Garage Flooring: Consider this before Designing and Installing
Garage Floor Entrance
We always recommend that all DIY garage floor installers begin the installation from the entrance of the garage. The primary reason is to allow you to easily place the first row at the exact place you want the ramp edges and the garage tiles to be. Remember that the entrance of the garage needs to look the best as it is the first area you will see when entering the garage.
A common question we get goes as follows: So why can’t I install the ramp edges last? The answer is that nothing prevents you from installing the edges last. However, special consideration should be given to what type of edges you choose. We make ramp edges with loops and ramp edges with NO loops (pegs). When you start your installation at the back of the garage, you will end up needing ramp edges with NO loops. Also, when you start your installation from the back of the garage, you may need to shift the entire floor because you cannot cut tiles at the entrance of the garage. If were to cut the tiles at the entrance of your garage, you would not be able to use the edges because you would be cutting the tiles’ locking mechanism.
Because of potential mishaps that can occur when beginning the installation in the back of the garage, we always recommend that our customers begin the installation at the entrance of the garage. If you do, you will need to buy the ramp edges with loops. I assure you that for first time installers, this method will be much simpler and less likely to result in any mistakes.
To Center or Not to Center a Room
Most garages do not have exact round number dimensions. In other words, they tend to measure “X” ft. and “X” inches. In many cases, the garage itself has one width dimension on the entrance of the garage and another on the back of the garage. What this means to you is that you will have to cut along one or two walls to finish the sides. Remember that our garage floor tile measure 12 by 12 inches.
So what does Centering the Room mean? It is basically the method to locate the center of the room. In this case you are finding the center of the garage. Because you will need ramp edges at the entrance of the garage, you only need to find the center line splitting the garage in two (from side to side) as illustrated on Figure-1.
Of course, if you only want to cut along one wall, then this technique is not needed. All you would need to do is start the installation at one of the corners nearest the entrance of the garage. Please be aware if you do not center the room, the pattern you choose may look unfinished or incomplete. Please review our article called Interlocking Floor Tiles: Popular Design Layouts and look at the Double Checkered example to better understand what we mean about unfinished pattern.
If your garage has drainage, it is recommended that you use our drain tiles on the portion directly above the drain. This will allow any water that enters your garage to drain easier. You can also use our drain tiles for your entire garage flooring. The advantage of using the drain tiles for the entire garage is that the floor will look cleaner. The disadvantage is that when you do clean, it may take longer as you will need to use a shop vacuum and in many cases a power washer. This is a good option for many people leaving in northern states where snow is common.
Garage Floor Installation Over Epoxy Floor or Smooth Surfaces
Customers who are unhappy with epoxy floor paint often turn to garage floor tiles. Epoxy paint will tend to come up if it is not installed properly or if an inappropriate type of epoxy paint is used, especially when the concrete floor is old and stained with oil. There are many different qualities of epoxy paint, and they are not all created equally. In a typical installation, it is very hard to maintain the bond between the epoxy floor paint and the concrete. The result is separation of the epoxy paint from the concrete when large amount of pressure is applied.
Over time, epoxy will look like it is peeling off from the concrete. When you are installing our garage floor tiles over epoxy floor paint, the floor tends to be smooth and slippery. Because of this, we recommend the use of double sided tape. By doing so, you will create more friction between the smooth epoxy floor underneath and the garage floor tiles above. Essentially, it will prevent the tiles from sliding. Note that you do not need to put double sided tape on every garage floor tile. You can usually place a few strategically placed large “X’s” on the floor. In some cases, parallel lines running from the back of the garage to entrance is more appropriate as it will allow the water to flow out of the garage easier. If you have a drain in the garage, make sure the double sided tape does not create water retaining walls that would prevent the water from draining properly.
Car Lifts and other Permanent Obstacles
When you plan to have a car lift inside your garage, we recommend for you to install the lift first and then the garage floor. This will allow your lift installers to secure the car lift directly to the concrete making the installation much more secure. When you do install the garage floor tiles, you would cut the tiles to fit around the posts.
In many large garages, you will also find posts or columns. When this is the case, you should also cut the garage floor tiles to fit. You can install the entire garage first and cut the garage tiles to fit around the posts at the end of the installation. For advanced installers, you can cut during the installation as you reached the obstacle. Since you are installing one row at a time, it would be easier for you to cut the tile and install prior to continuing to the next row. The disadvantage is that you would not be able to shift the floor as the obstacles would prevent you from doing so.
If the Garage Floor has a Step?
Many garages have a concrete area that separate the main parking floor to the rest of the garage. In these situations, we recommend for you to use the garage floor tiles for the main parking area and then use epoxy floor paint for the rest. The garage floor tiles are rigid and would not conform to a step. Remember, that your car will not be driven up the step so the epoxy floor paint would not peal off easily.
Using a Jack on top of the Garage Floor Tiles
Many jacks tend to have very sharp edges around the base of the jack. When using the jack to lift a vehicle, there may be too much stress on a small section of the tile. We recommend that you place plywood between the jack and the garage flooring so that stress marks are not formed. Using this technique will best preserve your garage floor tiles.