WHAT ARE INTERLOCKING GARAGE TILES? WHAT ARE THEY MADE OF? HOW ARE THEY MADE?
There seems to be a lot of articles on garage floor tiles these days as compared to just a few years ago. So it seems to us that consumers are more likely to be confused than not as to what to buy. Since the majority of people never heard of or seen an Interlocking Garage Tile before. All most people know is what they see on the internet once they discover such a product exists. Weíre here to set the record straight and to debunk a lot of the so called expert advice that's being bandied about.
Itís important you keep in mind why you would install interlocking tiles in your garage or business. They offer long term protection from wear & tear and corrosive salts and vehicle fluids. Theyíre also extremely durable while upgrading the look of your floor and reducing the time and effort to keep your floor looking clean and new. Interlocking garage floor tiles are also fast and easy to install by anyone, making them a great solution to any problematic floor.
When in the market to purchase tiles for your garage or business floor, weíd first like to say that you should be suspicious of any website that is dispensing expert advice that accepts ads from various vendors. More often than not their advice is skewed to favor their advertisers. ArmorGarage doesn't accept any ads.
They may claim otherwise but weíll let you figure that one out on your own. When searching for tiles you may get search engine results with a lot of multiple pages from the same company on basically the same subject. Which tiles are better, what the pros and cons are etc. The following is what we think condensed into one article based on our experience form selling every type of tile there is. As a seller of tiles we have no preference as to what type or style of tile we sell only that it is problem free. One thing we hate the most is a problem product. So the tiles we make and sell are the tiles that have performed over the years with no problems to our customers. Problematic tiles such as the hollow cored peg & loop tiles we used to sell have been removed from our product offerings many years ago.
Porcelain Garage Tiles
Some websites are promoting porcelain tiles as a good or even the best option for your garage flooring. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, itís a preposterous statement for several reasons. If you ever have stepped on a wet porcelain or ceramic tile you will know that they are slippery to the point of being dangerous when wet. The last time we checked garage floors get wet from rain and snow melt. So unless you want to keep a lot of mats and towels on the floor like in your bathroom then porcelain is not a good idea for you. Another important reason not to use porcelain is the grout lines, even if you butt the tiles tight up against each other you still need to use grout. Grout deteriorates on the inside of your home, can you imagine what happens to it in your garage when subjected to corrosive road salts and twisting turning hot tires. Once the grout becomes even slightly compromised water and corrosive fluids seep into it. Come winter time that moisture will freeze and expand causing the grout and tiles to heave and crack apart. Even if you live in a mild climate your grout will need constant maintenance. Plus, all grout turns black no matter how you seal it or clean it. So you have unsightly grout lines that will cause tiles to eventually come loose. Porcelain tiles require them to be set in mortar making them extremely difficult to replace when damaged. By the way that mortar is intended for indoor use and will quickly corrode when exposed to road salts. A garage is where stuff happens and objects that can easily crack and scar porcelain tiles are always dropping on the floor. With interlocking garage tiles, you simply pop a damaged tile out and pop a new one in. Thatís if youíre not using one of our tiles, itís doubtful you could ever damage one of our tiles to the point you would need to replace it, but more on that later. So if youíve read one of those articles purporting to use porcelain as a good garage floor option hopefully this should give you pause.
Hard Plastic Garage Tiles
Next is the notion that hard plastic tiles otherwise known as polypropylene tiles are the equivalent of PVC tiles. Having sold Polypropylene tiles for a number of years and then abandoning that idea due to the numerous problems with them we can tell you Polypropylene is nowhere near the equivalent of PVC. The main ingredient source for polypropylene tiles is recycled soda bottles and food containers. This is about as cheap of a plastic as you can get. Pure PVC on the other hand is far more expensive and of a quality many orders of magnitude higher.
So what are some of the problems we saw with hollow core polypropylene tiles? Well to start they are stiff and brittle. So when you walk on them they make a very cheap sounding click clack noise. Some articles advise you to place some sort of fabric mat under the tiles. This just becomes a sponge for all sorts of nasty things to accumulate in it. Can you imagine what that fabric looks and smells like after a few years under your leaky garage floor tiles. They also say that the hollow core tiles let air and water flow through underneath whereas the solid tiles do not. One of the important reasons you install tiles in your garage is to protect your concrete slab and so the idea is to minimize as much of the dirt and fluids that reside in your garage from getting under the tiles in the first place. Our close tolerance interlocking T joints that run continuously around the entire tile keep water and debris from getting under your tiles way better than any Peg & Loop joint ever will. One little fact they also overlook is that once you put in a fabric mat under your tiles, the tiles embed into the fabric cutting off any so called circulation.
