Choosing Garage Baseboards: Styles & Materials

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t think too much about your garage baseboards – if you even have them. 

Many garages have concrete running about six inches up their garage wall. It does the job, but it could definitely look better. 

Baseboards might not be the first thing you think of when upgrading your garage. However, they can add a little style to your garage in addition to protecting your walls and preventing unwanted critters from making your garage their home. 

Ready to learn more? 

Let’s start by discussing how garage baseboards need to be different from the baseboards inside your home. Then, we’ll cover some of the best alternative materials for your baseboards and where to find them. 

How Garage Baseboards Differ from Regular Baseboards

If you’ve ever replaced the baseboards in your living room or bedroom, you know how little they actually do. 

The drywall in a typical bedroom reaches from the ceiling to about half an inch above the floor. Its primary purpose is to protect the bottom of the drywall from damage and give a seamless transition from your wall to the carpet.  

However, garage baseboards aren’t just for show. 

They have the crucial job of sealing the gap between the garage walls and the concrete floor

Without them, it’s easy for insects or other uninvited guests to crawl up into your walls and find a perfect nesting place. 

Additionally, without baseboards, water could infiltrate your walls, potentially leading to mold growth and structural damage.

Despite this, many new garages often come without baseboards to help save on construction costs. 

This gives you the perfect opportunity to improve your garage during a renovation project.

Next, we’ll cover choosing the right baseboards for your garage.

Chrome Diamond plate garage baseboards and floor trim

Types of Baseboards Suitable for a Garage

The goal here is to find something that suits your needs, fits your budget, and makes your garage look sharp.

First up, we’ve got Diamond Plate Molding

These baseboards, made from steel, stainless steel, or aluminum, have a unique pattern on one side (imagine a field full of diamonds or a grid of lines) while the other side is smooth. 

Several retailers, like Tread-Ware, manufacture diamond plate baseboards in the US specifically for garages.

These are an excellent choice for working garages because skid-resistant and extremely durable. Plus, the polished chrome or aluminum look adds a pretty slick touch to your space.

Commercial-Grade Diamond Plate Trim [Made in USA]
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Next in line are Rubber/Vinyl Baseboards

You’ll see these often in commercial and industrial areas because they’re inexpensive and easy to clean. They stand up well against everyday wear and tear, and their resilient material protects your garage against the elements.

Then, we’ve got PVC Baseboards

Made from PolyVinyl Chloride, they’re more durable than rubber or vinyl baseboards and just as easy to clean. They’re built to last and come in various sizes. As an added bonus, they’re water-resistant and do a great job protecting your garage walls.

Moving on to Aluminum Baseboards, these are lightweight yet sturdy contenders for your garage. 

They provide a sleek, modern look to your garage. Plus, they resist corrosion and are easy to care for, making them a practical choice.

Finally, we have Polystyrene Baseboards

These are made from a lightweight, inexpensive, and highly water-resistant material. Polystyrene baseboards are commonly used in kitchens and bathrooms. 

However, they’re not as durable as other options we’ve discussed. If your garage doesn’t see heavy-duty use, these could be just the ticket.

When choosing what material you want for your garage baseboards, think about how you use your garage. Some garages take a lot of abuse, so they’ll need the most durable material possible, like PVC or diamond plate. Other garages are more for show, so a polished aluminum baseboard would be better. 

What NOT to Use for Your Garage Baseboards

We’ve gone through a bunch of materials that work great for garage baseboards. 

Let’s switch gears and discuss what you should avoid: wood and other porous materials.

Now, I know what you’re thinking – wood baseboards look fantastic inside the house, bringing warmth, texture, and style to your room. 

However, when it comes to your garage, it’s a different ballgame.

Your garage is susceptible to moisture, whether from rainwater carried in on cars or the humidity in the air. 

Wood doesn’t do very well in moist environments. 

Over time, it can warp, rot, or become a breeding ground for mold and mildew. 

The same holds true for other porous materials like MDF or particleboard. They might be cheaper than some of the other options we’ve talked about, but they can soak up moisture like a sponge. Over time, they’ll start to swell, buckle, or even crumble.

As tempting as it might be to go for these materials to save money, steer clear of them for your garage baseboards. 

Instead, stick to the materials we’ve already discussed. They’re designed to stand up to the kind of wear and tear your garage will likely see. Plus, you won’t be surprised by mold or rot down the road.

Coukiu Flexible Vinyl Baseboard Trim
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Important Factors to Consider

Let’s jump into some key factors you’ll want to remember as you decide which garage baseboards to buy. 

These things might not be on your radar right now, but trust me, they can make a world of difference in how your project turns out.

Floor Slope: Garage floors are typically sloped to help with drainage. 

That’s great for preventing water buildup, but it can pose a unique challenge when installing baseboards. 

You’ll need to decide whether to follow the slope of the floor with your baseboard or keep it level for a more squared-off look. It’s a balancing act between looks and functionality, so take some time to consider what makes the most sense for your garage.

Floor Covering: If you have a sealed concrete or epoxy coating, have you considered continuing them up the wall. Not only does this create a seamless finish, but it also offers extra protection against water and debris. 

This could be smart if your garage is more of a high-traffic area or if you live in a place with a lot of rain or snow.

Baseboard Height: Baseboards aren’t one-size-fits-all. In fact, they come in a bunch of different heights. 

You could stick with a standard height of between 5-7 inches, or you could kick things up a notch and extend it further up the wall for more protection. 

For those who need serious durability, consider waist-height punched aluminum wainscoting. It offers even more wall protection, and let’s be honest, it looks pretty cool too.

Wrapping It Up

Remember, baseboards in your garage are more than just a design element. 

They provide a sturdy barrier protecting your walls and can hide dirt and gaps too. Whether you go for vinyl, PVC, or rubber, each material has its pros and cons.

Choosing the right baseboards depends on how you use your garage. Most garages would do well with vinyl or PVC baseboards to help protect against moisture while still being easy to clean. If you’re building a showroom garage, instead, go with aluminum or diamond plate garage baseboards for a unique look. 

Replacing your garage baseboards may seem like a little thing. But remember, even a small change can make a big difference.

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Tim Wells

Tim Wells, the founder of Garage Transformed, has been featured in dozens of home renovation publications, including, Home Stratosphere, House Digest, Livingetc, and SFGate. Since 2018, he has helped over two million people transform their everyday garages into something they can be proud of. He lives in Central Florida with his wife and bulldog.