How Tos / Tech

Flooring Hop-Up: Installing Race Deck Floor Tile

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The installation process begins with setting up the outer corners of your area. If you are covering the entire floor, you can start with the tiles pulled away from the walls, then move them back after forming an L-shape with the edge tiles in place. We set our tiles about 3 1/2 feet away from the walls.

The female loops should be positioned to the inside of the floor, with the smooth (male side) out. The male tabs lie on top of the loops and simply pop into position.

After forming the outer L-shaped border, we moved to the inner section. The border covers the overall length and width of the entire floor section. Note that the tiles are placed from the center of the L outward. We found it easiest to set the outer two locks of the tile (one of each side) before setting the rest of the locks. This pulls the tile into the corner, rather than away from it.

The corner section (the one on the right with the rounded edge) connects to a standard straight edge, forming the corner. There are male and female edges and corner sections.

We installed the first edge pieces after placing the tiles three-deep in the L corner. If you do the edges first, setting the tiles will be slightly more difficult at first because the edges tend to curve during installation.

Our pattern went like this: orange outer ring, two rows of alloy, a black row with orange inner corners, another alloy row, then a black center section. Notice how we missed two rows of alloy here. Fortunately, the tiles are easy to disconnect. You can peel up the tiles as we did, though Race Deck says that a putty knife will release the locks without breaking or stressing them.

Intricate patterns can get confusing when you are in the middle of the install. Keeping a diagram handy will make things go a lot faster. This is a great project to get the kids involved with. What kid doesn’t like to swing a hammer?

The last step is finishing off the edges and corners. Just like the tiles, the locks are male and female.

The final product. The Genuine Hotrod Hardware Harley Davidson Interlocking Tile Floor System looks great and will last for years, even under rolling cars and shop equipment.

Hot rodders like to customize just about every aspect of their life, and the garage is certainly not immune. Summit Gifts, Clothing & Memorabilia understands this, and offers the Harley-Davidson® Interlocking Tile Floor System from Race Deck. This system uses durable, 12-inch by 12-inch interlocking floor tiles, so it’s easy to create any pattern you choose. We used these tiles to create a unique look that will last darn near forever.

What’s in the Kit
The Harley-Davidson® Interlocking Tile Floor System comes in a kit with 36 tiles, plus edges and corner trim pieces, to build a four-foot by eight-foot section. The tiles come in your choice of classic Harley black and orange or alloy gray (aka satin aluminum). Made of a high-impact polypropylene copolymer, each tile can support 25,000 psi of rolling stress and 250 psi for standing loads—strong enough to support a vehicle lift. The tiles can protect your concrete floor from impacts and stains and won’t fade, discolor, or stain.

Because the tiles are universal, you can combine several kits to cover larger areas. We ordered eight kits for our studio to cover a 14-foot by 18-foot area. We used the layout tool on Race Deck’s website to create a design combining alloy and the orange/black tiles. The layout tool gives you valuable resources for complex designs, such as how many tiles of each color you need.

Installation
The installation process is simple. The tiles have male tabs on two sides and female tabs on the other. Lay each tile together with the male tabs on top and tap them with a mallet (much easier on your hands). Start with the smooth side of the tile facing out with the female loops to the inside; this makes installation much easier. The corners and edges are beveled—a complete corner consists of one corner strip and one edge strip.

We started assembly with the main tiles, then added the corners and edging. This helps maintain the tiles’ position. The narrow edge tiles tend to curve, making it difficult to keep things in line if you start with them. If you make a mistake in your pattern or just want to move the tiles, they are easy to take apart. We popped ours apart by hand, but a putty knife will release the locks without damaging them.

Maintenance
The entire assembly process for our floor took about two hours. Once in position the tiles won’t shift or move, even under the weight of a moving vehicle. Maintenance is very simple. Dirt and debris can be swept up or vacuumed; oil and fuel spills can be mopped up.

If you’re looking for a durable floor covering for your garage or shop, you can’t do much better. It looks great and it’s easy–check out the slide show above for installation photos or watch the video below:

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