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Interlocking Garage Floor Tiles - A Tale of Two Tiles

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When it comes to garage flooring, nothing is probably more intriguing than interlocking tiles. They come in a variety of colors, you can custom design any pattern for your floor that you desire, and they are easy to install with little floor preparation required. What most people don’t realize however is that there are two completely different types of tiles to choose from, those manufactured with polypropylene and those manufactured with polyvinyl chloride. There is a difference in how these tiles perform and look in the garage and that difference may decide which tile is best for you.

Polypropylene tile

Polypropylene tile

PVC - polyvinyl chloride

PVC - polyvinyl chloride

Polypropylene and PVC

Tiles made of polypropylene, which is a thermo plastic polymer, are rigid in design and have a hard surface. Some premium brands will also add a little rubber to the mix for anti-slip and anti-fatigue benefits. They are generally a 1/2" thick depending on brand and come in sizes of 12”x12” with some companies’ offering 18’x18” as well. They snap together with a pin and loop type system and have a hollow core underside to allow for air circulation and water drainage. Some manufactures offer a crisscross ribbed design that provides for water from wet cars, snow, and etc. to drain through the tiles onto the concrete below. This helps to prevent puddling in the garage for those who are located in snowy and wet climates.

Tiles made of polyvinyl chloride, otherwise known as PVC, are more flexible and have a rubber-like texture to them. These are more solid throughout, are 1/4” to 3/8” thick and come in sizes ranging from 12”x12” up to 24”x24”. Most fit together at the edges like a puzzle piece and generally do not allow for much air circulation and water drainage underneath the tile.

Both tiles are available in a variety of different surface textures such as diamond plate and coined. They are resistant to oils, chemicals, mold and mildew, can withstand jacks, rolling tool boxes, heavy vehicles, storage racks, and more. They are easy to clean, U.V. resistant so that they won’t fade, and all have different edging options available.

This is a good video on how to install interlocking tile

Which is best for me?

So what are the advantages of one over the other? Well the polypropylene tile is the lesser expensive of the two starting as low as $1.90 a square foot depending on where you purchase them. It is just as easy to install as the PVC tile and has the added advantage of being available in the crisscross ribbed design to drain water away from the surface of the floor if you desire. If your garage floor has moisture issues, its hollow core underside allows for air circulation to help keep your concrete dry. The snap-together design also allows for a nice clean delineation between tiles of two different colors whereas most PVC tiles have a zig zag look at the edges due to the puzzle design that locks them together.

One of the complaints about polypropylene tiles however is that some can be noisy. The combination of the peg and loop design and hollow core construction create this. Driving or walking on the tiles cause them to move slightly at the edges creating a clicking noise that is amplified by the concrete and hollow core construction. The more premium designs have less of a problem with this due to a tighter fit. This noise can be made worse if you don’t have a flat floor and the tile has to follow the contours when driven or walked on. Because of the hard surface of these tiles, noise can bounce off of them as well creating a hollow sound in a semi empty garage.

Polypropylene Tile

PVC tiles on the other hand are very quiet. Due to their rubber-like texture and flexibility, they follow the contours of the garage floor and don’t make any noise at all when driven or walked on. They also form a very tight seal at the edges which won’t let dirt lodge between the tiles creating a “dirt” grout line. They provide good anti-fatigue benefits due to their design and help to absorb sound in the garage. Because of the material they are made of, PVC tiles are more expensive starting around $3.50 a square foot. If you have a moisture problem in your garage however, the polypropylene tiles would be a better choice.

Polyvinyl Chloride - PVC

In conclusion

As you can see, there are bigger differences in interlocking garage tiles than most people are aware of. Now that you know the difference between these two types of tiles, hopefully it will be easier to choose the one that best suits your needs. Once you do, you can have a stylish new garage floor installed in less than a day that your neighbors will envy.

Learn more about garage floor tile and other garge flooring here

© 2012 Shea


Nick Deal from Earth on September 06, 2014:

Good to know! Thanks for writing.

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C E Clark from North Texas on September 05, 2014:

Very interesting and helpful info for a person trying to decide whether to use this type of flooring. Sharing with HP followers.

Shea (author) on March 28, 2013:

Yes, it's hard to come up with a reason why you couldn't install this type of flooring. It's definitely not hard.

Polly on March 28, 2013:

I need to show my husband this. He says installing tile in a garage is too hard. This looks like I could even do it.

Nell Rose from England on March 28, 2013:

Great info for anybody needing to know the difference, as I haven't got a garage I will show it to my brother, he is always moaning about the floor! lol!

Notsofast on March 12, 2013:

Wow, I need to evaluate this some more. I just thought there was the one kind.

Jackson on January 15, 2013:

I always wondered what the difference was in garage tiles. Good information, thanks.

Shea (author) on November 08, 2012:

I'm glad it helped!

Mary Craig from New York on November 08, 2012:

I never realized there were two different kinds of garage floor tiles! My husband has been looking at them but so far we haven't gotten any. Your hub was very helpful and informative. Now I feel I can make a better decision when the time comes.

Voted up, useful, and interesting.

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