Installing carpet in your garage can make it feel way more welcoming than exposed concrete. People these days are using their garages for much more than just parking their car or doing the laundry. Use cases like home gyms, offices and work shops are becoming more and more common. So it makes sense to make it a comfortable place to spend time and that’s where carpet comes in….
Should I Install Carpet In My Garage? Yes, you could and should! It’s a relatively cheap and easy install, provided you use suitable fire retardant carpet or carpet tiles and use the correct adhesive. That being said there are some gotchas that you need to be aware of. Such as not using regular home carpet rolls or fixing your carpet to the garage floor in a way that won’t support a car.
In this article we’ll walk you through all the questions and skills you need for:
- Before installing carpet in your garage
- During the carpet installation
- Finally after installation care and maintenance.
I’ll also include some photos of my preferred carpet for lining garage floor. So let’s get started.
Things You Should Know Before Installing Garage Floor Carpet
First and foremost your initial thought might be to go to your local carpet store like Flooring America and order a roll of standard house carpet. Trust me, this sounds tempting but don’t fall for this trap.
Normal house carpet is designed for light use i.e. human foot traffic and not much more. Where a garage is concerned you need something a little more hardy. Plus it should come with the appropriate fire safety ratings required to safely install carpet on your garage floor.
Don’t use regular carpet!
Other things to take into account are that a big old roll of carpet isn’t the easiest to install in an enclosed space. For one, you’ll have to completely empty the garage in order to install it. Afterwards you’ll have to move everything back in. If you’ve got some heavy items, such as a work bench this without coasters then this might not be that easy.
The second thing is the kinds of things that usually happen in a garage. Oil spills, paint spills, grease on tools and bike chains. You can see how a thick pile house carpet might not hold up to well in those conditions.
Condensation and Carpet In Garages
If water is collecting and settling on the a carpeted garage floor then there is the possibility that mold can develop over time. This can shorten the life of the carpet and make the garage unwelcoming due to the smell which is the exact opposite of what you were intending on in the first place!
This means you’ll most likely be cleaning your garage carpet floor way more than you planned to in order to keep the mold and mildew down.
Choosing an appropriate Carpet For Your Garage
That covers what we should avoid. Now lets focus on the good stuff. What carpet SHOULD we be buying for our garage floor.
If house flooring isn’t appropriate then what is? Believe it or not, there are types of carpet specifically designed to be used in more challenging environments such as garages. They’re not too dissimilar (if not identical) to the kinds of flooring you’d see in offices. Where there’s a higher degree of foot traffic than what you would normally see in the home.
So they are made tougher and from materials that weather much better with heavier use.
The type of carpet you want is called “Outdoor Carpet”. It’s named that because…well it’s designed to be used outdoors. By this it will be built to withstand things like per-longed UV exposure. Have stain resistant properties. Generally be made from a hard wearing material such as Polypropylene. And not fray with repeated use.
Interestingly this type of carpet is used for a bunch of different use cases. For instance if you have some left over after installing it in your garage you could use the left over pieces when you go camping as a place to sit on.
This stuff is tough, I’ve personally taken a jet washer to it and when it was caked in dirt. It cleaned up good and dried out in a few hours. I’m not suggesting you do this in your garage! But you get the idea…
This type of carpet is relatively cheap. Retailing at around $19 for a 6ft. x 8 ft. piece. The downside though is I’ve found that the variety of choice can be limited. But that might be specific to my area.
Carpet Floor Tiles
Outdoor carpet is definitely a good option for flooring your garage. But if you want the best solution (in my opinion) I’d go for carpet floor tiles. Why? Well they are just so easy to install and more importantly replace!
They’re made from pretty much the same materials as outdoor carpet – Polypropylene. However they tend to be more rigid than a carpet roll. This makes them much easier to work with when installing them. I go into detail on how to install carpet tiles during the installation section of this article.
The great thing about carpet tiles as opposed to rolls is that after its laid down. If you do damage a section of the flooring you can simply pry up the damaged sections of the floor because they are modular tiles and either clean them or replace them. You couldn’t do this if you had one solid roll of carpet on the floor.
So there’s definitely an element of cost efficiency when it comes to installing carpet tiles. The other thing is you potentially don’t have to remove all your stuff in your garage in order to install the carpet tiles.
Interlocking Carpet Tiles
This is a step up from carpet tiles. With carpet tiles you will most likely need to fasten them to the floor either with adhesive or double sided tape. With interlocking tiles however you don’t need to. They lock into one another and form a solid floor that doesn’t move. Great right?!
