Interlocking plastic tiles are a popular choice to finish off a garage floor. The plastic tile systems sold by Swisstrax and Racedeck® are rigid PVC tiles that claim unbeatable strength and durability.
While we know that plastic floor tiles do have their place (and I'll address that use in a future article), for the homeowner looking for long-term reliable and durable garage floor protection, epoxy coatings are usually the hands-down best choice.
We, Stronghold Floors, chose not to sell plastic floor tiles even back when we were owners of the franchise, PremierGarage of Central PA. About 7 or 8 years ago, a black-and-white checkerboard floor which was featured in many popular car shows was sought after and as such, the plastic floor tiles were also growing in popularity. They offered an easier solution to achieving this look than epoxy coating and other materials on the market at that time. Even today, creating a check board floor is one of the few reasons where do recommend the tiles.
As a national franchise network, PremierGarage decided to offer the plastic tile products, but we, as a local franchise at the time, decided to skip offering the plastic tiles. Why? Because leading up to that point, we had replaced over a dozen garages where plastic garage floor tiles had been installed and each time the homeowner had valid complaints about these systems.
Here are five typical problems with plastic garage floor tiles:
- Not impervious to moisture. While the surface of the plastic tiles certainly does stand up to moisture, the problem lies in the cracks between tiles. Water seeps through the connections between the tiles and gets trapped underneath. Not only does this not protect the actual garage floor, but the moisture can cause a musty, foul odor that you cant get rid of without tearing apart the entire system.
- Not durable over time. The plastic tiles are quite strong but over time, the weight of your vehicle can cause them to crack. Think of PVC pipe. It is the same material, and those, too, can chip and shatter. UV rays can also weaken and dull the tiles.
- Not as easy to install as the videos claim. While the videos make the interlocking plastic tiles seem very easy to install, they arent as easy as depicted. This is especially true when your garage floor isnt flat (due to a drainage slope or foundation settling).
- Not maintenance-free. Just like everything else in your house, plastic garage floor tile systems require maintenance. If a tile is cracked, it should be replaced so that moisture doesnt seep through and damage your garage floor. Depending on how the tiles are hooked together, fastened to the concrete and where the cracked tile is located, it can be an ordeal to replace. Additionally, many homeowners complain about the tiles becoming dull within the first year of installation, and no matter what they try, they simply cannot restore that out-of-the-box luster.
- Not very slip resistant. The tiles themselves usually have grooves or surface texture to assist with slip resistance. That isnt the issue. The issue is when oil, gasoline or even car cleaning products get spilled on the tiles. Because of the grooves, it is difficult to get the tiles 100 percent clean, and as a result, the tiles become slippery.
How do the common issues with garage floor tiles relate to our epoxy garage coating? I'll discuss that soon in a future article.
If you are a Do-It-Yourself person, we recommend checking out the pro-grade epoxy garage floor kits offered on the web. Do not waste your time with the kits from big box stores, which fail quickly. We recommend the Premier Garage Kits or Ultimate Garage Kits from Formula4Coatings.com.