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Garage floors face a lot of traffic and wear and tear, so covering the concrete with matting is a smart idea. The concrete will last much longer, and you have a better work surface with mats. Mats and rolls are easy and fast to install, and you have lots of styles, colors, and materials to choose from. Mats and rolls can be installed over stained or cracked concrete floors with no prep work necessary.
There are many types and materials of garage floor mats and rolls and benefits, drawbacks, and things to look out for when choosing a garage floor mat or roll.
The garage floor has a significant impact on how your garage looks and feels, and with mats, you can easily change the aesthetic. In this article, we cover all the aspects of garage floor mats and rolls.
Benefits of Garage Floor Mats
Using mats & rolls is simple, and they are definitely worth the price. Mats offer many benefits such as:
Protect the garage floor from contaminants, freeze-thaw, dirt, oil, mud, road salt, and water. Provides a barrier against cold and sound, anti-slip protection, hides stains and cracks. Easy cleaning. Cushioning for a workshop. Mats also mask unpleasant smells in some cases. Garage mats are fast and easy to install.
Keeps Garage Floor Safe From Contaminants
Bare concrete floors are porous, so they soak water, chemicals, and oil inside the surface. Removing stains is hard, and concrete also creates concrete dust easily. Using mats, you keep the concrete floors in good condition, easy to clean, and your garage dust-free. Your concrete floor may also freeze-thaw from small cracks, and using mats will circumvent the problem.
Mats are resistant to oil, chemicals, and almost anything you throw at them. Mats also protect the concrete floor from road salt damage and keep the floors dry.
Barrier Against Cold and Sound
Mats can also act as barriers against sound and cold. Concrete floors are cold, and if you spend a lot of time in the garage, the mats will serve as a barrier against the cold, especially in the winter. Remember to insulate and heat the garage too.
Read all about insulating your garage here.
Rubber and polyvinyl mats absorb any kind of sound significantly. Especially echoes and hollow sounds that concrete floors produce. So mats are great for reducing the sounds coming from the garage.
Protection From Slipping
Water and snow collect quickly on the garage floor, and you may slip easily, especially during winter. Mats offer an anti-slip surface that helps eliminate the change of accidents.
Some mats provide extra cushioning for comfortable stand/walking usage for workshops and similar types of spaces.
Hides Stains and Cracks on Garage Floor
Concrete floors without protection will stain and crack over time from oil, road salt, chemicals, and dirt. Getting the stains out is hard and fixing cracks is costly. Garage mats will hide these problems and prevent the floor from more damage. You don’t even have to do any preparation. Just roll out the mats.
Easy Cleaning of Garage Floor
Mats are made from materials that are easy to clean with low effort. Dirt, oil, and chemicals are removed easily. Oil can be just wiped off and dust and dirt wiped off or mopped.
Concrete floors produce lots of dust, and the dust will carry inside the house if your garage is attached. Installing mats removes the concrete dust problem.
Things to Look For in Garage Floor Mats
Consider the following things when selecting a mat.
Look for things such as size, material, maintenance, and cleaning, what the mat is designed for (important!), looks and aesthetic appeal, surface pattern, seaming, and the smell when choosing a garage floor mat.
Maintenance and Cleaning – Most mats can be cleaned using a vacuum, wet-vac, hose, mop, or taking them outside for cleaning. But some need to be disassembled for cleaning, and some cannot be cleaned at all.
Garage floors get a lot of all sorts of dirt, oil, mud, road salt, and water, so getting a mat that is easy to clean is preferable.
What Is the Mat Designed For – Mats differ by type. Some will absorb water into themselves. While others will contain a lot of water on the surface. Some have cushioning for comfortable stand/walking usage.
Look and Aesthetic Appeal – Garage mats come in many colors, designs, and styles. So you can pick something that you find pleasing and fits perfectly into your garage. Or, if you just need a basic mat with functionality suited to your garage, you can go with that option.
Surface Patterns Include:
- Diamond Plate.
- Tire Tread.
The Seams – The seaming in the mats is an important factor. Because the seams contain the water or not. So look for high-quality seaming such as heat-welded seams that add durability to the mat.
The Smell – Many mats or rolls have a nice clean scent, and when you cover the entire floor with these, you can mask some of the not-so-pleasant smells coming from the garage.
Read all about why the garage smells in here.
Size of the Garage Floor Mats
Garage floor mats and rolls vary in width and length greatly, and you can get almost any size you need. Big, small, or cover the entire floor if required.
Make the size choice depending on your personal needs and price range.
The containment mats are the best choice for heavy snowfall areas if your garage does not have a drain.
