What Type Of Product Is Best For Garage Flooring?
We get calls everyday asking whether Epoxy Flooring, Garage Floor Tiles or Garage Floor Mats are the best garage flooring. While there is no simple straight answer as to which is best, it's just as important to know what you should never use as garage flooring. This is a long read but spending 5-10 minutes reading this page can save you from a serious case of buyer's remorse! These are not everyday items that you buy and you only want to buy them once. 99% of the time customers have no idea what's important to look for or what to take into consideration when purchasing these types of products. So we provide as much product and installation information as we can so that you make the right purchase for you and your specific project even if you don't buy our product.
There are many variables that must be taken into consideration when purchasing flooring for your garage or business. Type of traffic, volume of traffic, budget, vehicle size, product performance capacities and personal tastes just to mention a few. So hopefully the discussion below will help you sort out which garage flooring is best for you and which to avoid.
Quality Garage Flooring designed specifically for vehicular traffic is a large investment so doing your research here will save time, money and heartache. It's important that during your comparisons you try to keep the product quality levels about as equal as you can. For instance it's not a fair comparison to compare a $75.00 water based epoxy kit from your Home Improvement store against a garage mat or garage tile, even the cheapest lowest quality mats and tiles win hands down. But if you're comparing them to a military grade quality epoxy coating system then it's a completely different story. The opposite holds true also, don't compare a cheap recycled hollow garage floor tile made from materials of unknown origins to a high quality epoxy, the epoxy wins every time. If you keep all things equal while knowing whats important and whats not then it becomes a matter of time, budget and taste. That's the key to you being happy with your floor for a long time.
In the sections below we'll go over all the pros and cons of each product. We also have a great discussion on what is real garage flooring and what is marketed as garage flooring but should never be used as such HERE. With all the information between that page and this page combined with your own set of personal requirements such as installation difficulty, taste and budget will help you make an informed decision as to which product you will be most happy with. Links to each product for more detailed information, images and to order are in blue.
Lets start with Epoxy Paint. Only consider going with a DIY garage epoxy coating kit if you are going to purchase the best quality and you're ready to prepare the floor properly. Failure to do either of these two things will result in a guaranteed coating failure every time! The pros on epoxy floor coatings when done right are that they are cost effective, they are stunning and dramatic in appearance, they are durable and can last up to 20 years. They're also light reflective and brighten any space they are applied in and they're a non stick surface so cleaning is as simple as wiping the floor up with a towel or washing down with a garden hose.
They're available in many colors with or without color flakes, different grades to meet different traffic loads and with different chemical compositions to meet different floor demands such as acid resistance, USDA food rated, bonding to a previous epoxy coating, oil stained floors or custom high end metallic epoxy floors.
The cons are that you must clean and etch or grind the floor properly otherwise the epoxy will not bond to the concrete properly. This is not difficult to do, it just takes a few hours of time and some elbow grease. You must use a urethane topcoat to protect the epoxy. Again not difficult but another critical step in the process. The down time on your floor is greater than if using a mat or garage tile. Installation time is more because you need to wait for the concrete to dry after cleaning and etching, and for the epoxy to dry before applying the topcoat and then of course for the topcoat to dry. All told it's only 4-6 hours of actual labor but from start to finish is usually 2-3 days because of the dry times. You can cut the installation time down to one day by purchasing our Ultra Fast Epoxy Kit and grinding the floor. This will get you back in service in one day if downtime is critical. You can also cut down on the installation time by purchasing a one coat cyclioalphatic epoxy or a water based epoxy from a home improvement store but then of course you will be doing your floor over a lot sooner then you think or want to. The key to epoxy is to use the highest grade 100% solids epoxy with a good urethane epoxy topcoat. Our military grade topcoat has a best in industry 4mg abrasion rating, the lower the number the better. Most of our competition is in the 25 to 40mg loss rating category which is not much better than regular paint. There's a lot of discussion all over the website about different epoxies and which are the best and which simply are not. Again more reading but well worth your time if you're thinking of doing an epoxy floor.
Roll Out Garage Mats are in between Epoxy and Garage Floor Tiles price wise, they are still probably the easiest to install since you order the size needed for your floor and then simply roll them out. Trimming is easy with a pair of scissors or utility knife if needed. Typical installation time is about 30 minutes per mat. Multiple mats can be fused together with a seaming compound such as 3M Seam Weld. This forms a water proof permanent seam. Roll out garage mats look great, are easy to clean, not effected by road salts or vehicle fluids and are very durable. And unlike vinyl garage mats that are very slippery to the point of being dangerous, ArmorGarage mats are designed to provide the highest level of traction. Another thing to look out for is mats that bunch and curl up, you may think you're getting a bargain until you turn your tires on one of these mats and they twist and bunch up. This goes back to what we mentioned about comparing apples to apples quality wise. Just don't look at the price! Be aware of mats that look similar but aren't, lots of garage mats are multi layered and not in a good way. They have a cheap bottom layer and a thin inferior top wear layer sandwiched in between cheap filler materials. They will save you money now but not any heartaches or money in the future.
There is no floor prep needed when installing a rollout mat, just sweep out any debris prior to installing. Mats are a great way to hide floor blemishes and upgrade the appearance of your floor. They're also very versatile and are used in many applications other than garage floors such as kennels, gyms, waiting areas, loading docks and anywhere there is high foot traffic. They're available in Coin, Diamond, Ribbed or Flat patterns in various colors and thicknesses.
