Turn a Garage Floor into a Work of Art

by Marc Dickinson

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When you pull into your garage every night, you probably make a beeline straight for the house. You never spend more time than necessary in this area because it's usually not worth spending any of your time. They're dank. They're cold. They smell like stale concrete. It's just a place to park your car. If this is true, then you're wasting an awful lot of interesting space. Have you ever wondered why a car always looks better at a dealership? Or how professional mechanics always make their work areas feel comfortable and organized? It's because they have to spend a lot of time there. And they understand that their cars look better, and they feel better, in a place that doesn't resemble a dungeon. And the same it true for you: by simply renovating your garage flooring, you may turn this waste of space into a place worth visiting.

Not Just for Cars
If you're thinking about putting time, money, and man hours into new garage flooring, why let your cars soak up the benefits. Try to rethink the space. By transforming a cement structure into an actual living space, you open yourself up to a lot of options that can add resale value to the home. Why not make it into a workout room or an entertainment area. And if you don't have a basement, this space could be great for a ping pong table, a TV, a home office, or a music studio for any up-and-coming garage band.

Designer Tile
Many homeowners have found a very simple way to turn their dingy garage into a cozy studio. Just by laying down a new garage floor, this space transforms from a shed into an inviting living area. The easiest method is designer tiles. These rubber mats seam together to give the look of a unified cover. Not only do they look stylish and smell better (what's better than the smell of new plastic right out of the package), they also provide many other practical benefits.
Protection: The most important advantage is they protect your garage floors from dripping paints, oils, or other car fluids that can easily penetrate and stain porous concrete. Also, they provide a vapor barrier against moisture build-up, which prevents concrete mold. Plus, you can even buy some designer models with raised ribbing on the surface which will channel any extra liquids out of the garage for good.
Traction: If your garage's pavement is polished and smooth, there is always risk for accidents (especially if you have slippery liquids falling from cars). These mats come with traction-control grips that give the ground its proper footing. Plus, you'll no longer track dirt, salt, or slush into the house: leave it on the plastic mats for easy clean-up.
Concealment: If you already have cracks, tire tracks, or stains spotting the ground, these rubber rugs can hide any unsightly blemishes.
Levels: So your garage flooring is uneven. Well, these tiles can be adjusted to make any surface appear level.
Comfort: If you spend a lot of time fixing up the car, then these mats are great insulators against both noisy echoes and chilly cement. Plus, they are great cushions for your feet.

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Designer Coating
If installing mats feels a bit "pieced together," then a more elegant (though more expensive) route is designer coating. By covering the ground with epoxy-based paint, you get the protection you need while still being able to create a unique look to your garage flooring. Paint resists stains because it doesn't allow the liquids to soak into the concrete right away. Plus, this resilient surface makes it easier to wipe up spills. However, it is not impervious to stains and so still needs proper upkeep and maintenance. Also, you can add aggregate compounds to the coating for additional traction. But the biggest reason to choose this kind of form covering is the look: you can design patterns, pictures, portraits, and any other artistic flourish to make your garage flooring (and your cars) look better. Tip: Always hire a pro for this type of work. Not only are they trained artists, but they're also professionals who know how to prepare the concrete if it requires any additional cleaning, sealing, etching, or base coats.

Marc Dickinson has worked in both the general contracting and landscaping trades and is currently a home improvement freelance writer with over 300 articles published.