Types of Garage Floor Mats
There are many types of garage floor mats and rolls.
There are portable and permanent mats, interlocking, peel, and stick, roll out, water and oil-absorbing, containment mats, single or multi-vehicle mats, fabric, and textured garage floor mats and rolls made from different materials and suited of different kinds of usages.
Loose Lay Garage Mats
Loose lay mats are portable, so you can remove and clean them easily outside. Loose lay can also be interlocking mats, tiles, or anything not permanently attached to the floor with glue, adhesive, or any ponding method.
Adhesive Install Garage Mats
Some garage mats are installed permanently on the floor using adhesives, so removing them is not easy or fast. These types of mats do stay in place securely and won’t move in any situation. Proper cleaning of the floor before installation is required for good bonding.
Interlocking Tiles Garage Mats
These types of mats are common in gyms and other exercise areas. Easy to build and expand as the pieces interlock with each other. Material is though and bendable. Suited especially for custom designs.
Peel and Stick Garage Mats
Peel and stick garage mats and tiles work as the name suggests. The backside of the floor piece is adhesive used to keep the mat or tile placed firmly. The floor needs to be appropriately cleaned before installation.
Roll Out Garage Mats
Roll-out mats are, like the name suggests, rolled out. They are easy to move. If you need to use a creeper, for example, in bare concrete, you can just roll the mat up and out of the way during the work. These types of mats come in large rolls and are easy to cut to size and install. They also absorb sounds.
Roll-out mats are also easy to take outside for cleaning with a hose or pressure washer. Let the mat dry on both sides before laying them again on the carpet floor.
Water Absorbing Garage Mats
These types of mats will hold a few gallons of water at a time and keep the rest of the garage floor dry. Great for wet or snowy climates. Prevents slip hazards from wet or icy garage floors.
Make sure your garage is heated and appropriately ventilated, so the mat dries enough.
Oil Absorbing Garage Mats
Designed to collect oil and other fluids possibly leaking from the car. Work similar to water-absorbing mats. Suitable for preventing concrete stains and available in various sizes, from small mats under the vehicle to big roll-out mats.
Containment Garage Mats
Containment mats feature high lifted edges that keep gallons of water in when needed. These types of mats are good for areas with large snowfalls. During wintertime, your car will have lots of slush and snow in the undercarriage in some weeks, and it will melt during the night. The mat will hold the water, and won’t it let ruin your garage floor.
The containment mat is easy to clean with a wet vac or squeegee. Some models feature a removable edge part that allows you to squeegee the water easily out.
Single Vehicle Garage Mats
These mats usually cover areas for motorcycles or cars and come with different styles and options, such as containment edges. There are also various colors and styles available for a bit of showroom style if you want that.
Artificial Fabric Garage Mats
These are not made from regular fabrics, and the back of the mat is waterproof. The mat will hold and absorb water. So moisture can become a problem if your garage does not have adequate heating and ventilation. These do provide a soft anti-slip surface.
These are not affected by water, oil, or other chemicals and absorb sounds and insulate against cold as other large floor covering mats.
Textured Garage Floor Mats
The ribs or coins or another type of texture in these types of mats will hold a moderate amount of water and are usually roll-out types. Cleaning can be done with mops or wet-vac and taking the mat outside.
Portable vs. Permanent Garage Mats & Rolls
Portable Garage Mats
Most garage floor mats are portable for easier cleaning and getting them out of the way when necessary. These are also:
- Less expensive.
- Easy to install.
- Easy to relocate to another location.
- Easy to take outside to clean.
- Not as durable as permanent mats.
- Get a heavy-duty mat if you have very big and heavy vehicles.
Permanent Garage Mats
Permanent mats are installed permanently on the floor.
- Larger, heavier, and durable than portable mats.
- Cost more than portable mats.
- Takes time to install.
- Comes usually in rolls.
- Can be removed in some cases.
- Designed to withstand heavy wear and tear.
Garage Floor Mats Materials
Garage mats are made from rigid materials, and some of the key features to look out for are:
- Resistant to oil and chemical spills.
- Slip resistance to added safety.
- Cushioning to reduce fatigue when standing.
- Textures to channel dirt and liquid.
- Easy to clean materials.
- Withstands vehicle and foot traffic.
- Enough weight to resist sliding away.
- Smoothness and strength to allow creeper movement during car repairs.
- If you have to deal with a lot of snowfall, a containment mat is a good choice.
- If you have a workshop and walk/stand around all day a cushioning is a smart choice.
- If you do a lot of car repairs, a smooth and hard surface is best for the creeper.
