What is the Difference between a Floor Mat and a Floor Liner?

Categories: Blog

They may sound the same and some may even confuse the two and think they are the same thing, but there IS a difference between a floor mat and a floor liner.  Floor mats are flexible and made from different materials, sometimes even soft ones like carpeting.  They are designed to protect from spills and stains but are not as heavy duty as a floor liner.

A floor liner is the perfect thing to use in the back of an SUV or station wagon if you are hauling things like construction materials, gardening supplies, or pets of any kind.  A liner is made from plastic or rubber and has edges that rise up high so anything spilled on it get directed away from the floor.

If you live in a region that has a lot of rain or you live on or run a farm, kennel, stable, construction, or landscaping business, having a floor liner in the back of your SUV or station wagon will be a real floor saver.  Floor liners are typically used for much larger spaces, such as the back of an SUV but it is possible to get custom made floor liners for the floorboard of your car if you desire that level of protection.

Just be aware that the edges of the floor liner are raised which isn’t the best design for using on the floorboard of a regular vehicle.  Fortunately there are rubber floor mats that are very heavy duty that can handle heavy use.

Types of Car Floor Mats

There are several different kinds of floor mats on the market.  What determines which kind of floor mat you need is how your car is used.  If you do construction or some other kind of physically messy or dirty job, you will need a heavier type of floor mat than if you just drive your kids to school and activities.

    • All Weather Floor Mats – If you have seasons in your region that involve extreme weather, all weather, waterproof mats are a good choice for you. They can protect the car’s interior from muddy rains, big snowstorms and other weather related messes.  It’s easy to mess your car’s floors up with muddy, wet shoes. When you have all weather floor mats down, you’ll get the mat dirty not the carpeting.  The mats can be removed and washed easily and your floors will not be ruined.
    • Custom Floor Mats – Many floors mats come in specific sizes especially for certain makes and models of cars. This doesn’t work for every car and if your car has been modified, it makes it that much harder to match up a floor mat with your car’s interior floors.  For this reason, a universal floor mat that can be trimmed is the best choice.  Some even have preset patterns of popular cars to follow when trimming for the best fit possible.

Car Floor Mat2

  • Novelty Floor Mats – There are a ton of novelty floor mats on the market today. You can choose from an array of colors, characters, brand names, car brands and more.  Novelty floor mats can add a lot of splash and pizzazz to your vehicle and can also add an element of your personality to it when you use something that is a favorite of yours.

Car Floor Mat Materials

There are a few different types of floor mat materials that you can choose from.  The two most common materials are:

  • Rubber – Rubber may not sound very fancy, but there are many sharp looking rubber floor mat styles out there.  The benefits to having rubber floor mats are that they can handle any type of wet situation, whether it is from rainy, muddy shoes or a spilled drink. They are also more durable and can handle heavy traffic and frequent washings.  If you live in super hot weather, you will want to be certain to get all weather floor mats that can handle extreme temperatures or you may find that the rubber cracks and gets stiff.
  • Carpet – Floor mats made from carpet of some kind are best suited to very light use.  They can show stains and dirt just like your unprotected car floors would, so if you are not careful to keep them clean as they get dirty, your floors will still look dingy and dirty.  Although the carpet floor mats can protect the regular car floors from moisture, the carpeted car mats can become wet and will need to be taken out and dried so no mold or mildew forms.  They are softer and more comfortable, but since it’s your feet that encounter them, this may not be a big consideration you are concerned about.

Protecting Your Carpets From Everyday Culprits

Your car’s floors encounter all kinds of things on a daily basis.  We’ve outlined some of the most common things you will be protecting your car’s interior from by using car floor mats.

    • Stains and Spills – Spilled sodacoffee or juice can decrease the resale value of your vehicle with the stains they leave. There is no way to prevent a drink from being spilled unless you have an absolute “No food or drink” rule in your vehicle, which most people don’t have. Because of this, it is better to be proactive and protect your car carpets from the spills that can occur.  Especially when you are using rubber mats, clean up becomes super easy.  If you get the floor mats with the ridges, it will prevent the liquid from sliding right off the mat onto the carpet anyway.
    • Dirt of all Kinds – You encounter dirt everywhere you go. You can track it in on your shoes from the yard, the children can track gum or dirt from school, the tools you have in the trunk or the gardening supplies you bought earlier.  Even your pets can track mud and dirt in.  Add heavy foot traffic to the mix and you have the recipe for lots of ground in dirt and grime that can ruin your car’s carpets.  Floor mats protect your car from this dirt and provides a fast way to clean it up without harming the original carpet.

Car Floor Mat3

  • Wear and Tear – Wear and tear on your car’s carpets can still occur even if the interior is never spilled on. Resting your heels on the carpet on a regular basis can cause worn sports to show up.  Your carpet can look drab, dull and even torn.  This will most definitely lower the retail value of your vehicle. A car floor mat can also prevent these worn spots from occurring since you will be putting your heels on the floor mat and not the actual carpeting itself.  If you do a lot of driving there are even floor mats that have extra heel pads to stand up to heavy use.


Even though getting new car floor mats may not sound very exciting, what they can provide and protect from should excite you. Knowing that there is something you can get that easily protects your car’s carpets from being stained, soiled, torn, worn down and otherwise ruined means that your car will not lose resale value because of the interior. This resale value is important if you ever want to sell your car or use it for a trade-in for a new one.

When you choose your car’s floor mats, you will have a lot of choices available. You can choose rubber or carpet, novelty or plain, colored or neutral. It is actually one of the accessories your car needs that gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to finding something that you really like. You can really let your imagination run wild.

The three top rated choices we shared with you here are customer favorites for style, easy clean up, ease of installation and performance. They are durable and long lasting to boot. When you go to find the right car floor mats for your vehicle, a little research can go a long way. You will be able to find the best floor mats for your car’s interior and your own personal style.