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If you live in a snowy climate and are considering interlocking tiles for the garage floor, then these winter tips and tile design information are for you. Questions and concerns regarding which style is best when dealing with the effects of road salts, deicing fluids, and snow are common. With these questions and more in mind, let’s review a few tips and concerns for interlocking garage tiles for snow and winter weather.
Will interlocking garage tiles work for snow and ice?
The short answer is – YES! Interlocking garage floor tiles work extremely well if you live in an area of the country that experiences snow, ice, road salts, and all the other nasties that winter weather brings into your garage.
The salty brine from deicing fluids and road salt will not harm the tile, nor will the extremely cold temperatures. The snow, debris, and water will mostly sit atop the solid style tiles until the liquid evaporates or you push it out with a broom – just like a regular floor.
With the self-draining free flow designs, the snow and debris will just fall through to the concrete below. This leaves a slip free surface to walk on with nothing to clear out.
What about the concrete underneath the tiles?
Very little generally needs to be done other than sweeping the garage floor before installing interlocking tiles. If you live in a winter wonderland where your car brings in snow and road salts however, then we recommend sealing your concrete first before you install the tiles.
Why? The reason is to protect your concrete from the pitting, spalling, and freeze thaw damage that can happen due to the destructive nature of the salty brine that can get deposited onto the concrete. Even if you are covering a pitted floor with tiles, you still want to seal the concrete to prevent further damage.
This especially holds true if you install a self-draining tile design that allows for snow melt to run right through the tile to the floor. Though the water may run to a floor drain, evaporate, or run out the back of the garage, it will still allow the salty residue to soak into the concrete and damage it over time.
We recommend using an easy to apply penetrating concrete floor sealer. They are inexpensive and can be purchased for less than $50 to cover a typical 2-car garage floor. Once applied, you can be installing your tiles within a couple of hours.
Free flow self-draining VS solid tiles for snow
One popular question we get is which style of interlocking garage tile is best for snow in the garage? The answer really, is that it depends. Depends on what? Well, there are many factors to consider before deciding on which garage tile is best for you.
The first factor to consider is winter cleaning maintenance of the concrete under the tile come spring .
If you choose the popular solid top diamond or coined design, then very little liquid and no debris get past the tiles to the concrete below. Snow melt will puddle and bead on top of the tile due to the hydrophobic reaction of the water to the plastic. It resists leaking past the seams unless the tiled floor is really flooded with water.
With the self-draining tile, debris such as sand, pebbles, and salt residue will be deposited onto the concrete underneath. This generally will require cleaning under the tile come spring time depending upon how much debris is on the concrete floor underneath.
Though this method is a bit extreme, you can see how spring cleaning under interlocking tiles is fairly easy.
Cleaning methods include using a strong shop vac to suck the debris up through the tiles, washing it out the back of the garage using a high pressure hose sprayed through the tile, or even removing sections of the tile where cars sat in order to vacuum up or sweep the concrete.
Another factor to consider is how dry you want the floor to be.
The big advantage to the self-draining free flow style design is that snow melts right through to the concrete below. That means you won’t have to walk in briny puddles or worry about slipping on your garage floor.
This will actually keep more of the floor looking clean as compared to the solid top tiles and doesn’t require as much maintenance to keep looking nice. It also allows for the snow melt and water to run out the back of a sloped garage floor or towards the floor drain if your garage is equipped with one.
With the solid top tile design, you can easily push the water out the back of the garage with a broom or squeegee, but it can leave a much larger area of residue on the tile after it dries that will later need to be cleaned. Of course you can always avoid this with the use of a winter containment mat.
If your garage goes through freeze thaw cycles; that is snow and ice melting during the day and refreezing at night, then you may want to consider a self-draining or free flow design.
The reason for this is that snow or ice that melts on a solid tile design will puddle and then refreeze; creating dangerous areas to walk on if it isn’t cleaned up first before the temperatures drop. The self-draining tiles do not allow for these puddles and will create a much safer environment to walk on.
Will the concrete dry underneath the tiles?
Yes. Whether you have the solid top interlocking garage tile or the self-draining style, most are designed to allow air to circulate under the tile. This aids in evaporation and also prevents mold and mildew growth under the tile as well as averting odors.
If the concrete floor of your garage does not slope towards the back or tends to puddle heavily from low spots, then you may want to think twice about using a self-draining tile if you encounter heavy snow falls. The water may not evaporate fast enough and you won’t be able to get it out unless you pull a tile up and use a wet vac to suck up most of the water. The solid top design will allow you to push the water right out the back of the garage
The decision of which interlocking garage tile to choose for snow and winter weather can really depend on the maintenance you are willing to deal with, the construction of your garage floor, safety, and most importantly; how you like the way it looks. Once you take these winter garage tile tips into consideration, we are sure you can choose a tile design that is best for you.