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Epoxy floor coatings vs. Garage floor mats: which provides better protection?

Epoxy floor coatings vs. Garage floor mats: which provides better protection?

Choosing the right flooring solution for your garage is a crucial decision that involves considering factors such as:

  • Installation costs
  • Durability
  • Protection capabilities
  • Aesthetics
  • Maintenance

Two popular options for garage flooring are epoxy coatings and floor mats. Here at Floor Shield, while we predominantly manufacture polyaspartic concrete coatings, we also sell a whole line of epoxies. So, we know a lot about how they work.

We constantly get questions like “Are epoxy coatings more durable than floor mats?” and “Are floor mats more resistant to acids than epoxy coatings?” In this article, we’ll answer both inquiries and more.

We want to give you an honest look at the strengths and weaknesses of both epoxy coatings and garage floor mats so that you can make a decision that’s best for your specific needs and budget.


Epoxy coatings, renowned for their durability, often come with a higher upfront cost due to professional installation requirements. You’ll need to hire installers who will put the coating on for you. Otherwise, you’ll encounter an issue that will lead to the coating not properly adhering to the concrete floor (coating failure).

Floor mats offer a budget-friendly alternative. You can buy them from most hardware stores, and they are easy to set up. However, they are prone to showing wear and tear, especially in high-traffic areas. On the other hand, epoxy coatings are known for their longevity, providing a durable and long-lasting solution that maintains its aesthetic appeal for years.


Floor mats are usually comprised of plastics and rubber. They are normally not very high quality and are susceptible to breaking down easily. This can cause issues where the rubber from the floor mat will deteriorate into the concrete and stain it if left in the same spot for an extended period.

This is the reason why we recommend not placing floor mats over any kind of concrete coating, as the chemicals from the deteriorating floor mat will also stain the coating.

On numerous jobs, we’ve seen big dark squares on people’s garage floors where their floor mats used to be. This is due to the product breaking down and the chemicals from it seeping into the porous concrete.

Novolac epoxy coatings are made specifically with chemical resistance in mind and are the superior choice if avoiding chemical spill damage is your priority, as they don’t break down near as easily as most garage mats when up against harmful chemicals. This doesn’t mean they can’t receive damage, though. For most epoxies, a run-in with acid as harmful as battery acid will at least slightly discolor your epoxy floor.

However, there are specific garage floor mats made to handle harsh acids. People in the South will often use them for golf carts. Golf carts have battery acid and battery acid leaks, which will break down most things, concrete included. The floor mat acts as a protective layer that keeps the acid from reaching the concrete.

Acid spills, especially those as harmful as battery acid, will still eat away at the floor mat itself, though. You’ll need to replace the mat once it’s deteriorated to a certain point, otherwise acid will eat all the way through it and reach your floor.


You’ll oftentimes see floor mats incorporated in people’s garages that they turn into an at-home gym. The mats act to protect the surface from the drop impact of weights and other abrasions. They also protect the weights themselves from getting damaged by a drop.

Garage floor mats are a cheap but effective way to protect your floor without spending money on an epoxy concrete coating. As a matter of fact, protecting your concrete against damage from abrasion is the number one reason people use garage floor mats.

While epoxies will protect your concrete from direct damage, most epoxy coatings aren’t strong against abrasion. Wear and tear will show up on epoxies, which will harm the aesthetic appeal of your floor. Floor mats will also break down from excessive physical trauma, but if your priority is just keeping the concrete underneath protected, they will do an excellent job.


Concrete is a living and breathing thing. Because of this, while floor mats might protect against liquid spills on top, they won’t prevent the natural efflorescence from seeping through to the surface of the concrete from below. Neither will it protect from a liquid spill that seeps under the mat. If moisture goes unchecked, odds are you’ll have mold and algae underneath your garage floor mat.

An epoxy coating gives you a 100% protective barrier that coats the entire top layer of concrete. So, no liquid can seep into the concrete and promote bacteria growth/cause damage. There are even specific epoxies made to mitigate moisture in very moisture-prone environments. These epoxies are some of the best moisture-mitigating concrete protections in the industry.

Cleaning an epoxy-coated floor is easier than coating a concrete floor with no coating. The smooth, non-porous substrate makes it easy to clean up any debris or particles. Floor mats, on the other hand, are extremely difficult to clean, and even when cleaned, odds are they won’t be completely pristine after a wash. Rubber is very hard to get completely clean without damaging the mat from a pressure washer.

Additionally, garage floor mats tend to trap smells and emit strong odors, affecting the overall environment in the garage.


Epoxy coatings are lauded for their aesthetic appeal, especially when compared to placing mats directly over bare concrete floors. The colorful and glossy finishes paired with various design options, like colored flakes, make epoxy-coated floors more visually appealing.

Two years ago, we had a Floor Shield dealer who used to precisely cut out floor mats to make them fit the whole garage. He did it as part of his garage makeover jobs. He realized that concrete coatings, especially polyaspartic-based ones, offer more benefits and make for a much more pleasurable sight on garage floors than floor mats.


In northern regions, garage floor mats are commonly used for their anti-slip properties, especially those prone to frequent icy conditions. While floor mats are generally more slip-resistant than epoxy coatings, an epoxy coating can be tailored to varying slip-resistance requirements based on:

  • Aggregate type and the amount used,
  • The type of epoxy
  • The incorporation of flakes


Both epoxy coatings and floor mats are susceptible to UV damage. Floor mats will deteriorate and fall apart when exposed to frequent sunlight. Under the same conditions, epoxies will amber and fade, losing their color.

Garage floor mats are not designed to be driven on like epoxy concrete coatings. If driven on, they are prone to melting, further highlighting the limitations of floor mats in comparison to the versatility of epoxy coatings.


In the debate between epoxy coatings and floor mats for garage flooring, the choice ultimately depends on your priorities, budget, and specific needs. Epoxy coatings offer a comprehensive solution with benefits in:

  • Longevity
  • Resistance to moisture-related issues
  • Aesthetics
  • Protection against abrasion.

While floor mats provide a cost-effective option, they come with limitations in terms of durability and long-term protection. It’s best to consider them if you are on a tight budget and need convenient and simple protection.

For information on the cost of epoxies and more, click here.

If you’re interested in installing a concrete coating on your garage floor, scroll down to get a free, no-obligation quote.