Uncle Bobs Tips

Choosing The Right Garage Flooring. . .The First Time.

Choosing The Right Garage Flooring. . .The First Time.

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So you want a better flooring option for your garage, and you are trying not to spend the rest of your life savings (let's not talk about where the first part of that savings went . . .) Well, fear not, it can be done. Savings can be found in every aspect of construction, and garage flooring is certainly on that list. Plastic, vinyl, epoxy, and paint are all possibilities for the determined do it yourselfer. (Read a more general discussion on inexpensive garage flooring). Which one, though? Bottom line (can't get much lower than the floor) is not every garage floor material is suitable for every type of flooring. The surface material, intended usage, and even climate can have an affect on the choice of home garage flooring you choose.

Here are a few ideas to take into consideration before spending the time, effort, and money on a flooring option that is not right for you. By the end of these pages, you'll know more about home garage flooring than you do about your spouse!

If you have an excessive amount of moisture under your garage, paint of any sort will chip and flake away after a short time. For such floors, panels, mats or concrete are your best options.

Sealants will also prevent paint from sticking to your concrete.

Not sure if your in a particularly damp area? Let's try a moisture test. All you have to do is leave a plastic or rubber sheet on the floor overnight. In the morning, check to see if moisture has collected between the sheet and the floor. If it has, you have a moisture problem.

Don't know if a sealant has been applied to your floor? Try the sealer test. Sealer can prevent moisture from penetrating into your concrete floor. This is good, except when trying to apply a new garage flooring system (particularly paint and epoxy). The sealant will also prevent the flooring material from adhering properly to your floor. The test: Empty a cup of water on the concrete. If the water is not absorbed within a short amount of time, sealer has probably been applied (either that or there's been a grease spill). There are sealant strippers that will remove or loosen the sealant layer enough to give your new flooring material a foothold.

Now let's move on to a few different types of garage flooring options. In this article we'll discuss individual tiles or mats that you can lay down on your own. Next week, we'll look at epoxy coatings.

There are a lot of benefits to this flooring option. Rollout poly-vinyl flooring or PVC plastic, for example, is an easy to install DIY project. (G-floor® is known to be a quality brand.) They are water-proof, prevent mildew and mold from forming below, protect against stains from oil, battery acid, brake fluid, antifreeze and general dirt build up, they're easy to clean with just soap and water, they track rain and moisture out of the garage, come in a variety of patterns, shapes and sizes, and best of all, these DIY mats allow you to use your garage the same day they are put down. Many come with self-adhesive backing for 1-2-3 installation, and overlapping edges for a seamless finish. They are non-slip, chemical safe, UV-stabilized, and they ensure no cracking or peeling. These plastic pieces come in snap together pieces or roll out sheets of various sizes. (Note: not all brands give you the same quality or features. This is a general picture of the type of product. You must check each company and product individually to see what particular features they are offering.)

Because you are actually adding an addition layer of padding, these mats act as an additional layer of insulation from sound and weather. Some flooring mats even come with real metal tread surfaces. This is the ultimate in durability and design for matting (slap on a fresh Daytona racetrack and you are living large).

Before you get your credit card, listen to the biggest con that this flooring option presents. Because these are pieces of flexible material that are laid down by hand, they tend not to be as durable as other flooring options. This means they are not as strong and are less likely to last a long time. The interlocking flooring systems are more durable, so they are also more expensive and harder to install.

Don't decide anything just yet, because we haven't looked at the other side of the flooring coin: epoxy finishing. See you next week.

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