A concrete garage floor lasts longer and provides a better work surface if it has some sort of covering. And there is no easier way to cover your garage floor than by rolling out a mat. Garage floor mats come in a variety of styles, colors, and materials. The most common materials include rubber and polyvinyl plastic. Some mats are like rugs, others are textured, and still, others resemble padded gym mats. Like garage floor tiles, mats can be installed over concrete floors that are stained or cracked with no prep work necessary.
What to Look For
While a garage floor mat may look like a simple rug or gym mat, its material is actually much tougher than that of decorative or recreational mats. Some key features to look for when shopping for a garage floor mat include:
- Resistance to chemical and petroleum spills
- Slip-resistance to improve safety
- Cushioning to reduce fatigue on your feet and legs
- Textured or grooved construction to channel liquids and dirt
- Easy-to-clean materials
- Ability to withstand vehicle traffic
- Sufficient weight to resist sliding around
- Smoothness and strength to allow gliding around on a creeper if you do car repair
Another important consideration is mat thickness. Standard mats are about 1/2-inch thick, while heavy-duty mats run about 3/4 inch. Thicker mats typically cost more and may offer superior performance, but for light-duty use, a standard mat may be just fine.
The Benefits of Rollout Mats
One advantage that mats offer over garage floor tile is that mats can be rolled up and moved easily. For example, you may want to move a mat so you can use a creeper on bare concrete or if you have a particularly messy job in the garage and will clean the entire floor afterward. Mats themselves are also easy to clean without creating a mess in the garage. Just roll them up, move them out onto the driveway or lawn, unroll them, and give them a good washing with a garden hose. Let them dry on both sides before rolling them up and laying them back down on the garage floor.
You can find mats in sizes to fit most garages or order them custom-sized to fit your space. Most mats can also be combined to cover a large area. They can be cut to size with an ordinary utility knife and can be seamed together with a special adhesive or heavy-duty flooring tape.
Keep in mind that many types of garage floor mat will expand and contract with temperature variations. For this reason, it's best not to tape the perimeter of a mat installation to the floor, so the edges have room to move. Also, it's a good idea to leave a 1/4-inch gap between the flooring and all walls to accommodate an expansion of the mat during warm weather.
Standard-thickness garage mats can be found starting at about $1.25 per square foot, while heavy-duty mats typically cost between $2.50 and $4 per square foot. This puts the cost of garage mats roughly in the middle between epoxy floor coatings (at the lower end) and garage floor tiles (at the higher end). Both mats and tiles can be easily replaced as needed and can be taken with you if you ever move.