Garage Floor Info

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I came across some good info on garage floors that I don't want to lose. This was from a mailing list discussion in May, 2006 or so.

Maura in Vancouver, Canada summarized as follows:

There have been some good suggestions on garage floors. This is a summary, with a few of my own opinions thrown in.

The best liquid-applied floor, used in professional garages, is a two-part epoxy, which will in the end have a thickness far greater than paint. The down side to this is the requirement for professional application, and the need to prepare the floor with acid etching (muriatic acid) or shot-blasting.

Paints designed for concrete floors are much thinner coatings than epoxy. They are much more subject to damage, but much easier to apply yourself, and can be reapplied at regular intervals. If you are willing to repaint regularly, or don't mind chips and scrapes, this is a good compromise, cheaper and reasonably effective for a non-commercial garage.

12 x 12 vinyl composition (VC) tiles are make an excellent floor, but will not withstand the point loads of lifts and jacks without cracking, so using something underneath them will save the floor. The cheap ones, under $2 a square foot, found everywhere, require an annual coat of wax or acrylic sealer. THe expensive ones are made of pure vinyl and do not require any wax or sealer. The pure vinyl tiles are much less resistant to cracking. Installing either VC or pure vinyl tiles is a do-it-yourself job.

Rubber flooring, sometimes called 'Pirelli flooring' (Pirelli was the originator) is the type of flooring with raised circles on it that is often seen in high-traffic areas like airports. Because it is rubber it has resiliency, and will withstand point loads that VC tiles will not. It comes in 24" x 24" tiles that interlock, but the seams are barely viable when it is correctly installed. If money is no object, this makes a fantastic garage floor. It is oil and chemical resistant.

Staining concrete is an aesthetic measure, as stain will not eliminate the dust that comes off concrete nor reduce its absorbancy sufficiently for a garage. It is the sealer over the stain that provides the serviceability of this kind of finish.

Wax and linseed oil (or other oils) make an extremely cheap and effective finish for concrete. Repeated applications of wax build up on the floor, making it more resistant to spills over time. It becomes a nice, golden motorcycle oil color. Any damage is readily repaired with a new coat of wax. It will not resist all chemical spills, but may allow your clumsiness to be forever commemorated in your floor. Cheap, easy, do-it-yourself, perfect for Concours owners.

Any concrete floor, with or without a vapor barrier, requires a minimum of 30 days, and preferably 3 to 6 months, to cure after being poured before applying any finish. During this period the hardening process of concrete releases moisture that will prevent a finish from adhering. A concrete mix that had too much water in it when placed can continue to emit moisture for years. Water problems under the slab can also cause the concrete to be continually re-wetted, and thus continually emitting moisture.

To test for concrete moisture, tape a square of 6 mil poly on the floor with duct tape, making sure the tape completely seals the poly to the floor with no gaps. the square should be 12" x 12" to 24" x 24". Depending on how large the floor is, you might want to test in 2 or 3 locations. Wait 24 to 48 hours. If there is any moisture beaded up on the poly it means that there is still sufficient moisture coming off the concrete to prevent the adhesion of paint or glue.

There are water-based sealers that can be used on concrete that has too much moisture in it, but they tend to lack the durability necessary for a garage.

Like anything, you have to decide your priorities. There is no 'best' finish for a garage floor, you have to decide what is best for you- based on the proposed use, your budget, the condition of the concrete and your personal taste.



This page was last edited April 01, 2008.