In most cases, your garage floor is the last thing you upgrade in your garage. At least it was for me. I started looking at garage floor mats and rolls as a temporary measure before getting my pimped out floor tiles.
There’s a lot to look at for garage floor coverings. Carpet was a non-starter. You can pick it up cheaply at Home Depot, but it’ll soak up every oil spill or rain runoff. But I’ve seen several companies make vinyl floor mats that come in large rolls that are easy to install and reasonably affordable.
I don’t have the luxury of taking everything out of my garage for several days to add an epoxy floor coating, so I wanted to take a look and see if it was the right solution for me.
While doing that research, I found a lot of the information in various places and it really wasn’t well organized.
So I decided to create this buyer’s guide to help you out if you’re like me and trying to decide if vinyl garage rolls or mats are right for you.
Besides garage lighting, your garage floor has the biggest impact on the overall look and feel of your garage.
Vinyl floor mats are great because they make it easier to clean off dirt, grease, oil, or water that inevitably find their way into any garage. Plus, they’re available in so many different colors and styles that they help make your garage look cool as well.
But with so many options to choose from, how do you find yourself the perfect mat for your garage?
We’ll cover these topics in this article. Let’s start by looking at what you need to look for in a garage floor mat.
5 Things To Look For In Garage Floor Mats
There are six main factors you should consider when selecting a floor mat for your garage:
- Size of the mat
- What the mat is designed for
- How easy it is to maintain/clean
- The seams
- Overall look and aesthetic appeal of the mat
Let’s take a look at each of these variables and see how you can use them to find the perfect mat.
One of the first things you should be considering while getting a floor mat for your garage is the size of the mat. This will be different for each person. It’ll depend on the size of your garage, the size of the space you’re trying to cover, and of course, how much you’re willing to spend.
Do you want the mat to cover the entire garage floor or just the area where you park your car?
There are several manufacturers that offer custom-sized mats. However, it’s far more common to fins floor mats that are just large enough to park a car or motorcycle on.
We’ll dive into more detail on floor mat size in the next section, so stay tuned.
2. What is the Mat Designed for?
This is going to seem like a really basic question, but stick with me.
Not all vinyl mats are designed for the same purposes. Some are meant to protect the floor. Others are designed to trap runoff from the car. Some are parking aids. Still others are built with more cushioning to make it more comfortable to stand on for hours on end.
Ask yourself what you most want your garage floor mat to do and then look for a mat that offers these specific features.
One of the most overlooked factors is how easy it is to maintain and clean. Almost every garage mat can be cleaned using a vacuum cleaner or simply hosed down with some water.
However, some need to be disassembled before cleaning and some can’t even be cleaned at all. They would need to be replaced once they get too dirty.
It’s a fact that there will be plenty of dirt, mud trails, oil leaks, and water stains that will make your garage mat dirty. You’ll definitely want to consider how easy it is to clean.
4. Mat Seams
It might sound like a minor detail, but the seams of your mat are very important. They’ll be the weakest link to containing all the water, the snow, and oils that you bring in with your car.
If you want a mat that will last you a long time, make sure it comes with high-quality seams. Good brands come with heat-welded seams that improve both the durability of the mat and its ability to contain all the fluids.
I put this one last, even though this is the feature that most buyers pay the most attention to. After all, the whole mission of Garage Transformed is to turn your garage into something you can be proud of. It’s only natural that you would want it to look good.
This is the fun part. There are plenty of colors and designs to choose from and you’re probably going to find something that jumps out at you.
Of course, this may not matter to some people. And if how the mat looks isn’t one of your concerns, I recommend trading it off for a better price or one of the other factors that is more important.
Type of Garage Floor Mats
As you can imagine, there are a few different types of garage floor mats.
The biggest difference is going to be in their size. More often than not, their size is based on their design:
- Standard Mats: These are the most common types of garage floor mats you can get in the market. They usually come in a wide variety of sizes ranging from 1.5′ x 3′ all the way up to 17′ x 7′. This type of mat usually has to be held to the ground using some sort of adhesive.
- Flooring Rolls: It’s probably easier to consider these as flooring covers for your entire garage. They come in large rolls cover as much space as you need. They are easier to install than standard mats and usually don’t require any adhesive to hold them to your garage floor. These mats usually require at least a few days before they lay completely flat on the ground.
- Singe Vehicle Mats: It’s most common to see these designed specifically for motorcycles, but you can also get them in sizes for cars and trucks as well. Usually these mats are for containing snow or rain runoff, but you can also find ones with designs to let you show off your pride and joy with a little flair.
Another big factor for garage floor mats has to do with whether it is permanent or portable. Let’s take a look at both:
Portable Garage Floor Mats
Portable garage floor mats are the most common type of garage floor mats for a few reasons:
- They’re usually less expensive.
- They’re easier to install.
- These mats can be easily uninstalled and then reinstalled in another location.
Another great advantage of portable mats is that they’re much easier to clean. It’s fairly easy to pick up the mat, take them out to your driveway and hose them down when necessary.
However, portable floor mats may not be as durable as their permanent counterparts. This doesn’t mean that portable garage floor mats can’t handle your typical car or SUV. But they can start experiencing excessive wear when you introduce them to bigger and heavier vehicles.
