Which Garage Flooring is Right for You?

From plain concrete to specialty tiles, the right garage flooring lays the foundation for a well-designed space.
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At HGTV Smart Home 2013, the garage boasts cement floors, protected under a layer of glossy marine sealant, and a unique pulley system that hoists surfboards and small marine craft into the space?s vaulted ceiling area.

Photo by: Eric Perry

Eric Perry

At HGTV Smart Home 2013, the garage boasts cement floors, protected under a layer of glossy marine sealant, and a unique pulley system that hoists surfboards and small marine craft into the space?s vaulted ceiling area.

By: Karen M. Alley

Let’s face it: Floors suffer the most wear and tear of any part of the house, and garage floors take the brunt of the traffic. Tire debris, oil leaks, bicycles, and sports equipment getting tossed around can lead to a pretty beat up surface. Luckily, there are easy ways to brighten up your garage floor and get it looking new again.

Pour a New Floor

Most garage floors are just simple concrete slabs. If you have at least two inches of room, you can simply pour a new slab on top. "If your garage is mostly used to park cars, have the floor poured with a slight slope so water from the tires will run out," says David Church of Church’s Concrete in Glade Valley, N.C. "If you’re using it as more of a workshop, go ahead and pour a level floor, but put a drain in it for easy cleanup."

It’s best to have a professional pour your floor to ensure that the slab won’t crack. For those on a tight budget, stick to plain concrete. But if you have a little extra money, stamped concrete adds a decorative touch. Brick or stone stamps can turn a concrete slab into a work of art.

Cover it Up

There are a lot of ways to jazz up your existing garage floor without pouring a new one. Just be sure that before you put anything on top, you carefully clean and prepare the area, fixing any cracks and smoothing out bumps. Also, if your concrete has been sealed, you’ll have to strip it before installing any sort of covering — otherwise the adhesive won’t stick. Try these options:

Epoxy coatings: These roll on like paint, making it relatively easy for a do-it-yourself project. They comes in a wide variety of colors, with flecks that add a sense of texture. Epoxy coatings are resistant to stains; oil and water bead up on them, and they’re easy to clean with a swipe of a cloth.

Rubber mats: A little more expensive than epoxy but not as pricey as tiles, rubber mats are a durable and relatively easy way to protect your garage floors. Installation is as simple as rolling the mats out to fit your garage, trimming the edges and adhering them to the floor. The major drawback? The mats can be sensitive to heat and damage from petroleum products.

Interlocking tiles: Tiles are a great option if you plan to use your garage for something other than parking cars. Available in two sizes (12x12 inches or 24x24 inches) and a wide range of colors, they offer a nearly unlimited number of patterns and designs to create a custom look. These tiles come in hard plastic, soft plastic or flexible rubber. Harder tiles are more suitable for workshops with heavy equipment and traffic, while soft plastic and flexible rubber are ideal for work areas or exercise rooms.

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