The downside is if you did want to replace say a single tile in the middle of the floor then you’ll have to pick up and un-link all of the tiles around it to get to it. You don’t have to do this with a standard carpet tile.
Installing Carpet In Your Garage
If your garage looks anything like mine i.e. a total circus filled with what feels like an historical living record of every hobby and home decorating activity you’ve partaken in ever since you moved in. Then you’re probably going to fill with dread at what I’m going to tell you next.
All that stuff has to be moved out before you install your new carpet!
Like a lot of DIY jobs it’s all about the prep work. Basically we need to clean out the garage before we can lay a new carpet. after doing so we’ll also need to clean the concrete surface of any dust and debris. I find a brush and a vacuum clean helps speed this along nicely.
In all honesty this is probably a good time to clear out any items you’ve been keeping for years but never used. A good time to have a lawn sale 🙂
Next comes the carpet itself. Ideally if you can source a roll with dimensions that are same width as your garage then you can save a bunch of money and cut down on waste. Although this isn’t always possible. Secondly if you can find outdoor carpet with a rubber backing at this as this will lessen any ingress from moisture or condensation.
Unfortunately if you intend on parking your car in your garage then I’d recommend gluing the carpet to the floor since it will have a tendency to shift and move especially if you pull out of the garage too quickly. To be honest it can just happen over time even if you are the most gentle person with the accelerator pedal. So don’t skip this step, all purpose contact adhesive should be perfectly fine for this use case. You shouldn’t need any specialty glue.
Trim the corners, flatten out the surface and you’re pretty much done. I’d probably give it a few hours to let the glue take effect before you move you stuff back into the garage. But the whole process could be done in a day. Assuming your garage isn’t filled to the rafters with stuff.
Installing Tiled Carpet In Your Garage
Installing tiles is my preferred approach. There’s a few reasons why including not having to glue the tiles down (the sticky back of the tiles will suffice) and you can more easily work them around complex shapes in your garage that you might not be able to move.
For instance if you had a workshop table that’s fixed to the walls then you can simply cut several tiles to match the shape of the table and lay them around it. The tiles are strong but they can easily be tooled with something like a box cutter.
To match the shape of the object I use a piece of cardboard to track the shape and cut it out with scissors. I then take this template and offer it up to the tile and cut around it.
If you find that the carpet tile is moving around too much making it difficult to cut. Then one trick I use is to use a posca paint pen and mark the pattern of the cut onto the tile and then cut.
Double sided sticky tape
If you decide not to use glue on carpet tiles then double sided sticky tape is a good option. Especially if you doing a repair on existing garage carpet flooring. Again this doesn’t have to be a speciality brand. The one I purchased was from my local hardware store and did the trick. i did need a couple of rolls to complete the job though. Here’s a photo of the type I used.
Repeat the process until the floor is laid and you’re done!
Aftercare for your Garage Carpet Flooring
OK, you’ve successfully installed your new garage carpet and you’re totally stoked. There’s nothing quite like that new carpet smell isn’t there?!
Fast forward a month and the unthinkable happens. You drop a can of paint on the floor. As it falls you can see it in slow motion. You know what’s coming…
These kinds of things happen all the time and we should have a good plan in place for when they do. For my money the unless the carpet (or tile) is physically damaged I wouldn’t cut out and replace the stained area. I’d simply clean it as fast as is possible.
You’re going to have to accept that the trade off for all the advantages of carpeting your garage comes with a few draw backs. That being said, because this is hard wearing carpet you can use some pretty serious cleaning products and shouldn’t have too much of a problem.
Installing carpeting in your garage comes with plenty of advantages and a few drawbacks. I’d say if you know what you’re using the garage for and it’s not getting heavy use like you’d see in a workshop that deals with wood then you’ll probably be alright.
If however your garage looks more like a saw mill than it does a place to park your car then you might want to look at a more durable solution such as epoxy.
- Sound suppression. Carpets absorb sound much better than hard surfaces.
- A moderate level of floor insulation. Although there are far more effect solutions for this purpose.
- Easy to remove in the future, especially if you go with carpet tiles.
- You can install it yourself. Although roll carpet is a little more tricky.
- Aesthetically more pleasing than a hard surface.
- Not suitable for heavy use
- Adhesives will degrade over time.
- Not easy to clean spills and stains