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Best Garage Floor Coating: Top 8 Options Reviewed

Maybe your garage floor is starting to look like it has seen better days. Or you have moved into a new home and want to spice up the dull concrete floors. Not to worry — you have endless garage floor coating options that will give your garage floor durability and upgrade its aesthetics at the same time.

But how to choose the best garage floor coating? What different options should you consider? This article will review the eight best garage floor coatings for your home.

Why Do You Need Garage Floor Coating?

Garage floors take quite a beating in everyday life. On top of the heavy load of vehicles and foot traffic, they also endure hot tires, automobile fluids, dust and dirt, grease, and even household chemicals. In addition, in most households, garages double as storage spaces and need to put up with heavy furniture.

Also, most garages are not climate controlled. As a result, the floors are exposed to the hot temperature steaming from the bottom of an engine and the freezing temperature outside. The constant fluctuations in temperature can crack the concrete and cause structural damage to the garage floors.

In addition to brightening up your garage, garage floor coating plays a crucial role in protecting the garage floor. Depending on the coating or covering, it will shield the concrete from exposure, liquid spills, and debris. This is why it’s essential to consider the level of protection you seek when choosing a garage floor coating for your home. Additionally, not all coatings work in every climate. So, you need to analyze the properties of each garage floor coating to make an informed decision.

1. Polyaspartic Floor Coating

Pros

  • Durable
  • Cures fast
  • UV resistant
  • Resists marking
  • Works in a wide range of temperatures

Cons

  • Comparatively expensive
  • Doesn’t last as long as polyurea

Although polyaspartic coatings have been around for over 20 years, they have recently gained popularity as a garage floor coating. It comprises professional-grade materials to deliver long-lasting protection for your garage floor. Polyaspartic coating penetrates deep into the concrete to create a robust foundational bond. Additionally, it is resistant to UV exposure and will not turn yellow. It also resists marking from hot car tires — making them an excellent choice for garages.

Polyaspartic coating cures faster than both polyurea and epoxy. It has a cure time that’s long enough for easy application but fast enough for convenience. It can cure and be ready for foot traffic in as little as 2 hours and vehicle traffic in 24 hours. In comparison, epoxy needs more than 12 hours of cure time before foot traffic and around 72 hours for vehicle traffic. Additionally, polyaspartic can be applied in a wide range of temperatures.

Polyaspartic floor coating has a low viscosity. So, it can also be used as a topcoat over epoxy for added protection. It also has excellent durability. For example, 2-layer polyaspartic has an average 3-5 years lifespan. However, it can be a little more expensive than epoxy — costing $4.50-5.50/sqft. It will cost you around $3,400 to coat a two-car garage of 525 square feet with polyaspartic.

2. Polyurea Floor Coating

Pros

  • Shorter cure time
  • Lasts longer
  • Durable
  • Versatile
  • Better long-term value

Cons

  • Difficult to work with
  • Might react with UV radiation
  • More expensive

Polyurea — a combination of synthetic resin and isocyanate-reactive materials — is considered a subcategory of polyurethane that creates a durable seal to coat garage floors. It’s a flexible, synthetic, UV-resistant material (check with the manufacturer for UV resistance) that doesn’t turn yellow over time. Due to their fantastic durability, most manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty on polyurea coatings.

Polyurea has a rapid drying time, only a couple of hours before you can walk on it. Although the quick drying time makes it convenient, especially for commercial spaces, it also makes it challenging to work with and doesn’t leave the material enough time to bond with the concrete. Therefore, installers need special tools to move fast — otherwise, it can show errors.

Polyurea is incredibly durable and widely used as a garage floor coating. It’s versatile and works well indoors too. However, aromatic polyurea is reactive to UV radiation and may change colors or break the bonding. It’s also more expensive than epoxy and polyaspartic — retailing at $6.80-10 per sqft. However, since it has a longer life expectancy, it’s a better investment if you think long-term.

3. Epoxy Floor Coating

Pros

  • DIY friendly
  • Comparatively cheaper
  • Low shrinkage
  • Does not contain VOCs

Cons

  • Not as durable
  • Susceptible to UV damage
  • Cannot be installed in too hot or cold weather

Epoxy is, without any doubt, the most popular garage floor coating. It’s also excellent for DIYers. It has a curing time somewhere between polyaspartic and polyurea, which is fast enough, so you don’t have to wait too long, but it gives you sufficient time to install. In addition, epoxy does a reasonably good job of protecting concrete. But keep in mind that epoxy will not shield the garage floor against damage as well as the variations of polyurethane (polyaspartic and polyurea) coatings.

Epoxy is comparatively cheaper than polyaspartic and polyurea coatings, with a starting price point of $4.50 per sqft. But there are more expensive variations of epoxy going up to $8 per sqft. It has a similar lifespan as polyaspartic of three to five years. On top of the low price point, epoxy doesn’t require special tools and costs less to install. You can also go for DIY installation to save more.

Despite excellent properties, including low shrinkage, good chemical resistance, and the absence of byproducts or volatile organic compounds (VOC), epoxy is susceptible to UV damage. Its durability is substantially reduced if exposed to outdoor environments. Also, epoxy cannot be applied in extremely hot or cold temperatures.

