How to Install Interlocking Floor Tiles in Your Garage

If you find yourself updating your garage flooring, you have two options – mats and tiles. Both choices are quick and easy to install, an ideal DIY project to spruce up the garage space. This guide, however, is all about interlocking floor tiles and why it would make a fantastic garage flooring solution. 

Interlocking floor tiles have quickly become a popular option for garage flooring. Not only because they are sturdy and durable to handle typical garage weight and traffic, but they also offer a custom look for the garage. They are available in a wide range of textures, colors, and functions. 

You can have fun with them, too, creating a unique design that matches your garage requirement and style. Not to mention, interlocking floor tiles are the easiest to install than standard tiling options. You can do it yourself, no need to be an expert or pay for an expert to do it for you. 

So, ready to install interlocking floor tiles in your garage?

What Is the Best Tile for the Garage Floor?

interlocking garage tiles

If you plan to install interlocking floor tiles in your garage, the first thing you need to figure out is the right material or type to get. There are only two options available: rigid plastic and rubber-like PVC.

Hard Plastic Garage Tiles

Rigid interlocking tiles are traditional garage floor tiles made of a high-impact polymer, particularly hard plastic polypropylene. It’s also by far the most versatile and popular option for finishing a garage floor. 

The material is a specially formulated plastic that withstands high impact and comes with UV protection. Hard plastic garage tiles are lightweight, but they are strong enough to support larger weights. Rigid plastic tiles come in either a solid top or a ribbed flow-through texture for surface drainage. 

Pros: 

  • They can withstand the pressures and weight of heavy vehicles, equipment, or anything you use in a busy garage. Some rigid tiles can support 5,000 to 80,000 pounds. 
  • You can bolt car hoists and floor lists through the rigid tile to the concrete floor below without deforming anything.
  • Interlocking plastic floor tiles can conform to slightly uneven floor surfaces. 
  • Garage cabinets and racks can sit on top of them.
  • Interlocking plastic floor tiles can withstand sub-freezing temperatures. Radiant or indirect heating wouldn’t be an issue.
  • They are difficult to stain, and not many sticks to the plastic, making them easy to clean.

Cons: 

  • Tenting or buckling can occur when exposed to direct sunlight for long periods. Although it’s rare, it sometimes happens around rigid tiles near the garage door.
  • You might need to leave at least a ½-inch gap between the tile and the wall to prevent buckling if the plastic expands due to extreme heat.
  • Susceptible to damage from sharp objects, floor jacks, or tools like torches and welds. 
  • They are known to create a squeaking noise when you walk over them. A landscape fabric underneath the tiles would help, though. 

Flexible Interlocking Garage Tiles (PVC)

Flexible PVC, sometimes called synthetic rubber, is a special PVC that has impressive flexibility yet remains remarkably strong. You can often see this garage tile in commercial and industrial flooring applications. 

They contain plasticizers, making them softer and more pliable. It’s why they are often referred to as interlocking rubber floor tiles. This garage tile is significantly heavier than the rigid plastic, and hey can sometimes come with a mild rubbery odor when new. 

Pros:

  • Interlocking rubber floor tiles are whisper quiet, with no squeaking sound because of their solid construction.
  • They provide acoustic insulation for garages that also serve as an entertainment space or home gym. 
  • It supports the weight of floor jacks, car lifts, toolboxes, and garage cabinets.
  • You can find interlocking rubber floor tiles with UV protection or with mold and mildew-resistant features. 
  • PVC floor tiles create a solid floor finish and will not allow moisture to escape from under them. There will be no moisture buildup on the concrete floor.
  • Their flexibility adds an anti-fatigue surface to the garage floor, perfect if you plan to use the garage for working out or dance practice. 

Cons: 

  • Interlocking rubber tiles are often 25% more expensive than their plastic counterparts.
  • Although it’s resistant to grease, hydraulic fluid, and hot tires, car tires can still leave stains on lighter-colored PVC floor tiles that may not come all the way out.
  • It’s best to clean liquid spills as soon as possible to avoid stains developing. 
  • Because they are ultra-flexible, they need to be installed on a rigid surface, ideally a subfloor without holes or dips. 

