Garage spaces are used for more than just storing holiday decorations and parking our cars. Depending on how you use your garage floor, it may need a coating or covering.
There are various reasons you may want to coat your garage floor, including a finished garage for a living space, a workshop or even storing classic cars.
Each of these options (and others) have cause or need for floor coatings and each one may be a different type.
Best Garage Floor Coating Solutions
- 1 Best Garage Floor Coating Solutions
- 2 Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Right Coating for Your Garage Floor
- 3 Garage Floor Coatings Reviewed
- 4 Should You Coat Your Garage Floor?
- 5 Coating or Covering?
- 6 Frequently Asked Questions
- 7 How to Find the Best Coating for Your Garage Floor? – Conclusion
Whether you choose to coat or cover your garage floor there are several options that will get the job done. These are the best.
- Concrete Paint. Simple, affordable and easy to apply, paint does wonders for a new look.
- Concrete Sealer. Sealers add layers of protection and aesthetics to concrete floors.
- Rolling mats. a roll of protective coverage is the easiest install of them all.
- Epoxy. Durable, thick and aesthetically pleasing, epoxy is a top choice for many.
- Tiles. In both flexible and rigid tiles, these coverings are easy to install and long lasting.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Right Coating for Your Garage Floor
Before you can select the ideal coating for your garage, you have a lot to consider. Below, we offer the various consideration factors so you have all the information you need to make the right choice.
Size of Garage
Covering large spaces can get expensive. If you buy coverings sold by the square foot (tiles, for example) the materials cost can get a bit high. Likewise, coatings are sold by the gallon, in general terms, and may be cheaper upfront.
Either way, knowing the square foot measurement of your garage will help you ensure you purchase enough materials.
How you use your garage is going to play a big part in the type of covering you will select. Using the garage to store your cars, for example, won’t gel well with rigid tiles as much as it will with epoxy.
While your garage may be used for multiple things like parking your car and a wood shop, you may need to find a flooring that can handle both. If you do use your garage for multiple things, you will want to focus on the way you use it the most.
Application or Installation
Applying the paint, epoxy or tiles are generally simple enough. Time, materials and a steady hand are generally all that’s needed. However, you may not have these things, or the desire to perform the install or application yourself.
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Other Garage Surfaces
Sometimes, you will want to coat or cover the walls or even the ceiling of your garage. In the case of a finished garage for a living space, the walls will be covered differently than the floors. However, in the case of using the garage for a workshop or studio, they may not be.
If the walls and other surfaces are capable of using the same covering you can save money on application and materials.
Temperature and Humidity
Some floor coverings don’t hold up well to moisture, humidity or other atmospheric conditions that are found in the garage more than other parts of the home.
If you are in a region with high humidity, your flooring choice will be different than someone living in a more arid climate.
While some coatings or coverings are readily available, some others may not be. In the case of flexible tile, for instance, only certain stores or retailers will carry the tiles and may not have the same style or colors in the future.
Care and Maintenance
Most garage floor coatings are simple enough to care for. It is important, though, that you read through the instructions to make sure you use the right materials. Some solvents and cleaners will be too harsh to use without causing damage.
Generally a good sweep is all that will be needed. If, however, you plan to use the garage for a living space, office or studio, you will also need a good mop or even a vacuum to get all the debris and dirt that can get blown in from the garage door.
When it comes to the warranties, you shouldn’t expect too much. Tiles and coverings will have a year or two warranty that covers that material until it is installed. After that, the warranties will vary greatly, if there is a warranty at all.
Garage Floor Coating Cost
Your budget will also have a say in what type of coating or covering you use. While most aren’t very expensive themselves, the materials needed to apply or install can get costly. If you plan to have a professional do the installation, that will add to the overall cost, too.
Before you buy the materials, ensure you know how much you need, what tools and materials go along with the application or installation and how much those cost, too.
You will enjoy the garage flooring even more if you stay within your budget.
Garage Floor Coatings Reviewed
Below, we review and compare the best garage float coatings. Scroll through the options to find out which ones work for you, then narrow your choices down based on what each option is best suited for.
Paint is the easiest coating to apply, and it also has the most variety in options and colors. Your biggest choice will be to use either a latex paint or an oil-based pant. The difference, though, can be an expensive one.
