Buying Floor Mats and Liners: A Complete Shopping Guide

floor mats

 

Good quality floor mats or floor liners give a stylish, luxury look to your vehicle’s interior. At the same time, they serve as a barrier of protection from spills, mud, and dirt from staining on the permanently-installed floor carpeting. In this shopping guide we will discuss the floor mats benefits, which ones are the best to buy, and also their available colors, materials, customization options, as well as the difference between "mats" and “liners."


Benefits

Properly maintained and quality floor mats keep your vehicle’s carpeting underneath clean and new-looking. This can help you get more money if you are going to sell your car. 

If you never replace your original factory floor mats, they’ll become stained, discolored, dirty, and damaged. It’s very rare to see old cars with still beautiful carpeting. Dirty carpeting can be cleaned easily, but it can never look in good condition again because of wear over time. 

That’s why it’s recommended to replace a set of quality floor mats often. This will make your interior look always new and you will sell your vehicle quicker. 


Different Kinds of Mats

There are a lot of different kinds of floor mats for many specific needs, whether you want to protect your vehicle’s carpeting from food spills, snow or sand, or more. More than that, if you're going to class up your coach, there are numerous luxurious mats made of carpeting and grooved rubber. If you are looking for a floor covering for a work truck or shuttle vehicle, there are also durable mats that protect your floor. Floor mats also come in different colors, and they can be made of solid aluminium in bare polished metal or colorful powder coat finishes.


Floor mat design

Every floor mat is designed differently. They can display logos for automotive makes and models, sports teams, national flags, and more. More than that, you can order floor mats according to your desires, for example, with nature scenes and iconic symbols recognizable from everyday life.


Factory Mats

When buying a car, most customers don’t pay too much attention to the floor mats during a test drive or in the showroom, that’s why automakers consider designing floor mats at the lower standards and cost which can be available to every driver. For example, OEM mats were manufactured first of all to attract more buyers with their design rather than their quality, so they aren’t intended to last.

If you look closer at your vehicle’s floor mats, you will notice how simply they are made. Factory floor mats typically consist of a thin layer of lightweight carpeting bonded to a thin layer of polymer type material that blocks water from getting through. This construction doesn’t provide proper protection and will not last you long.

Especially if you are driving in high heels, the top layer can be scraped away completely in spots. Or you can test the floor mats for a few winter seasons, if even after hard cleaning they don’t look presentable, then it’s all about the floor mats low quality.


Which Criteria Is Important In Aftermarket Floor Mats?

Why floor mats wear so quickly even if we don’t walk on them? Actually, it’s a very simple question. There is no doormat to wipe our feet on before entering the car. That’s why you should select floor mats or liners that can withstand everything, whether it's melted slush, mud, liquid spills, food spills, sand, and they should be easy to clean.


Protection

If you prefer a clean interior and protecting the floor carpeting is essential for you, then it’s better to get vehicle-specific mats which are designed individually to fit each car or truck model to ensure the most coverage. Also, it is recommended to purchase floor liners with raised edges that also wrap over center hump areas. 


Bad Weather Protection

Car owners, who live in snowy countries, where protection from more massive levels of winter muck, that include ice-melting road salt, abrasively gritty sand/cinders, or grimy mud, is more important, consider getting “All Weather Mats," which are made of more durable synthetic rubber. Mats made of real rubber will also effectively trap muck and spills while being softer to the touch, but may not be as wear-resistant. It’s your choice which ones to choose, but remember, this choice should be based on your climate conditions as well as specific styles available with each material.

For those who live in wet regions with a lot of mud, it is also recommended to get deep-grooved mats.


Utility

Floor mats designed for utility use, where people step more often, for example for taxis, shuttle vans, or work trucks, should be able to withstand any heavy conditions for a long time. 


That’s why when buying floor mats you should pay more attention when high wear is a factor. If your vehicle mats look worn, they can make a whole vehicle interior seem that way.

Remember, rubber floor mats with deeper grooves wear down faster even if the rubber is very durable under normal-use conditions, it doesn't match the greater durability of vinyl. That’s why it’s recommended to get synthetic rubber (vinyl) floor mats and liners with low or no grooves for utility use. 

One of the best options for heavy use vehicles is "Berber” type floor mats which can withstand heavier use for a long time. Berber style carpeting is designed with looped fibers made of heavy, bulky yarns. They can be available in multiple colors that can hide dirt and stains. Built for heavy-duty use, the yarn mixture provides the strength of polypropylene with the stain resistance of nylon. If you are looking for durable carpeting, then a Berber mat is the best choice for you.


