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Protecting Your Garage Floors from Winter: What are your Options


Here at our Minnesota headquarters, we are deep in the thick of winter, there is no question about that. Freezing temps, snow, and icy roads are here for the time being - and road crews have responded with the traditional, seasonal slurry of salt and de-icers that allow us to drive safely.

As we talked about in the last couple articles, there is a downside to the winter road mix. Our vehicles - and those of our clients - track salt and chemicals right back to garages at home, work and business, where they dump off wheel and undercarriage onto the garage floor. This is a problem if the garage floor is unprotected concrete.

In this article we broke down what happens when the salty brine soaks into porous cement - and followed that information up with last week's article on how to clean and repair garage floors that have been damaged by winter's road salt and de-icers.

Now that you've helped your clients identify the need to winterize their garages, and cleaned and repaired them, it's time to actually "winterize," or coat or cover their garage floors, in order to prevent winter from mucking the concrete up all over again. So, what are their options for protecting a garage floor?

A little online research turns up two primary categories of solutions: covering and coating. The best approach depends on how your client plans to use the garage, their objectives (cosmetic or protection), the state of the concrete floor, and their budget.

Garage floor coverings come in the form of mats and tiles made of rubber, vinyl, polypropylene, stone and steel that range from the easy-to-install budget-conscious DIY options up through stone tiles that must be installed by a professional. As a coating installer, none of these are your client, but if you're curious, you can learn more here.

Today, we'll stick to a quick rundown of the different coating options your client can choose from, which range from paint to epoxy, as well as hardier options that have made their way from industry to residential use, like polyurea.

Garage Floor Paint: Possibly the least expensive solution, painting is a quick way to upgrade the look of a garage floor - but it is primarily an aesthetic approach, and does not stand up to chemicals and wear as long as other coatings.

Textural Treatments and Clear Coating: Polishing, scoring and acid-staining change the texture or look of concrete. Scoring and stamping can make it look like tile, while acid-staining colors the concrete surface with irregular patterns in a range of natural colors. Sealing the concrete after such treatments adds shine and a protective overlay. Although such treatments and sealers shield the floor somewhat, prolonging the floor's life, they are not as durable as other coatings on the market.

Epoxy: A popular choice used in more commercial applications, epoxy is a tough coating that resists oil stains, beads water, and cleans easily. It is highly resistant to chemicals, chipping and scuffing, and provides a glossy finish. Epoxy can be applied by the dedicated DIYer, but is best in the hands of a professional. Epoxy is a more robust winterizer - but still not the most durable coating on the market. Also, it has a high VOC content, making it smelly and less environmentally appealing. Additionally, epoxy has limited flexibility and a long cure time, which is especially important for your commercial and industrial clients. (Few such clients want to be told that their downtime will be days versus hours.)

Polyurethane-Based Coatings: A resin-based coating, polyurea is the most durable coating available, plus it cures faster and is applicable across a wider variety of conditions. It requires a professional's installation, which, coupled with material cost, means that the price tag is often higher than other options on the market. However, polyurea is environmentally friendlier, lasts longer, and is UV resistant, so it won't discolor or fade. Still, if your client is on a limited budget, polyurea may not be the best fit.

To learn more about choosing the best coating solution to winterize your clients' garage floor, schedule a chat with one of our flooring experts here.

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