Regardless of whether you are dealing with a van, truck bed, or an enclosed trailer, installing a high-quality trailer flooring is vital in protecting both your vehicle and anything (or anyone!) inside of it. Trailer flooring options are as diverse and versatile as the vehicles they are installed inside. Trailer floor covering can come in the form of PVC tiles, carpet tiles, rolled vinyl mats, or rolled rubber matting. Depending on what type of vehicle you have and what it will be transporting, the best trailer flooring may be different from one application to the next. So how do you determine which trailer floor covering is perfect for you?
As far as materials go, rolled vinyl and rubber mats for trailers are ideal for nearly any vehicle flooring application. However, both vinyl and rubber trailer mats come in a wide variety of options that each have their own strengths and weaknesses. When shopping for horse trailer mats, for example, you will prioritize comfort and slip-resistance. The bed of a pickup truck, on the other hand, should be lined with a heavy-duty, weatherproof surfacing. Various specialized trailers may seek out aesthetically pleasing trailer flooring with unique or colorful designs. All of these features and more can be found between vinyl and rubber trailer flooring options, it is simply a matter of picking out the perfect one for your application. Let’s take a look at what unique strengths and potential drawbacks come with each of these competitive trailer flooring materials.
The first trailer flooring material to consider is vinyl, also known as PVC. Rolled vinyl mats are very different from the hard PVC plastic tiles that you may be familiar with, and rolled mats are much better for use as trailer flooring. Vinyl trailer floor mats are incredibly thin and flexible without sacrificing the material’s impressive durability. A major advantage that this type of trailer flooring has over harder PVC options is that it is very easy to cut. This is great if your trailer is non-rectangular or features unusual size dimensions. Simply swipe at the thin trailer floor mats with a sharp utility knife to cut around any “problem areas” and achieve a perfect fit!
Another feature that makes vinyl popular for trailer flooring is that it can come in a wide variety of colors, designs, and textured patterns. Unlike rubber, vinyl trailer flooring can be made in bright colors and patterns, some of which even imitate the appearance of high-quality materials such as hardwood or marble. Vinyl can also come with stylish surface textures such as diamond-plating and coin-top, which help to enhance traction as well as aesthetics. While vinyl trailer floor covering does offer protective qualities, it is typically much thinner than rubber trailer mats, and may not protect as well against heavy impacts or intense abrasions. Vinyl trailer flooring is best-suited for applications which value appearances.
Vinyl trailer floor mats feature non-permeable surfaces that are as easy to clean as they are attractive. This means that not only is vinyl trailer flooring waterproof, but it will not allow for the development of mildew or mold! Vinyl also resists mild chemicals, so you can clean the trailer floor covering with water and your favorite household soap. Vinyl is known to become very slippery when it is wet, but many trailer flooring options include traction-enhancing surface textures to assist in moisture-prone applications. It is also worth noting that vinyl does not hold up well when left outdoors, so vinyl trailer floor mats should only be used for enclosed trailers and vehicles.
Rolled vinyl trailer flooring is lightweight and easy to install with use of double-sided carpet tape. This method is perfect for temporary and permanent applications alike, as double-sided carpet tape offers a secure installation that can be removed at any time without causing damage. To install, simply use a utility knife to cut your trailer floor mats to fit the space, and then line the backside perimeter with the double-sided tape. When you’re ready, lay the trailer floor covering into place and press firmly along the edges to achieve a snug and perfect fit.
When protection is of utmost importance, rubber trailer flooring is the ideal choice. Rubber mats for trailers are not always the prettiest, but they provide the most safety and protection that you can get inside of a vehicle. Much like vinyl, rubber trailer mats come in the form of rolled mats that can be easily installed for a seamless and protective finish.
First of all, rubber trailer flooring handles outdoor conditions with ease. Most rubber matting for trailers is made from heavy-duty elastomers such as SBR, EPDM, and recycled rubber. These rubber materials feature excellent physical durability, and they hold up well against conditions such as UV rays, ozone, rainfall, and outdoor temperatures. These durable rubbers are perfect for trailer flooring and truck bed mats because they can be left outdoors without worry. The rolled rubber mats resist moisture, won’t develop mold, and they can be easily cleaned with mild household soaps. The rubber trailer flooring can even be hosed down for the easiest possible maintenance!
Rubber trailer mats are much thicker than vinyl alternatives, and provide better physical protection as a result. Rubber is excellent for absorbing shock and abrasions to ensure these potentially harmful movements cannot damage sensitive sub-surfaces. When impacts and vibrations are absorbed by the dense rubber mats for trailers, they are distributed evenly across the rubber surface to reduce their force. The rubber trailer flooring acts as a protective barrier, shielding your vehicle from potential damage.
The thickness and density of rubber trailer flooring also allows the material to provide comfort and—in certain cases—anti-fatigue qualities. This quality makes rubber ideal for horse trailer mats and other animal-related trailer applications. Horses and livestock in particular are on their feet most of the time, and long rides in a trailer can cause strain on their muscles and joints. Horse trailer mats made from rubber provide a thick and flexible standing surface on top of the hard trailer flooring, which in turn provides the animals with short-term comfort and long-term injury prevention.
The most notable benefit of rubber trailer flooring material is its inherent slip-resistance. Unlike vinyl and other trailer flooring options, rubber possesses a naturally high coefficient of friction. Higher friction means higher traction, and as a result, a better grip. Many rubber mats for trailers feature traction-enhancing surface textures such as diamond-plating or corrugated grooves. The raised edges of these unique rubber trailer mats provide additional points of contact to “grip” onto, enhancing traction even further to prevent slips when the surface is wet. These options are particularly favored as horse trailer mats and flooring for other types of animal transportation. The textured surface helps the animals maintain their footing so they can enjoy their ride as safely as possible. Rubber’s unrivalled slip-resistance is also favored in vehicles that transport furniture or other large cargo. The slip-resistant rubber trailer flooring helps to hold the cargo in place, preventing any damage that may come from sliding around on its journey. If your trailer needs to transport objects safely, the slip-resistance of rubber trailer flooring cannot be beat.
Much like vinyl trailer floor mats, rubber flooring is durable, easily maintained, and extremely easy to install. Many types of rubber mats for trailers are heavy enough to be installed without adhesive, instead relying on the material’s weight and natural grip to hold the flooring in place. For a more secure fit, rubber trailer flooring can be installed easily with double-sided carpet tape. This method is great for both temporary and permanent applications. Once adhered, the rubber floor covering can be removed at any time without causing damage to the material or the sub-surface.
There is not contest – rubber and vinyl are the best options for trailer flooring across the board. Both types of trailer floor mats are durable, protective, and easy to install, but every application will find a better match in one or the other. Whether your priorities are in protection, comfort, or aesthetics, one of these two trailer flooring materials will be perfect for your application.