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Garage and workshop floors

How are garage floors used?

The garage floor that most people form in their minds when hearing the term is one covered grease and oil stains, litter and debris pressed into corners, piles of metal shavings and sawdust gathering around the edges. This is the floor where spills don’t matter, where dirty work is done regularly, where cars are fixed, bikes are mended and lawnmowers are taken to pieces and reassembled. It can sometimes be a parking area, a play area or an artistic space, and will usually have storage space for any number of garden and workshop tools.

 

Garage floor 
Concrete slab-based garage floors are both durable and easy to maintain.
Image by Raymond Shobe, used under the CC-BY-SA 2.0 license.

What to look for in a garage floor

  • Durability and longevity
  • Easy to sweep, clean or hose down
  • Stain resistance, especially from grease and oils

 

The garage floor should be durable and tough above all else; it is likely at some point to have heavy machinery or tools dropped directly onto it, and it needs to be able to withstand this impact with minimal damage. It should also be able to withstand some exposure to corrosive substances.

For safety reasons, the floor should be quick and easy to clean up when dirt, sawdust and other particles start accumulating. This not only lowers the risk of slips and falls, but also makes the air more breathable. And just because the typical garage floor is an oil-stained mess, doesn’t mean yours has to suffer the same fate. If your floor has the right kind of sealing, then you will be able to easily mop up oil spills, radiator fluid leaks and other assorted liquids without fear of permanent staining.

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Other factors

You’ll need to think carefully about all the things your garage might be used for. Whether you park your car in the area, section it off as an activities room for the kids or convert it into a home gym, you may want different things from your floor at different stages of its lifetime. Choosing a generic, versatile floor surface is a very good idea.

 

Recommendations

The vast majority of garage and workshop floors will be bare concrete, and will often just be an extra thick slab. While this is not a particularly sophisticated option, it is incredibly practical and suits the purpose very well. Unsealed concrete is porous though, and as a result it's vulnerable to oil and grease stains. For some extra style and durability, you could have the surface completely polished and waxed, then coated with a sealant to prevent oil stains.

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