Probably more than any other floor of the home, garage floors get a lot of abuse. If yours has reached an unacceptable level of wear and tear, it’s time to start thinking of how to rewind the years and give it a fresh new look. But with what, exactly? Garages aren’t exactly the place for a plush carpet or some radiant marble tiles. Fortunately, there’s plenty of hard-wearing options out there that are as easy on the eye as they are durable on the floor. Without further ado, here’s our pick of the top five.
Garages are where floor tiles really come into their own. Although you could simply use any old vinyl tile you’d use in another part of the home, the particular needs of a garage demand something a little hardier (at least, they do if you still want the floor to look decent five years down the line). As The Spruce notes, rigid or semi-rigid plastic, rubber, or wood composite tiles all make great options, offering durability, strength, and a pleasing aesthetic to boot. As an added advantage, they can help even out an uneven surface beautifully: perfect if the underlying concrete slabs haven’t been laid with particular care, or have worn away in certain spots through frequent use. The choice of tile is up to you, but some of the most popular are:
- Wood Composite: incredibly strong and easy to lay, wood composite tiles are a popular choice for garages that house either a fleet of cars or a substantial amount of heavy machinery.
- Plastic: plastic tiles are typically made from PVC or polypropylene plastic, and have the advantage of being both widely available and relatively inexpensive.
- Rubber: comfortable underfoot and remarkably resilient, rubber tiles are great for garages that see a lot of heavy footfall.
Concrete Floor Paint
A layer of paint won’t do much to even out a wonky surface and will do even less to add any strength to the structure. It will, however, go a long way to making a splotched, grimy floor look a whole lot prettier. Available in either latex or oil-based varieties, floor paint, unlike the standard type you’d slap on the wall, is designed to be durable. Whether you throw solvents, salts, and any other caustic products it’s way, it’ll still come up looking, if not smelling, of roses. Best of all, it’s one of the cheapest options available, and is accessible to anyone and everyone who knows how to pick up a paintbrush and open a can. When to comes to making your purchase, just be sure to look for a paint advertised for use on concrete floors to avoid disappointment, and if possible, choose one with epoxy resin to add an extra layer of durability.
Unless you work in the trade, you’re probably not familiar with the term ‘epoxy’. Despite looking, feeling, and even applying like paint, epoxy is a very different breed of coating altogether. Unlike paint, which hardens through a process of evaporation, epoxy toughens up when its elements undergo a chemical reaction. The end result is an incredibly tough, durable surface that will withstand even the worst abuse you care to throw at it. The aesthetic, meanwhile, knocks spots of standard paint, creating a smooth, lustrous finish that’s almost guaranteed to look just as good in a decade as it does today. When selecting your can, be careful to look for ones labeled Garage Floor Epoxy: epoxy paint is also available, and it can be easy to confuse the two. However, if you want to skip the rest and get straight to the best, it pays to opt for the real deal.
If your floor’s in reasonable condition but lacks visual appeal, concrete stain makes a fine choice. A thin coating of this translucent, decorative coloring will create a pigmented, marbled appearance that in a good light and a fair wind, will be nigh on impossible to tell apart from real stone. The application requires a little more effort than standard paint: depending on the type, expect to lay down 2 coats and exert a considerable amount of time and energy “buffing” each layer into the concrete with a nylon scrubbing brush. The end result, at least in terms of the aesthetic, will, however, be worth the elbow grease. Just bear in mind the stain is intended to beautify the concrete only, and won’t, by itself, stand up to much wear: if you want to add an extra level of toughness, wait for the layers to dry before adding a top coat of urethane sealer to protect against any expected wear and tear. Another thing worth considering is that you’ll need to commit to regular top up and frequent maintenance: as Family Handyman notes, expect to wax the seal every year, and touch- up the stain and reseal with urethane every other year. Fortunately, the cost isn’t too significant: depending on the brand, you should be able to get away with paying no more than around 20 cents per square foot, per coat.
If you’re looking for a durable floor covering that’s a piece of cake to install, a rollout mat may be just the ticket. Available in a wide variety of styles, patterns, and colors, the mats can beautify even the ugliest garage floor in an instant. Simply unroll the mat (or mats, depending on floor size), slot together, trim to fit, and before you know it, the job’s done. Although pretty durable, bear in mind that the mats aren’t stain-resistant, and can be easily damaged by any sharp materials or gravel. If you tend to use the garage simply for storage or light work, on the other hand, and don’t expect the mats to be subject to any hot tires or chemical spillages, they make a great way of tidying up an unsightly floor.