If you’re building yourself a garage, it should come as no surprise to you that everything in it needs to be robust. Like any building, a good garage is only as strong as its foundation, so your design focus should start from the ground up, beginning with the floor.
Unless you’re really pushing the boat out (and that’s almost certainly not a good idea), your garage floor, in essence, will be a massive concrete slab. That’s a fine starting point, but there’s more you can do to create a floor that will stand up to anything you can subject it to, and last you a long time without the need for repair.
Here’s a quick run-through of what you need to know.
What should you expect from a garage floor?
Before we talk about choosing the right flooring option, it’s important to know what standards you should expect from your garage floor:
1. Your flooring should be level and thick enough to be heavy load-bearing, capable of supporting heavy machinery and vehicles without issue.
2. Your flooring should be resistant to potentially damaging materials like oil and petrol drips, chemical spills, road salt, and general dirt and debris.
3. Your flooring should be durable to impacts.
4. Your flooring should last three to five years before showing signs of deterioration.
Why you need to put a coating or covering on your garage floor
To be clear, a polished concrete slab floor will do a reasonably sound job for a matter of time. However, in terms of the qualities listed above, an untreated concrete floor can only be so resistant to chemical damage, surface abrasion, and heavy impacts, and sooner rather than later, regular use will see pockmarks, cracks, and general damage appear on the surface, which in turn leads to quicker deterioration and need for repair or replacement.
As such, it’s diligent to choose either a floor coating or covering to protect your floor surface. Both will help increase damage and deterioration resistance and go a long way to preserving your floor for longer, as well as making it easier to clean and maintain.
Your coating and covering options
You have a number of coating and covering options available to you:
a). Concrete floor paint: Floor paint is essentially just a tougher, more durable version of the stuff you’d put on your walls, and is simple to apply, cheap to buy, and will add a simple but effective protective layer to your floor. Refresh every 1-2 years for the best results.
b). Epoxy paint: A properly applied epoxy floor paint job will give you the toughest surface you could ask for, however getting the application process right is critical. It’ll also provide you with a nice, glossy finish that will offer a little design buff to your garage. A refresh is needed every 3-5 years.
c). Floor tiles: this might seem somewhat bizarre in a garage but floor tiles – made from semi-rigid plastic, rubber, or wood composite (not vinyl) will offer excellent impact resistance, especially to an already cracked floor. Easy to fit via interlocking edges, the tiles will also help level out any unevenness caused by prior damage to your floor.
d). Floor mats: similar to floor tiles in terms of their resistance qualities, floor mats are essentially a larger version of floor tiles that you simply roll out as you would a rug. Made from rubber or polyvinyl plastic, they’re another solution for cracked, uneven floors. Just make sure you have a mat with a decent level of thickness to it.
It’s only logical to protect your flooring as best you can, and seeing as there are various easy to install, inexpensive methods that can offer that protection, you’d be doing yourself a disservice in the long term if you didn’t choose one.
No garage floor is designed to last forever, but taking steps to protect it now could give you a few years’ extra uses, and save you a few quid, in the future.