How to Lower a Garage Floor in 8 Steps


Lowering a garage floor may be imperative when you want to enhance the headroom in the garage or create a more accessible space for your cars or equipment with high clearance requirements.

Whatever the garage floor type, you must first remove the upper layer of your floor, be it wood, epoxy, or concrete and excavate. However, the excavation must be done once you have understood the feasibility of lowering the floor, knowing how deep the base is and whether you want to go past your floor’s foundation.

However, as a garage or homeowner, you must know how to lower a garage floor before you begin the process, saving you the cost of hiring an expert.

Read along and learn how to lower a garage floor and the circumstances under which the process may be necessary.

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When Should You Lower Your Garage Floor

The decision to lower a garage floor rest with the owner. Notably, you may want to lower your garage floor if you have increased the equipment in your garage and need more space for the equipment and vehicles. Also, it could be due to your desire to improve the headroom.

Below are some of the reasons or benefits of lowering a garage floor.

  1. Improve ceiling height. If your garage ceiling is insufficient for your requirements, it may be time to lower the floor. For instance, if you want to install a piece of equipment that needs a higher clearance, such as a car lift in your garage, it would be imperative that you lower the garage floor to improve the distance between the floor and the ceiling. This way, you create a higher clearance that allows the installation of portable lifts.
  2. Prevention of Flood. If your garage is located in a flood-prone area or susceptible to water damage, you may solve the problem by lowering the floor. Lowering the foundation can allow you to install a drainage system to direct the water away from your garage, improving the lifespan or durability of your garage.
  3. Renovations. Like any other building, garages do not stay in the same shape forever. At some point, you will want to renovate or improve it. However, during the renovations, you may be thinking of ways to enhance or create more functional garage space and create more room. One essential way to achieve this is to lower the floor. Lowering the garage floor can help you create a more level surface for storage or parking your vehicles as you seek to improve your garage space.
  4. Improve Accessibility. If you intend to create a more accessible space, lowering the floor will be a great idea. The accessibility issue may arise when you have a high vehicle like a truck or RV or are experiencing mobility challenges.

With the elaboration on some of the reasons you would want to lower your garage floor, let’s now discuss how to lower garage floor.

How to Lower a Garage Floor

Lowering a garage floor involves establishing the project’s scope, evaluating the building’s plan, preparing the floor area before breaking it down, excavation, reinforcement, re-flooring, and finally finishing by adding sealers or painting.

Follow the below process to successfully lower your garage floor to create desired headroom or ceiling height to accommodate your equipment or cars.

Tools Needed

  • Jackhammer
  • A level
  • Bolt Cutters
  • Shovel

Step 1: Establish the project’s scope

The first step to lowering a concrete garage floor is to determine the scope of your project. This involves considering the intended use of the space you want to create and the height of your ceiling. That is, you must decide if the project will be feasible. Besides, at this stage, you must check any structural concerns from the project (lowering the floor) and how deep you can go.

Step 2: Assess the Building Plan

The examination of the building plan is an integral step toward the transformation of your garage space. Some buildings have their concrete floor added to the main structural component. In such a case, you would not remove the floor without contacting the building authorities in the area.

Besides, you should not assume anything if you cannot find the building plan. Instead, consult with building experts or a contractor to let them assess the garage and determine whether you can remove the floor.

Step 3: Prepare the Floor Area

Vacate the floor area, removing all the tools, cars, and other equipment. Also, ensure you are working in a clean environment. Vacuum or sweep the floor to remove debris or dirt on the surface. Additionally, ensure the area is well-lit and ventilated before you begin working there.

Step 4: Breakdown Garage Floor

Once you have cleaned your garage floor and lit the area, the next step is to break down the garage floor. Use a pavement breaker or a jackhammer to break the floor into sections. You can use the bolt cutter to cut the rebar. Again, the rebar should be cut into small sections for easy removal.

Moreover, check if the rebar on your floor is attached to the concrete, as every garage floor is uniquely built depending on the contractor. In such a case, you must cut the garage floor into small sections to remove the concrete slab and rebar.

As a precaution, ensure you have put on protective gear like dust masks and safety gases in this process to protect you from any harm of dust from the excavation.

Step 5: Digging/Excavation

Once you have successfully removed the concrete slab, use a shovel to dig the soil to the depth you want to lower your garage. This is an essential step, and you must take all the necessary precautions. You must also ensure you have your plan with all the depth measurements or ceiling heights you desire for your functional garage space.

Step 6: Reinforcement

After removing the existing slab, it is time to reinforce the foundation and walls to guarantee the structural integrity of your building. As a result, pour new footings, or you can install additional support columns. Take note of the drainage systems at this point, especially if your building exists in areas that flood often or collect water during the rainy seasons.

