The 10 Best Garage Mats
Functional, Stylish Protection
Ostensibly, the garage is a utilitarian environment, constructed primarily as a vehicle shelter, a storage facility, a workspace, and a private refuge for overwhelmed husbands or wives. Though workmanlike in nature, it doesn’t have to be a barren, unwelcoming space; on the contrary, it’s possible to enhance the resilience and character of your garage with one simple product.
While paint, epoxy, and tile are all viable garage floor options, none are comprehensive solutions. Garage mats, on the other hand, offer a bit of everything: performance, in that they protect your floor from contaminants, damage, and slippage; aesthetic appeal, as they’re available in a wide range of designs and custom finishes; and ease of installation, since most types are simple to set up and tailor to your space.
A good mat will extend the life of your floor. Imagine life as a garage floor — not a very glamorous existence, right? Automobiles leak fuel and other liquids all over you. You often smell like oil, exhaust, and whatever other debris the car dragged in on its tires. Snow, ice, and road salts assault you during the winter, corroding your surface and making you a slippery hazard. The garage mat defends your floor from dangerous materials, promotes a clean smell, and provides anti-slip protection all at the same time.
Safety and security are paramount, but don’t let that fool you into forgetting about appearances. For many, the garage is a source of pride, and it should look the part. Garage mats hide unsightly cracks and stains, add color and style, and even reflect light to brighten up your space. With plenty of designs and patterns to choose from, you should be able to find the ideal mat or craft a custom solution to match your personal tastes.
Most floor mats (especially roll out models) are extremely easy to install, requiring minimal preparation and manual work. They’re also highly versatile, which makes them simple to move or transport if need be. Once installed, most of them absorb sound and insulate well against the cold concrete, which can be a major perk if you’re toiling at your workbench or doing laundry out there during the frigid winter months. If you cold-weather folks want to take it a step further, take a look at some underfloor heating mats.
Designs And Features To Take Into Account
With such a variety of materials, styles, sizes, and colors to choose from, selecting the right mat for your garage can seem like a daunting task at first. Each material has its benefits. Rubbers mats insulate well, felt mats are the least expensive, and polyvinyl plastic mats are the most durable. Unlike epoxy or floor paint, none of these materials requires extensive surface preparation.
Depending on the problem you’re looking to solve, you may be able to pinpoint the style you require immediately. The aforementioned roll out mats are designed to provide coverage for every inch of your garage floor. To accomplish this, simply cut portions to the appropriate length with a razor knife, then butt those sections together to create a seamless surface. Very similar in design and appearance, parking mats are created in specific sizes to protect the floor underneath vehicles, leaving other areas of the garage uncovered. If you live in a wet or snowy climate, you’ll want to take a hard look at containment mats, which feature a raised edge to control the spread of liquids, prevent leaking, and reduce slippage.
Even though it may look like a simple rug or gym mat, your mat needs to be hard-wearing and tough. Tough enough to get run over by a truck on a daily basis. It also needs to be resilient enough to reliably withstand harmful chemicals and heavy enough to resist sliding.
The surface pattern of the mat is another important aspect you should not overlook. Many consider ribbed surfaces the most functional, since they’re great for containing and channeling liquid and debris. Sleek and attractive, mats with coin and diamond patterns help transform the look and feel of your garage. Textured, leather-like surfaces are the easiest to clean and the most affordable. Remember, if you plan on using a creeper to work on your vehicles, you’ll want to ensure the surface is smooth and sturdy enough for gliding around as you toil away.
A Specialty Mat, Perhaps?
Hey, maybe you’ve already finished your garage floor, and now you’re seeking a new mat to serve one specific purpose. If that’s you, then a specialty mat is what you want.
Don’t be that guy who lays a piece of dirty cardboard under your truck to soak up leaked oil and fuel; an oil drip mat is a far superior solution. It’s more effective, more attractive, and only requires a minor investment. If, in addition to liquids, you need to protect the floor from snow, salts, and other unsavory contaminants, a containment mat works wonderfully (and helps prevent slippage, too).
Some people keep their laundry headquarters in the garage, others use part of the space as a workshop, and a few dedicated souls have even produced good old-fashioned man caves in there. If you spend a lot of time in the garage, an anti-fatigue mat will support and cushion your legs and feet, as well as provide dependable protection.
In a garage where space is at a premium, consider a parking mat guide (today’s version of the hanging tennis ball). These useful parking aids are designed with two raised bumps — which you’ll feel when you drive over them — that notify you when you’re exactly over the mat.
If you handle a lot of your own mechanical work, a light-up mat will brighten the area under the car you’re working on for enhanced clarity and vision. Do you house smaller vehicles or special equipment in your garage? Garage mats designed specifically for lawn mowers, golf carts, tractors, snow blowers, bicycles, and a multitude of other items are available.
If any of these pique your interest, what are you waiting for? That garage floor isn't going to protect itself.