How to Choose Garage Floor Covering?

Garage floors are very different than any other floors within the household. Because garages are used for utilities and usually have cars parked within them, they are susceptible to damage. Protection of these floors is key because of the chemicals that come in contact with them. Some of these chemicals that are detrimental to the floor are: oil, antifreeze, battery acid, salt, brake fluid, gasoline, air conditioner freon, and transmission fluid.

Not protecting a garage floor will lead to deterioration of the floor and unexpected expenses down the road. It is a good idea to protect the floor right away using garage floor covering so that these expenses are prevented. Not only do chemicals ruin the floor of the garage, they also present a danger to people when walking; a chemical spill (depending on the chemical) can make the floor very slippery and therefore dangerous to the family and/or visitors walking through the garage.

Homeowners have several options in protecting a garage floor. Some are better than others in the way of longevity and strength against certain chemicals. The options in protecting a garage floor from damage are:

garage floor covering

Paint – This is the least expensive of garage floor coverings but the least effective. Although you get to choose any color that adds to the aesthetics of your garage, the protection is not nearly as strong as the others. In addition, those who choose to go with a layer of paint must repaint every so often to keep a layer of protection on the garage floor. The cost for painting the garage floor is minimal and usually done by the homeowner. So, the overall cost will be anywhere from $20 to $50 for the paint.

Epoxy Coating – This is one of the most commonly used method is to paint the floor with. Epoxy garage floor covering is great for sealing in the floor’s porous surface so that chemical spills do not seep into the floor and damage it. This method is somewhat difficult and takes more time than other methods. Though if done properly becomes a much more durable method than paint. A good layer of epoxy will give a garage a brilliant shine like a sportscar showroom. Before applying the epoxy, one must prep the surface. Not preparing the surface properly will compromise the protection significantly. Also, the application must be thorough enough so that subsequent applications are not needed. Furthermore, the application of epoxy must be done with adequate ventilation. If one chooses to have a professional apply the epoxy instead of doing it his/herself, they can expect to pay anywhere from $5 to $15 per square foot; this does not include the cost of the materials.

PVC or Vinyl Mats – These are by far the easiest to clean. Also, since the mats are made of PVC, they let nothing pass through the mat. These mats come in square mat types as well as roll out types. Roll out types can be shaped, formed, and designed with a variety of colors and designs to add to the aesthetics of your garage. Most of the time, these come in roll-out type strips or square pieces that need to be installed. Usually they are quite easy to install and do not require a professional. Homeowners can expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $1,000 to cover the entire garage. The price for these roll-out type mats depend on the size of the garage.

Garage Tiles – Tiles for the garage are probably the best but most expensive method to go with. Garage tiles are no different than home tiles; the difference is in the adhesive used to lay them down. Like epoxy coating, the floor must be perfectly cleaned and prepared before application. Garage tiles are great because they look good and provide a non-porous surface so that chemical spills can be cleaned up easily. And, since the tiles are not porous, spills will not damage the tiles as long as the spill is cleaned up right away. If the homeowner chooses to do this project on his/her own, they are looking at anywhere from $200 to $1,200 for materials depending on the size of the garage. If a professional installs garage tiles, the price can cost anywhere from $1,200 to $8,000 depending on the size of the garage.

Parking Mats – These mats, as specified in the name, are simple mats that you park over. Although they just protect the area underneath the car, they are very sturdy. And, like all over mat-type methods, they can be easily removed for cleaning. Parking mats are perfect for those who do not use the garage for anything else but parking. However, if any members of the household use the garage for car repairs or jobs that require the use of chemicals, parking mats would not provide the coverage necessary to protect the floor. Because parking mats require no installation, the cost is for the materials only. Homeowners can expect to pay anywhere from $30 to $300 per garage floor covering mat depending on what material and/or design they choose.

Some garage floor coverings are permanent and some are not. Flat mats and roll-out mats can be taken up as easy they are put down. However, most of these methods leave areas for corrosive chemicals to seep through. However, some prefer these methods because mats can be taken up and cleaned thus reducing the amount of dirt that can be tracked into the home. Another benefit of mats is that they can cover unsightly stains. Additionally, mats, unlike coatings do not require the work of application; most can be simply rolled or placed onto the surface. Although some methods are preferred over others, any floor covering for the garage is better than no covering at all. Most homeowners don’t even consider this fact and find themselves having to repair the garage floor before selling or renting the home. It is always best to prevent this situation by employing a garage floor covering no matter what type of covering one chooses.


Darren Urman became a professional writer 15 years ago, when he retired as a building contractor. Darren joined the THF team of writers in July, 2009. He enjoys cooking, writing, and traveling.

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