Step 7: Pour new slab/Re-Floor the Garage

Pour the new concrete slat at the desired height. Guarantee that you have utilized a high-quality concrete mix. Also, you must pay maximum attention to the instructions by the manufacturers in this process to realize proper curing. If you prefer epoxy flooring, this is the stage to pour the epoxy for the reconstruction.

Step 8: Finishing

You can add the finishing touches once you have the new slab in place or you have poured the epoxy. The last finishing touches can include installing the new flooring, sealing the surface, or painting the walls. With that, you will have successfully lowered your garage floor.

Note: Lowering the garage floor is a complex process that, if you do not have the needed expertise, you may need to consult professional contractors or engineering experts. Besides, ensure you have consulted with the local building regulations and codes before starting the process. To complete the whole process, ensure you have consulted with the experts or professionals, as your safety is almost paramount.

The video below shows a demonstration of a lowered down garage floor after determining the required width for the ceiling height.

Garage Floor Protection Options

Your garage floor will not remain in its top condition forever. Over time, its resilience and visual appeal may degrade, and you might be thinking of the most viable options to improve the lifespan and restore the original appearance or value.

Exploring the garage floor protection options would be ideal in such situations, especially due to the majority of the floor protection methods and products available in the market.

Also, due to the heavy traffic, your garage floor has to endure daily, from pedestrians and vehicles, exposure to automotive fluids, hot tires, and other chemical spills, your garage floor will inevitably start showing cracks, stains from spills and leaks, uneven surface color, and spalling especially when your garage concrete floor surface crumbles or flakes away.

As such, you need a protection mechanism to help you overcome these challenges, keep your garage floor at its top aesthetic appeal, and enhance its longevity.

Consider these top garage floor protection options that most homeowners have turned to when transforming their garage floors.

             1. Epoxy Coatings

Epoxy coatings are among the most popular garage floor choices since they are durable and easy to clean. Epoxy coatings come in various finishes and colors and can protect your floor from damage, spills, and stains.

The primary benefit you will enjoy as a homeowner considering epoxy as a flooring option is its extreme durability and chemical resistance. Cleaning epoxy floors is a breeze, and you would not have to worry about the vehicle fluids sitting on its surface for longer. You can still clean the spills, oils, or grease effortlessly without leaving any stains. The epoxy floors are, thus, easy to clean.

Moreover, due to its thickness and hardness, the epoxy floors are resistant to abrasion from items you use in your garage such as floor jacks, jack stands, or metal wheeled toolboxes. As a result, the dropped tools, heavyweights, especially when your garage doubles as a gym, will not damage the epoxy coating. How impressive!

Simply, apply the epoxy flooring in your garage floor as a protection option regardless of the type of vehicle you park in your garage or project you intend to work on, as it can accommodate the heaviest traffics in the garage space.

Other benefits from the epoxy floor coatings include an attractive appearance, slip resistance, a variety of finishes, including gloss and satin, and easy installation.

             2. Polyaspartic Floor Coating

If you are looking for a high-performance floor protection option, look no further than Polyaspartic floor coating. The flooring option is made of professional-grade materials applied by experts using unique equipment to deliver long-lasting flooring protection.

One primary advantage of this exciting flooring alternative is that it can penetrate deeper into the concrete, helping establish a stronger foundational bond with the concrete and making it more waterproof against chemicals, water, and other elements that can damage your garage floor.

Furthermore, the polyaspartic coating has a durable top coat that can resist damage from chemicals, abrasions, or permanent markings left on your garage floor from hot tire vehicles. Since it would not wear down faster, you are sure there will not be much dust on your garage floor’s surface.

The only drawback with this type of flooring is that it can be a bit more costly. However, considering the quality and the improvements it will give to your floor, the coating is worth the price. You will not have to replace it often, and it is characterized by the least maintenance requirements, hence appropriate for long-term protection. If you need a quick fix, however, you may need other options as this would be costly for a quick fix.

In general, polyaspartic floor coating is extremely durable, resistant to chemicals and abrasion even in tough environments, has UV stability, and fast returns to service. This makes it a top choice for garage floor protection with significant foot and vehicle traffic.

           3. Interlocking Tiles

If you want to consider a more DIY approach, then the Interlocking tiles will be an ideal option for your garage floor protection. The interlocking tiles refer to the tiles that link to form a floating floor. The implication is that the tiles are not glued down to the primary floor. However, they are interlocked using an interlocking system over a flat surface and held by the gravity of their weight.

The interlocking tiles come with significant benefits, including ease of installation, while also coming in various materials, including rubber, plastic, and vinyl. They can also be removed and replaced if needed.

Also, floor tiles are a cost-effective option that you can use to improve the attractiveness of your garage floor. Added to their versatility of getting used in laundry rooms, basements, and storage rooms, the tiles can easily get replaced when one is damaged. With the tiles, you can also create a custom look with different styles and colors of tile floors available in the market.

