OPINION: Why Home Centers & Club Stores Are Ruining The Garage Flooring Industry

Customer Assistance to Aisle 24,930 for Garage Flooring…. Customer Still Waiting….

Garage Floor Coatings

Did the guy at the home center tell you how to do this?

I will admit it. There are times that I will go to a home center and make a purchase because it is convenient and sometimes really stupid cheap. That said I am not dumb enough to think I can get an expert opinion from a guy in an orange apron on a product they have never even touched. The truth is their are some awesome people that work for home centers. I know a cabinet expert that went to work there as he got older. Same can be said for tools. There are definitely some resources to be found in a home center, but not in the world of garage flooring.

It also needs to be understood that no one even knew what the garage flooring industry was. Items like garage floor mats and garage floor tiles were unheard of. These products and the benefits thereof were heavily promoted by small niche retailers and local dealers who literally worked with a small group of manufacturers to create a new industry. Now these dealers and retailers are being left in the cold!

The bottom line is this. If you want a cheap floor for less money and you really don’t care if it is the right floor for you, you MIGHT get a better price from a home center. If anything other than price is of importance you simply are not going to get what you need from a home center or club store!

Have you ever asked the guy with the Walkie Talkie  at your local club store how thick a Mil is? Perhaps the girl at the register of your local ‘PriceCo’ can tell you the appropriate expansion and contraction gap. I am very certain Mr. 2×4 at the lumber counter can tell you the best product to use when you use a creeper or a 4-post lift. Perhaps someone can cut you a free sample?

We are all very much aware that for certain commodities there is simply to way to compete with these large, and God help me ‘trusted’ big box stores. Garage flooring is not that type of item.

Items like garage flooring require highly specialized sales people. They need to know where your seams should be and the best installation method for your garage floor mats to keep them from curling. They need to know what type of adhesive to use over wood versus concrete and how to handle that silly expansion joint in the middle of your floor — oh wait I need that??

Here is what is happening today. More and more manufacturers are selling to large club stores and home centers. These places lack the knowledge to educate the consumer. This has been especially proven in the area of garage floor epoxy. The consumer buys a product, the product fails and then goes online to go on the offensive about how terrible a specific product line –that never should have been used the way they used it– is. Or perhaps they purchased a ‘epoxy’ that was really 80% water and stated ‘no prep required’ and now the consumer blogs and posts away about how ALL garage floor epoxy products lift from hot tires.

The other extreme is there is a segment of the population who feels no shame in utilizing the expertise of the smaller dealer and online specialty store. They grab all the knowledge they can and perhaps some free samples — just to turn around and place the order with a home center to save a few bucks.

One last note. To make matters worse, search engines like Google treat the big box stores as if they were garage flooring gods. Clearly search engine results are no longer based on user experience!

The bottom line is, garage flooring is a healthy investment and requires both an educated consumer and an educated sales person. The lack of knowledge at home centers and club stores is literally destroying the reputation of certain product groups (epoxy) and on the verge of causing serious damage to the industry as a whole. Manufacturers need to rethink the garage floor in a box mentality and go back to the distribution method that has been time proven — knowledgeable and specialized dealers and retailers.





Cool way to finish your floor

Diamond Life

Diamond Life Base Molding

Almost every product out there designed to cover that ugly concrete floor requires a gap for expansion and contraction. Sure there are a lot of great, cheap ways to deal with those gaps.

One of our favorite products for this is the Diamond life base molding. While it can be slightly expensive, it provides an amazing look and ties the floor and the wall together. There are plenty of additional options available as well. Many customers will use a roll of rubber cove base or even a wood base molding.

Whatever product you decide to use just make sure you tack it in such a way that it is barley touching the floor. You should be able to slide a dollar bill between the floor and the molding without issue

What do you do if your garage floor mat curls on the ends

From time to time we will receive an email from a a reader asking what to do if their mat curls up on the end or will not lay flat. There are a couple of reasons that this can happen and the cause may affect the suggested solution — that is our cover our rear way of saying you should check with the manufacturer and don’t blame us 🙂

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Fan the mats out and get some air underneath them. Reposition the mats and make sure they have the proper expansion and contraction gap. Trim as necessary to make sure a full 1/2″ is left at the walls, posts and other solid objects. Also cut the mats 1/2″ short of the garage door.

Second Option

If you are still having an issue use an acrylic floor tape or 3M #80 spray adhesive along the front edge where the ripples appear. It is possible the issue will migrate but general this will resolve the problem.

Last Resort

According to a recent article by an industry insider adhesive can be used over the entire floor as a last resort.

