Why Installing Carpet in Your Garage Is a Bad Idea


Have you ever considered installing a carpet in the garage? The need to spruce up the usually uninviting space is understandable, and laying a carpet seems like a quick way to transform a cold garage into a comfortable place.

But, it might not be your best idea.

Your garage is not like the other rooms in your house, so you must make special considerations to ensure that you choose an appropriate flooring solution. For example, you must think about traffic and the purpose of your garage.

Read on to find out more about why carpet in the garage isn’t the most practical option and which alternatives might work better.


Should You Install Carpet in Your Garage?

If you’re thinking of installing your everyday indoor carpet in the garage, the answer is no; you shouldn’t. In other rooms of your house, your carpet is just exposed to foot traffic, dust, foodstuff spills, and other everyday dirt.

These are typically easy to clean and don’t lower your carpet’s lifespan significantly as long as you vacuum frequently and quickly wipe any spills or stains.

The kind of dirt you’re dealing with in your garage includes tire marks, oil spills, and corrosive chemicals. There’s also the heavy load of the car, bikes, and other machinery you might keep here. Such a combination of abuse translates to the quick wear and tear of a standard carpet.

One of the reasons to get a carpet for a garage is to protect the concrete floor from stains and keep the room looking clean. But a standard carpet will barely be able to do this.

First, it’s hard to clean when exposed to automotive fluids since it’ll readily absorb them, forming permanent stains. Also, since liquids can quickly go through it, there will be mildew and mold issues, making your garage even more uninhabitable.

Another reason not to install a carpet in a garage is that it’s a fire hazard. Since it has absorbent material, it quickly soaks up with flammable automotive fluids such as petroleum. In that case, even a tiny spark can set off a fire. And since most common carpets are not fire-resistant, they’ll readily burn, causing a fire that can spread to the rest of the house.

So, as you can see, installing an everyday carpet in the garage is not as inexpensive or a quick solution as many think. Keeping it clean requires more effort, making it hard to maintain safety in the garage.

Car parked on carpet in garage
Image: flooringfirstmanukau.co.nz

Garage Carpet: Pros & Cons

While installing a carpet in the garage is far from the best idea, it does have its share of pros. But, its cons might outweigh the advantages, so I’ll list down both to give you a clear picture of what to expect if you opt for a garage carpet.

Pros

The most common pros of a garage carpet are its inexpensiveness and ease of installation. A carpet is the easiest way to transform any dull floor into a brand new space and entirely change the room’s atmosphere without breaking the bank.

Also, it makes the garage a more comfortable place. Imagine walking on a cold, hard cement floor and a soft, plush carpet—you get the idea. If you use your garage for other activities besides parking your car, you’ll find it a more welcoming place after installing a carpet.

Increased insulation is another perk of a garage carpet. Carpets are poor conductors, 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.

Cons

A major inconvenience of installing a garage carpet is that it’s quick to wear and tear. When you’re driving your car in and out of your garage frequently, it subjects the carpet to significant abuse that rapidly damages its structure. Other heavy objects stored in the garage can also accelerate the rate of wear.

A carpet also complicates cleanup in the garage. If you spill car oil on a cement floor, you can easily clean it up with a degreaser and detergent water. With a carpet, you’ll spend considerably more time trying to get the grease out with various solvents, brushes, and even a vacuum. Since a garage is a place where oil and other chemical spills are frequent, you might end up spending a lot of time cleaning up your carpet.

Carpet mold is another significant inconvenience. Standard house carpets are porous, so they’ll absorb and hold any moisture they come into contact with. If you don’t dry it promptly, this creates an opportunity for water damage and mold growth.

Water damage is a more significant concern in the garage than in other rooms because there is more fluid spillage. This problem exacerbates if you have a leaking floor allowing moisture onto the surface.  


What Kind of Carpet Can You Put in Your Garage?

If you’re determined to use a carpet, you’ll be better off with a rug made to withstand the abuse and conditions in the garage. Fortunately, there’s a variety of automotive and outdoor carpets in the market more suitable for garage use.

Outdoor or automotive carpets consist of materials that are fire-resistant, anti-slip, non-absorbent, and tough enough to withstand abrasion and heavy loads. Polypropylene fiber is a common material that manufacturers use to make garage carpets.

It has good abrasion resistance, little to no moisture absorption, and excellent chemical resistance. It’s also resistant to mildew and mold. Polypropylene has a melting point of 165°C and will melt instead of burning up in case of a fire.

Outdoor carpets generally cost more than a standard indoor carpet, but they’ll be less costly in the long run. For one, they’ll last much longer because they can handle the abuse in the garage without wearing out. Second, they’re a lot easier to clean up, saving you time and cleaning products. Third, they significantly reduce the risk of a garage fire.