For most homeowners, a portable garage floor mat could suit you just fine.
Permanent Garage Floor Mats or Rolls
Permanent floor rolls are usually larger, heavier, and more durable than portable mats. They require more time or effort to install, and they usually cost more than portable mats do.
More often than not, you’ll find permanent floor coverings come in large rolls, like carpeting. When we talk about garage flooring rolls, this is what we’re referring to.
Although these floor coverings can technically be removed and reinstalled, they are meant to be kept in place, hence the name.
One of the greatest advantages of these mats is their durability. Permanent garage floor mats are designed to withstand a lot more strain and force than their portable counterparts.
If you’re looking for a long term investment, permanent garage floor mats are the way to go.
Materials Used in Garage Floor Mats
When it comes to the materials used, most garage floor mats fall into either one of two categories: Vinyl or Polyester.
Let us look at each of these briefly:
Vinyl can be found in almost every garage floor mat because most people want something to keep their garage dry.
Vinyl is relatively cheap and waterproof which means that it is super easy to wash and clean. It also won’t react to any of the chemicals or fluids commonly found in garages like gasoline or antifreeze.
While vinyl does have its advantages, it isn’t a very strong material. Mats made exclusively out of vinyl (generally polyvinyl chloride, or PVC), won’t be as durable if it’s made too thin.
Polyester is stronger and more flexible than vinyl. Usually you’ll see garage floor mats made of a fiberglass and polyester composite material when they need to be flexible or portable.
Other mats are composed of polyester coated with vinyl. This way, you get the strength of polyester and the waterproofing of vinyl.
When you’re purchasing a garage floor mat, be sure to check the material used. If you’re looking at a polyester, also check to see if it is woven or not. Woven polyester is stronger but provides a weaker seal against liquids.
Frequently Asked Questions FAQs on Garage Floor Mats
Why should you install a floor mat in your garage?
There are plenty of advantages to getting a floor mat for your garage. But they can all be summed up in three points:
- Rain, snow, mud, oil and automobile fluids will inevitably drip off your car and a good garage floor mat will help you keep your garage clean.
- A good garage floor mat will also serve to protect your garage floor by keeping it dry.
- Garage floor mats are much more comfortable when you have to get down on your knees or lie down and work on your car.
Can I use a floor mat with a garage drain?
This depends on your garage. If you have a floor drain in your garage, you could cut an opening in the mat to allow liquid to drain out. If you don’t use the drain, then there’s no harm in covering it up with the floor mat.
How do I clean my garage floor mats?
In most cases, you should be able to brush the dirt away with a broom or wipe it off with some rags. If you do this regularly, it is highly unlikely that there’ll be any serious stains that require immaculate cleaning.
For tougher stains, you can use a general household cleaner or apple cider vinegar (yes, really). You can also use diluted Pine-Sol or other cleaners. For extremely difficult stains, you can use very diluted bleach, but beware that it may also take some of the color of the floor as well.
Alternatives to Garage Floor Mats or Rolls
There are a few noteworthy alternatives to garage floor mats and rolls. Each has their own set of advantages.
Besides garage floor mats, the other alternatives include floor tiles, epoxy, and paint. Let’s look at each of these briefly:
Garage Floor Paints
Garage floor paint is one of the simplest and the cheapest flooring options. It’s usually where most of us start out after we’ve had enough of bare concrete.
While they’re slightly more durable than wall paint, they still tend to come off easily where they meet regular friction (i.e. where your tires hit them). They’re also vulnerable to all the fluids and chemicals you would expect to have in a garage.
Floor paint is a cheap and easy alternative, but it’s one of the worst options.
Epoxies are like improved versions of floor paint that addresses some of those weaknesses.
Epoxy floors can take up to a week to apply and dry. However, once they’re set, they will last you a long time. They’re also much more resistant to automotive fluids than floor paint and can easily handle all the weights and loads of your vehicle without wearing off.
You can get an epoxy floor in several different colors, but I’ve seen some high-end installations get really creative. Most epoxies come in two-part formulas (primer and epoxy) that have to be mixed before applying. A typical kit will cover the size of an average garage. But for extra durability, you could apply a second coat on top of it.
If this sounds like the right solution for you, I wrote an article that goes into many of the pros and cons of buying an epoxy garage floor.
Garage Floor Tiles
Garage floor tiles are one of the gold standard for many garages. In fact, they’re the floor covering that I eventually want to have in my garage.
They’re made of 1/2 – 3/4 inch thick, injection molded PPC that is much more durable than garage floor mats. It usually lasts for decades as opposed to mats that will need replacement every 5-10 years.
Floor tiles are also much more visually appealing. You can get them in various patterns and colors and really make your garage unique, according to your tastes. So they’re more suited for garages that are showpieces, gyms, workshops or mancaves.
Garage floor tiles are usually available in rigid snap-together tiles or flexible interlocking tiles. Rigid tiles can handle a lot more weight, but can’t handle liquid as well as interlocking tiles.
Garage floor mats are one of the most common garage flooring options. They’re a great in-between step between paint or epoxy and tiles, offering durability at an affordable price.
Hopefully, this article helped you decide if they’re the perfect choice for your garage floor.