The cold concrete floors that come in the garages of most homes are uncomfortable and unattractive, to say the least. Garages are extremely versatile spaces, and with a little elbow grease you can turn the space into anything you like, from a personal auto-repair shop, to an art studio, to a professional-grade home gym—all while leaving space to park your car, if you so desire. No matter the plans for your garage, one thing is certain—that concrete garage flooring will have to go.
While it may be tempting to invest in a jackhammer and tear up the concrete, the logically affordable solution is installation of a garage floor covering. By installing a garage mat flooring on top of the existing concrete floor, you are keeping the application fast, affordable, and completely do-it-yourself. Garage mat flooring is a particularly great for those who are renting their homes or planning to sell someday. This is because concrete is such a sensitive surface, and without garage mat flooring to protect it, the concrete will inevitably develop cracks, chips, and various stains. Concrete floors are expensive to repair, and even more expensive to replace. Most other traditional floorings—hardwood and tile, for example—share this same sensitivity and high repair cost. The way to avoid this loss? With heavy-duty garage mats.
Protect Your Base Floors with Garage Mat Flooring
There are many varieties of garage mat flooring, each with their own protective capabilities, so it is important to decide how you want to use the space before you start shopping for a protective garage floor covering. A garage that has been repurposed into an extra bedroom is going to have completely different flooring needs than one that is used as a motorcycle workshop, so first you want to determine what your needs are. Do you need a comfortable, cushioning garage mat flooring, or one that is hard and rigid? What substances might it be exposed to? What kind of temperatures? Once you have an idea of the requirements for your garage flooring, you can start exploring the many options available.
The first, and coincidentally the most important decision to be made is the type of material to use. The two materials you will see most commonly used in garage mats and garage flooring are rubber and vinyl, and though these materials are very different, they are each favored with good reason.
Rubber makes for extremely durable and versatile flooring, which is why it is such a popular material in home applications, commercial businesses, and outdoor flooring, in addition to its popularity as garage mat flooring. A rubber garage floor mat acts as a protective barrier for your concrete flooring, ready to absorb any physical abuse the floor might need to endure. Depending on the thickness of the rubber mat, that includes abrasions, vibrations, extreme temperatures, and heavy impacts. The rubber absorbs these potentially harmful movements and distributes them evenly across the garage floor covering to lessen their force when they reach the concrete base floors.
Rubber garage mat flooring is also waterproof, and usually made from non-porous elastomers that cannot develop rot, mildew, or mold. This protective capability of rubber is shared with vinyl garage mat flooring, which has a completely non-permeable surface. Vinyl also has a moderate resistance to oils and chemicals, which makes it an excellent choice for a garage floor mat placed beneath a car or auto-repair space. While rubber flooring is durable and waterproof, such heavier substances are likely to stain or degrade the material quickly, whereas vinyl garage flooring will endure. These resistances also make both types of garage mats incredibly easy to clean. They can be hosed down with water or given a more thorough cleansing with your favorite household cleaning solution. Keep in mind that while vinyl garage mat flooring is stronger against chemicals than rubber, it is not an indestructible material. Extremely caustic chemicals such as bleach will still degrade a durable vinyl garage floor mat, so always be mindful of your flooring.
In addition to chemical resistance, vinyl garage mat flooring offers excellent resistance against abrasions. Vinyl is flexible, though still harder and more rigid than rubber matting. A vinyl garage floor mat will do well to protect base floors from foot traffic, driving your car over it, and most spills you might encounter. Both vinyl and rubber act as durable protective barriers, however, vinyl garage mats are much thinner than rubber, and as a result do not protect as well against impacts. In contrast, thick rubber mats can provide cushioning and anti-fatigue comfort qualities that are ideal for working out and standing for long periods of time.
Regardless of the material used, one key quality that makes garage mat flooring so amazing compared to traditional floors is its customizable versatility. Both rubber and vinyl matting come in a wide selection of colors and modern textured surfaces such as diamond-plate and coin-top. Garage mats come in a wide range of sizes and can usually be custom cut, allowing them to fit a space of any size.
Though mats can be tiled to form a complete garage mat flooring, they can also be used individually to cover specific areas, such as the space beneath a parked car, where the mat will protect the base flooring from dripping oils and fluids. This makes it easy to get the protection that you need precisely where you need it, and even easier to give your garage multiple purposes! For example, what if you want to fashion your garage into a home gym without giving up your favorite parking spot? Home gyms require thick, elastic rubber garage floor covering that can provide comfort and take a beating, while vehicle parking requires a rigid surface, and the area is susceptible to harmful oils and chemicals. This type of conundrum is where garage mat flooring shines its brightest! Installing floor mats rather than traditional flooring lets you have the best of both worlds.
With traditional types of garage flooring, the whole space must be committed to the same type of material. With garage mats, on the other hand, you can treat each section of the floor like its own room. Different areas of your garage can be reserved for different activities, each matched with their perfect garage floor mat, to truly get the most out of your space. By using different types of matting for areas with different needs, creating the garage of your dreams has never been easier.