BY ROBERT BROOME, OWNER
In this blog, I would like to discuss the most common types of flooring systems installed in garages today.
As a company, we have gotten a great deal of requests from clients to offer garage flooring services. After much prompting, we finally decided to take on the challenge of competing in this new market. We found that there are three common products in the marketplace which makeup most installations in the industry. Going in, I wasn’t really sure which product our company should focus on. So, I decided to start researching the best product that I could use to resurface my own garage floor. I not only read blogs and manufactures information online, but I took into account my own personal experience with garage floor coatings, and I was able to reach out and access information from hundreds of homeowners and Commercial businesses on their experience with garage flooring systems.
The first option that I looked at to upgrade my own garage floor was an epoxy floor coating. I had this product applied to the garage in one of my previous homes, but we had very poor results. I wrote that off to poor installation, but after a closer look, I was wrong. After doing extensive research, I found that epoxy floor coatings are not as durable as other options. Epoxy flooring is susceptible to damage by driving over the surface with hot car tires. That quickly explained why I had had such poor results. Preparing garage floors for epoxy is where most of the work lies. I did not choose epoxy because I wanted a stronger and more durable solution if I was going to go through the pains and expense of using a diamond grinder with a vacuum system on my floors. The equipment to do the job correctly is $30,000 to $40,000.
I’m in North Carolina, so I was concerned about problems with moisture. Epoxy is not a breathable material, so it can be damaged by moisture trapped below the surface as it evaporates. This can lead to the need for repairs or grinding the force back up and having to start over again from scratch.
Before starting my research, I noted that I had paid to have my driveway coated on two previous occasions within the past 3 years. The last installation was only 6 months ago, and my driveway is peeling up already due to hot car tires. I did not choose epoxy, because frankly, I don’t want to deal with this anymore. Epoxy was the least expensive solution available, but in my opinion, it’s by far the worst choice you can make for a garage floor coating.
While searching online, I found some very nice looking and seemingly durable garage tile systems. Most of these systems install easily and quickly. This seemed like a great option for me because it would not require me to remove everything from my garage. The better flooring systems that I found had coatings built-in that were resistant to mold and mildew growing under the tiles. Garage flooring systems have to address moisture issues because obviously, moisture will be brought into the garage from rain and wet car tires. I did note that these systems were a lot more expensive than epoxy floor coating but lasted much longer. Garage tiles are really the only long-lasting solution for anyone that has moisture issues with their concrete. The reason that I didn’t choose this option for my own garage is that we have to enter our garage at an angle. Garage tiles are not fixed to the floor, they are a floating floor system. If you do not enter your garage at a straight projection, floor tiles are not the best option. When you turn your car tires on these floating floors, the tiles can often pop out of place and require re-installation. This is not something that I really wanted to deal with. I would have seriously considered using floor tiles had I had a front-load garage on my home.
For me, this is the best for the system that I felt suited my home and my long term goals. Before arriving at that conclusion, I made sure to do a moisture test on my concrete. Many concrete finishers skip the step of putting down moisture barriers under their concrete installs. This will cause moisture problems, and basically, takes a floor coating completely off the table for your application.
I tested my concrete by taping down a piece of plastic to my garage floor. I left it down for 48 hours. If there was moisture evaporating from the concrete, I would have had condensation underneath the plastic. When I removed the plastic after 48 hours in my garage, the concrete was bone dry.
By the time that this blog is live, I should have already finished the floors in my own personal garage. I chose a polyaspartic floor coating. I once heard the famous entrepreneur Mark Cuban on the show Shark Tank say that entrepreneurs should, “eat their own dog food”. What that meant was, if you’re going to sell a product, you better be willing to buy and use the product yourself. I chose the polyaspartic system for a number of reasons.
I chose to purchase a product by Garage Living. They sell a polyaspartic system that they like to call their 4-Hour floor. This means that you can prepare to coat your floor in as little as four hours. The product also has super-fast drying times, so that I don’t have to store the contents of my garage overnight. If I start my project at 8 a.m., I should be able to start walking on my garage floor before 2 p.m. that same afternoon. This keeps me from having to store the contents of my garage somewhere overnight.
I also decided to use the Garage Living product because it was the only solution that I could find that had no odor. I didn’t feel that it was healthy to use a product like epoxy that has very strong smells and that can be potentially dangerous to my family and animals.
This was another huge concern for me. I had experience in dealing with epoxy floor Coatings for several years. I wanted a product impervious to chemicals, scratch-resistant, chip-resistant, that wouldn’t fade or yellow in direct sunlight, and would not lift off the floor due to hot car tires. The Garage Living product was the only thing that I could find. It is able to do all these things because it’s 4x more durable than epoxy.
Another great thing about this unique polyaspartic product is that you don’t have to wait for the perfect day to do the installation. This coating can be applied to surfaces from -30 degrees Fahrenheit to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Never get that type of flexibility from an epoxy-based product.
This fantastic flooring product stands up well In high-traffic environments like car dealerships and factories, so it should give you the beauty, durability, and value that you’re looking for in a garage touring system. This product is available in 16 colors to suit any garage. If you have questions about your garage, or how my project turned out, feel free to leave a comment or ask a question below. Thanks so much and have a fantastic day.