How to Install Interlocking Floor Tiles – Step by Step

interlocking garage tiles

Although not all DIY projects are for everyone, installing interlocking floor tiles in the garage is something most, if not all, homeowners can do. 

Extra hands will always come in handy and make the project done faster, especially if you have a massive garage. But doing this yourself is possible too.

Step 1: Get the Right Number of Tiles

Before anything else, you have to calculate how many interlocking tiles you’re going to need in the garage. Will you be installing interlocking floor tiles in the entire garage floor or only in a portion of it? 

Once you figured that out, get the square footage measurement where you want to install the tiles. When you go to the store to buy the interlocking tiles, they will come in different sizes. No worries, you can divide your garage area by the area of each tile (L x W), then you’ll have the number of tiles you’ll need.

Step 2: Clean the Plotted Area

You’re going to cove your garage floor with interlocking tiles, so why do you need to clean it up before installation? 

It’s not a must, but we highly recommended it, especially if you’re installing interlocking rubber floor tiles. 

Step 3: Make Some Quick Fix on the Garage Floor (for PVC tiles)

The most amazing thing about installing interlocking plastic floor tiles is that they require little to no preparation of the garage floor before installation. They will lay all fine, even with cracks, dents, and bumps on the floor. 

But if you’re using interlocking rubber floor tiles, it’s another thing. They are incredibly flexible and will conform well to the uneven floor, too well, in fact. So, if your garage floor has some obvious bumps, it will be even more noticeable with rubber tiles on top. 

It’s why step-2 is a must. It allows you to check for uneven parts in the garage floor and make a quick fix before installing the tiles. 

Step 4: Lay Down Landscape Fabric (for plastic tiles)

Quick fixes in an uneven for is for flexible PVC tiles. But the great thing about their flexibility is that they stick to the concrete floor, so there is no squeaking happening whenever you walk over the tiles.

Interlocking plastic ties, on the other hand, isn’t as whisper quiet. Laying down landscape fabric on the concrete before installing the plastic tiles will get rid of that click-clacking sound. The mesh design helps mute the sound from the plastic tile. Plus, it’s quick-drying and will not rot.

Step 5: Final Touches

With all of that out of the way, you can start laying out the interlocking garage tiles. Start from the garage floor’s central point and work your way out to each corner at a time. 

You can opt to keep the floor tiles snug fit against your garage walls, cutting out the excess with a knife. Most interlocking floor tiles come with an edging, so you can use that too.

How Long Does Interlocking Tiles Last?

interlocking garage tiles

Interlocking garage floor tiles are incredibly durable and can handle the typical loads and traffic in any garage. With proper installation, care, and maintenance, it’s not unreasonable to expect your interlocking tiles to last at least a decade.

Do Garage Floor Tiles Hold Up?

Yes. Interlocking garage floor tiles are shock absorbent, allowing them to hold up massive weights, including the weight of your vehicle. They will protect the concrete underneath from any cracks in instances like when you accidentally dropped something heavy on the floor.

Does Water Get Under Garage Floor Tiles?

If the garage tiles are interlocked tightly, they should be watertight. In this instance, water will not penetrate and get under the garage floor tile. 

So, Are Garage Floor Tiles Worth It?

So, why install interlocking floor tiles in the garage, you ask?

  • Floor tiles provide a surface for your garage that is not only suitable for car parking but other purposes like workshop or workout space. 
  • Garage flooring is already strong, but garage tiles bring their durability to the next level. 
  • Adding garage floor tiles keeps the garage floors comfortable year-round. It’s extra insulation against the toughest winter months. 
  • Interlocking floor tiles, in particular, have the convenience of quickly snapping together. 
  • Depending on how you design it, it adds a particular style to your garage without breaking the bank.

Many garage owners stick to bare concrete floors, but why should you? Interlocking floor tiles for the garage floor have numerous perks.

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