Latex paints are, by far, the easiest to apply. Shake the can, stir the paint and pour it into a roller pan. From there, you just need a roller to apply the paint evenly over the concrete floor.
However, the concrete must be immaculately clean before you paint. If you have cracks, gaps or holes, they will need to be filled before you paint. However, stains, stubborn areas and uneven portions don’t matter much. The paint can cover almost everything.
The other option, oil-based paints, takes the same prep work as latex paint. You need to clean your floors and fill any gaps or cracks. The difference, though, is that oil-based paints need a primer layer first.
Once the primer is applied and dry, you can then paint until your floor looks brand new. How do you determine which one is best for you? It is all in the finish. High-gloss, shiny and wet looks all come from oil-based paints.
If you would rather have a matte finish or a solid, muted color, latex is the way to go. Be warned, though. Both options require constant upkeep. Paint isn’t as durable as other options on this list and will need new coats applied every few years.
Best Option For: Multiple finish and color options.
Avoid If: Heavy solvents, abrasive materials or chemicals will end up on the floor.
When it comes to affordability, concrete sealer is the best option.
Unfortunately, sealers aren’t going to change the aesthetic of the concrete. While it may give it a little shine, it will still be the drab gray and all the little cracks and gouges and stains will show through.
Concrete sealer is easy to apply, just like the paint, you only need a tray and roller. Concrete sealer, by design, is made to fill holes, cracks and offer a more uniform surface once dry. That surface can become slippery and it doesn’t hold up well to harsh chemicals.
As long as you maintain the cleaning and don’t use the garage for heavy mechanic work, you will be fine, though. Wood shops, workshops and even living space garages can all benefit from a decent application of concrete sealer.
Best Option For: Tighter budgets or simple sealing projects.
Avoid If: You plan to use harsh chemicals often.
Moving away from coatings for a minute, rolling mats are a concrete covering that can really transform your garage. Rolling mats or roll-out mats are thick rubber mats that come in giant rolls.
Installation doesn’t even require pre-cleaning (though, it is highly advised). Once you have the garage floor space cleared, you just unroll the mat and the floor is covered.
These rolls come in a wide variety of shapes, thicknesses, patterns and colors. They are not designed for long-term use though. Heat from your car (tired, exhaust, etc.) can melt the rubber. Heavy items like your motorcycle, washer and dryer and other items) will leave permanent divots and can even dig all the way through over time.
Rolling mats are ideal for smaller areas, such as under your workbench or where you stand most often to offer padding and comfort. They are also fairly light, which means you can attach them to the walls as a bumper protection, if you need to.
If you want to cover a problem area such as missing pieces of concrete, these mats will do that. However, as a long term solution, you are better off using another option on this list.
Best Option For: Temporary floor protection
Avoid If: Heavy items and constant use are planned for the floor
When it comes to strength, durability and aesthetics, nothing compares to epoxy. Like paint, it comes in a wide variety of finishes and colors. If you want more splash, you can also add color or glitter flakes.
Application is fairly straightforward, too. You can apply with a paint roller and sprinkle your flakes into the epoxy before it dries. A sweep and scrape may be needed to remove any loose flakes or those that didn’t sink deep enough, but beyond that, your floor is coated and sealed.
The great part about epoxy is that it adds strength to your floor. Epoxy comes in two varieties, water-based and resin-based, or all-solid epoxy. The all-solid option is the best choice, as it is thicker, stringer and dries in about one day.
It has a lot of chemical odors, though, and if your garage isn’t well ventilated, it may pose a problem.
For those garages without good ventilation, the water-based, two-part epoxy is a better choice. It doesn’t have near the amount of offensive odors. However, it is also not as durable or long lasting and can take up to 4 days to fully cure.
With either option, you will want to add some sort of slip resistance or texture. For as durable as epoxy is, it is even more slippery when it gets wet. The added texture will help you keep your footing when that happens.
Best Option For: Long-lasting, durable coatings.
Avoid If: the floor will be constantly wet or have heavy objects dragged over the surface (tools, equipment, etc.)
If you are considering using tiles as a covering, then you have a choice to make.
Tiles are great for garage floors.
Not only are they fairly simple to install, they are also durable, add aesthetics and last a long while.
However, how you plan to use the garage will matter the most to you. If you are using your garage for storage, passage or parking, then you want to go with a rigid tile.
