Redoing garage floor in plastic

New coverings make dirty, stained area look really clean

October 16, 2005|By KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

The humble garage floor is getting a makeover.

People are converting their beat-up concrete slabs into something more decorative. New plastic tiles can be locked together to create a checkerboard auto-racing motif. Colorful polyvinyl mats can be rolled out and pieced together to cover the entire surface.

Doug and Sue Haynes of Leawood, Kan., chose to have their garage floor professionally coated in a mixture of resin and aggregate. The result is a shiny, speckled surface that resembles a kitchen countertop.

"We wanted the garage to look clean when we pulled inside every day," Doug Haynes says. "We had the typical garage floor with cracks and oil spots that wouldn't go away. It had crumbled and deteriorated in large areas."

The Garage Beyond in Lenexa, Kan., a garage organization and redesign company, prepped the surface of the Hayneses' garage floor, using a machine that roughened the surface so the coating mixture would adhere. Several layers were applied, creating a 1/16th-inch covering. While the coating cured for several days, the couple couldn't use the garage.

"I feel like my garage not only looks better, it works better," Doug Haynes says. For example, he was able to easily wipe a rust spot off the new surface. It would have stained the old one.

Fancy flooring for the average two-car garage costs from about $225 - for do-it-yourself epoxy kits (available at home improvement stores) - to more than $1,800 for professional coatings.

Don Sneed, president of Better Life Technology in Lenexa, developed the roll-out polyvinyl floor covering with his son, Brett Sneed. They got the idea because they would hose the garage floor and the elements of winter - salt, sludge and dust - would remain on the surface. So Brett Sneed at first taped together grooved plastic mats, which looked better and were easier to clean.

Now the Sneeds manufacture large extruded-plastic mats called G-Floor in Emporia, Kan., sold at Sam's Club nationwide. They can also be ordered from Lowe's and catalogs such as Frontgate.

The floors come in several patterns such as coin and diamond tread, and colors: gray, black, brown, blue, brick red and green. The flooring is 1/16-inch to 1/8 -inch thick.

Wall-to-wall installation of the plastic mats involves sweeping out the garage, overlapping rolls and cutting them to size. The mats adhere to the floor with two-sided waterproof tape. Interlocking tiles also can be cut to fit the floor, says Todd Starr, spokesman for Gladiator GarageWorks by Whirlpool, a company that sells garage flooring and cabinets.

Tapered-edge trim pieces can create a smoother transition from the driveway to the garage. The cost of tiles, without professional installation, is more than $1,800 for the typical two-car garage.

Garage floor options

Prices are for 20-by-20-foot, two-car garages.

COATINGS

Pros: Inexpensive for do-it-yourself epoxy ($225). Slip-resistant if resin coating is mixed with aggregate. Footings can be coated to give floor a clean, cohesive look. Easy to clean.

Cons: Expensive ($1,800) for professional installation. Slippery if coating is too smooth and doesn't contain aggregate. Could peel and show marks if surface isn't properly prepped. Some coatings give off fumes. Curing takes days, sometimes a week.

INTERLOCKING TILES

Pros: Can replace a broken tile. Can create interesting patterns, such as checks, diamonds, squares, etc. Portable if you move to another house.

Cons: Expensive ($1,960). Time-consuming installation. Thickness may require tapered transition from driveway to garage.

PLASTIC MATS

Pros: Can install yourself. Make floor feel cushioned. Slip-resistant with lots of tread. Inexpensive compared with other options ($650).

Cons: Heavy (rolls range from 58 to 170 pounds). Water can seep underneath if the mat isn't wall-to-wall. Ribbed pattern can be cumbersome to clean because debris sticks in grooves.

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