Why Installing Garage Carpet Is a Bad Idea

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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?

Probably not.

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 a garage carpet isn’t the best solution and which alternatives might work better.


Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Install Garage Carpet

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 to 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 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 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.

Closeup of car wheel on garage carpet Pin

Garage Carpeting: Pros & Cons

While we generally don’t recommend installing a carpet in the garage, there are advantages and disadvantages. 

Here’s a clear picture of what to expect with garage carpeting.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive and Easy Installation: Garage carpet is a cost-effective option with straightforward installation.
  • Aesthetic Transformation: It can significantly alter the appearance and atmosphere of a garage space without a hefty investment.
  • Comfort and Warmth: Carpeting provides a more comfortable and warmer surface than cold cement, especially in non-parking uses.
  • Insulation and Soundproofing: Offers sound absorption, leading to less reverberation in the garage.
  • Temperature Regulation: Carpets are poor heat conductors, helping to maintain consistent temperatures in different seasons.

Cons:

  • Quick Wear and Tear: Carpets are less durable than options like interlocking tiles or epoxy, showing signs of wear faster.
  • Damage from Vehicle Traffic: Regular driving in and out can quickly degrade the carpet’s structure and compress its fibers.
  • Challenging Cleanup: Spills (especially oil and automotive fluids) are harder to clean from carpets than concrete floors.
  • Risk of Mold and Mildew: Carpets can trap moisture or “sweating” from your concrete floor. This leads to mold and water damage in damp environments.
  • Water Damage Issues: Keeping water out of your garage is hard. Carpeting on top of unsealed floors can worsen this problem.

Considering these points, it becomes evident why installing a carpet in a garage might not be the most practical choice.


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 manufactures 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. They offer similar comfort without disadvantages, depending on what you’re looking for.

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. 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 expensive.

If you live somewhere with heavy 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 everyday garage use. Remove the mat from the garage and clean it with a spray hose and industrial cleaner for tougher spills.

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. However, 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

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 hiring 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 many color options for epoxy paints and coatings, so it’s easy to find one to fit your style.


Wrapping It Up

Carpeting your garage might sound cool at first. Who doesn’t like stepping on something soft and cozy?

But let’s be honest, the garage isn’t your living room.

It’s a tough space with a lot of traffic with cars coming in and out, oil spills, etc..

Garage carpets can quickly look worn and stained under these conditions. Plus, there’s the hassle of cleaning them and dealing with potential mold and mildew.

So, before you roll out that carpet, think about what your garage goes through every day. There are loads of other options that are way better suited for garage life.

What are these options? Take a look at our list of the best garage floor coatings. We’ve ranked them for you so you can easily find something that’ll make your garage look awesome and stand up to whatever you throw at it.

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Tim Wells

Tim Wells, the founder of Garage Transformed, has been featured in dozens of home renovation publications, including BobVila.com, 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.

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