Are you considering installing a carpet in your garage? Adding an area rug is a great way to spruce up your living room, but is putting carpet in the garage a good idea?
Unless you park your car in your living room, your garage floor will see much more traffic and abuse than your living room. You need to choose the right flooring solution.
In this article, we’ll discuss why carpet in the garage isn’t the best solution and which alternatives might work better.
Should You Install Carpet in Your Garage?
The standard carpeting in your house is exposed to foot traffic, dust, food and drink spills, pet accidents, and other everyday dirt.
These are typically easy to clean. If you vacuum frequently and quickly wipe any spills or stains, you’ll still get years of use out of your carpet.
A garage is a very different environment.
Your garage floor is exposed to tire marks, oil and gasoline spills, and harsh cleaning chemicals. There’s also the extreme weight of the car, motorcycle, lawnmower, and other machinery you might keep here.
This amount of abuse would quickly wear out most carpets.
Many people install a garage carpet to protect the concrete floor from stains and keep the room looking clean. Some homeowners put a space dog house in their garage and want add carpet to make it more comfortable.
But we don’t recommend standard carpet for either.
First, carpeting quickly absorbs automotive fluids like gasoline, oil, or radiator fluid. Anything spilled on your carpeted garage floor will probably form a permanent stain. Worse yet, since liquids are absorbed so quickly, mildew and mold will start to grow, leading to potential health risks.
Similarly, if your pets have free reign of your garage, removing urine smells from concrete floors is much easier than carpet.
Another reason not to install the wrong carpet in your garage is that it’s a potential fire hazard.
Many of the fluids used in your garage are flammable, and even a tiny spark can catch fire. Since most common carpets are not fire-resistant, they’ll readily burn, potentially causing a fire to spread to the rest of the house.
As you can see, putting carpet in a garage is not the quick, inexpensive garage flooring solution many people think.
Garage Carpeting: Pros & Cons
Even though we don’t recommend installing a carpet in the garage, it does have a few advantages. In this section, I’ll list the pros and cons to give you a clear picture of what to expect if you opt for a garage carpet.
The biggest advantage of a garage carpet is its inexpensive and easy installation.
A new carpet is the easiest way to transform any dull floor into a different space. Often, you can completely change the room’s atmosphere without breaking the bank.
Adding carpet in a garage will make it much more comfortable if you use your garage for anything other than parking your car. Think how it feels to walk on a cold cement floor versus a soft, plush carpet.
You also get a little insulation and soundproofing after installing carpet in your garage. The plush carpeting helps absorb sound waves, so there’s less reverberation in the garage.
Carpets are poor conductors of heat, so they play a role in keeping a room’s temperature constant. With the reduced loss of heat or cold from the room, you’ll have an easier time maintaining your desired temperature in different seasons.
Compared to interlocking tiles or epoxy, carpets will show wear and tear much more quickly.
Driving your car in and out of your garage subjects the carpet to significant abuse and can rapidly damage its structure. Heavy objects will compress the carpet’s fibers and also accelerate deterioration.
A garage carpet also complicates cleanup.
If you spill oil or other automotive fluids on a concrete floor, you can easily clean it with a degreaser and water.
With a carpet, you’ll spend most of your time getting the grease out with various solvents, brushes, and even a steam cleaner.
Even then, there’s no guarantee your garage floor carpet will ever look the same again.
The time and money you spend cleaning up your garage carpet could easily offset its cheap cost.
Carpet mold and mildew are also major safety concerns, especially in wet environments. Carpets are porous, so they absorb and hold any moisture they come into contact with.
This includes any moisture, or “sweating” from your concrete floor.
If you don’t dry out the moisture promptly, this creates an opportunity for water damage and mold growth.
Even if you avoid mold and mildew, water damage is still a significant problem.
Between rain blowing in or snow melting off your car, it’s hard to keep water out of your garage. Unsealed concrete floors can also “sweat” and allow moisture to seep onto the surface.
All this makes installing carpet in your garage a bad idea.
