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It's often a part of the house that is overlooked when it comes to decorating. But it's also often the place that we come home to first every night. When we pull into our garages a tone is set. Is yours cluttered? Does it welcome you? Are you dodging the huge slick oil and grease stains on your garage floor so that you don't track them into the house?

"We can take a typical two-car garage, which is approximately 400 square feet, and convert it into literally 400 square feet of livable or usable area," said Byron Burland, owner of Safe 'n Secure Garage Door Specialist, Inc. in San Diego, California.

Whether you're converting your garage into livable or usable space, fixing it up will make coming home more welcoming. One of the biggest projects to clean up is the garage floor. Deciding to epoxy, install a locking-tile system or even paint your garage floor depends on the amount of money and work you want to spend.

Homeowners are fixing up their garages and many are using materials once only seen in industrial buildings and adapting them for their homes. "It's very similar to what you may experience in an elevator [floor] in a commercial building," says Burland.

"They're tending to transform their garages into more of a livable or usable area; in the day the kids can play on the mats on the floor. They've got their games or their toys all packed away in the cupboards or cabinets or shelving and then in the evening when they get home from work they can drive in their garages," says Burland.

These days there are more choices in flooring from epoxy to even paint. But the ever-popular epoxy flooring that requires days of preparation and installation before it's ready to be walked or driven on, has some growing competition that needs significantly less preparation, far less time to install and is more cost effective.

"One is a mat floor which is a vinyl base and is rolled out similar to that of a carpet and it's adhered to the edges with a double adhesive tape that they use for industrial flooring," says Burland.

The G floor cost is approximately $2.25 per square foot and it takes about an hour-and-a-half to install it. It also comes with a 10-year warranty. "The beauty behind it is you can hose it all down, get any mark off, mud, anti-freeze, battery acid, brake fluid, oil, everything just comes straight off," says Burland. The G flooring can be placed over any type of surface. Some homeowners are putting it over epoxy floors because the epoxy got scratched or damaged.

Another flooring system is the Racedeck, a little more expensive than the G floor. It's been on the market for more than 20 years in commercial applications, but now is being designed for residential use. "It's comprised of a 12-by-12 snap-together polypropylene tile," says Burland.

The floor is assembled in a similar manner to how you tile a regular floor, except it is a floating floor so no adhesive is used on the ground, Burland explains, "It snaps together and the weight and structure of it [causes it to] rest freely on top of the garage floor."

The Racedeck costs approximately $4.25 per square foot. Burland says since the system uses individual tiles, a homeowner has more design options, "You could have a black and a white … like a checkerboard; you could put different colors or you could put a border around it."

Yet another alternative is to simply paint your garage floor. Very careful cleaning and preparation of the concrete surface is a must to ensure that the paint thoroughly sticks to the surface. Also, the use of special paints that resist hot-tire pick up should be used to prevent the chance of lifting paint caused from the tires being so hot.

The right floor, even in the garage, makes coming home a delight.

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