Frustrations with Plastic Tiles – Coatings vs. Plastic Tiles (part 2)

Posted by Tess Wittler on Aug 13, 2013 9:00:00 AM

When it comes to protecting your garage floor, there are a few options. You can purchase plastic tile systems that interlock, or you can apply a garage floor coating (either a DIY kit or a professionally installed one). If your primary goal is to protect your garage floor, I recommend you do some research before making any investment. Each system is quite different and comes with pluses and minuses.

We have dozens of Stronghold Floors customers who first installed plastic floor tiles and then called us to have a professional epoxy coating applied. They told us time and time again that they were “fed up” with their plastic tile floor and were ready for a real protective coating.

Here are a few of our customers’ experiences with plastic floor tiles.

“Big Tom’s” Experience

truck on garage floor coatingBig Tom lives in Hummelstown, PA and when we first came to know him, he had Racer Deck® plastic tiles installed in his garage in a neat, colorful pattern. But like other homeowners we’d talked to, he was tired of his garage floor looking dull and had tried, without success, just about every idea to get the tiles looking shiny and new again. He also had a musty odor coming from his garage that was caused by water seeping through the interlocking connections between tiles.

But what really pushed Big Tom over the edge was this: One day, while moving his vehicles, one of the plastic tiles popped out and shot across the garage and hit … his prized Corvette! After dealing with a musty odor and dull-looking tiles, this infuriated him. He was ready to get a durable, easy-to-maintain garage floor coating professionally installed to protect his floor and his valuables.

Our experience with Big Tom solidified our decision not to offer plastic floor tiles as a garage floor option. We didn’t ever want another car enthusiast to ever go through what Big Tom went through – and be disappointed with the product.

Plastic Floor Tiles in the Basement – the Smells!

plastic floor tilesOne of our customers in York, PA installed plastic tiles in the basement, but his basement was already musty. While the dampness didn’t come up through the plastic tiles, it did nothing to mask the smell. In fact, it made it worse.

A Bel Air, MD homeowner had a foul odor coming from her basement, and no matter how much she scrubbed the tiles with soap and water, she couldn’t get rid of it. The smell kept coming back. Eventually she gave up on the plastic tile floor and hired us to apply an epoxy coating to her floor.

When we got there and removed the tiles, we discovered the source of the smell – curdled milk. Her young children had spilled milk and it had seeped through the cracks where the tiles interlock – causing a putrid smell.

basement floor coatingYou’ve heard the saying many times, “You get what you pay for,” and in all three of these cases, unfortunately the homeowners ended up paying twice – once for the plastic tiles and once for our professional epoxy coating

While we do not recommend using plastic floor tiles as the primary barrier to protect your garage floor, in some instances, they are a smart solution.

Smart Uses for Plastic Tiles

  • Temporary Housing. Not all of us are homeowners. If you are renting your home but still want to protect the garage floor while working on your car or motorcycle, one solution is to install plastic garage floor tiles in the area in which you are working.

  • One-Car Garage. Sometimes it isn’t practical from a financial standpoint to have a coating applied to your garage floor in a smaller space. Do a cost analysis between coatings and plastic floor tiles to see which solution is the right one for you.

  • Display Area. Many people want to show off their motorcycle or antique convertible. Once an epoxy coating is applied to their garage floor, we’ve seen homeowners get creative and install a small checkerboard “display area” using black and white tiles.

  • Sitting Area. Let’s face it. For many families, the dad-area is the garage. It is more than a place to park the vehicles. It is where dads hang out on a Sunday afternoon and watch the football game – with other neighbor-dads – while working on their cars or other small projects. One interesting way to designate the “hang-out area” is to install plastic floor tiles overtop of an epoxy coating in a corner of the garage – along with the beer fridge, TV, and pub stools and table.

  • Workout Area. Interlocking plastic tiles (or foam tiles – depending on the need) are excellent for workout spaces. Again, install them over top of a durable epoxy coating to protect the floor and designate your workout space. 

Remember, you still need to use great care when installing plastic floor tiles to make sure they are securely fastened to the floor – so they don’t slip when you drive or walk on them. 

The bottom line is this: Before you dismiss an epoxy coating as an option for protecting your concrete basement or garage floor, remember these customers’ experiences. Do your research first – before making any purchases - to determine which solution is right for you.  

See also:   Protecting Your Garage Floor:  Coatings vs. Plastic Tiles

NOTE: The author, Tess Wittler, is a freelance copywriter and marketing consultant for the construction industry who regularly collaborates with the Stronghold Floors team. She and Stronghold Floors owner, Mike Mincemoyer, have known each other for nearly a decade. You can follow Tess’s blog (full of content marketing tips for contractors) at

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Topics: Residential Flooring, Garage Floor Coatings, Garage Organization, Basement Floor Coatings

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