Whether it’s a layer of concrete, an assemblage of tiles, or another protective sealant, deciding to refloor your garage is no small undertaking. But most homeowners who embark on the home improvement project agree that it’s well worth the time, investment, and energy. Once the renovation is complete, the garage may very well become your favorite part of the house!
Before you choose a garage floor coating, however, it’s important to research and weigh your options. Traditionally, reflooring has been done with an epoxy coating. Today, while this is still a viable alternative, it is usually more protective and effective to go with a polyurea layer. This is because the latter offers more benefits, from a faster curing time to a long-lasting, stain-resistant finish.
Coating Versus Covering
When it comes to garage floor protection, your two primary categories of choices fall under coverings or coatings. Coverings are usually comprised of interlocking tiles or mats, and although they can be an easy-to-assemble, highly durable option, they tend to be several times more expensive than most coatings.
Coatings, by contrast, are applied in a paint or sealant form and can range from single to multilayer thicknesses. Although coatings can be installed without professional help, this is generally the reason they fail; if an epoxy is applied too slowly or not given adequate time to cure, it can fail to set and end up leaving the garage floor just as vulnerable as before. Likewise, paint coverings, whether oil-based or latex, are cheaper but less protective options. The paint used for garage floor coating is essentially just a heavy-duty variation on wall paint, and thus leaves the floor susceptible to a variety of elements, from moisture to cracks and chips.
If you’re looking to protect your concrete floor from drips, drops, cracks, and crud, polyurea is generally the best choice. Although stains that produce a marble-like design on the floor may be aesthetically enticing, they really don’t provide any practical benefit for your floor other than a bit of gloss. Polyurea, on the other hand, is moisture-resistant, cures extremely quickly, and resists stains, extreme temperatures, and harsh chemicals and oils. And unlike epoxy, polyurea won’t fade from light exposure over time; it will retain its glossy finish from the first day of its use to its last.
If you’re still not sure which kind of garage flooring option is right for you, ask yourself some questions to get a better idea of what you’re really looking for. For instance, do you plan on doing a lot of repair work, and if so, what kind? Are you hoping to achieve a certain interior look, or is pragmatism your biggest concern? Knowing exactly what kind of future you plan for your garage will help facilitate the decision-making process and leave you with the assurance you’ve made the right choice.