The following is a guest post from Luis Garcia over at Swisstrax, a very professional online source for exclusive garage flooring materials and services.
As a car enthusiast, you probably spend a lot of time in your garage beautifying your ride, your garage or even doing serious mechanical work. And when all that is said and done, your ride (or rides) should enjoy pride of place in a garage that’s as presentable as you can make it.
We all make an effort to add functional cabinets, good lighting, an impressive tool chest, a few wall pictures or neon lights, a bench and even a couple of stools. Then we look down and our first reaction is “we need to epoxy the floor”. Although the days of having a bare concrete floor in your garage are long gone, this is an area where you have an increasing number of choices: ceramic tiles, paints, concrete densifiers, modular tiles and of course, epoxy.
Epoxy paints are a popular choice because when they’re new, they provide a nice shiny finish and a seamless surface. But paints and coatings can be problematic over time. First of all, you must do solid prep work on the bare concrete, or the coating will not adhere properly. And don’t believe those 24-hour or even 3-day jobs. Proper prep and coating requires a minimum 1-week job for a long-lasting coat. Meticulous installers are known to take at least 10 days.
If you’re in an area where condensation seeps into your floors, you’re counting weeks before your shiny new surface starts to peel and bubble. Slips are also a problem with smooth, coated surfaces. Additionally, paints are notorious for staining and hot tire pickup, which leads to peeling and lifting of the paint from the subsurface.
But good quality paints or coatings can last for years, if they are applied properly and in the correct thickness – which you won’t get from a home improvement store. Even if you hire a professional installer for the job, the coating will have to be redone sometime in the future.
Mats are inexpensive and easy to install but that’s it. They aren’t as solid as you would want a load-bearing surface to be, and will distort at the edges over time.
With tiles, you have a selection of vinyl tiles, glazed ceramic tiles or polypropylene interlocking tiles. Vinyl tiles aren’t really a proper surfacing material for garage floors because they simply will not stand up to heavy loads or abuse. Glazed tiles pose the same advantages, and disadvantages of painted surfaces. And with ceramic tiles, the underlying surface has to be perfectly smooth, or else you’ll get air pockets which will cause cracks before long.
Polypropylene tiles like those offered by Swisstrax provide unique advantages for garage beautification and flooring purposes. The best garage floor interlocking tiles like these use polypropylene copolymers and are 4 point injection-molded to provide the most material and best combination of load-bearing strength (50,000 pounds), temperature resistance (-22 to 248F), chemical and UV resistance, longevity (15-year warranty), portability, maintenance (replace individual tiles even from the center) and cost effectiveness. Not to mention the infinite variety of patterns you can design with 16 different colors. You are only limited by your own creativity.
In addition, Swisstrax tiles are Swiss-engineered and made in the U.S.A., so quality is second to none. You will see this in the small details that make a superior product, such as the molding procedure that eliminates curled edges and hairline cracks, 24-point connections, slightly bowed centers to prevent curling over time, millimetric flatness for even weight support and imperviousness to automotive fluids including hydraulic and brake fluids.
The best interlocking tiles are definitely more expensive than DIY coatings but do not cost more than professionally done installations. Speaking of which, you can have your garage floor ready and usable in 4-6 hours.