What Kind of Carpet Can You Put in Your Garage?
If you’ve heard all this and are still determined to install carpet on your garage floor, make sure you buy one specifically designed to withstand the abuse and conditions in the garage.
Indoor\Outdoor carpeting is the most widely accessible option, and you can usually find it at most home improvement stores. Marine carpet is another option, but it’s usually more expensive and harder to find.
Outdoor carpets are weather-resistant, anti-slip, non-absorbent, and tough enough to withstand abrasion and heavy loads.
They’re commonly made using polypropylene fiber, which has good abrasion resistance, little to no moisture absorption, and excellent chemical resistance. It’s also resistant to mildew and mold.
Because polypropylene has a melting point of 165°C, it will melt instead of burning up in case of a fire.
Another option is a product called Garage Grip, by Rig Grip. The company produces a “carpet-like” containment system for oil rigs and ported that technology for home use.
It costs more than a standard indoor carpet but should last much longer because it can handle the abuse in the garage without wearing out. Second, it’s designed to be easier to clean up, saving time and cleaning products.
RaceDeck, who you’ve probably heard of, also makes carpet tiles that snap in seamlessly with their interlocking floor tiles.
Although they’re designed to handle extreme weights (up to 80,000 lbs), these carpet tiles are better suited for mobile displays and walkways.
Better Flooring Options Than a Garage Carpet
Fortunately, there are better options than carpeting for your garage floor. Depending on what you’re looking for, they offer similar comfort without the disadvantages.
Coverings, like floor mats or tiles, are ideal options if your garage floor has a lot of surface issues, such as holes or cracks. The covering will go right over them, hiding them and creating a uniform surface.
Garage floor coatings generally cost less than coverings but require more floor preparation before application. You’ll have to fix any surface issues, such as cracks or pitting, to get a uniform surface when using a coating.
Garage Floor Mats
Garage floor mats are your best option if you need something as fast and easy to install as a carpet. You simply roll them out across the area you want to cover, then secure the edges with tape or weights.
They’re perfect to put underneath cars or other heavy machinery in the garage. This forces fluid leaks to collect on the mat, making cleaning easy.
You can also cover the entire garage floor area with the mat. However, that can be pretty expensive.
If you live somewhere that gets a lot of rain or snow, mats can get slippery when ice or snow melts off your car in the garage.
Always dry them out quickly to avoid water pooling and damaging anything around the mat.
While garage floor mats are easier to clean than carpets, chemical spills and tire marks will still damage them during normal garage use. For tougher spills, remove the mat from the garage and clean it with a spray hose and industrial cleaner.
Interlocking Floor Tiles
These tiles are made of stiff plastic, typically polyvinyl chloride (PVC). These tiles are incredibly high-strength materials that can support heavy loads, often up to 80,000 lbs., while also withstanding grease, corrosive chemicals, and oils.
Installing floor tiles will take longer than rolling out garage carpeting, but it is still much easier than an epoxy coating or paint.
Tiles come with hooks that allow you to fit pieces together and allow you to replace individual tiles if one gets damaged.
Garage floor tiles are available in various colors and styles, making it easy to create the perfect look.
Epoxy coatings contain two components that, when mixed, harden and cure. This durable, solid layer sits on top of your concrete garage floor, protecting it from damage.
When using epoxy, floor preparation is essential. First, fix any cracks in your garage floor. Failure to do so will only make these flaws more noticeable after applying the coating.
Second, remove any stains and clean the floor thoroughly. This usually requires a floor grinder to ensure the concrete floor is level and smooth.
Because this process is so involved, I recommend having a professional Due to the need for machinery, you may have to hire an expert to apply the epoxy coating.
Epoxy coatings are excellent for garage floors because they’re resistant to chemicals and corrosion and easy to clean. It won’t peel, even in a high-traffic garage. That means it’ll last longer than acrylic or latex garage floor paints.
There are a ton of color options for epoxy paints and coatings, so it’s easy to find one to fit your style.
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