If you’ve been on the road for a while, you may have noticed that cars and trucks have gotten bigger over the years. Today, the average length of a car is now 14.7 feet. To accommodate for America’s love affair with cars, garages and carports continue to grow as well. As such, car owners are spending more time taking care of these vehicle storage spaces.
A big part of this upkeep is the flooring—there is now more square footage you’ll need to cover to protect your vehicle from the elements. Your carport or garage will last longer if it’s given some additional protection from water, grime, and bad weather. If you’re not sure which material to use, we created this guide to the best flooring options.
Before You Begin
When deciding what kind of flooring you want to use, there are some things you’ll need to consider. Each material offers a different kind of protection. To ensure you choose one that meets your needs, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- How much space do you want to cover?
- What features do you want the floor to have?
- Does it need to hold up against oil, salt, or chemicals?
- Do you want style over substance or form over function?
How you intend to use the carport or garage should guide your decision. Once you answer these questions, you’ll be able to determine which material is best for you. Below we dive into five different flooring options for garages and carports.
Concrete Floor Paint
If you already have concrete flooring, paint is the most cost-effective flooring option on this list. Similar to standard interior wall paint, you roll it on the floor just as you would roll it on the walls in your home. Before you begin, make sure the floor is clean and free of dust and debris. If you notice any stains or damage, don’t fret. Paint is not only easy to apply, but it does a great job covering unsightly blemishes. We recommend using latex paint, as it is easier to clean and apply than its oil-based counterpart. If you choose to use oil-based paints, note that you must use a primer. However, this extra step does make it a bit more durable than latex. The downside to floor paint is it isn’t as tough as tiles or epoxy-based floor coverings. Water, minerals, and other debris will lead it to diminish over time. As such, you will need to touch up and reapply paint every year or two.
The majority of rigid tile on the market contains polypropylene plastic. This is a highly durable material that manufacturers have been using in consumer products since 1951. The use of plastic allows companies to be creative with the color, texture, and finish of their tiles. For example, perforated rigid tile is extremely popular because they allow water to easily drain, keeping the floor dry. Plus, the elevation allows air to get underneath, preventing mold from growing. However, perforated tile makes a clicking sound when walking on them; if you can live with this feature, then this is the perfect product for you. Further, plastics are easier to clean and less prone to stains. Installation is easy—all you need to do is line up the tiles, step on them until it clicks, and repeat until you cover the entire floor.
Rollout flooring is very similar to tile; however, it’s not as durable, so you’ll need to replace it sooner than the other carport and garage flooring options. Rollout mats are thick, rubbery material that comes in many widths, lengths, styles, and colors. If you are looking for style over substance, then mats or tiles will be your best bet. Car owners can choose to place a single mat under their car or cover the entire garage floor. Installation is simple—unroll the matting and line up the edges together, or you can allow the edges to overlap and trim them with a razor blade accordingly. Rollout mats typically contain vinyl or rubber, so they are durable to a certain degree. Like the other flooring options on this list, it is susceptible to staining. Additionally, water from melted snow and ice will make the mats very slippery. They are also prone to ripping and tearing due to rocks and debris brought in by the car’s tires. Similar to the locking tiles, rollout mats will expand and contract with extreme temperature changes, so you should never tape them down—they should be able to move as needed.
Interlocking Flexible Tiles
This type of tile does not come in many different sizes—they typically come in 12”x12” or 18”x18”. However, interlocking tile comes in a wide variety of patterns, colors, and styles so you can really customize your garage or carport floor and make it your own. Installation is pretty simple and straight forward. Cut the tiles with a utility knife (if needed to get the sizing right) and press the interlocking edges together with a rubber mallet. The textured patterns make the tiles more slip-resistant than rollout flooring. Plus, compared to rigid interlocking tiles, they offer better protection against liquids seeping in between the seams and are more comfortable for your feet. It is important to note that flexible tiles are prone to staining, but you can easily remove and replace them if this were to happen. These tiles will contract and expand due to extreme temperatures swings as well as direct sunlight. As such, make sure when you install to leave room for expansion near the walls and any other permanent structures.
Manufacturers originally developed two-part epoxy coatings for use on heavy-duty metal surfaces. Now, car owners can apply it to their garage floor as a tough, hard, protective coating. Most epoxies come as two chemicals, which users need to mix; however, there are pre-mixed, one-part epoxies that you can roll straight onto the floor. An epoxy paint floor is the toughest flooring option you can get, and it will have a nice shiny finish that will make your garage look great. To balance out these benefits, epoxy flooring can be tricky to work with. As such, preparation of the floor prior to painting it is crucial. You must clean and degrease the entire floor to make sure it’s free of dust, debris, or anything that will prevent the paint from properly adhering to the floor. Once you apply this flooring, you won’t be able to drive or park on it until it has fully cured—this can take up to a week. A typical epoxy kit comes with enough paint to cover the average one-car garage. We recommend putting down two coats though, as this will increase the durability and keep you from having to reapply as often.
If you have a garage, carport, or carport storage building combo from Best Carports that requires new flooring, use our guide to ensure you pick the right material.