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Containing Winter Weather & Road Salts In Your Garage

There are a myriad of reasons why people use garage flooring mats in their garage. As we move into winter, […]

There are a myriad of reasons why people use garage flooring mats in their garage. As we move into winter, one of the biggest issues for consumers is how to deal with the snow, road salts, dirt, mud and everything else that falls off of your vehicle and contaminates your concrete garage floor. While garage floor tiles are attractive, most do little if anything to contain moisture and debris. This had led to the increasing popularity of garage floor mats.

It is important to understand that not all garage floor mats were designed with the purpose to contain the elements.  Garage flooring options are often beautifully designed and do a great job at protecting the concrete beneath, but they do little if anything to keep the mess you drag into your garage in one place. If containment is your primary concern, there are a lot of great products on the market today.

Ribbed Garage Floor Mats

The ribbed garage mat is perhaps a hybrid of roll out garage flooring and the containment mat. The  ribbed garage floor mat is an attractive floor covering – with an added benefit. The built in channels help break up water and keep it from pooling. This stops the water from spreading all over your garage and also helps in channeling it out of your garage.

Unlike containment mats, there is no perimeter edging. While this may present a downside in some climates, in most climates it allows the consumer to easily remove moisture and road salts that build up. A push broom or squeegee and you can easily push the contaminants right out of your garage! The product can be installed wall to wall or used as a parking pad under a vehicle.

In wall to wall applications it works great in even the harshest northern climates. As a parking pad is very effective for day to day grime and snow, but it is not going to contain 10 inches of snow from a Minnesota snow storm.

If you frequently have large amounts of snow and ice building up on your vehicle and it is melting all over your garage floor, a true containment mat may be the best solution for you. Over the years, many products have been tested and sold.  Auto Care Products makes the Park Smart Clean Park brand which is available in two grades- the lighter 20 Mil product and the 50 Mil products, which is much more effective in your typical garage.

The Park Smart Clean Park product has been on the market for over a decade. The original product suffered from edge pieces that were less than idea and the 20 Mil product does not hold up exceedingly well to harsh use. Auto Care Products has drastically improved the edges over its original product and the 50 Mil product holds up very well.

The product will contain gallons and gallons of water as well as snow and ice. If the product has a downside, it would be that assembly is required and disassembly is not practical. It is easier to clean using a shop vac than it is to try and drain the product. Overall, if simply containing water, snow and ice are your main concerns, it provides an excellent option.

Many other products have been introduced into the market and perform the same basic functions. The Auto Floor Guard is one recent addition and it has quickly caught the eye of catalogers and online retailers. Noticeably thinner than the Park Smart Clean Park and a little wrinkled from shipping, the Auto Floor Guard does not always leave the best first impression.

But given a chance it performs very well. The thinner fabric is actually a reinforced material that has been used in the trucking industry for years. The product is new to the market, but after two full seasons, we are not aware of anyone tearing the product. It provides a couple of key innovations that are new to the industry. The product is ready to go out of the box and the flexible edging means you can step on the front edge of the mat to drain off excess fluid. The product is quickly gaining popularity, especially where ease of use is the primary concern.

There are other methods of containing lesser amounts of fluids –not to mention oil and gas—that may be lurking on your garage floor. Highly absorbent mats such as those produced by Drymate and Oil-Dri are extremely effective in absorbing light to moderate amounts of fluids. They are more popular in moderate and southern climates.

Many consumers find them slightly more appealing that a containment mat while considerably more affordable that roll out PVC products. They also have the advantage of being able to absorb oil leaks without permanent damage to the mat or the concrete floor below.

As you consider the purchase of a product to help you contain the mess you bring into your garage, there is a lot to consider. If you are looking for an attractive, wall to wall solution, garage flooring mats can be a great solution. If you are looking to contain gallons of moisture, as well as large amounts of snow and ice, a containment mat may yield a better result.

If you’re driving tends to be from garage to garage, or if you live in a very mild climate and are only concerned about absorbing small amounts of moisture, absorbent carpet like mats provide a good alternative.

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Written by Justin Krauss of Garage Flooring LLC, a home improvement industry veteran of over 2 decades. Krauss entered the garage flooring industry in 2001 and quickly became the largest online distributor of garage flooring in the country.

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