We get asked this question all the time and there is no real single simple answer as to which of these products is best for your particular application. There are many variables that must be taken into consideration. Type of traffic, volume of traffic, budget, vehicle size and personal tastes just to mention a few. So hopefully the discussion below will help you sort out which garage flooring product 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 from China to a high quality epoxy, the epoxy wins every time. If you keep all things equal then it becomes a matter of time, budget and taste.
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. Then between that page and this page you can take all that information and combine it with your own set of personal facts such as durability needs, taste, budget and make an informed decision as to which product you will be most happy with. Links to each product for more detailed information and images 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, waterproofing, bonding to a previous epoxy coating or oil stained 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.
Roll Out Garage Mats are in between Epoxy and Garage Floor Tiles price wise. They are 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 they are not slippery. There is no floor prep needed, 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 are 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 so that is not an issue with our products. 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 interlocking tile floor. In fact we're not sure what more you can ask of a garage flooring product that tiles don't offer.
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 if you wanted too. 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.
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. 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 give us a call at 866-532-3979 or send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll help get you on the right track with something you'll be happy with for many years.