Garage floor coverings come in two styles—mats and tiles. Both are extremely easy to install and are ideal products for the DIYer. This article will look at the pros and cons of garage floor tiles. For a discussion of floor mats, you should look elsewhere.
There are three basic garage floor tiles: rigid plastic tiles, flexible rubber, plastic tiles, and wood composite tiles. Each type can create a great garage floor, but their differences are worth considering.
Garage floor tiles come in sizes from 12×12 inches to 24×24 inch. They generally snap together and are as easy to remove as they are to install.
One great advantage of tiles is that you can create attractive patterns, such as checkerboard, on your floor. Another is that the tiles can be installed over cracked or stained concrete floors with no need for repairing the floor first.
A major disadvantage of garage floor tiles is cost: prices generally start at about $2.50 per square foot and rise from there. This is more expensive than garage floor epoxy or garage floor paint, but the trade-off is that installation is much quicker and easier.
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How To Choose the Best Garage Floor Tiles
Rigid Plastic Garage Floor Tile
The best rigid garage floor tiles are 100 per cent PVC. They are usually about 1/4-inch thick and can stand up to most chemicals, oils, grease and other nasty substances found in a garage.
They are strong enough to support cars and carjacks. And if you have any questions about that statement, check with Jay Leno. In his Big Dog Garage collection, some of the vintage cars rest their high-priced tires on Swisstrax garage floor tiles.
Sources for rigid garage floor tiles include the following:
- American Garage Floor
- Kiwi Tile
- MotorMat Sport Tile
One other, high-end, option in rigid garage floor tiles is XFloor – Xtreme Modular Metal Floor Tiles, which have a metal tread surface. It’s tough and offers a unique look, but it is also quite expensive: about $10 per square foot.
Flexible Garage Floor Tiles
There is a variety of interlocking flexible garage floor tiles. Like rigid plastic, these softer tiles are easy to install and remove.
One of the major advantages of flexible garage floor tiles over rigid tiles is that they are much easier to stand and walk on over long periods of time. Some types of interlocking rubber tiles are made for use in family rooms and daycare centres. They can handle a lot of abuse and clean up easily, but they may not be suitable for use under cars and other heavy machinery. They do, however, make nice, comfortable flooring around a workbench. Flexible PVC tiles, on the other hand, are usually perfectly suitable for normal garage use.
You can find flexible garage floor tiles in just about any colour, available with many patterns and profiles. Sources for flexible garage floor tiles include:
- Rubber Flooring
Wood Composite Garage Floor Tiles
Wood composite tiles such as DRIcore are specifically made for basement subflooring systems, but they can also be used as garage flooring. The wood composite tile has a polyethylene moisture barrier on the bottom that keeps the top dry. Dricore panels can be used instead of subflooring techniques that utilize sleepers or plywood.
One big advantage DRIcore offers over these other materials is that it is only 7/8-inch thick. The manufacturer claims the panels can support up to 4,000 pounds per square foot, which is plenty of strength for standard garage purposes. The 2-square-foot panels weigh about 8 pounds each.
They are very easy to install: panels have tongue-and-groove edges that snap together with a hammer and block of wood. No gluing is required or even recommended. DRIcore can be cut with any woodcutting saw.
Wood composite garage floor tiles are designed to expand and contract with climate variations, so it is recommended that you leave a 1/4-inch expansion gap around the wall edges. The manufacturer recommends that for garage floors the leading edge (that is, the row of panels closest to the garage door), should be fastened to the slab with concrete screws (such as Tapcons), with a transition strip in front to protect the edges. You can watch a video on installing DRIcore here.
Since DRIcor is intended as a subfloor, the top surface is not very well protected. You can cover it with just about any type of finish floor surface or coat it with oil-based floor paint (not water-based) or polyurethane.
DRIcore may not be easy to find, however. While it is stocked in some home improvement centres, you may need to place a special order at other stores. Cost is generally under $2.00 per square foot.
