Traditionally, most garage floors are made of concrete. And this is a suitable material for most people. But the main problem with a plain concrete finish is that over time it can accrue stains or worse – cracking.
Fortunately, there are a few different options available for keeping your garage floor clean and aesthetically pleasing to look at.
In short, there are 2 options – coatings and coverings. Let’s take a look at both.
Garage Floor Coatings
Coatings are usually the most affordable option for protecting your garage floor. They can help keep your floor safe from chemical, oil spills, and more. However, there are some downsides to coatings.
In general, you can’t apply coating to damp concrete. So, if there’s a lot moisture under your garage floor, you likely won’t be able to use a coating. It also requires proper preparation. If you apply the coating incorrectly, it’ll quickly wear out.
Finally, you’ll need to repair any cracks or damage in the floor before applying coating. So if your floor is new or you’ve just built your house, applying a layer of coating right away is a good idea. There are 4 types of garage floor coatings:
- Latex Paint
- Epoxy Paint
- Concrete Staining
- Concrete Sealing
Latex paint is very similar to what you would paint your home’s wall with but it’s much tougher. It’s a simple, affordable, and very forgiving option if you just want to quickly apply a coating to the floor yourself. You’ll need a long roller but you can apply latex paint without any primer and you can use multiple coatings as well as reapply as needed.
However, note that while it will provide some protection, it can get damaged by chemicals.
Epoxy paint is difficult to work with and can be considerably more expensive than latex paint. However, it’s extremely tough and can give you a durable floor coating for as long as 5 years or more. Epoxy paint will give your floor a very shiny, glossy-like appearance.
Concrete staining is more of a decorative option. When you stain the concrete, it’ll make your garage floor look like marbled stone. However, because it does not offer any type of protection, you’ll need to apply another coating and sealant to protect the stained concrete. Concrete staining alone can cost 2 or 3 times as much as regular paint and that does not include the cost of the sealant protective coating you’ll need to apply afterwards. If you can afford it, stained concrete can look incredible.
Concrete sealers are simply an extra layer of coating that gives your floor a glossy-like appearance. They can be applied on top of paint or used with concrete staining.
Garage Floor Coverings
Unlike garage floor coatings, a covering can be applied quickly and without much preparation. You’ll need to clean the floor first but otherwise you can cover your entire garage floor within a few hours or less. Another advantage of a covering is that they can be used over top of a damage or cracked garage floor. With coatings, you’ll need to repair the damage first. This makes coverings a good option for homeowners who have damage concrete in their garage.
The only major downside of coverings is the cost. On average, a covering can easily cost as much as 10 times what a coating would.
Covering comes in two varieties: mats and tiles.
Mats are usually made of a hard plastic or rubbery material and can be simply rolled out to cover the floor, after it’s been cleaned. Just be sure to measure your garage floor before purchasing a mat. Excess size can be trimmed off with a razor blade.
Tiles are slightly more work than regular garage mats, but most come in an interlocking design that makes installation a breeze. Tiles offer slightly better liquid protection and generally more slip resistance than mats, but both are great options.