There are several solutions to improving your garage, and two of the best ideas for this are reflooring and organizing. If you need to (or can afford to) do both it makes more sense to first work on the flooring, as there’s no sense in organizing your garage only to have to move everything again to refloor it.
The biggest benefit to reflooring is protection for your subfloor. Daily wear and tear on most garage floors can be tough, so your options will depend on how you plan to use your garage. However, garage flooring doesn’t have to be expensive in order to be good. You can actually cut costs without sacrificing quality by looking into some of these options.
This is the least expensive method, but it has limited use. Rubber works well if you plan on your garage functioning as a kid’s playroom, a family room, a workout room with a home gym, or primarily as a storage facility.
Rubber provides good insulation and a sound buffer when there’s going to be a lot of movement through the garage. It also offers additional safety against minor injuries from falling.
Petroleum products like oils and grease and heat can damage rubber flooring, so if you live in a hot climate, don’t leave the garage door open for long periods of time. Also watch out for hot car tires; you won’t be happy with melted rubber in your garage.
Roll-out PVC Flooring
Slightly more expensive than rubber, PVC—also known as mat flooring—makes a notable difference in a garage. It’s easier to install than tougher materials like epoxy. It doesn’t require adhesive, and cleaning is a cinch since you can pick up the mats and hose them off if needed.
Mats come in a variety of colors for any kind of theme you might be following. Patterned or ribbed designs help with traction, and as we mentioned before, it is less expensive and easier to install than epoxy.
There aren’t many downsides to roll-out PVC, but don’t expect it to look like a designer job. And, while installation is relatively easy (all you need is a utility/carpet knife), you’ll want to take care to join your edges with an overlapping technique to avoid creating seams.
Tile PVC Flooring
Tile provides more of a professional look that the roll-out type. Like its mat counterpart, it’s fairly easy to install as no adhesive is necessary. It’s a bit thicker than the mats, so you’ll need a cutting tool that’s stronger than a utility knife when installing. You may want to opt for the interlocking tiles as they’ll create a seamless look.
This type of PVC also comes in a variety of colors and patterns and is easy to install. This flooring will create a nicer look than using PVC mats.
The thicker mat surface is easier to dent and mar. However, there are self-correcting tiles that will spring back into shape after a couple of days. While installation is still easy, it will take longer to install than the roll-out type.
This is the most expensive of the aforementioned flooring options and it is the most difficult to install. If you aren’t experienced at this, start looking for someone who is, or find a professional. Also, don’t scrimp on the quality of the epoxy product; there are some sub-standard products out there that will cause you grief in the long run.
Epoxy is very durable and with proper installation, it will look great and offer lasting protection to your garage subfloor.
It is difficult and time consuming to install for any DIYer, so you will probably need to seek out professional help. Obviously this also piles additional costs on top of the more expensive material.
Other Flooring Alternatives
There are several additional types of flooring styles made by different manufacturers that don’t fall into these larger categories. If you’ll be working with tiles, the interlocking ones are best, for both aesthetic reasons and because they hold up well to turning tires. Costs will vary on the usual factors—style, quality, the amount of product needed, shipping fees, etc.
Just because it's a garage floor doesn't mean it has to be boring. Choose among a wide selection of intricate designs available including diamond plate, ribbed, coin, etc.
If you are utilizing your garage as a second family room or play room for the toddlers, you might even consider veneers. Yes, faux wood does have a home in the garage.
If you’re floor is dingy, but in otherwise good condition, you might be able to spruce things up a bit with a splash of color and shine with concrete paint.
A fall-back option to doing the entire floor is to use garage floor mats in a select area. They come in different sizes and textures and are easily transportable. They’re also good for preventing floor stains, grease spots, and can do double duty work in basements. Containment mats will usually have raised edges thereby allowing them to hold liquids such as oil, grease, water, coolant, etc. These can even be great to use on an already-refloored garage.
In the end, reflooring your garage will not only make it more enjoyable and easier to maintain, but it will add more utility to this often under-appreciated space that is part of your home. Additionally, a garage that looks well-kept just might improve your home’s resale value.