One drawback with installing interlocking tiles in your garage floors is that they tend to shift since they are not firmly fixed in place.

            4. Concrete Sealers

Concrete sealers are another excellent, cost-effective option to protect your garage floor from moisture and stains. The sealers are available in different finishes, including matte, gloss, and satin, and can be applied using a brush, roller, or sprayer.

The concrete sealers come in latex, acrylic, and urethane types that are relatively easy to apply. As a result, this floor protection can help you protect your garage floor from water damage and stains.

However, this floor protection option will not provide your floor with significant protection like other alternatives like epoxy coatings. The concrete sealers wear out faster and do not bond to concrete.

           5. Rubber Mats

Another inexpensive option to protect your garage floor is rubber mats. The mats offer a non-slip surface, and they are easy to clean. Another significant element with the rubber mats is that they can be used in high-traffic areas and in specific areas of your garage floor.

           6. Floor Paint

You can protect your garage floor by painting. However, you first need to learn how to paint garage floors. Paints can help you cover stains and other damage on the floor. The paints are available in different colors and finishes. However, unlike other floor protection options, paints may require more maintenance than other options, and you can be prompted to apply them over time.

Signs your Garage Floor Needs Replacement

Floor protections work magic on your garage floor, enhancing its longevity and value. However, even floor coating options have a lifespan. You will be made to replace your garage floor with some paint, and you must know what signs to look for when this time comes.

Stand guided with the following signs before you finally do the replacement.

          1. The floor is not Holding Up.

If your garage floor has started experiencing constant chipping, damage, or slowly becoming uneven, it could be time to do the replacement. The cause of these problems is always improper installation. Even though problems with wear and tear are common in the garage floors due to heavy daily traffic, severe damage that worsens with time could be a main cause of alarm that will require immediate attention.

Besides, your garage may sometimes appear worn out when it has no recommended thickness. Normally, garage floors should be four inches wide and about 6 inches thick. You should always strive to get these measurements right during the initial installation. If not, you may start experiencing problems with your garage floor before its lifespan.

Making thicker concrete when installing garage floors will make you realize a stronger slab. Some homeowners would prefer adding an inch or two to the existing garage floor to save on the cost of the whole replacement.

          2. Severe Cracks

There is nothing as unappealing as the cracks in your garage floor. Cracks are a serious threat to the damage on your car tires and can also expose you to injuries. Also, the cracks can form a passage to water and other liquids used in the garage that can damage the floor due to increased moisture content.

Perhaps, the primary cause of cracks in the garage floor is the freeze-thaw cycle. The variations in temperature and humidity always result in the garage floors freezing in the winter and thaws in the summer months.

That is, the temperature changes result in the contraction and expansion of the garage floors, which can result in concrete cracking and buckling over time. Concrete floors can soak up water on rainy days, in humid environments, or due to snowmelt in the winter.

The floors can expand the concrete substantially when it absorbs the extra water and freezes due to a drop in temperature. As a result, the floors can rupture due to the increased pressure.

Thus, if your garage floor has experienced cracks over 1/4 inch wide and deep, replacing them could be the appropriate time. If left unattended, these cracks may grow bigger and cause significant damage to the whole floor system.

            3. Pitting

Pitting results when small indentations or holes appear on the floor’s surface. Often, pitting results from extended exposure of the floor to water or chemicals that weaken the garage floor. Water damage also adds to the cracks on the floor’s surface and can result in the floor crumbling. In this case, the best remedy could be replacing the floor to prevent further damage to other structural elements of the floor.

          4. Sinking

Your garage floor, over time, can appear to be sinking or uneven. This can be a serious cause of alarm that can expose you and other individuals or equipment in your garage to severe injuries and damages if it happens before you can address it.

Sinking always occurs when the water underneath your garage floor penetrates the soil, weakens the concrete slab, and causes it to sink. Mostly, the water seeps to the floor’s bottom due to improper drainage. Poor drainage systems can result in water being directed to your home or garage, especially during the rainy seasons.

Do not hesitate to replace the floor if you see signs of uneven floors or sinking. As a precaution, always ensure you do not have pooling water around your garage. Also, ensure that your garage has a proper drainage system that will take the water away from your garage or home


Lowering a garage floor is a challenging undertaking that needs to be addressed with careful preparation and the advice of an experienced professional. It entails digging the floor, laying a new foundation and slab, and installing any required utilities.

However, before beginning the process, it is imperative to have a consultation with a structural engineer or a certified contractor. Securing the necessary licenses from your local building authority is also crucial.

A lowered garage floor, when properly planned for and carried out, can result in additional space and an improvement in the usability of your garage. If you want to increase your ceiling heights to accommodate your equipment, cars, and other accessories, or you want to do renovations or change drainage system, it is the right time to lower your garage floor.

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