Also, consider the cleaning of the mat and is the mat easy to remove for a while if necessary. Some materials are absorbent and will absorb oil and water to themselves.
Make the material choice based on your needs and consider the climate type you are living in.
- Standard mat thickness is ½ inch
- Heavy-duty mat thickness is ¾ inch
Garage floor mats and rolls thickness ranges from 0.079 inches to 3 inches.
Thicker mats cost more and offer more performance, but for light-duty usage, standard mats are fine. Keep in mind that some materials are hefty and cumbersome to move.
Polyvinyl (PVC) Garage Mats
Polyvinyl is very resistant to chemicals and fluids and is easy to clean. Pvc is a very common material in garage floor mats and is cheap and waterproof. Polyvinyl is a rubber-like material and is durable and stain-resistant.
Provides good traction when wet and is resistant to mold and mildew. Available in a large variety of surface tread patterns and colors.
It has many advantages but is not a very strong material if the mat is 100% polyvinyl and too thin. So look for thick enough mats if they are 100% polyvinyl.
Polyester Garage Mats
Polyester is flexible and robust and often mixed with fiberglass in garage floor mats to withstand more wear and tear. Polyester mats are thin and reasonably durable to a point. These are slip-resistant, have waterproof backing usually, and are very absorbent when made of polyester fibers. Used to absorb oil and water. Easy to clean.
Rubber Garage Mats
Rubber is not recommended material for garage flooring if you keep your car in the garage.
90% of rubber flooring sold in the U.S is made of rebonded rubber.
The oils and chemicals can wear and break the clue down that holds the rebonded rubber together and ruin your floor fast. Rubber is a good material for garage gyms, though, or similar light usage of the garage.
Volcanized or virgin rubber can withstand oil and chemicals if you really want rubber floors for car parking.
Mixed Materials Garage Mats
Containment mats are composed of polyester coated with vinyl to make more rigid mats that are waterproof, thin, and durable.
Installing Garage Mats
Installing garage mats is easy. Just pick a size that fits in your garage and is wide and long enough to accommodate your whole car.
Most mats come in standard sizes that fit most garages and can also be custom-sized to fit your garage exactly.
Mats can also be combined to cover a large area. They are easy to cut in size with a utility knife and can be seamed together with adhesive or flooring tape.
Most material will expand and contract with temperature, so keep this in mind when doing the installation near the walls. It is best not to tape the mat to the floor, so the mat edges have room to move. Leave also a little bit of gap between the mat and the walls to accommodate the thermal expansion and contraction of the mat.
Most mat types should be combined with the garage drain for easier cleaning and maintenance.
Read all about garage drains here.
Garage Mats and Rolls Cost
Pricing usually goes by per square footage, and home depot list price ranges from $1-$15 per square footage.
Are garages counted in house square footage? Find out here.
How to Clean Garage Floor Mats
Garage floor mats are made of easy-to-clean materials, and you can just wipe or mop most dust off. Grease and oil can be removed with wiping and mild cleaning agents. Roll-out mats are easy to take outside to the driveway, and you can wash them with the hose or pressure washer.
Read how to clean the garage here.
Garage Floor Carpeting
You are maybe thinking of using ordinary carpets in the garage. Floor carpets in the garage may be aesthetically pleasing, but it’s a bad idea even if the carpets are old and you want to get some last use out of them. Ruining new carpets in the garage is not recommended either.
Regular carpets don’t last long in the garage. Oil, dirt, water, road salt, chemicals, and dust will quickly ruin regular floor carpets. Household carpets are also a fire and slip hazard and should never be used in the garage. Only use artificial fabric mats designed for garage usage.
Carpeting the garage with regular floor mats is the worst garage flooring decision you can make!
Regular carpets will absorb everything quickly because of the fabrics used in the carpet. Garages often have many usages, and dirt comes from cars, foot traffic, and outside when the garage door is open. Rugs are also hard to clean, and oil stains will ruin them for good.
Carpets absorb water and moisture also and dry very slowly. With moisture, you get mold and mildew too. Regular floor carpets will also wear and tear fast in the garage environment. Fabrics used in the carpet are also a fire hazard. Adding oil, grease, and chemicals, you have highly flammable accidents just waiting to happen.
Read about garage hazards here.
Regular carpets also don’t stay in place easily, and you might slip and hurt yourself badly.
Carpeting the garage might be fine if you only use the garage as a man cave, home office, or similar light usage. Not involving anything that could ruin the carpets or your safety.
Using regular floor carpets in the garage is a bad idea, and you have lots of better options for garage flooring.
Check also other garage flooring options.