What Should I Use On My Garage Floor?
We get asked this question everyday. Here we go over the pros and cons of the only three types of garage flooring you should consider, Epoxy Floor Coatings, Interlocking Garage Floor Tiles and Rubber Roll Out Garage Mats. Spending five minutes reading this page can save you from a serious case of buyer's remorse and having to repurchase another product.
Garage Flooring products are not everyday items that you buy. So most customers are unaware of the differences between all the different products on the market. We are going to share everything you need to know so you're not purchasing blindly.
When purchasing garage type flooring please keep in mind one very important fact which is there is no magic formula. Meaning that the cost of any product is based on the cost of the materials(Quality) used and the amount of materials used. So for instance if you see a polypropylene hollow core tile that weighs less than a pound and a solid core PVC tile that weighs over 4lbs you'll know why there's a big price & performance difference. PVC is a much higher quality material than Polypropylene that cost about twice as much and if you use 4 times as much material, then the PVC tile will be more expensive. The thing is that most Hollow Core Polypropylene tiles aren't that much cheaper, so you need to scratch your head and ask yourself why not, why are you paying so much for these types of tiles?? The same holds true for Mats and Epoxy Coatings. Mats made in with unknown filler materials from unknown origins will always be cheaper. Many garage flooring mats only have a thin top layer of rubber and the rest is filler material. This mats tend to bunch up, curl and become very slippery when wet. Epoxy Coatings that are water based, low solids or cyclioaliphatic will always be cheaper and the saying you get what you pay for never rang more true when it comes to garage flooring.
Other factors to consider for your home or business is the type of traffic(light vehicles/heavy vehicles), volume of traffic, budget, vehicle size, product performance capabilities, ease of installation or lack of and your 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.
As mentioned above 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 hollow polypropylene 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 floor coating system, the epoxy coating 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.
Garage Flooring is not just for garages so when installing it for business uses you must take into account the installation time and durability factors. Low first costs should not be your main concern since redoing the floor means more money, installation time and most importantly more down time!
Make sure to read below what is real garage flooring and what is marketed as garage flooring but should never be used as such. Knowing what not to do goes a long way in making the right purchase decision whether you buy our product or someone else's. Links to each of our products for more detailed information, customer images and ordering convenience 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, custom high end metallic epoxy floors or floors with high forklift and or foot traffic. The right epoxy flooring can handle just about anything you can put on it all while providing a clean and professional look!
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 longer 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) this makes it suitable for shop and forklift traffic. Most of our competition is in the 25 to 40mg loss rating category which is not much better than regular paint and therefore not suitable for anything but light foot traffic. There's a lot of discussion all over our 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, UPDATE as 1/20/22: Due to the dramatic price increases in freight costs on mats that are 8.5' & 10' wide these mats are no longer as cost effective when compared to our interlocking tiles, they are still probably the easiest to install since you order the size needed for your floor and then simply roll them out. But now trucking companies are charging exorbitant fees for what they consider oversized products and mats that are 8.5' & 10' long are now considered oversize. If you only need mats that are 7.5' wide they still ship via FedEx and while those costs have risen also they have not gone up nearly as much as trucking costs. So now price can be added to the Con list of mats that are 8.5 or 10' wide. Now it's a matter of which you like better the tiles or the mats.
Trimming mats is easy with a pair of heavy duty 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 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 so we don't recommend them for large pickup trucks with big nobby tires or if you have large off road vehicles . We also advise against outdoor applications even though many manufacturers state they can be installed outdoors. Take our word for it, it's not a good idea.
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 and definitely don't have the same curb appeal/wow factor as tiles or epoxy. So we would say they offer the middle of the road solution. They're cost effective
(unless you now need wider mats of 8.5' or 10') and super easy to install over any floor. But certain brands are not as durable as a real high quality epoxy or for sure 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(see above) 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 garage 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 that you can park aircraft on versus thin hollow core tiles made from low grade generic plastics with loose fitting peg & loop connectors that crack and split apart continuously. Our solid garage tiles are sound deadening as compared to the hollow core tiles that make a click clacking sound when walked on and make a popping sound as the brittle peg & loop connectors pop in and out of each other as you roll over them. Plus 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 and know all the little details.
Our garage tiles are indestructible and are guaranteed for Life. You can use them for just about any type of traffic load and can absorb the highest impacts. They will also never indent under high point loads or repetitive traffic like hollow tiles will. That's why the US Army when testing tiles for their heavy weapons testing facility chose ArmorGarage tiles over all others. 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 coatings 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. As with the Mats we don't recommend outdoor applications.
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.
Our Garage 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 textured 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, which one fits your installation time and ability and which 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 website 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 you pick the right product that you'll be happy with for many years. THANK YOU FOR CONSIDERING ARMORGARAGE FLOORING PRODUCTS!