Find the Best Matting for Your Garage Floor
A garage floor can take an unusually harsh beating most of the time due to the items stored in them. Rubber or vinyl garage flooring can help protect your garage floor from unwanted damage that may end up costing you more money in the long run. Synthetic rubber variations allow you to purchase a thick garage mat without having to worry about common household chemicals ruining the rubber’s integrity. Thinner PVC mats are also available for chemical resistant garage matting. With various garage floor options available, ranging from interlocking garage tiles to custom cut rolls, matte and metallic surface finishes, there is a garage mat best suited for your garage and the items you store in there.
1. What is the Best Flooring for a Garage?
There are three material types of garage flooring available: rubber, synthetic rubber and vinyl (PVC). Each material variation comes with its own set of added benefits and durability that are ideal for a garage floor. Both rubber and vinyl garage floor options come with added surface patters for added gripping points for your shoes to grab onto when you are walking. While vinyl only has one material variation, there are multiple variations of rubber material, each being design to withstand harsher environments. These synthetic rubber variations offer added resistance against extreme temperatures, common household chemicals and grease/oil.
1(a). Rubber Garage Floor Options
A rubber garage floor is probably the most popular choice of garage flooring people tend to lean towards since rubber naturally possesses a high coefficient of friction, giving it excellent non-slip qualities. It is also thick enough to protect the subflooring underneath from any damage in case a heavy object is dropped. Natural rubber garage matting is available in two different variations: recycled rubber and reclaimed rubber. Recycled and reclaimed rubber are both extremely durable variations of rubber since they are both made from old or unused vehicle tire rubber. Recycled rubber is made up of finely ground pieces of vehicle tire rubber that is then mixed in with a binder to form a larger sheet of rubber. Due to this manufacturing process, recycled rubber has a slightly porous finish; despite this, it is extremely abrasion resistant. Reclaimed rubber is made up of scrap rubber from vehicle tires as well; however, it goes through a process called vulcanization to meld the pieces of rubber together instead of, essentially, gluing them back together like recycled rubber. Vulcanization is the process of heating scraps of rubber together with sulfur to meld them together to form a larger more solid piece of rubber. This process gives reclaimed rubber a more solid finish which allows to it be able to resist moisture slightly better than its recycled counterpart.
1(b). Synthetic Garage Flooring
Thermoplastic rubber is the most common form of a synthetic garage floor due to its ability to withstand harsher conditions and environments than natural rubber. A thermoplastic rubber garage floor offers added strength, chemical resistance, grease/oil resistance and resistance to high temperatures. Thermoplastic garage matting is the ideal flooring material for those looking for thick garage floor options with the same properties rubber has, plus more added benefits. Its grease/oil resistance is ideal for garages since vehicles can sometimes leak grease or oils onto the garage floor or track it in on their tires. Additionally, most often, people store common household chemicals in garages or basements increasing the possibility of spills. Many choose to purchase synthetic rubber flooring for their garage floor due to its level of durability and added chemical and grease/oil resistance.
1(c). PVC Garage Matting
A PVC, or vinyl, garage mat is another popular flooring option people tend to purchase for their garage floor. People generally tend to purchase PVC garage matting for their low cost and high levels of chemical resistance. PVC is slightly more resistant to chemicals than synthetic rubbers and is 100% more chemical resistant than natural rubber. To corroborate these claims, “Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) has become a universal polymer with many applications because of its low cost and physical, chemical and weathering properties” (sciencedirect.com). A PCV garage floor can commonly be seen in industrial garage settings with heavy objects and chemicals being moves around and stored. PVC garage mats also come in a variety of metallic finishes for added reflective qualities to better illuminate dark areas.
