting to create any custom art on your garage floor. For the most level application, it’s best to stick with just one color and pattern, especially if you’re doing it yourself.
B. Alternative Garage Flooring Options
Nowadays, not everyone uses their garage in a traditional sense. If you’ve renovated the space into living quarters, a home gym, or another extension of your home, you’re likely searching for an option that fits the space.
Here are a few specialty suggestions that can match the style of the flooring with how you use the room.
Source: Garage Flooring Inc
If you’ve transformed your garage into a home gym, you’ll need to choose a medium that protects your concrete subfloor, and that is functional in the space. Rubber flooring is the best choice anywhere you’ll be moving weights around, and you can still park your car on top of it too.
Rubber is easy to install. It comes in either tile or roll form, and you can use it on the floors in your entire garage space or just on a section, depending on your needs.
It’s also simple to clean. You can sweep or vacuum it, and then mop it with a gentle cleaning solution. It’s important to note, however, that rubber and oil don’t mix.
Unless you purchase vulcanized rubber, you might be at risk of your floors breaking down if they encounter oil from your car. This will affect both the longevity and durability of your floors over time.
Despite the potential complications with oil, overall rubber floors are extremely durable. They last up to 10 years, and many manufacturers will include a warranty that guards against excessive wear and tear in your garage gym.
Rubbing is shock absorbent. You can choose from a variety of thicknesses to best protect your subfloor.
Rubber is also naturally anti-microbial which will keep mold, fungi, and mildew out of your space. This is especially important if you live in a hot or humid environment.
Another benefit of rubber in a garage gym is the sound dampening capabilities of the material. It will not only absorb the noise when you drop a barbell but can also cut down on how far the sound carries if you work with power tools or listen to loud music in your garage. Your neighbors and family will thank you.
Price-wise, rubber is a mid-level option. You can find discount recycled products for around $1 per square foot, or you could pay up to $4 per square foot for designer options in custom colors and thicknesses.
Although the floors are simple to install, one potential drawback is the weight of the material. Rubber is a dense and heavy material, so you’ll need to be prepared to move between one and three pounds for every square foot you’re working with.
If you purchase rubber rolls, that may mean that your installation is a two or more person job as they could weigh 100 pounds or more depending on their size. If you’re installing the rubber on your own, opt for tiles for a more manageable job.
2. Carpet Tiles
If you use your garage as an extension of your living space, such as for a man cave, a playroom for your kids, or an additional bedroom, carpet squares are a great option to give it a homey and comfortable feel.
You won’t be able to park your car on garage carpet tiles, so only explore this option if your space is used recreationally.
Carpet tiles are durable and wear extremely well. You can apply protective sealants to guard against stains and spills to keep them looking new even longer.
Just like regular carpet, the tiles are easy to maintain. You’ll need to vacuum them regularly to keep them clean, and plan to shampoo and deep clean the surface once every five years or so depending on how much traction they get.
Just like the floor tiles, carpet tiles are simple to switch out if you ever stain or damage one. This makes them appealing in a scenario like a man cave where it’s possible that someone might spill a beer or drop a slice of pizza during a nerve-wracking touchdown pass or victory celebration.
Carpet tiles come in a wide array of colors and patterns. You can create a custom look, a checkerboard pattern, or even decorate in your team colors, logo, or mascot.
They also add an element of softness or hominess to a room. Although carpet tiles usually have a thin layer of padding built in, you won’t install them over a carpet pad so that they won’t be quite as plush as indoor carpeting.
Carpet tiles do have a few notable limitations, especially in a garage space. We know we’ve already mentioned it, but it’s worth repeating, you absolutely can’t park your car on top of them.
Also, they aren’t a good choice if you don’t have a humidity and climate controlled garage and live in a damp environment. Carpet is inherently water sensitive, so they could mold or mildew if the tiles are exposed to moisture.
This means that if you store things like boating or fishing equipment in the space, carpet tiles might not be the best choice.
Additionally, you may need to pay a professional to install your carpet tiles. Some options are easy for do it yourselves, but others require more expertise. Installation could add $1 or more per square foot to your overall cost.
Source: Home Depot
Vinyl tiles and sheets are popular inside the home and are also a good option for an updated garage. An incredibly resilient type, they offer a slightly cushioned feel with the high-gloss look you get from epoxy.
Vinyl is made by attaching a top layer in a variety of colors and patterns to a felt or foam backing which gives it that slightly squishy feel underfoot. The top layer is treated to be stain and scratch resistant, making it a good choice for a garage space.