G-Floor Small Coin Garage Floor Mats Taking Industry by Storm

G-Floor Small CoinThe new G-Floor small coin garage floor mats appear to be taking the industry by storm. For reasons that have not been made public the product only appears to be available through a select number of dealers. The small coin garage mats fill a void in the industry that was otherwise untouched.

For years there was a huge jump from the 55 Mil ribbed to other patterns. Because the small coin is thicker than the ribbed or leavant products but thinner than the traditional coin or diamond products, it presents an exceptional value. Equally important the pattern lends itself much better to working garages and shops because it is much easier to roll heavy equipment and creepers on.

Companies like Garage Flooring LLC have been active in marketing the product as shown in this YouTube video:

What remains unclear is where the product will be offered and why the distribution is currently so limited. While the product is available through major retailers like Sears and Amazon it appears to be through smaller independent merchants. The product appears to be manufactured by G-Floor.

The small coin garage floor mats are only available in a very limited number of sizes and colors. They are only available in gray or black with two basic roll sizes 8.5×24 and 10×24 and a special order 8.5×100. The product is also stocked in a felt backed material for trailer applications.

In general it does appear that major niche online retailers are strongly behind the product and nothing negative has shown up in the forums. G-Floor products can be installed as free floating floors and can also be fully adhered.

Like all new products, this product needs more time to see how well it is received in the marketplace. Given that it is made from the same materials as the rest of the Better Life Technology line, the product should have the same characteristics and has been tested for over a decade. Looks like this could be perhaps one of the best deals the garage flooring industry has to offer!


Chinese Garage Flooring Mats

Chinese Garage Flooring Mats are coming and they are coming quick. For years, large garage floor mats were made exclusively by Better Life Technology in Emporia KS. GarageFlooring.org has learned that multiple manufacturers are launching competing products from China and other places overseas.

While some companies like Garage Flooring Inc have decided to market their foreign made products along side of the American garage flooring products –and they are joined by club stores like CostCo– many garage flooring dealers have elected to stay with products that are made in the USA.

According to some in the industry there huge differences in the quality from an American made garage floor to one that is made in China.

  • Always ask if your mat has been stored rolled or flat prior to being ordered. Mats that have been rolled for long periods of time may not relax and lay flat.
  • Ask what steps are being taken to keep lead out of foreign made product
  • Ask how long the product has been on the market in the USA
  • Ask what steps are being taken to control color from one lot to another and if you order multiple rolls are you guaranteed the same color lot.
  • Ask what the warranty is and what happens in the event of a freight claim

Products from China offer a definite price advantage over products that are made in the USA. That said just like the tools we pay extra for, you usually get what you pay for. Consider the long terms costs and consider who’s economy you want to support before buying a Mat that is made in China or anywhere outside the USA!


Expansion & Contraction of Garage Flooring

There are a lot of garage flooring products on the market today and there is at least one thing they all have in common. All garage flooring products will expand and contract. As a basic rule if you install the products during the hottest time of the year they will contract in the winter. If you install them in the coldest part of the year they will expand. One caution, the greater the temperature difference the more expansion and contraction you will see.

Most manufacturers will have recommendations as to how much room you need to leave for expansion. Remember it is not just the outside walls you need to worry about. Any heavy objects, posts, poles, cabinets, etc that your flooring in the garage is cut around must be considered.

Using wood lath or other shims when doing garage floor tiles is a great way to keep a consistent perimeter.  When you are done with the flooring installation the shims are removed and a consistent gap remains. Use base molding which can be made of wood, rubber or use one of the diamond plate products such as those sold by Diamond Life. These products will hide the gap in your garage floor without interfering with the expansion and contraction.

Regardless of what the temperature outside is, it is always a good practice to acclimate your garage floor before you install it. That simply means let it sit in the area it is being installed for a few days. In conditioned spaces acclimation of the flooring product is still important. Once acclimatized conditioned spaces tend to see less expansion and contraction.

Garage floor mats, such as those manufactured by Better Life Technology can see gaps present between multiple rolls. The best way to avoid this is to install the floor and let it sit for 7 days or so. Then install their seam tape between each roll.

Ribbed Pattern BLT Garage Flooring Mats Review

ribbed garage flooring matsThe ribbed pattern mats from Better Life Technology are an inexpensive garage floor mat that simply rolls out. The product is made in other patterns as well but we will review those in separate posts at a later time.

For an inexpensive garage flooring solution, the BLT mats perform very well. They are not glued down so you can take them out of your garage to clean them. We would not suggest using the ribbed pattern flooring product if your floor slopes away from the door.

Other considerations: User who have Motor Cycles snow mobiles or snow tires should consider at least the 75 mil product and should consult their garage flooring dealer before making a purchase.