Being so stiff and brittle, polypropylene garage tiles cannot bend and mold themselves to the contour of the floor such as solid PVC tiles do. This creates stress points where your slab has a high spot or low spot. If you could put a camera under there and watch what happens to brittle plastic tiles as your car drives over them. You would see the tiles flex up and down at these high and low spots. We all know what happens to any material when itís bent up and down continuously in the same spot. Itís not a matter of if, itís just a matter of when it breaks. When it breaks is just a matter of the type of material, the more brittle a material is the faster it snaps. No garage floor or concrete floor for that matter is perfectly flat, there are always high spots and low spots that are not perceptible normally but if you place a flat stiff brittle material over it you would see it teeter totter over a high spot which eventually becomes a break point. The unbending rigid plastic tiles also cause their flimsy Peg & Loop connectors to pop in and out of each other. So as you drive your car over them, this causes another issue called tile rattle noise. Suddenly your floor sounds like a Pop Corn machine as the Pegs pop in and out of their corresponding loops. Aside from the popping sounds the constant popping in and out of the connectors causes them to eventually fail. As they start to fail you will see a shift in your tile floor, you will also start to see widening gaps between the tiles. Suddenly you have grout lines in your plastic tiled floor. Not a good development!
As far as perforated tiles, lets just say itís not a good idea unless youíre a commercial car wash. Again the idea is to prevent as much fluids and debris from getting under your tile floor as possible not to encourage it.
SO HOW ARE GARAGE TILES MADE?
It's a pretty simple process to make a tile. In simple terms you take a material, in this case either polypropylene or PVC and you heat it till it melts and inject it under high pressure into a mold via an injection molding machine similar to this one.
As far as polypropylene tiles are concerned that's pretty much it. PVC tiles are a lot more complicated, at least making ours is. It takes the perfect amount of plastisizers and additives to get the PVC flexible but still have a hard enough finish to be durable. That's the problem with polypropylene tiles, they're just to brittle and then you have the opposite with some PVC tiles such as Flex tiles that are so soft you can indent them with your fingernail and roll them up like a sushi roll.
So you see making the tiles is pretty straight forward, you take X amount of X material and you mold it into a tile. That amount of material has a cost and a weight. So the cost of the tile is basically the cost per pound of material being used. Labor is a very small factor. So if the material being used costs less than half of what PVC costs and the tile weighs less than half a PVC tile cause it's hollow underneath. Will the cheaper material being molded into a hollow tile be more expensive and be of higher quality? We think it's easy to see why the answer to both will be no. And it should be equally as easy to see that the proposition that the two tiles are equal is just not, let's say accurate in the least.
Finally letís talk a little about strength and durability. Hollow polypropylene tiles are hollow underneath. All they are is a sheet of brittle plastic 1/16Ē thick glued onto a set of vertical ribs. The notion that you can store cars on jack stands is ridiculous. Or use hydraulic jacks or store heavy objects that have small hard plastic wheels. That 1/6Ē tile surface will form indents under heavy small foot print loads or heavy static loads. Itís not the roll over capacity that counts itís the static load capacity that counts. Thereís no comparing the static load capacity of a solid PVC tile to a hollow core tile. Weíve seen one article that states you can install a car lift over the hollow plastic tiles and bolt the lift through the tiles into the concrete. No one in their right mind would or should ever think of doing that especially with 100,000 plus dollar vehicle either up on the lift or underneath another car up on the lift.
Solid PVC Garage Interlocking Tiles
In sum hereís a few of the reasons why you want a solid PVC tile. They have continuous T joint connectors on all four sides of the tile for a far stronger inter tile connection. They are flexible enough to mold to the irregular contour of concrete floors and thereby eliminating stress points that turn into future failure points. Our T joints are tightly machined minimizing the amount of liquids and debris that can get under the tiles. They wouldnít shift or spread apart. Each tile weighs between 4-5 pounds versus a few ounces for hollow plastic tiles. They form a solid monolithic floor that wonít shift or spread apart. Their solid construction makes them much more efficient over radiant heating systems. You can park fully loaded cement trucks on our tiles for months on end without the risk of tile indents or compressing otherwise known as pancaking. Solid PVC tiles are sound deadening and virtually indestructible.
Take a hammer and beat on our PVC tile and any Hollow Peg & Loop Plastic tile and see what happens. Youíll have a hard time causing damage to one of our tiles. Not so with the hollow plastic tile. In the end you get what you pay for. Our Interlocking Garage Tiles come with an unconditional lifetime warranty. Not so with the so often over hyped plastic hollow tile. Our final bit of advice is if you are going to purchase a hollow polypropylene tile at least buy the best one you can find, youíll at least enjoy some years of problem free life out of them versus the bargain brand tiles.See all Garage Interlocking Tile products
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