Kid protection

You will need maximum protection if you have kids in your vehicle. That’s why deeply grooved mats are the best option. They can hold even large amounts of liquids. For small children, we would recommend a softer mat surface for delicate knees and elbows. For teenagers, synthetic rubber mats may serve you better and longer.


Easy to Clean

A good quality floor mats should withstand not only dirt, snow, or liquid, but also should be cleaned quickly and effectively with minimal effort. If you drive a lot, choosing a floor mat should be vital for you, otherwise, you’ll be spending a lot of time cleaning your mats.  

Rubber and vinyl floor mats are a perfect choice for it. Because rubber and vinyl materials are non-porous, any dirt, muck, and liquid spilled will sit on top of their surface instead of being absorbed. So they are easy to clean. But rubber and vinyl floor mats equipped with deeper grooves or complex patterns may require more time and effort to remove dirt.


Comfort

For those who like to drive barefoot and prefer more convenience under their feet, then we would recommend selecting carpet mats for a car. Because of their deep-pile carpet and an extra layer of padding underneath driving barefoot will bring you only pleasure and comfort.


Luxury

For the drivers of high-end vehicles, carpet mats that are deep cut pile can bring more luxury feel and happiness. These luxury carpet mats built with an additional layer of padding underneath the nylon carpet. Padded layers add a cushioning feel and, with the carpeting itself, serve to suppress road noise from underneath the vehicle, creating a quieter interior.

If you are looking for mats that protect your vehicle from a spill and are easy to clean, then rubber floor mats consisting primarily of deep, parallel grooves meshes nicely with the overall look of luxury interiors. And because rubber ridges are generally soft and pliable to the touch, they provide a softer touch surface that feels nice under your shoes.


Color Match

If you want floor mats which match to your vehicle’s interior, then there is an option to paint the carpeted mats to the color you want. Vinyl and rubber, by contrast, must be manufactured with the color molded in place. And they are limited in colors. Most vinyl, rubber floor mats are available in black, grey, or tan only.


What Is The Difference Between "Floor Mats" And "Floor Liners”?

You might think that these products are the same. They both sit on the floor of your vehicle’s interior to protect it from the elements. While they may look somewhat similar by design, they actually are quite different. 

Floor mats are more like a sectional rug while liners are intended as more of a wall-to-wall carpeting overlay. Mats are flat on the bottom, while liners are molded to the contours of a specific vehicle floor and feature edges which run up along the walls of the footwells or cargo space.

Floor mats and floor liners can have grooves, cups, or some other features which prevent dirt and water from escaping or both can have a smooth, flat surface. 

Some carpeted floor mats and liners don’t have ridges. And some styles of mats and liners have small, flexible spikes on their underside to grip carpeting underneath better.


Materials

Most of the floor mats are made of rubber, polymers, or carpeting. Floor liners are mostly made of polymers only. Remember, some manufacturers use different terms for polymer structure such as "rubberized plastic," "vinyl," "thermoplastic," and "synthetic rubber," and more. But mostly polymer construction comes together with a synthetic rubber definition. 


Floor Coverage

It is essential to have a large amount of floor area covered by a mat or a liner, especially if you have a car for utility use. Floor mats do not cover all of the vehicle’s floor area. They come in two designs - custom-fit and universal-fit.

Floor liners cover the whole floor area of a specific vehicle. And can be the custom fit design only with high lips around most or all edges, and they come shaped to match uneven floor contours.

And the difference between floor mats and floor liners is that mats are flat on the bottom and do not feature high walls or lips around their perimeter. 

If you decided to buy floor liners for your car, you’d notice that almost all liners are made of vinyl or rubber because of their flexible physical material. And if your vehicle has a driveshaft tunnel running down the center, then look for a liner with over-the-hump coverage that accounts for raised contours. 

Carpet mats, including the custom-fitted design as well, are designed to cover small areas only. If you prefer complete floor coverage, then choose vinyl or rubber liners.


What is The Difference Between "Vehicle-Specific" and “Universal-Fit”?

One more thing is essential to know before purchasing floor mats or floor liners. There is a difference between vehicle-specific and universal-fit products. As we already mentioned above, floor liners almost always come in custom-fitted design only, but floor mats have different designs. So what are they and what is the difference between them?