Why Ceramic Tile is better for Garage Floor
Garage floor needs to be strong and steady but also beautiful. Most people only have a concrete garage floor and neglect other materials for plenty of reasons. But you should know that concrete is not the only way of flooring your concrete. If you feel like experimenting with other kinds of flooring, you should try ceramic tile. There are so many advantages that you can get from applying ceramic tile on your garage floor. If you are not convinced, we are here to convince you even more. Here are some of the advantages of ceramic tile compared to other materials.
Adding value to your home
The first benefit that you can get from adding ceramic tile to your garage is a financial benefit. It is true that garage floor ceramic tile is rather on the expensive side. But even so, it also proves that it will add more financial value to your house. This is a good thing if you like to move around or you are planning to move. If you are planning to sell your house, replacing your old concrete garage floor with a ceramic tiling will be a good decision to make.
Clean and Easy to clean
The thing about ceramic tile is that it is a lot cleaner than other materials. The ceramic material is not dust – friendly. Which means it can be cleaned very easily from a dusty situation. The same thing also applies to different kind of stains. For instance, wine stain or cigarette stain that falls into the floor will not stick into the ceramic. It is not possible for ceramic tile to gather liquid or some sorts. In addition, ceramic tile is also anti-scratching because of its hard and slippery surface. Therefore it brings more beauty and aesthetic into your garage.
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Do you know why so many people would invest in ceramic tile despite it being expensive? That is because they know that ceramic tile is a lot more durable and long-lasting than any other materials. For instance, if you take vinyl tile floor or wooden floor, they are very susceptible to fire and stain. They are also wearing out in a short period of time. That is true, especially if you live in a humid and cold area like northern America. By having ceramic tile instead, you will be guaranteed a long-lasting floor. In other words, you will also save more money on repairing or resurfacing.
Options of style
Finally, the last benefit you might get from using ceramic tiles for your garage floor is its options in terms of style and model. You can go classic with one colour tile floor. You can also go brighter with motive tiling. You can even go for a unique style by choosing different kinds of tiling in your one little garage. Of course, you need to know what style or design you will go for before you buy the tile. But in all, ceramic tile is the better choice in terms of the garage floor.
Many homeowners and designers are making choices about garage flooring with an expectation of longevity – but that expectation isn’t being met. The most popular garage flooring options range from DIY-level epoxy floor coating (about $2-$3 per foot2) to professionally installed, multi-layered floor coating ($8-$10 per foot2). At these prices, these inferior garage-flooring options are approaching the cost of laminate or solid hardwood flooring in a home’s living area.
Someone who spends to install a hardwood floor in the home is doing so because they expect that floor to last the entire life of that home. They know that the alternative – carpeting – will wear out and be replaced in five to fifteen years. When it comes to the garage, though, people are still dropping “permanent solution” money for what amounts to temporary flooring. They’re paying for hardwood and getting the carpet.
Porcelain tile is to the garage what hardwood flooring is to the rest of the home. It has an exceptional long-term return on investment because it will last for the home’s entire life cycle. It’s permanent, and because of this simple fact, no other flooring option can approach its value. Put: porcelain lasts. You can’t make the same case for other coatings that look like freshly minted pennies upon installation but immediately start to age though constant wear, cracks, and stains. Tile not only lasts a lifetime, but it ages beautifully over the course of that life.
It’s Stronger Than Stone
Fact: porcelain is stronger than granite. The high temperature used to fire porcelain tiles produces an extremely dense product resistant to chipping and cracking. This often comes as a surprise to customers who examine a 3/8-inch piece of porcelain tile – it looks thin enough you could snap it over your knee. But when porcelain tile is mortared to concrete, it takes on the same strength characteristics.
As far as how it compares to popular kinds of stone flooring, porcelain has a breaking strength that is 2X-3X times greater than granite and 7X-8X greater than marble. Porcelain tiles are incredibly rigid – you can drop heavy tools on them without any chipping. Essentially, what will damage concrete will also damage the tile. And it takes a significant impact to damage concrete. And the added beauty of tile is that if you do catastrophically damage the porcelain flooring – by, say, accidentally dropping an engine block – you can replace the damaged section.