2. Types of Garage Floor Options
There are two common garage floor options available: interlocking garage tiles and flooring rolls. These tiles only come in rubber materials; however, plastic tiles are also an option but we currently do not hold them, but we may in the future. Interlocking garage tiles are only available for rubber garage flooring but, the flooring rolls are available in both rubber and vinyl materials. Both rubber and vinyl flooring options are available with various surface patterns including coin, block and diamond-grip. Due to the several choices of customizable garage flooring available, finding a flooring option is simple and painless.
2(a). Interlocking Garage Tiles
Interlocking garage tiles are only available in rubber materials; however, as mentioned earlier, plastic interlocking tiles may be brought in later on. The interlocking mechanism of this garage mat makes for an easy installation and customization process. To install, simply connect the tiles together by their edges and keep adding on tiles until you have reached the right size to cover the desired space. Other variations of interlocking garage tiles include plastic connector pins to connect the tiles together that way. No adhesives are required to install this product since they are meant to move with whatever is on its surface to give the tiles longer life; however, adhesives may be used to create a sturdier surface. Since adhesives are not technically required to install interlocking garage tiles, this matting option is more ideal for garages that do not experience heavy wear and tear.
2(b). Garage Flooring Rolls
Flooring rolls can be cut to a custom length up to 50 consecutive feet. Because of this, it is the most recommended garage matting option since it requires permanent application and is sturdier than interlocking garage tiles. Garage flooring rolls are available in rubber, synthetic rubber and PVC materials for you to choose from. These rolls are ideal for covering wall-to-wall spaces and, unlike tiles, need to be adhered to any and all surfaces with some sort of adhesive, whether it be double-sided tape or glue. Since flooring rolls are generally meant to be more permanently installed than interlocking tiles are, they are ideally recommended for garages that experience heavy wear and tear.
How Much Does Garage Flooring Cost?
Investing in a protective garage mat is inexpensive and will continuously save you money in repairing your garage floor. PVC is slightly cheaper than rubber but, both will provide excellent coverage and protection for your garage floor. Vehicle tires can scrape up the surface of the floor and vehicle oils can leak out from the exhaust and cause extensive damage, even to concrete flooring. Moreover, heavy objects typically stored in garages can fall and dent or crack the floor if accidentally dropped. This can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars in reparations than the cost of a rubber or PVC garage mat.
What is the Best Color for Garage Flooring?
For those looking for an industrial look or aesthetic, earth tones such as black, grey and brown are available in both rubber and PVC materials. A PVC garage mat can also be purchased in various metallic shades that offer a reflective surface. The reflective surface of these metallic mats can be beneficial in low light settings such as garages. Low light settings can be much more dangerous when you are trying to park your car. Although vehicles come equipped with headlights (and brake lights in the back), it can be difficult to completely see and gauge distance when there is minimal lighting; this is especially true if you are backing into the garage.
How Do You Install Garage Flooring?
There are two main methods of adhering garage matting to the surface of your garage floor. The two adhesives generally used to install these mats are double-sided tape and glue. Usually, interlocking tiles do not need any sort of adhesives to install; however, interlocking garage tiles do need to be adhered since garages tend to see heavier objects (i.e. cars) moving around. Because of the heavy wear and tear environment garage mats will experience, it is important to fasten them to the surface below. Double-sided tape is a more temporary installation option generally used in places that does not experience heavy foot traffic or wear and tear. This method allows for easy removal in case of any damage to the mats. Glue is the most recommended method of installation for a garage floor. It is meant to be permanent and not intended to be taken off for a long time and is the sturdiest method of installation available which is why it is highly recommended for garage flooring.
Both rubber and PVC garage floor options are ideal for garage flooring. Synthetic flooring options are also available in the form of thermoplastic rubber if you are searching for a rubber garage floor that can withstand common household chemicals and higher temperature. Customizable garage flooring such as, interlocking garage tiles and rolls cut to custom lengths, make it easy to find the perfect flooring option that will fit the size of your garage perfectly. Choosing the correct garage floor for your individual garage setting can prove to be an investment worth making that will end up saving you more money in the long run.