4. Floor Paint

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • DIY friendly
  • Versatile colors
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • Does not protect the concrete from damages

Garage paint is a pretty easy and cheap way to add a splash of color to a gray garage. But remember that painting the garage floor does not add much to its protection whatsoever. It’s still a popular choice for garage coating because it covers up strained, old garage floors filled with oil, grease, and rust and gives them a new look. Concrete floor paints are different from standard paints — outperforming the latter when applied to garage floors.

Concrete floor paints can be latex or oil-based products. Typically, they are formulated with a satin, non slip finish designed to be durable under heavy loads and resist damage from household chemicals, grease, oil, and other caustic materials. Some latex floor paints include a small amount of epoxy resin to make the finish hard and resistant to stains — giving it some protective properties.

5. Floor Tiles

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Cost-effective
  • Adds to the durability of concrete
  • Easy to maintain
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Might crack under heavy load

Floor tiles are a cost-effective option for garage floors — especially if the concrete slab is stained or cracked beyond repair without costing an arm and a leg. Although you can install any floor tiles in garages, rigid or semi-rigid plastic, rubber, or wood composite tiles with interlocking edges are the best options. Also, ensure the tiles are tough enough to support the weight of vehicles.

Floor tiles are made of strong PVC or DRICore that adds to the durability of the concrete. Even though the tiles won’t remedy any issues you have with your existing concrete, they will minimize further surface wear and tear. Interlocking tiles are incredibly easy and fast to install. Also, you can replace individual tiles if one gets damaged or cracked. Make sure to seal up any significant dents on the concrete before installing the tiles. Otherwise, the hollow area underneath the tile can make it break when applied pressure.

6. Floor Mats

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Convenient
  • Renter friendly

Cons

  • Does not provide structural protection
  • Might move with vehicle entering and exiting
  • Traps moisture and water underneath

Floor mats are the easiest way to cover up a garage floor. You can use both rubber or polyvinyl plastic mats. In addition, floor mats are cheap, readily available, and do not require any prep work. They are a perfect choice if you are trying to cover up stains or cracks on the concrete slab. They protect the garage floor from surface wear and tear and UV damage. Floor mats also keep the dust, dirt, or spillage from the concrete.

Although floor mats help protect concrete from surface damage, it does not provide any structural protection or enhance the durability of the concrete from within like polyaspartic or polyurea coatings would. They also trap moisture and water underneath that needs to be cleaned up regularly. Another limitation of floor mats is they shift and move with vehicles entering and exiting. Choose mats with anti-skid bottoms or attach them to the concrete using double-sided tapes to limit movement.

7. Floor Sealer

Pros

  • Easy to apply
  • Inexpensive
  • Protects the concrete from spills and stains

Cons

  • Does not bond to the concrete
  • Clear floor sealers don’t cover blemishes on the concrete
  • Wears away quickly

Floor sealers are also popular with homeowners to protect their garage floors. The roll-on sealers are inexpensive, easy to apply, and come in various types, including latex, acrylic, and urethane. The sealer seals off the concrete from stains and spills. However, they do not protect at the same level as polyurethane or epoxy floor coatings as they don’t bond to the concrete. They also wear away faster and might need reapplication frequently.

Since floor sealers are clear, they won’t hide the stains and cracks on the concrete. But you can add tints to conceal the damage and improve the appearance. They are also relatively inexpensive and don’t require much expertise to apply.

8. Floor Stain

Pros

  • Improves appearance
  • Easy to apply
  • Inexpensive
  • Makes the floor seal last longer when applied over it

Cons

  • Does not provide any protection to the concrete

Although not as popular as floor paints, floor stains are another viable option to cover up imperfections of the concrete and improve its appearance. They can be of three main categories:  film-forming, penetrating, and acid stains. When applied on top of floor sealers, they stop the sealer from wearing away and provide added protection to the concrete.

Floor stains are mainly chosen for their decorative properties. They do very little for protection since they barely penetrate the concrete. It adds color to the garage floor or gives it a natural stone floor appearance. They hide blemishes on the concrete from liquid spills or cracks. Stains are also inexpensive and easy to apply.

How to Prepare Concrete Before Coating

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rL0u-Ds0jXM

Before applying whichever coating you have chosen, some prep work is involved, especially if you go with liquid coats. Here are some tips for preparing concrete to reinforce the best garage floor coating.

  • Clean the concrete thoroughly and remove dirt, debris, moisture, and grease.
  • Repair any cracks or holes using a concrete patch product.
  • Clean up grease stains using a degreaser and a stiff brush. You can do a water test to check if the grease is completely removed. Drop some water on the spot. If it gets absorbed, you have done an excellent job. If the water beads up, scrub it again and retest afterward.
  • If you have an existing coating, ensure it is bonded to the floor. Sand the entire floor until the old coating is completely matted. However, remember that not all coating can be applied over an existing coating. Do a patch test to ensure it is compatible with the old coating. You also need to remove any loose coating altogether.

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