It’s Non-porous And Impervious
Porcelain is stronger than stone, but it has another major advantage, too: it’s non-porous. It has an impervious surface that nothing can penetrate. Porcelain is comprised of finely ground glass crystals fired in a high-temperature kiln that results in a product much like glass in its composition. Just like glass, nothing can stain it or penetrate it.
Because it’s an impervious surface, it’s going to resist any staining from auto or motorcycle fluids (such as oil, grease, brake fluids, anti-freeze, and other chemicals) that frequently come into contact with a garage floor. These fluids can be catastrophic to natural stone because they can seep into the pores of the stone and can stain it permanently. For that reason alone, you should not use quartz, marble, or any other type of natural stone in a garage environment.
The dense composition that extends throughout the entire body of the porcelain tile pays other dividends, as well. It shows no visible effects from chemical or ultraviolet light, meaning the tiles’ brightness and colour will not be affected by these external environmental factors. As such, an impervious tile will be ideally suited for high-moisture environments and can withstand freeze/thaw conditions; this is why you will often see them used in exterior applications or as cladding on buildings, as well. In short, porcelain is stain-resistant, it’s wear-resistant, it’s not going to discolour, and it’s not going to fade. In a word: it’s impervious.
It Outperforms Ceramic
Our customers often ask about the difference between porcelain and ceramic tiles. Porcelain is a solid-through product, meaning it’s entirely composed of one material. As a dense, impervious tile, the manufacturer does not need to apply a glaze to the tiles in the firing process. It’s composed of one material through and through, so if it does have a chip or crack nothing is exposed or compromised.
Ceramic-based tiles, on the other hand, have a base medium with glazing atop it. These tiles are limited by the fact that the glaze on the surface of the tile can wear off with use. Ceramic tiles offer a broader selection of colours and may look great once installed, but over time, once the glaze has worn off or is damaged, they can stain easily.
But it’s more than just time you have to worry about. Something as simple as a car tire with a stone in it or a dropped hammer can scratch or chip that ceramic glazing off, leaving it ready to be stained by everyday garage fluids. Bottom line: ceramics are appropriate for a kitchen, a bath, and certain other interior environments, but you don’t want to put a ceramic tile floor down in your garage. It simply doesn’t have the strength or stain-resistance of porcelain.
It’s Easy To Maintain And Thrives In High traffic Areas.
Porcelain wears incredibly well, so it’s an excellent choice for high-traffic uses. It’s no secret the garage is a high-traffic environment that takes continuous abuse: heavy car tires, road salt from winter driving, water puddling up on the floor, and a variety of dripping automobile fluids. As such, a well-maintained garage floor will need frequent attention. Along with polished concrete, porcelain has an advantage over every other type of floor option: it’s not going to show any visible signs of being attacked by salt, chemicals, and automobile fluids. The dirt, grime, water, chemicals, and other fluids are simply going to float upon the surface of the porcelain, making it very easy to clean.
Big picture: it’s very easy to maintain porcelain tiles. As long as you use porcelain tile cleaner on these surfaces, they’re going to look great forever. This is a secret that another industry that deals in heavy traffic – the malls of America – have known for decades. Drive to any mall in America, and you’ll see miles and miles of porcelain tiles, still standing strong after millions of feet, strollers, and carts and all the dirt, water, and grime that they have tracked in. American homeowners, interior designers, and builders are just beginning to catch on to what many malls, restaurants, and automobile showrooms have long known: that porcelain’s durability is unmatched.
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It’s Beautiful And Customizable
We’re probably saving the most obvious quality for last here, but porcelain tile is simply beautiful. There’s a reason that porcelain tile is the flooring of choice in the showrooms of Ferrari and Maserati and countless other elite luxury automotive brands. Porcelain tile not only represents an unrivalled blend of beauty, value, and performance, but it comes in a wide range of aesthetic options. There is a truly vast portfolio of available colours, textures, finishes, and sizes, meaning that the porcelain tile flooring can be customized to fit with any individual style, space, or brand.
If you want to have a tough and durable floor that will add a touch of class to your garage, then installing porcelain garage floor tile may be just what you need. It will last for years and years, it is very easy to clean, and it will give you one of the best returns on your dollar for the duration of the floor.