Better Garage Flooring Options

Fortunately, there are garage flooring options offering more advantages and fewer things to worry about compared to carpets. These options exist in two categories: coatings and coverings.

To a certain degree, each of these will make the garage a comfy, inviting space while simplifying clean up and serving you for an extended period. Let’s have a look at garage floor coverings and what they offer.


Garage Floor Coverings

Floor coverings are your best option if you’re looking for something as easy and fast to install as a carpet. Snap-together tiles and rollout mats are suitable coverings for a garage floor. To install either, you’ll first need to sweep or vacuum the cement floor.

Coverings are excellent 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.

Rollout Mats

Installing a rollout mat is as easy as laying a carpet in the garage. All you have to do is roll it out across the area you want to cover. Rollout mats are helpful when placed below cars or other machinery in the garage. Doing so allows any fluid leakages to collect on the carpet, which is easy to clean. You can also cover the entire garage floor area with the mat.

A rollout mat will expand or contract in extreme weather, so avoid taping the edges to the floor to keep it in place. Also, mats can get slippery when ice or snow melts, so be quick to dry them after driving in during winter.

While rollout mats are easier to clean than carpets, they’ll form stains from chemicals and hot tires over time. To keep it looking tidy for longer, be prompt to clean any fluid leakages. If there are tough oil stains on the mat, bring it out of the garage and wash it with a spray hose and industrial cleaner.

Rigid Plastic Garage Floor Tile

These tiles are made of stiff plastic, typically polyvinyl chloride (PVC). PVC is a high-strength material that can withstand grease, corrosive chemicals, oils and support heavy loads.

The tiles come with hooks that allow you to fit pieces together. Garage floor tiles are available in various colors and styles. It’s, therefore, easy to create a look you prefer. Compared to other garage floor coverings and coatings, rigid plastic tiles cost more.


Garage Floor Coatings

Garage floor coatings generally cost less than coverings. However, they require more floor preparation before application. To get a uniform surface when using a coating, you’ll have to fix any surface issues such as cracks.

If you have a damp concrete floor, fix that first before applying a coating. Failure to do so means the layer will not stick well to the floor, causing it to chip and flake after a short period. To avoid this, conduct a moisture test on your concrete slab to check whether it’s fit for a coating.

Here are three coatings you should consider for your garage floor: epoxy paint, concrete floor paint, and concrete stain.

They come in a huge variety of colors, so it’s easy to find one to fit your style.

Epoxy Paint

Epoxy paint consists of two components; epoxide and polyamine. The epoxide forms the composite base, while the polyamide acts as a hardener. After mixing the two, the hardener enables the paint to cure and harden into a durable, solid coating.

When using epoxy paint, floor preparation is essential. First, fill any cracks, joints, or hairline fractures on the 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. You might need to use machinery to ensure the concrete floor is smooth enough for your coating. Due to the need for machinery, you may have to hire an expert to apply the epoxy paint for you.

After preparation, using the correct application techniques is crucial for a lasting result. Ensure to mix the two parts thoroughly and avoid leaving any air pockets while spreading the paint. Once you’ve applied the epoxy paint, leave it to dry.

After the first coat has dried, you can add a second one to boost its durability. You can also opt for a urethane sealant finish. A urethane sealant is a coating that provides UV protection, prevents staining, and also increases the floor’s abrasion resistance.

Epoxy paint is excellent for garage floors because it’s resistant to chemicals and corrosion and easy to clean. It will not peel in high-traffic areas like standard acrylic paints, so you can expect to have a tidy-looking floor for longer. When applied correctly, epoxy paint gives your garage floor a shine that brightens up the entire room.

Concrete Floor Paint

This coating is like wall paint but tougher. Concrete floor paint is usually either oil or latex-based. Oil-based floor paints leave behind a high gloss, while latex-based options have a low-sheen finish. Applying floor paint is relatively straightforward—it’s similar to applying paint on a wall.

But, this paint is not as resilient or durable as epoxy paint. While it makes the garage much easier to clean, it’s vulnerable to corrosive chemicals. You may need to touch up the coating after a year or two to keep it looking tidy.

Concrete Stain

Concrete stain is different from paint in that instead of forming a coating over the concrete, it soaks into it, giving it a pigmented appearance. The result is a marble-looking surface resembling natural stone. This coating allows you to get rid of the dull grey appearance of an unfinished concrete floor.

To apply concrete stain, you’ll need to spray two coats on the floor, then scrub it in with a nylon brush. You can also use a roller for application.

The stain is mostly for aesthetic purposes—it elevates your floor’s appearance but doesn’t offer protection from stains or chemicals. To get this, apply a coat of urethane sealer. After the initial application, it’s important to reseal the floor about every two years to retain the protective qualities.

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