I want first to say there isn’t a perfect garage flooring solution. It doesn’t exist. What I consider to be the best garage flooring solution is based on my experience with several different products and applications over the years. I’ve gotten myself into many online debates with people who’ve claimed that epoxy flooring is the ultimate garage flooring solution. I beg to differ. There are instances where it makes sense to have epoxy on your garage floor, but for our purpose, we want functional flooring that looks good in our garages and shops.
A major part of my journey has been to provide the world with end-to-end garage solutions. I guess you can call it one of my purposes in life. This chase for solutions in the garage includes pressure washers, air compressors, air distribution, car lifts, garage storage, power and lighting, audio, cabinets, and of course, garage flooring. All the things that make for a legit garage setup. My proposition to you is that you trust the knowledge I’ve obtained from vetting all of these products and buy from me with confidence.
Reasons to Stay Away From Epoxy Flooring
Again, this is from my personal experience. I hate epoxy flooring. Okay, hate is probably too strong of a word, but my extreme dislike for it is real. I’ve seen some good examples of epoxy, but I’ve also seen quite a few bad ones. So, why would you want to steer clear of epoxy floor painting?
- Gets dirty fast. I don’t like to waste energy or time, so spending an hour cleaning my garage floor so that it can look like crap shortly afterward is not my idea of a good time. The purpose of having a tile flooring system is so that you can spend more time doing the things you enjoy in your garage with very little attentiveness and maintenance to the actual floor.
- It’s ugly, and it’s a mess. I’m not a fan of the flakes (or chips) you toss everywhere to cover up the imperfections of the epoxy. I’m a bit of a crazy person and want my garage flooring dialed in. No funky crap laying on top of my concrete pretending it looks good.
- Chips and cracks easily. Chips and cracks are a very common problem with epoxy. Water or dampness can cause existing resin coating to bubble and result in debonding from the substrate. If you’re pushing a rolling toolbox across your garage floor, the wheels can catch on to the damaged spots causing more damage resulting in expensive repairs.
- Peeling. You’ll experience peeling with hot tires. This kind of damage means you’ll have to refinish the entire floor rather than simply popping a garage floor tile out that’ll take you less than 3-minutes to do. We have a really cool tile popper tool that does this with ease.
- Shiny. Friends don’t let friends have shiny garage floors. I don’t want to see the light from my ceiling reflecting off my floor. Especially when you have epoxy and every darn defect is visible.
- Slippery. Walking on epoxy floors is an ACL tear waiting to happen even with the anti-slip coating. This kind of flooring can become quite dangerous, especially for those of you who live in areas with lots of rain or snow. I’m in Florida, so we get our fair share of heavy rain.
- Hard to find dropped items. One of the most frustrating things I’ve experienced when dealing with epoxy floors is finding something that fell out of my hand or off my garage worktable. I’m standing there for several minutes looking for a screw or fitting and getting annoyed because I’m in the twilight zone.
Everything from tire marks to footprints makes this idea of having epoxy a swift no thank you for me. I know this may not sway some people from installing epoxy, but I’m telling you, there are better solutions.
The Best Garage Floor Tiles for Your Garage Flooring
Here’s where things get really exciting. Well, at least for me and hopefully you. I honestly can’t tell you how many times I’ve installed Swisstrax’s plastic garage tile flooring in my garages (home and business). I’ve even installed them in my Dad’s garage, which came out great. After all these years since we put them down, they’re still holding up and look as good as the day we put them in.
My pursuit for garage flooring began back in 2014. I originally wanted to have polished concrete floors in my garage, but the issue I ran into is that it doesn’t eradicate stains and is susceptible to more stains in the future. I then decided to do a metal look epoxy system topped with urethane and an anti-skid. I hated them. They turned brown, were slippery, scratched easily, and generally looked like crap. I've yet to see an epoxy floor that is acceptable to me. But remember, I'm obsessed. After that costly disaster, I set out to find a suitable cover-up.
One of the main reasons I chose to go with the Swisstrax system is the dirt disappears. Okay, it doesn’t really disappear, but I don’t see it, which makes me happy. This has also been a topic of discussion from people who, for whatever reason, can’t grasp the idea of dirt falling under the Swisstrax tiles. Here’s how it works:
- Dirt falls under Swisstrax tile (out of sight and not on the surface of tile), which means your garage floor still looks clean, and you can’t see the dirt underneath.
