Maybe you’ve been in the same home for many years and witnessed the gradual waning of your garage floor’s durability and appearance. Or perhaps you recently purchased a new house, and the homebuilder left a garage floor with minimum quality as to resilience and visual appeal. In either situation, now is the time to think about upgrading the level of garage floor protection in one of your home’s hardest working rooms.
Why Garage Floor Protection Is So Important?
Concrete garage floors take a battering. In addition to everyday vehicle and pedestrian traffic, they’re exposed to dirt and dust, grease, automotive fluids and household chemical spills, hot tires, and rock salt. And let’s not forget about the moisture brought into garages from rain and snow. Temperature changes also put stress on a concrete floor as it contracts when it’s colder and expands when it’s warmer.
That’s a lot your garage flooring has to endure.
Over a number of years a garage floor that hasn’t been maintained will start to show its age by exhibiting any of these surface flaws:
- Stains from spills, leaks, and efflorescence (a white powdery substance caused by deposits from mineral salt)
- pitting (when a surface degrades and shows many small indentations)
- an uneven surface color
- spalling (when a concrete surface crumbles or flakes away)
With so many things in your daily routine capable of causing wear and tear on a garage floor, why not start giving a little TLC to the flooring in this busy home space?
Ranking The Worst And Best Garage Floor Protection Options
We’ve put together a list of nine garage floor protection options that homeowners will commonly turn to when making garage floor upgrades. You’ll note that some at the top of the list (worst) provide virtually no floor protection benefits. We’re including them because there’s a lot of misinformation and many misconceptions out there about what protective benefit these products actually provide.
9. Floor Paint
Floor paint products do virtually nothing to protect a floor surface. Despite this fact, they’re one of the most popular options for homeowners looking to spruce up the look of their garage floor.
Why? They’re cheap and fairly easy to apply yourself (although it’s not like you can just sweep your garage floor, pop open a can of paint, and start rolling it on). Some surface prep is required, whether it’s repairing cracks or other damage, or using a heavy duty degreaser on the floor to help the paint adhere better and to get rid of tough stains.
It’s a common misconception from consumers that floor paints protect your floor. Unfortunately, once the paint has been applied and dried, all you’re getting is a cosmetic upgrade to your floor….and a relatively modest one.
Garage floor paint applications are notorious for being a short-term floor improvement “solution.” Floor paint chips and flakes quickly and will need to be touched up or fully reapplied sooner rather than later.
8. Floor Stain
They’re not as well known as floor paints, but floor stains are another product you’ll see that promises to transform your garage floors. They’re chosen purely for their decorative appearance, which adds color or even a natural stone look to a garage floor’s surface. Floor stains are usually found in water-based and acid types. Because stains add color to a floor, they can help to hide surface blemishes, but in terms of garage floor protection, stains do very little for a surface since they barely penetrate the concrete.
7. Floor Patching
Repairing a garage floor using crack sealers and fillers, concrete patching compounds, or water-stop cement does prevent further damage to problematic floor area. There are few reasons, however, to rethink this approach when dealing with your garage floor’s issues.
First of all, these types of fixes using inexpensive tubes of sealant and filler aren’t a long term floor repair solution. They typically don’t last, and will need to be readdressed in a year or two.
Secondly, these types of repairs are only practical for smaller areas, not an entire garage floor in need of fixing.
And last (but not least) is the simple matter of aesthetics. Patches, touch-ups and spot repairs just aren’t conducive to a good interior garage look, especially when they don’t match your floor’s color.
6. Floor Sealer
Another popular product homeowners choose to protect their garage floors is a roll-on sealer. They’re inexpensive, relatively easy to apply, and come in acrylic, latex, and urethane types.
But do they offer much flooring protection? As the name implies, this product does provide a seal for the floor that can protect it from stains and water damage. However, sealers don’t perform at the same level as polyurea and epoxy floor coating when it comes to protecting a floor. They don’t bond to concrete as well as higher quality coating. They also wear away faster.
Clear concrete sealer also won’t hide blemishes from patching and repairs made to the floor before the sealer is applied. Tints can be used to add some color and may produce better visual results.
5. Garage Floor Covering
Garage floor coverings like mats, rugs, parking pads, and trays tend to be used more in areas that get snow which leaves garage floors a wet sloppy mess during the winter. These products can help protect your floor, but once again the protection they offer is fairly superficial and limited.
