No matter how you use your garage, whether to store your vehicles, keep extra belongings or use as a space for activities, you’ll likely notice some wear and tear on the floor over time. Signs like tire marks, oil stains and moisture damage can all be tells that you need to increase your garage floor protection.
Below, we explore why garage floor protective coating matters and how you can properly protect your garage’s flooring for years to come.
Why It’s Important to Protect Your Garage Floor
Protecting your garage floor increases its longevity and durability. If you use your garage frequently, it’s much more likely that stains, cracks and other types of damage will occur. Therefore, when you maintain your concrete floor and protect its surface, you can avoid cracks, improve protection against moisture damage and create a surface that’s easier to clean.
Maintaining your garage floor will also increase your garage’s safety, as you reduce the chances of people falling on damaged floors. Ensuring your garage floor is even and has a protective coating will decrease the risk to you and your loved ones. This level of protection is especially crucial in the winter — garage floor winter protection guards against salt, snow and other elements that might track into your garage.
How to Protect Your Concrete Garage Floor
Applying a sealant can protect your concrete floor from elements that fall or spill on top of it. Before you apply a sealant, you must hire a professional to inspect the underlying concrete. It’s crucial to address any signs of moisture or disintegration before applying a protective coating. It’s important to open the pores of the concrete before applying protective coating using a diamond grind sander. This allows the sealant to seep into the even layers of the concrete.
Once your floor is ready, you can start looking at options to protect it, such as:
- Epoxy coating
- Polyurethane sealant
What About Garage Floor Tiles?
While garage floor tiles might look great on top of your concrete floor, garage floor tiles don’t protect your floor from degrading, stains or moisture. However, tiles might be a good option if you don’t use your garage often.
This option is usually rigid or semi-rigid plastic or wood. The tiles interlock, creating a slightly raised platform for your vehicle. The plastic options include ones made from PCS or polypropylene plastic, and wooden choices are made from composite and have tongue-in-groove edges.
Options for Garage Flooring Sealers
All garage floor sealants are divided into two categories — penetrating and topical sealers. Here’s a quick look at their differences:
These sealers react with the foundation of the floor and create a hard floor finish. Also known as non-film forming sealers, penetrating sealers still maintain a slight wet slip resistance of the original concrete floor.
The disadvantage is that they’re not waterproof or stainproof so if your end-goal is protecting and lengthening the life of your concrete, this is not a good choice.
There are several types of penetrating sealants on the market, but the two main ones are:
- Acrylic concrete sealant: This sealant offers a thin layer that can be tinted with a color. Acrylic sealants offer mild to moderate protection from oil, spills and stains. These sealants are ultraviolet stable and won’t discolor in the sun.
- Silicone sealant: This sealant provides good general protection at a low cost. It offers many benefits compared to other penetrating sealants but not as much protection as a topical option.
Protective topical sealants sit on top of the concrete and only slightly penetrate the material below. These are also known as film-forming sealants. They’re the most common type of sealant used in garages, as they’re easy to clean and waterproof. Usually, topical sealants are non-breathable.
You can get a range of colors or decorative options for this sealant or leave it clear. They offer more in terms of being stainproof and give a higher performance, longer life span and slip resistance.
What Is Epoxy Coating?
Epoxy coatings come in several colors, designs and textures, but their base is a synthetic polymer. This coating creates a robust, plastic-like layer that protects your floor from spills and water. During the curing of the epoxy coat, the solvent goes through a process of evaporation, leaving a hard, slippery finish behind.
There’s a product called epoxy paint, which is one part latex paint mixed with a small amount of epoxy. However, the paint is just a finish, not a protective layer, and it shouldn’t be confused with epoxy coating.
Some disadvantages of using epoxy coating are:
- Epoxy is a thermosetting resin that coats the floor, but doesn’t withstand the elasticity you need as your floor foundation settles.
- Epoxy cannot withstand the temperatures of Minnesota and Wisconsin winters and within a few years may encounter pitting, chipping and splitting.
- Epoxy is not UV resistant. Color will fade and yellow with exposure to the sun.
- Epoxy never fully cures. It perpetually hardens and the coating becomes brittle.
What Is Polyurethane Sealant?
Polyurethane sealer is a high-performance coating that’s a step up from epoxy, as it’s more abrasion and scratch resistant, wears longer and offers better stain resistance. Unlike epoxy, this sealant is ultraviolet stable and won’t tint yellow with age.
However, polyurethane doesn’t stick well to concrete on its own. In the past, professionals would use epoxy as a first coat and then apply this sealant to seal the epoxy over the concrete. Polyurea is a sub-category of traditional polyurethane that offers the best of both worlds. It’s ultraviolet stable, like polyurethane, and sticks to concrete like epoxy.
Some of the benefits of polyurea sealant include:
- Fast installation
- Slip resistance
- Stain- and waterproof properties
- Temperature change resistance
- Easy maintenance
- UV stable, will not fade
- 100% Antibacterial
- Polyurea has the flexibility to expand with your floor’s foundation preventing peeling, chipping or flaking.
It’s recommended that a professional installs your polyurea floor coating, as once it’s mixed, the chemicals harden quickly.
What to Consider Before Choosing a Garage Floor Protection Option
Each garage is different in terms of how homeowners use them. Therefore, you need to consider three factors when considering the best option for protective flooring for your garage:
- Durability: Is this a high-traffic space? What’s the size of your car? Is your climate wet and cold? Do you need it to be stain-resistant?
- Ease of installation: Some sealants take up to 24 hours to dry. Others take several days or much shorter.
- Maintenance: Most floor sealant options offer years of protection as long as they’re maintained. Most companies offer a two-year warranty on epoxy. At BlackHawk Garage Door, we offer a 15-year warranty on polyurea for residential properties.
Contact BlackHawk Garage Door Today for Garage Floor Sealing
If you want to install a new protective coating for your garage floor or repair your existing coating, we’re here to help. BlackHawk Garage Door is a family-owned business that has years of experience in the business, and our team can help you decide on the best garage floor protection.
If you’re located in Minnesota or western Wisconsin, contact us today to schedule garage floor services!