A Concrete Conundrum: How Should You Protect The Floor Of An Open Carport?

Posted on: 25 May 2016

Choosing an open-side carport over a full-blown garage extension can have many advantages, providing sturdy protection for your vehicle without entailing the significant costs of garage building. However, the exposed nature of an open carport does leave it more exposed to damage from the elements, and the concrete floor of your carport can be one of the first victims of long-term damage without a little care and attention.

Concrete is obviously an extremely robust material, and will weather the everyday stresses and strains of car storage without a hitch. However, a number of factors can cause carport concrete to become damaged, cracked and crumbly, such as excessive exposure to acid rain and carbonisation caused by car exhaust fumes. In addition, unprotected concrete is notoriously easy to stain, and oil leaks or fluid spillages can leave permanent and highly visible blots on your carport floor.

Fortunately, a number of effective carport floor coverings are available to protect your concrete against damage and decay. However, each type of covering has its own strengths and weaknesses, so it's important to assess your needs before buying. The following options are all suitable ways to protect your carport floor:

Floor tiles

Somewhat removed from the porcelain tiles on your bathroom floor, carport floor tiles are made tough plastics and epoxy, and provide a quick and easy way to provide your carport floor with robust protection. These tiles slot together easily and are affixed to the concrete with strong, waterproof adhesives, making them an excellent choice for DIY projects. They are also stain resistant, and their modular construction allows worn or damage tiles to be swapped out when needed, without necessitating a full-blown floor protection replacement.

However, these tiles tend to be the most expensive option when it comes to carport floor protection, particular when used on larger floors. To defray the costs you can choose larger tiles or sheets, but bear in mind that larger tiles will be more vulnerable to bowing and cracking, and may work themselves loose in high winds. Floor tiles can also be damaged by spilled chemicals such as antifreeze. 

Latex paint

Latex concrete paint is often used to cover up oil spots and other stains on concrete surfaces, but this tough paint also confers protection to the concrete itself. Latex paint forms a watertight 'skin' on the surface of your concrete when it dries, protecting your concrete from external contaminants and corrosive chemicals such as acid rain. It is also pleasingly cheap to purchase compared to other floor protection options, and can be applied relatively quickly and easily.

However, latex paint's low cost may well be undermined if you're constantly having to repair damage, and this kind of protection is far less durable than other options, requiring occasional reapplications to cover up any flakes or cracks that appear. Latex paint also tends to perish when placed in direct sunlight, so it may be more suited to shaded lean-to carports than freestanding models.


Epoxy coatings for carport floors may not look much different from latex paints at first glance, but the difference in their performance characteristics can be dramatic. Far more durable and long-lasting than latex paint -- this is because it bonds with the surface of the concrete at a chemical level, preventing peeling and flaking and protecting your concrete from acid rain and water leeching for much longer between reapplications.

Unfortunately, this extra protection comes at a cost, and epoxy floor coatings are likely to be considerably more expensive than latex paints, sometimes even rivalling floor tiles in cost. Epoxy is also quite difficult to apply properly, and without proper surface preparation a newly applied coat of epoxy can fail quickly. Make sure your carport floor is completely free of moisture before laying epoxy.