Garages are notorious for taking a beating. Whether you’re storing multi-ton vehicles on them or tracking in the elements, they need to be taken care of to ensure their long-term success.
How do you do that? Garage floor coatings.
And in this article, we’ll be answering the question: what is the best garage floor coating?
What are Garage Floor Coatings?
A garage floor coating is a thin covering that directly adheres to the concrete slabs on your garage floor. They are specifically designed to retain and enhance the longevity of the concrete.
These coverings are similar to other flooring in your home, whether they have paint, sealer, or epoxy over the surface. Unlike those used in your home or on a deck, these need to be of higher durability and strength.
This means when you’re looking for coatings, don’t expect to find one described as ‘beautiful’. Coating for garage floors is all about function over form. That’s not to say there aren’t good looking options, they will be less common for maintaining your garage.
Why Invest in a Garage Floor Coating?
There are a lot of reasons you might consider investing in a coating.
First: do you use your garage often? If so, it’s likely the concrete will wear and stain over the years.
And there are really only two types of concrete: cracked concrete and concrete that hasn’t cracked yet.
Think about every time you pull into the garage after a rainy day. All that water drains to the floor, weakening the concrete and staining it darker than the surrounding areas. A floor coating can help maintain that concrete longer.
Second: aesthetics. Yes, you’ll be avoiding stains, but you’ll also be adding a unique look and feel to your garage.
Further, a coating and covering can provide more insulation than bare concrete. You won’t be saving hundreds off this installation, maybe pennies if you’re lucky, but walking out onto the garage floor barefoot won’t give you the chills anymore.
Third: safety. Concrete can be slick. Many of the resins and coatings mentioned below come with textured options that reduce and eliminate slipping on slick concrete floors.
They also mean if you drop something heavy the floor won’t crack or break, meaning you won’t trip later on.
Best Coating for Durability: Epoxy
For our money (and likely yours), epoxy is the best garage floor coating. Why? Because it’s an adhesive with incredible durability.
It’s also flame-resistant, water-resistant, and stands up against germs and bacteria.
Epoxy is applied like paint and often is a two-part process for installation. The first is applying a resin followed up by applying a hardener.
There are 100% solid epoxies that can only be deemed as best of the best, coming with durable, thick finishes. You can expect it to finish hardening within 24 hours and come out with a nice, bright sheen.
Note, this type of epoxy has a lot of chemicals in it (some brands more than others) thus you should have ventilation available when installing. If you’re concerned about this, there are companies that do coating installation on a regular basis.
Water-based epoxy brands often have fewer chemicals involved. It will take longer to finish drying, likely two to three days.
Trade-offs include less durability, but a cheaper upfront cost.
Maintenence and Looks
Epoxy coatings can make your concrete rock hard and don’t require tons of maintenance. Depending on the brand you use and the overall condition of your garage, you may need to apply a new coating once every decade at most.
It has a nice sheen to it and can be slick when wet. Additional color flakes are designed to give some extra traction to the epoxy, sprinkled into the resin before it fully dries.
There are several color options available, though don’t expect anything crazy.
Best Coating for Aesthetics: Concrete Floor Paint
If you’re going for a fresh new look, this is likely the best option. There are so many colors, textures, and styles that it can be difficult to know what is best.
Here’s what info we can provide. Concrete floor paint won’t hold up as well as epoxy, and depending on how often you use your garage, you may find yourself having to reapply new coats every few years.
But you get the benefit of choosing a look that is perfect for your home. This can be something matte and simple, to shimmering metallic and extravagant. There are a lot of options that will make the floors look amazing.
The upfront cost is lower than epoxy, as well, meaning that if you aren’t using your garage for anything strenuous, and thus don’t need to reapply paint every few years, this can be a budget-friendly option.
Best Coating for Budget: Concrete Sealer
On a budget? Concrete sealer may be the way to go.
A concrete sealer is affordable and a great way to keep your concrete stain-free. Most sealers will generate a clean, shiny concrete floor and cost a fraction of what a multi-step epoxy costs.
Like epoxy, there are two options: solvent-based sealer, or a water-based sealer. Solvent has more chemicals and will require more ventilation during application. Water-based will be less durable but will release fewer chemicals.
If your garage isn’t well ventilated this can prove to be an issue, as the chemicals will have an odor for some time. The texture will also be slick and require resealing every few years, though less frequently than reapplying concrete floor paint.
What is the Best Garage Floor Coating?
So what is the best garage floor coating? Like we said early on, for durability, there’s nothing that beats epoxy. For price, aesthetics, or a combination of the three, well, that’s up to you to decide.
Whatever you choose for your garage, there are installers who want to help you today. Reach out to our team and we’ll connect you with local specialists who can get your garage floor in perfect shape to meet you and your family’s every need.