If we had to pick a fault we would say they're thinner than the tiles and usually only guaranteed for 5 years. ArmorGarage roll out mats and garage tiles are guaranteed for life even against wear whereas other so called lifetime grantees do not cover wear so that is not an issue with our products. Again lots of little things to look out for!
Garage Floor Mats are also less dramatic looking than an epoxy floor or a garage tile floor. So we would say they offer the middle of the road solution. They're cost effective and super easy to install over any floor. But certain brands are not as durable as a real high quality epoxy or the tiles. So this is where the budget and personal taste thing really comes into play. So if you're not looking for anything fancy and just want to dress up the appearance of your floor and give it some good protection without spending a lot of time and money doing it then mats are the right choice for you.
Garage Floor Tiles are the high end of floors, at least with our tiles anyway. It's hard to beat a high quality garage tile floor. It has all the attributes you can ask for. Quick and easy to install, can be installed over poor quality floors(wood or concrete), has a beautiful and dramatic appearance, custom logos can be imprinted or water jetted into the tiles and they have lifetime durability. There really is no downside to installing an garage tile floor. In fact we're not sure what more you can ask of a garage flooring product.
Our interlocking tiles range form our Light Duty Tiles of 3/16" thick up to our Super Heavy Duty Tiles 5/16" thick of solid PVC construction with water tight seams versus thin hollow core tiles made from low grade generic plastics with loose fitting peg & loop connectors. Our solid tiles are sound deadening as compared to the hollow core tiles that make a click clacking sound when walked on. They also only have a 1/16" wear surface compared to our 1/4" solid surface. So as we mentioned above when asking which product is better, you have to qualify what quality of brands you are comparing.
Our tiles are indestructible and are guaranteed for Life. That is not true for any other garage or interlocking tile. Our tiles come in sizes of 19 1/2 x 19 1/2, 20.5" x 20.5" and 20" x 20" and have a great look to them, different colored patterns can be installed, they are easily cleaned, are easily installed, they are portable so you can take them to a new location with your warranty if you wanted to. Tiles are very easy to remove or replaced if a tile needs to be. Installation time is in between epoxy and roll out mats. It's simply knocking them together with a rubber mallet and cutting the end pieces with any type of power saw. Typical installation time is 3-4 hours per 600 sq ft. The downside to tiles if there is one is the cost. They're the costliest floor to install. That's the only bad thing we can think of if cost is a concern. If cost is not an issue than tiles are the way to go without question. Unless you personally don't like the look of tiles. As we said before you are the only one that can make the final decision based on your budget and personal tastes. Our objective here is to give you the facts on each product so that you can make the best decision for you.
Tiles are available in four patterns Coin, Flat, Slate Finish and Diamond pattern. The Coin has raised discs that are about 1" in diameter. The Flat or Textured pattern tiles have an Orange Peel type of finish so they are not slippery, The Slate finish is more of a natural stone look and is areas that are more architecturally sensitive and the Diamond Pattern resembles Diamond Plate for a more industrial look. We recommend Flat(Textured)) pattern tiles if you have items with small solid wheels that you will be rolling over the floor often. The Flat tiles offer a smooth surface for rolling carts, dollies, tool chests or floor jacks vs the raised coin pattern tiles. Note the flat tiles are not actually completely flat they have a textured or orange peel type of finish so as not to be slippery. Use the ramp edge at any exposed tile edge. This offers a finished look and eliminates any tripping hazard. Simply cut the tabs off the leading edge, slip the ramp edge over the tile and apply some good adhesive underneath to lock in place.
WHAT YOU NEVER WANT TO USE AS GARAGE FLOORING
What you don't want to use as garage flooring is VCT Tile or Porcelain Tiles. VCT cannot handle vehicle traffic and will be a disaster after it gets ruined in short order since they have to be glued down with nasty black mastic which is next to impossible to remove. Porcelain or Ceramic tiles are not much better, they are very slippery when wet which garages often are, they need to be cemented in place, they have grout lines that get filthy dirty and crack out and eventually the tiles themselves start to crack as the cement base underneath starts to fail from water and chemicals seeping down through the grout which is very porous. Indoor outdoor carpet is another item bandied about as garage flooring. Lets just say you know how dirty the carpets in your house get, can you imagine how dirty they get in a garage with dirty tires, oil leaks and grease! Suffice it to say that VCT, Porcelain, Ceramic Tiles and Carpet are not and should not be used as garage flooring.
So to sum things up, personal taste and budget play a big role as to which product is best for you when comparing products on an apples to apples basis quality wise. Stick with products that were specifically designed to be garage flooring and not traditional flooring trying to be garage flooring. Quality is probably the most important factor in getting a flooring product that you'll be happy with. All told any of these products purchased from us will give you many years of trouble free service while looking great at the same time. But only you can determine which one fits your budget, which one you think looks the best and will meet your traffic/durability needs the best. Just remember it's always better to go with a lower cost product that's higher in quality rather than a low quality high cost product. For instance if you can only afford a certain amount don't buy a cheap garage tile just because it fits your budget. Buy a lower cost higher quality garage mat or garage epoxy kit. In the long run you'll be much better off and happier!
There's lots of additional information on our site to help you make the best decision. But for whatever reason you're still undecided or don't have the time to do the research just give us a call at 866-532-3979 or send us an email to email@example.com and we'll help get you on the right track with something you'll be happy with for many years.
THANK YOU FOR CONSIDERING ARMORGARAGE FLOORING PRODUCTS!