- You either vacuum over the tile to clean it up every so often or pop the tile with our tile popper tool and clean. If you live in an area that gets salt/snow, you’ll have to do a little more maintenance, but that’s the beauty of these tiles; it’s easy to keep them clean.
Continuing on how I fell in love with Swisstrax, I remember talking to a lady there (I believe her name was Sarah) who explained to me why I needed the Ribtrax garage flooring in my life. She mentioned that:
- They are 3/4" of an inch thick and are substantial enough that they don't make noise or feel like a normal plastic floor
- They can withstand up to 70,000 LBS (yes, that’s correct) so floor jacks and jack stands are not an issue
- They are easy to clean, and water drains beneath them
- You can customize the look of the floor with different colors and designs
- They are effortless to install yourself. You can use the Swisstrax Designer (2D) to design your layout
After hearing all of this, I knew I had found my new garage flooring solution. I also knew I wanted to become a dealer and get this product out to the world.
What To Get and Installation
I’m a bit of a boring guy, so I always do the Ribtrax in Slate Grey and Jet Black. I like the clean, simplistic look this color combination brings. When you place your order with us, that information is sent over to Swisstrax through our dropshipping software. We do not store these at our location. They are shipped from Dalton, GA, and usually go out very quickly. I’ve seen some big orders like the one we did with a garage build in Atlanta ship out in the same week. Mind you, we did 5,000 sq ft of garage flooring. Gosh.
What To Get
Before you begin, you’ll want to be sure you have the necessary tools to get the job done right. Some are optional, but I want to give you a comprehensive list of things I’ve used or would suggest using. Here’s what I’d have ready:
- Tile cutter. This will probably be the best tool you can use for this installation. I know they’re on the pricier side, but if you want an easy install experience, I’d suggest either buying one or getting a bunch of friends to chip in and split the cost. You can even rent one if you want.
- Table saw. If you don’t want to cough up the cash to buy a tile cutter (or rent one), you can use a table saw. I’d recommend getting some sandpaper to round the edges of the tile for those rougher cuts.
- Jigsaw. For tighter cuts, you can use a jigsaw. You may have curvier edges in your garage and want a precision cut. This tool would work well.
- Tile popper tool. You’ve heard me talk about this nifty accessory a few times. I didn’t realize how much I needed it until I used it. No reason you’d need to pull up the Swisstrax tiles with your hands or risk damaging them by using some other method. This tool simply slots between one of the tiles' channels and you’d pull up to pop the clips holding the tiles together. Simple.
- Friends and family. You can spend an entire day installing these tiles if it’s just you with a more oversized garage, or you can bribe your friends and family with food to help you.
Installing these tiles is painless. Before every install I’ve done, I always started by cleaning my garage floor. This process usually entails 1) sweeping up dirt and debris and 2) using a floor scraper to get up any leftover stuff from like a new construction where drywall mud gets on the floor and dries. You want to be sure to address this before laying down your tiles, so they are level.
Here are the steps you want to take to get your Swisstrax tiles prepped and ready for installation:
- Clean your garage floor. This process will entail sweeping, vacuuming, and scraping (if necessary). You can also wet your floor if you want, but this isn’t necessary. You’d only do this to keep dust from lying on the floor.
- Lay down your looped edge pieces. In this step, we’re going to start on the garage doorway. The looped edge piece will be your reference point for the rest of your garage flooring installation. You’re going to bud these up against your garage doorway (while the door is shut). You may have to tack these down in some scenarios so they lay flat. You’re going to work from front to back.
- Put down your tiles and make cuts. Here’s where having your friends and family involved helps. As you’re laying down your tile, you’ll want to have someone stepping on them so they pop into place. When I did the Swisstrax installation in the Yarn building, all my guys jumped in and gave me a hand with this step. All you’re doing here is putting your pegged tile down and then placing your looped tile on top and snapping it into place. This step is also where you’re making your cuts for those tight corners or going around objects that are not in line with your walls.
- A quick lookover. I told you this would be simple. You’re pretty much done. The last thing I would do here is look to see if everything is flushed and all your tiles are flat. You may want to have everyone just walk over the tiles one last time for good measure.