The function that’s most appealing about them (other than their low cost) is that they help contain excess moisture from rain or melted snow and ice that is tracked in by vehicles. That keeps your garage floor cleaner.
They’ll need to be emptied occasionally in order to drain the collected water. That can be a bit of a chore since they can get heavy with all that water and be quite messy to move.
One big drawback of these types of floor coverings is that if the pooled water isn’t emptied often enough, the extra moisture can increase your garage’s condensation levels.That’s not good. And if any collected water leaks underneath the covering, the cement is at risk of damage.
4. Concrete Resurfacer
One of the products that will probably show up on your radar when you’re considering different garage floor protection options is a concrete resurfacer.
Concrete resurfacers are made up of a mixture of sand, Portland cement, polymer materials, and additional additions. A trowel brush or squeegee are typically used to apply them.
The words “concrete resurfacer” certainly imply that this product will renew a flawed floor surface, but that’s only partially true. Intended as more of a cosmetic fix for floors in need of a refresh, the benefits of concrete resurfacers are rather modest. This is partially because their application coat is usually fairly thin compared to polyurea and epoxy coating.
Concrete resurfacers are more ideal for floors with light superficial damage (meaning minor cracks and pitting). Bigger floor problems such as wide and deep cracks, spalling, and extensive pitting would need extensive repairs before applying a resurface over them. Additionally, the lifespan of a concrete resurfacer is far shorter than that of polyurea or epoxy.
3. Garage Floor Tiles
Instead of directly upgrading your concrete floor surface, another viable option is to use interlocking floor tiles in the garage. Floor tiles may be better suited to your floor upgrade budget. If you have floor damage that’s out of your price range to fix, floor tiles are a cost effective option to cover up an unattractive surface.
Just keep in mind, floor tiles will not remedy any issues with garage floor degradation but they will help minimize further surface damage from wear and tear occurring.
2. Epoxy Floor Covering
If you’re thinking of taking the DIY route when it comes to strong garage floor protection, an epoxy floor coating kit is probably what you’ll buy. We’ve all seen them in home improvement stores. Their box advertising promises to work miracles on your garage floor and boast how easy the product is to work with. And they promise all this at a surprisingly cheap price. Instead of being lured by a lower price tag, perhaps you should be wondering, “Hmmmm….so what’s the catch?”
The catch is that while epoxy coating can do a serviceable job protecting your garage floor and updating the room’s decor, they fall well short of polyurea coatings in every measure of how the coating looks and keeps your garage floor protected.
Applying any coating product requires thorough preparation of the floor surface, properly mixed materials, and usage of materials within a certain amount of time.
With epoxy and polyurea coatings, the temperature and humidity levels must also be taken into consideration. Unlike polyurea coatings, epoxies cannot be applied in extreme heat or cold temperatures.
There’s little room for error in the floor coating process, otherwise you’ll be left with a finished floor that’s visually unsatisfying and not providing you with complete garage floor protection. You’ll also need to revisit your garage flooring project for touch-ups or a complete redo sooner than you’d like.
Polyurea floor coatings require more expertise and specialized equipment to apply properly which is why these products are usually handled by professionals and cost more. Keep that in mind the next time a low cost epoxy flooring kit catches your eye.
1. Polyurea Floor Coating
Took us a while to get here, but we’ve reached the best. This high performance coating is comprised of professional-grade materials that are applied by trained professionals using special equipment to deliver long-last flooring protection.
Unlike most cheaper garage floor protection products that provide a less effective topical surface bond, polyurea coatings penetrate deeper into the concrete.
This creates a stronger foundational bond with the concrete that makes it more impermeable against water, chemicals, and other elements that can cause floor damage. With its durable top coat polyurea floor covering resists damage from impacts and abrasions, chemicals, and permanent markings left on the floor from “hot tire pickup.”
Get The Best Garage Floor Protection Available
As you can see from our list, there’s a lot to consider when choosing the right product to protect your garage floor.
Innovative Concrete Coatings can take care of your floor upgrade needs with a coating application of the best garage floor protection solution available. In as little as a day, a polyurea floor covering can be applied in your garage floor that will last for years and make your garage stand out.
Schedule a free design consultation with us today.