If you’re looking to add a little style and color to your garage, one of the best places to start is with the floor. Standard concrete garage floors are functional, but, with a little extra effort, they can also be attractive and even comfortable.
One of the problems, though, is that there are actually quite a number of options for sprucing up a garage floor, and most homeowners have trouble deciding which way to go. The way to start thinking about a new garage floor is to divide the choices into two primary categories: coatings and coverings.
Coatings are applied with a roller or brush and adhere directly to the floor. Paint and epoxy are the chief products in this category.
Garage Floor Coatings
Garage floor coatings comprise two different types of products, paint, and epoxy. Although it is easy to confuse the two, as both are applied with rollers and brushes, they are actually quite different from a chemical and performance standpoint.
If your garage floor is stained with oil, grease, and rust, you can easily give it new life with some garage floor paint. Latex paint intended for use on concrete floors is relatively inexpensive and easy to apply.
The standard for a tough, good-looking surface on the garage floor is garage floor epoxy. Although it is common to hear people refer to “epoxy paint,” in reality epoxy and paint are different products, with different chemical compositions. Preparation and application are a bit more complex than is the case with paint.
Before you start on a garage floor epoxy job, however, you need to decide which style of epoxy to choose from.
Made from heavy-duty vinyl or rubber, these colorful squares snap together to provide stability rather than sticking directly to the garage floor.
They’re great for hiding cracks in a concrete floor, although they’ll work best when the floor is level. As with peel-and-stick tiles, you can combine several different colors to create unique patterns and borders.
Garage Floor Coverings
There is nothing stopping you from throwing any kind of carpet or other covering on top of your garage floor, but if you want a surface that can stand up to the rigors of routine garage life, a product manufactured specifically for garage floors is necessary.
There are three basic types of garage floor tiles – rigid plastic tiles, flexible rubber and plastic tiles, and wood composite tiles.
There is no easier way to cover your garage floor than by rolling out a mat. Garage floor mats come in a variety of styles, colors, and materials.
Roll-Out Vinyl Flooring
Without a doubt, roll-out flooring is the best garage flooring ideas. Not only is it easy to install, but it hides a multitude of sins). It works just as the name suggests: You simply unroll it on your garage floor, cut off the excess, and your work is done!
Although easy to install, it isn’t as easy to repair as tile flooring, which allows for cutting out and replacing damaged sections. It also doesn’t lend itself to the creation of custom patterns.
garage floor tiles
Garage Floor Repairs and Preparation
Garage floor coatings and coverings shouldn’t be viewed as a means of putting damaged slabs in an “out of sight, out of mind” condition.
Oil and grease stains make any garage floor unsightly and messy, but they can also cause problems with paint and epoxy finishes.
Finally, those garage floor coatings and coverings will not eliminate moisture problems, nor will paints and epoxies last long on concrete that is too wet.
If you have a level garage floor without severe cracks or height imbalances, you can cover the surface with peel-and-stick tiles.
Typically made from heavy-duty vinyl, these tiles are easy to cut and quick to install, and because they’re tiles, you can make custom patterns by combining different colors. Be sure to clean the floor thoroughly and let it dry before laying down your tiles.
garage floor coating
Garage Floor Insulation
If you are converting your garage into a living space, or even if you just want to make your garage more comfortable in cold and hot weather, you should consider insulating the concrete slab.
For a garage conversion, preparing the floor involves more than simply adding some insulation and installing a finish floor surface. If you plan to remove the garage door, you will also need to fill in the opening this step creates.
Garage Floor Paint
While most garage flooring ideas require special installations and equipment, this chore is simple enough to execute using supplies you probably already have on hand.
Painting a garage floor is an extremely inexpensive way to improve its look, although the task is labor intensive. Before beginning, be sure to repair any cracks with concrete filler and clean the floor thoroughly. Then prime and paint using materials designed specifically for covering floors.
Paint is the least durable of all garage flooring options, and you may need to repeat the process in approximately three years.
garage floor epoxy paint
Carpet Garage Floor
Carpeting your garage floor might seem like a crazy idea, but there’s a product called TuffCarpet that’s specifically designed to hold up to the rigors of life in this multipurpose room.
It can be power-washed and resists staining from petroleum products, so even if your car leaks oil, you should be able to just wipe the surface clean. The carpet is installed as a series of peel-and-stick square tiles, so it’s super easy to install and it allows the flexibility to create eye-catching patterns.
garage floor paint epoxy
Garage Floor Epoxy
Just like painting with latex, applying epoxy—a type of paint containing a built-in hardener—requires that you patch, clean, and etch the floor if necessary.
Then you blend your epoxy paint and hardener, and apply it to the garage floor—quickly, because the mix is viable for only two hours. Scatter color chips across the floor’s surface and seal with a clear coat to create a durable, long-lasting floor that resists oil stains and wipes clean easily.
garage floor covering
If your budget is tight, your garage flooring options are limited. Luckily for those with concrete garage floors, simply sealing your floor might be enough.
The slight sheen that sealing can add to a plain gray concrete floor will make it look more attractive, and the sealer will ward off stains, ensuring that the floor keeps looking fresh.
Opt for a solvent-based sealer, which can create a wet look and offer exceptional floor protection, or a water-based sealer that might not last as long but is less harsh to breathe in.
garage floor sealing
Unlike epoxy and paint, concrete stain can be applied in a thin coat that lets the old floor show through. This is one of the cheapest and easiest garage flooring options if your concrete is in good shape; you can wind up with an attractive watercolor or natural stone look.
It’s not so great if your floor is spotted and splattered, because those imperfections will show through. Stain tends to last longer than paint, because it actually becomes part of the concrete, so it doesn’t chip off as easily.