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Comparing Rubber Garage Floor Mats and Interlocking Garage Floor Tiles

Concrete “sweating” is a common and widely misunderstood problem that many homeowners must deal with on an annual basis.  During the spring, or in times of high humidity or drastic temperature changes, many people notice that the concrete in their garage or basement suddenly becomes moist to the touch and dangerously slippery. This phenomenon is knows as “sweating”, and is often attributed to a high water table, or the ambient moisture level of your homes foundation. While this is a possibility, in many cases (especially in newer homes) this “sweating” is a result of condensation forming as warm air comes into contact with the relatively cooler floor. This condensation is what makes your garage dangerously slippery. There is no real “solution” to this problem, other than installing a waterproof floor, such as rubber garage floor mats (i.e. rolled out mats) or interlocking garage floor tiles. Both rubber garage floor mats and interlocking garage floor tiles are extremely cost effective, will eliminate the slipping hazard of a wet surface, and the moisture will not damage the rubber, and thus waterproof, floor. But when faced with the decision to choose between rubber garage floor mats and interlocking garage floor tiles, there are a few differences that everybody should be aware of.  Here are a few differentiations that the homeowner should consider when picking a new, fully waterproof floor.

  1. The shape of the area you wish to cover is an important factor when choosing between rubber garage floor mats and interlocking garage floor tiles. While rectangular, or square areas are easily covered by rolled out mats that are themselves quadrilateral, tiles excel in irregularly shaped areas.  Rolled flooring cannot be as easily customized to any shape without excessive waste. Tiles are much more modular, and while there still may be wasted material, only the outer layer would have to be customized, leaving intact and potentially reusable pieces within the area itself. Rolled flooring forces you to customize entire sections of material as opposed to simply cutting what pieces are needed without permanently altering your entire purchase.
  2. Seams are also important to think about. Fewer seams provide a smoother rolling surface and less potential warping of your material. Very heavy objects or furniture tend to warp most flooring products while rolling across it, causing the material closest to the seam to curl upwards slightly. This can be avoided by reducing the amount of seams. Rolled mats will have far fewer seams, and thus will be less likely to curl upwards. In addition, fewer seams provide less areas for the condensation on the subfloor to seep upwards.

3. Another important factor is how you would like your area to look. Tiles often come in a variety of colors that can be playfully and artistically mixed and matched to provide a unique and individualized feel to your garage. Rolled products, while also usually available in a variety of colors, are made from a continuous piece and therefore cannot be intermixed to the same extent.

4. Finally, the desired weight of the product should be addressed. In general, tiles are easier to pick up to move as they come in manageable segments. On the other hand, rolled products tend to stay down and stay in place better when exposed to heavy foot traffic. Each flooring product excels in different environments with different expectations of the floor’s performance.

Green handled broom on top of a black diamond plate mat
Tiles black and with straight borders between each other underneath a dumbbell

In conclusion, a great way to deal with a continuously wet garage floor is to buy a rubber, waterproof floor to go over the slick, potentially dangerous area. When choosing a rubber floor, there are only two real options: rubber garage floor mats (or rolls) and interlocking garage floor tiles. Rubber garage floor mats and interlocking garage floor tiles are both cost effective and safe, but remember that both have their specific advantages and disadvantages, which should be considered before installing your new waterproof floor.  Either way you go, whether it be the more modular interlocking garage floor tiles, or the flatter, more even surface of rubber garage floor mats, you will be permanently solving your floors sweating problem in a inexpensive, and attractive way.

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