Vehicle-Specific

Vehicle-specific products have the exact match shape and contour of the floor pattern according to your vehicle's make and model. That’s why they will fit perfectly over all areas that need coverage without gaps, overlaps, or unwanted excess.   


Universal-Fit

Universal-fit floor mats can fit many different vehicles. That’s why they have a more generic shape to sit well. Because of this generic shape, universal-fit mats come in a smaller size, which results in not full coverage and lowers protection of the vehicle’s floor. The only advantage of them is a low price.

Some universal-fit mats may come with a larger amount of material which you can cut according to your vehicle’s floor size. Or, they may be available in a "small/medium/large" range of sizes.


How Are Floor Mats Sold?

You can get floor mats and liners in a set for 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-row seats, and each row can be purchased separately. It’s hard to find individual mats for the driver- and passenger-side seats. The only option in this case is to select the floor liner which can cover the whole floor.



Materials of floor mats and liners

Rubber

Most of the floor mats come in rubber material, but not floor liners. Rubber is a perfect choice if you prefer comfort and softer material under your feet, and it is good against dirt and spill.



Synthetic Rubber (Vinyl)

Synthetic floor mats are made of polymers instead of rubber, but they feel like rubber when you look at them. But if you look closer and touch them, you will notice that synthetic mats are a little harder and less flexible. Same like rubber, synthetic mats provide full protection from water and spills.

Floor liners are usually made of stiffer polymer compounds in order to support their contoured shapes. 

Synthetic floor mats are the best choice for durability due to their harder material whether you carry kids, pets, or passengers in your car.


Carpeting

If you prefer comfort and luxury, you can get floor mats made of carpet. 

Carpeted mats offer the best choices for the car owner with a range of custom embroidering options and a huge selection of all kinds of pre-designed logos.


All-Aluminium

It’s hard to believe, but floor mats come in aluminium material as well. These lightweight aluminium made floor mats are incredibly durable, and they won’t tarnish, rust or fade. They will protect the surface fully from dirt and liquid. It is mostly a perfect choice for Jeeps with no carpeting in them at all. 

Aluminum floor mats also serve as an excellent complement to vehicles equipped with lightweight body panels or weight-reducing components.

Aluminium mats are available in a brightly polished mirror finish as well as durable powder coat colors such as black, yellow, blue, red, or orange.


Non-Sliding Floor Mats and Liners

Constantly sliding floor mats can be annoying and it’s not safe if mats bunch up under the brake or accelerator pedals and interfere with their operation. 

For that reason, there are numbers of floor mats and liners designed with small cleats along their bottom surfaces that effectively dig into your vehicle's factory carpeting beneath. These cleats are made of soft and flexible rubber or vinyl, which provides an easy drive for you. 

Most custom-fit mats and liners come with built-in buttonholes on the edges of the mats. They are designed to match the exact spots of "locating pegs" that many vehicle manufacturers install on underlying floor carpeting When button holes are fitted over existing carpet pegs, the mats stay in place instead of sliding around. In some cases, buttonholes are even designed to snap in place onto the pegs.


Some manufacturers design mats with pegs which "screw into" the factory carpeting, and serve as anchor points for the built-in buttonholes.


Customization Options of Floor Mats

You can order floor mats with pre-designed logos, your initials or a message. 


Custom Logo Mats

If you are a fan of some sport team or auto manufacturer, you can express this feeling by printing their logo on your floor mats and liners, so everyone who sits in your car can see that.

Or you can order mats with flags of many different nations as well, or images of your choosing.


Monogrammed Mats

For those who prefer mats with their initials or short message, the “Monogrammed Mats” are the best choice. This option lets you choose carpet color, embroidery color, and up to 3 initials depending on a selection of fonts. 


"Embroidered" and "Applique" Logos

What is the difference between “embroidered" and “applique" logos on floor mats? Yes, both of those can be done on custom-fit floor mats. But the difference between them is that the appliques are a one-piece logo design that's manufactured separately, then sewn or glued onto the mat's surface. Embroidered logos are stitched right through the mat's entire thickness. When you order embroidery floor mats, you can even choose the thread color. For applique floor mats colors are limited.


Mats With Contrasting Borders

Most of the custom mats can also be ordered with a contrasting border. These borders can be made of woven nylon velour or other type of fabric materials. Or you may even choose the material you want for the border area. And you have a wide selection of colors to choose.


Floor mats and liners are chosen according to the specific needs and preferences and are an effective solution for those who really value the condition of their vehicle’s interior.