If you choose vinyl, you’ll clean and maintain them just like you would indoors. You can vacuum and mop your floors with a gentle cleanser to keep them looking pristine.
Most vinyl will last 10 to 15 years depending on the quality you choose.
This affordable option is between $1 and $5 per square foot. You will probably want to pay for someone to install them professionally to avoid any rippling or bubbling, and that’s usually an additional $1 to $2 per square foot.
B. Flooring Considerations
Now that we’ve reviewed all the different types of garage flooring available we want to point out a few special considerations that may help you to narrow down your options.
Do you use your garage conventionally for things like storage and a place to park your car, or will you be using the space for something more specific?
Take the time to think about how you will make the most of the space. There are several options to fit any budget for a traditional garage, but if you want to make your garage an extension of your home, you’ll want to explore alternative options.
Be sure to choose an option that is durable, easy to clean and maintain, and that fits with the purpose of the room.
As we mentioned above, some types are not suitable for certain uses. For example, if you plan to park your car in the garage, don’t bother researching carpet tiles as an option.
We will discuss specific installation considerations below, but installation considerations can help you make your decision on which material is right for you.
If you plan on doing the project yourself, some options are far easier to manage than others. Some people would rather invest their entire budget into the materials to get a higher quality item and not pay a professional to install it.
Be sure to factor in the amount of work required, as well as your level of comfort and expertise with the project when you’re narrowing down your selection.
If you’re thinking about upgrading your garage flooring, chances are good part of that decision is based on the way it looks. By improving the surface you will not only create a more functional space, but will make it better looking as well.
Choose a flooring that matches the overall look you’re hoping to achieve in your garage. If functional and utilitarian is your style, a traditional flooring roll in a charcoal diamond pattern may be your best bet.
You can also choose bright and bold colors, create a checkerboard pattern, or even turn your garage floor into a mini piece of artwork if it matches your design scheme.
When it comes to style, the sky is the limit with the plethora of options available.
Source: Garage Flooring Inc
As with any home improvement project, it’s possible to spend a little or a lot on your garage floor renovation. One of the easiest ways to whittle down your plethora of choices first to set a budget for your project.
Take into account what you’re willing to pay for the entire project, and then use that number to determine what you can afford per square foot for the material. If you’re leaning towards an option that would require professional installation, be sure to calculate in those costs as well.
Consider both the initial cost of the project and then the price of maintaining the new floors. Some options will allow you to easily and inexpensively replace them if they’re damaged, while others could cost you more down the road.
From there, you can examine choices that fit your cost per square foot and find the option that gets you the biggest bang for your buck.
II. More Details
There are a few additional factors to keep in mind when you’re doing your research about your options. Here are ones you should know about.
A. Installation Considerations
While many of the flooring types have a similar installation method, they are not all the same. Some require more work than others, and if you’re planning to do the project yourself it’s important to take these into account.
Epoxy is, by far, the most difficult and time-consuming medium when it comes to installation. You’ll first need to clean, wash, and treat your floors to get them ready for the coating.
This Youtube video outlines the process in more detail.
While you can do this project yourself, a professional contractor who guarantees their work might be a better choice to make sure it’s done perfectly.
2. Grid Lock Tiles
Tiles are one garage flooring option that makes for an easy to it yourself project. Many options lock together seamlessly and can be installed by one person in less than a day.
3. Roll Out Flooring
The easiest installation of them all, roll out floor mats go down in as little as 20 minutes. The key is giving them time to settle before trimming them to fit the space.
B. Sound and Temperature Control
Source: Garage Flooring Inc
Certain flooring types will provide more insulation against sound and temperatures than others. For example, an epoxy coating won’t give you much sound dampening and will feel just like concrete under bare feet, so it might not be a good choice if you plan to use the space as a children’s play room.
Consider who will most frequently use your garage and how it will be used, and then look for flooring that compliments those uses. If you need to muffle sound and insulate heat, choices like rubber and carpet might be a good fit.
Your garage floor has the potential to be one of the most abused surfaces in your home. Cars are heavy, dropped weights or barbells could create cracks in your subfloor.
By upgrading, you’re protecting your home. Once you spend the money to make this change, you’ll want to maintain your floors.
Each option has different maintenance needs, but most of them are simple and can be added to a weekly chore schedule. Make sure to work them in to keep the surface beautiful and make it last as long as possible.
III. Where to Buy Garage Flooring Online
You can purchase all the options we discuss above from a variety of online retailers. Here are a few that we like because of the wide array of options and their competitive pricing.