Rigid tiles come in all shapes, sizes and colors and are highly durable. You will need some type of subfloor, though, so the tiles can be installed correctly. Installing directly on the concrete can be done, but isn’t advised.
You should also have some form of underlayment (generally cork) to help prevent friction cracks.
If, however, you plan to use your garage for a work or living space, then you will want to opt for flexible tiles. Like rigid tiles, they come in all sizes, colors and patterns.
However, because they have give and flex, they are much softer underfoot and will feel better to your legs and lower back while you are working and walking around on them.
Flexible tiles also need an underlayment and depending on the type, may also need a moisture barrier.
Most tile floors don’t need to be sealed, but because you are using them in the garage a clear coat sealant may not be a bad idea, though it does add to the overall cost.
Best Option For: Constant use garage floors
Avoid If: Low temperatures are more common in your area or you cannot heat your garage.
Should You Coat Your Garage Floor?
Almost every garage floor is made of concrete. Because of this, it may not need to be coated. Coating, you should note, is not the same as sealing.
Some concrete is required to be sealed, especially if there are expansion gaps or grooves.
When you are deciding what to do with your garage, you need to take stock in what you use it for. A mechanic, for example, can expect a lot of oil, fluids, grease and solvents to end up on the concrete surface.
Paints, tiles and even epoxy isn’t a good option. While it may temporarily make the floor appear nicer, it will take a lot of time, effort, and money to keep up the appearance. It would be much easier to leave the concrete as it is, where it can be cleaned with harsher chemicals, power washers and scrubbing.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, you may learn it is easier on your time and bank account to leave the floor as it is.
However, if you plan to use the garage as a wood shop, or work space, you will want to coat the floor. Doing so can offer a level of protection against drops, scuffs, gouges or other damage from tools, lumber and other items.
Coating or Covering?
When it comes to your garage floor, there are three options. You can leave it as is, which is boring. You also have the option to coat it or cover it. So, what is the difference?
A coating is a material applied to the surface of the concrete floor to help seal and protect it. Paint, for example, is a coating, because it coats the surface. Epoxy, resin and sealers are also coatings.
A covering is a material placed on top of the concrete that hides the floor. Think of a carpet in your living room. It doesn’t coat the floor underneath, instead, it just covers it.
For garage floors it is the same concept. Tiles are most often used in garages, and they cover the concrete below. But padded rolls or mats are also found covering garage floors to add warmth and cushioning.
The best option for you will depend greatly, once again, on your use of the garage. Coatings are better for chemicals, cleaning and of course sealing gaps and cracks.
Many, though, aren’t as aesthetically pleasing as tiles or other coverings, and may not offer enough protection.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here, we will answer some of the most commonly asked questions and address the common concerns about coating garage floors. If you have other questions, please feel free to use the comment section below the article.
Q. How do I prepare my garage floor for a coating?
- If you are coating your floor (paint, epoxy, sealer) you will need to prep the floor following the directions on the material you are using.
In most cases a good washing, scrubbing and sweeping are in order. You don’t want there to be any dirt, dust or debris that gets coated along with your floor. Some materials need several coats, drying time or even require you power wash the concrete first.
Q. Do I need to install a subfloor over the concrete in my garage?
- If you are coating the concrete there is no need for a subfloor. It would ruin the sealer and not coat the actual floor. However, if you are covering the floor with tiles or other materials, it may be wise to install a subfloor first.
At a minimum you may want to invest in a moisture barrier and underlayment to help traction and control humidity or moisture damage from underneath.
Q. Are garage floor coatings easy to install?
- Applying a coating to your concrete garage floor isn’t a difficult process. If you can use a paint roller, you can apply a coating. It is time consuming, tedious and requires a clean floor before, during and after the application, but it is something almost anyone can do.
Q. How long do garage floor coatings last?
- With proper care and maintenance a concrete coating such as epoxy or paint can look like-new and perform its sealant and protective duties up to 10 years. If there are scratches, damage or holes made in the coating, though, you may need to reapply sooner.
How to Find the Best Coating for Your Garage Floor? – Conclusion
Coating your garage floor helps protect your floor, gives you a more aesthetic finish and can even add warmth and comfort to an otherwise cold, hard surface.
This article helped you identify the best garage floor coating options and gave you all the information to help your decision making process. By now, you should have a good understanding on what you need and where to start shopping.