You are not alone. It’s good to deal with your floor before the arrival of muddy autumn, followed by snow and salt, and so it’s no wonder that the Internet forums are full of questions. People are trying to figure out which variety of floor is the best, is cost beneficial and easy to make. But providing a definitive answer is no easy matter.
The options are many and the ones most often used are coatings, ceramic tiles and PVC floor tiles. Each of them has its advantages and disadvantages, and therefore their fans. However, only some of them actually meet the needs of a garage or workshop – areas that must be ready for weight, water and chemicals. An equally important consideration is the ease of maintenance.
The cheapest option is to paint
Whoever wants to save money usually chooses a cheap epoxy coating, which unfortunately requires a lot of work. The concrete floor must first be made level, and it’s not a bad idea to vacuum the surface and degrease it. It should then be primed with diluted paint and then a top coat. Today there are a wide range of shades and with the addition of some decorative parts, you can even have imitation granite. Painting looks attractive, but it has a couple of drawbacks.
Unless a sufficient layer of paint is applied, the coating will crack under the weight of vehicles. Also the paint can peel in the event of insufficient drying or under hot wheels. Another problem is the glide ratio, which you will especially feel in wintertime. Chemicals leaking from motors and the salt applied in wintertime are a problem in that they stain the paint.
Maintenance is quite easy. It’s enough to sweep or wipe down the floor. The problems start when something goes wrong and the paint cracks and begins to peel. Then it’s necessary to redo the entire floor.
Floor tiles are more reliable
The second common but considerably more expensive solution is high-quality, high-capacity ceramic tiles. If you succeed in choosing the truly right variety, the deficiencies will be minimum. Tiles are an expensive and resource-intensive installation, but they’re resistant to spilled water and chemicals and are easy to maintain. With the occasional sweeping or wiping down, they last for decades – if installed right.
But even a well-laid tile floor can become the worst. Practically every floor in the garage can handle summer conditions, but with winter comes problems. Above all, it’s the capillary action of bottom water, which gets beneath it and causes foul-smelling rot or the surface to swell.
Another problem with ceramic tiles is their brittleness. It will take just a few times before a heavy tool falls from your hands and the first tile is cracked. And that’s not talking about slipperiness. If you choose a tile with a glossy surface (glazed), you can bet they will become slippery in wintertime.
PVC floor tiles improve the properties of ceramic tiles
In order to improve the properties of ceramic tiles, production began on PVC floor tiles, which are especially good for garages, workshops or industrial buildings. Fortelock PVC floor tiles are made here in the Czech Republic. But they have something in common with ceramic tile – only that they are also assembled from tiles that fit into each other. Their assembly, however, requires no grouting. The locking sections are snapped together with a rubber hammer. The surface must first be leveled and swept, then it’s a piece of cake. It takes roughly an hour to cover an averagely large garage.
The locking pieces of the tiles are so tight that no water can get under them. If however that happens, it will simply evaporate because the tile “breathes”. They are resistant to chemicals and acids, and unlike ceramic tiles do not become slippery (they have an anti-slip design) or crack. And when any one tile is damaged, it can be replaced individually.
As with normal floor tiles, a broom and occasionally a mop is enough here. The only downside is that PVC floor tiles are not recommended for outdoor installation. Outdoor conditions are not suitable for it because their color and volume would change.
So what floor goes best in a garage?
That depends on each particular person. Some prefer a low price, and so choose painting. Others don’t want to go with classical tiles and the like. They’re not afraid of modern innovation and so reach for PVC floor tiles. We have presented the advantages and disadvantages, and now it’s only up to you to decide whether to go with a cheap solution, or rather a reliable and long-term one.