Coverings give garage a new look and extended life
By Frank Wagner
Copley News Service
Once you open the door, the garage becomes the most visible part of your home. With proper care, its floor can make a difference in how the world sees your house.
The garage floor can take a beating with oil, salt and other substances being tracked in and ground into unprotected concrete. Floor coverings can not only change the appearance, but extend the life of the garage floor.
A simple coat of latex paint is watertight. It resists stains and protects the floor from things that are tracked into the garage. There are more ambitious coverings that can add to your garage's appeal and protect it from the world around it.
Epoxy is an economic way for the do-it-yourselfer to give the garage a face-lift. "Anyone can do it," says Nicole Richter of Epoxy-Coat of Mount Clemons, Mich. "Even I can do it."
Make sure the epoxy you buy is formulated for garage floors (wall epoxy uses different formulations that aren't as well-suited to garage floors). "Ours is a two-part epoxy," says Richter. "There are resins and hardener that you mix." There are also nonslip oxides applied after the epoxy is spread.
The resins, which give the epoxy its hue, come in two standard colors: gray and tan. Other colors are available as options.
Generally, according to Richter, one person will need two days to apply the epoxy. The first day is prepping the floor using a diamond grinder or a sander with 8-grit paper to remove oil and other stains.
The second day is spent mixing and applying the epoxy with a squeegee and nap roller, usually in 10-by-12 sections. Later, nonslip aluminum oxide or colored flakes are added.
Materials run $265 - an additional $20 for nonstandard colors - for a two-car garage. According to Richter, the epoxy carries a lifetime warranty against peeling and hot-tire marks; the oxide and flakes are warranted for five years.
Perhaps the simplest way to revamp your floor is with a mat. Mats are sturdy, stain-resistant means of protection and quickly installed.
According to David Begley of Better Life Technology in Lexena, Kan., maker of G-Floor mats, a mat will "hide cracks and stains, is cheaper than epoxy and we think (it is) superior."
The G-Floor standard grade is designed for residential use. According to Begley, mats were originally the width of vehicles, but as more people wanted to cover entire garage floors, the company started making alternative sizes; 20-foot deep mats are available in sizes ranging now from 7 1/2 to 10 feet in width, so two mats will cover a two-car garage.
A mat does not require any preparation or adhesive; once you get it in the garage you unroll it and the floor is covered.
Mats come in six colors and a clear one is being developed to protect floors with epoxy coatings. Prices range from $135 at Sam's Club to $210 on the Internet for a 7 1/2-by-20 mat. The mats typically last 10 to 15 years, according to Begley.
A more elaborate variation on the mat is the interlocking modular floor. Like most mats, floor protectors tend to be of made polyvinyl, a flexible PVC.
The protectors consist of nonslip squares that interlock, much like a jigsaw puzzle, and don't require adhesives. Most residential applications can be done in about four or five hours.
Squares can be mixed and matched to create lines, checkerboards or other patterns. One maker, On the Edge Marketing, has tiles with auto logos, including Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge and Mustang. Another maker, Swisstrax, can create a custom logo.
Each tile costs $4 to $7.50. Swisstrax warrants its product for 12 years; a competing product made by On the Edge Marketing carries a 10-year warranty.
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