When it comes to storing all of the gear that makes family life happen, our biggest ally is a clean, organized, functional garage. Every inch should be full of purpose. Your garage flooring is no exception. Although it can go overlooked in a garage redesign, it often needs the most attention.
Between managing the weight of our vehicles and bearing the brunt of spills and dropped equipment, flooring takes a beating. At a certain point, you’ll see a garage floor replacement pop up on the to-do list.
It can be exciting to revamp your garage with new flooring, especially when learning about the different available garage upgrades. If you’ve been thinking about a flooring change for your garage, we’ll discuss the various materials and possibilities to ensure your project is successful.
Table of Contents
- Garage Floor Replacement Options
- When to Replace the Concrete
- Work With Professional Garage Flooring Installers
Garage Floor Replacement Options
There are many reasons to look at your garage floor and decide you need a change. Floors don’t last forever, and you’ll eventually see cracks or concrete spalling that need to be addressed.
Before your garage sees a ton of wear, you may also want a change to the look and feel of the garage. If the kids are out of the house and you want to turn your garage into the vehicle showroom of your dreams, that’s a perfect reason to get new garage flooring.
Your options will vary depending on how and why you want to replace your garage floor. A cosmetic change to a solid floor will open up your choices, but you’ll generally need more heavy-duty solutions if it is a worn-down floor.
Epoxy is one of the best garage flooring options because of its durability, feel, and overall look. It can fit the needs of nearly anyone looking for a new floor, whether it’s because they want a new look or need to cover up signs of wear on their concrete floor.
Your epoxy installer prepares the concrete base and then applies the coating. Epoxy needs an unsealed floor to hold onto, so your installer may need to strip any finish off it to expose the bare concrete.
You’ll have a range of color options and glosses to choose from, as well as different textures. With the addition of epoxy flakes and chips, you can add grip and character to the floor.
Epoxy is a durable coating for an otherwise serviceable concrete floor. If you have cracks, chips, or stains on your concrete floor, a fresh, smooth epoxy cover will make it look brand new. Once installed, you’ll enjoy several benefits, including:
- Clean, colorful aesthetic
- Superior durability and safety
- Moisture and weather resistance
- Easy to clean and maintain
The essential advantage of epoxy is its cost-effectiveness. You will need to maintain it and be aware of using it to get the most life out of it. Epoxy will usually last at least 3-5 years, but with a quality product and installation, you may be able to go 10+ years without needing a replacement.
It’s functional, attractive, easy to maintain, and an exceptional value. What’s not to like?
The key downside is in the application. Epoxy is not a DIY project if you want optimal results.
The garage floor needs proper preparation, and the epoxy application requires precision because it’s difficult to fix once set. The toxic fumes it emits while being installed can be a severe health hazard. To protect yourself, your family, and your investment, it’s best to leave it to a professional.
Modular floor tiles are becoming popular for homeowners tackling a garage floor replacement for more versatility. You get a lot of the benefits of epoxy without having to worry about the fumes from installation.
Garage floor tiles require minimal floor preparation and can work over common imperfections without much issue. If any of them become damaged, it’s easy to swap a single tile out without worrying about the rest of the installation.
From an aesthetic angle, few flooring options have the showstopping look of a high-end tile installation. You can choose from a broad spectrum of colors and create patterns such as the classic checkered pattern or a defined walking path.
Peel and stick vinyl tiles are inexpensive and easy to install yourself if you want a quick fix. But if you want to transform the look and function of your garage in an impressive and long-lasting way, you’ll want to upgrade to interlocking hard plastic or PVC tiles.
With better construction and design, your tiles offer better performance and make the environment more enjoyable. RaceDeck tiles, for example, have an innovative build that manages moisture and withstands shifts in the concrete foundation, keeping your garage functional and comfortable longer.
If you’re serious about maintaining your car, tiles are a great complement both in style and strength. The random oil or grease spill cleans up easily off of tiles, and they make an ideal foundation for heavier vehicles and lifts.
On the lower end of the garage floor spectrum is vinyl. It’s easy to work and inexpensive, so it makes a quick fix if the top-tier tile is out of budget. A roll-out rubber vinyl floor mat is one of the most DIY-friendly applications.
Like tile, you’ll have a selection of colors and textures to suit your garage design. Your garage size and shape may demand a few vinyl rolls, but in some cases, you can use a single roll that’s cut to fit. They’re also a surprisingly durable and water-resistant surface for storing your vehicle.
Mats are a simple solution for protecting your concrete from contaminants, but the benefits are mostly limited to the convenience of setting them up. They can get slippery from moisture, and if anything strikes them, they can be easily damaged.
If your concrete is in good condition and you’re favoring budget over beauty, roll-out mats are an appropriate garage floor replacement. When your concrete starts to develop more significant issues, you’ll have to upgrade to the durability of epoxy or tiles. Otherwise, you’ll need to replace the concrete.
When to Replace the Concrete
Concrete floors can last up to 25 years, but they will be quicker to wear if installed poorly or not maintained. One of the main signs that it’s time for new flooring is severe cracking, often caused by freeze-thaw damage.
Because it’s so porous, concrete efficiently absorbs any spills and even excess humidity. When it doesn’t have an adequate seal, it sucks in moisture that gets trapped and expands when it gets cold. You’ll see signs of this structural damage when you see crumbling, flaking cement.
Chemicals and oils hitting the concrete will wear down the sealant and inflict damage above. Meanwhile, poor installation or drainage can let problems seep in from underneath.
The ideal concrete foundation is compacted gravel with a vapor barrier and 4-6 inches of concrete reinforced with rebar on top. If the original installer cut corners, you feel like you have weakening, sagging, or uneven floors.
You may see signs of water damage, such as pitting, chipping, and cracking, show up quicker as well. Have a professional inspection to look for moisture penetration and construction issues to help you decide on the best garage floor replacement.
An inspection will tell you if you need to start with a new concrete garage floor or if you can upgrade your flooring to epoxy or tile. With deeper structural issues, you’ll make it harder for yourself by opting to fix cosmetic defects with an epoxy coating.
Cost to Replace a Garage Floor
A new epoxy floor is one of the best ways to increase your home value, but it can get expensive if you need to replace the concrete foundation. Some of the factors that can affect the overall replacement costs include:
- Garage size
- Demolition of the old floor
- Accessibility to the garage
- Added features like heated floors and drainage
A new concrete slab will often cost over $3,000, but if it’s poured correctly, you only need to worry about maintaining a seal over it to get a few decades of good use from it. This is a perfect time to apply an epoxy coating.
If you like the tile or mat option or want to roll on a colorful coat of paint, you’ll need to add a floor sealer like a clear epoxy coat for maximum moisture resistance.
Paints are the cheapest route, but they’ll also be the easiest to damage. Be sure to opt for at least a one-part epoxy paint to give you some damage and chemical resistance. If set on using paint, it’s ideal when there are no cracks or other defects in the concrete that would stick out underneath it.
Work With Professional Garage Flooring Installers
When you need a garage floor replacement, talk to an expert installer to bring your dream to life. They can offer the best advice on floor treatments and considerations to fit your goals, needs, and budget.
Are you ready to update your garage flooring? Contact our experts at Garage Designs of St. Louis for a free estimate on our premium epoxy and RaceDeck flooring options.
Get Inspired with Your Free Garage Organization eBook from Garage Designs!