Industrial-Strength Floor Mat
by Mark Brazelton
 

Having recently purchased and installed one of these full floor Molded Industrial Polyvinyl (MIP) mats, following are my experiences and observations for anyone that might be interested in this option.

I ordered from StockInteriors using their online system, and was provided the exact mat I ordered.

http://www.stockinteriors.com/

They provide excellent electronic order confirmation and status communications. The only shipping error was providing a precut jute pad for a small hump floor to use with the large hump mat ordered. I ended up removing the center section and used the outboard panels only. It would have been nicer to receive and use the correctly sized padding.

Installation labor has very little in common with adding a carpet kit or factory style rubber mat. For do-it-yourself jobs I would not recommend this for old guys with back and knee problems (like me)! The mat is extremely stiff and exhausting to work with. On the misery meter I'd rank the installation somewhere close to laying concrete. There is a lot of bending and twisting in awkward positions against an unyielding material.

The temperature when mine was installed was 55-60 degrees ambient which didn't help. Running a space heater brought the cab temp up to 90 degrees, which dissipated immediately when the doors were opened. Due to the inflexibility and thickness of the material, wrinkles and bulges cannot easily be smoothed out, which prevents the mat from correctly fitting the floor. Because of this the mat must be manipulated, pulled, and worked to a point where it can be anchored to the floor in more than one spot before any trimming can begin.

A heat gun does help limber up the material in small areas, but offers very little benefit in fitting the overall mat to the floor because large enough areas cannot be heated at one time. Also the material cools quickly and does not hold heat for more than a few seconds. The best solution would be to do the installation on a day where the ambient is over 100 degrees (which rarely occurs where I live). Once the mat is fitted and completely anchored, small wrinkles can be removed with a heat gun and a few large magnets to hold the bulge flat while it cools.

These are the specific steps used to install mine:

The most well defined character features in the mat are the corners that match up with the ledge and corner forward of the factory front seat mounting bolt holes.

Using these corners the mat was centered on both sides of the tunnel. Holding the best alignment possible, a very small hole was cut just big enough to clear the shifter mechanism. The driver side of the mat was anchored at the gas pedal mount on the firewall and the factory forward seat mounting holes in the floor. Both sides could not be anchored simultaneously because the material could not be stretched to pull it tight.

After checking again for centering and square within the cab, the driver side of the mat was pulled as tight as possible and trimmed at the dimmer switch, door opening, and down into the rear cab corner. The door sill was installed to hold the position.

With the driver side secured to the floor, the same steps were repeated on the passenger side. The job was completed by reinstalling the seats, seat belts, shifter handle and boot.


For what they're worth, here is my list of features this type of floor covering offers:

Pros

  • As delivered the mat is generously oversized. There is plenty of material to cover any 60-66 interior.

  • The front extends many inches above the factory mat. For those that want something on the firewall and don't have the factory cardboard/fiberglass pad this provides nice coverage.

  • Time will tell, but compared to the factory mat this stuff seems extremely durable. Cutting the MIP with a sharp box knife requires a significant amount of effort. Cutting up the factory mat for disposal required only an initial slice, after which the mat could be ripped by hand from top to bottom without tools.

  • MIP is extremely easy to clean. A damp cloth removes any dirt and debris and restores it to a like new surface.

  • There are no gaps anywhere. The entire floor is covered, allowing an air hose to blow any crud right out the doors without fear of trapping some of it under a loose edge of the mat.

  • The material is a deep rich dark highly reflective gloss black. In my truck (IMHO) this compliments the shiny marine vinyl upholstery, and at first glance (in real life) looks like unrealistically shiny black loop pile carpet.


Cons

  • There is so much excess material provided in the front of the mat it increases the difficulty of installation.

  • From a practical standpoint the removable floor pan is eliminated. Because everything has to be installed on top of the mat to hold it in place, removing the floor pan for transmission repairs becomes impractical.

  • Although the surface is textured, it is very slick. Shoes don't slip on it, but most objects dropped on the floor will roll right out an open door.

  • Once the wrinkles are ironed out, and depending on how much time is spent studying the appearance, it looks almost like a hard plastic bed liner in the shape of a truck floor. This is either good or bad depending on personal preferences. With the shiny marine upholstery in my truck I am very pleased with the result. Those seeking more of a factory look probably won't be.

  • Every entry leaves highly visible dirty footprints on the high gloss black surface. It shows up like bird poop on black lacquer. The footprints wipe off easily, but I got tired of seeing every speck of dirt every time we used the truck so I added some extremely cheap black rubber floor mats (no pictures yet). This eliminates the need to wipe down the floor every time the truck is driven, but does seem rather silly protecting an expensive industrial plastic floor mat with cheap rubber mats!

    Summary

    I wanted something on the floor of my truck which covered everything from the back wall to the bottom of the steering column, and did not absorb dirt. Although the MIP mat has a couple of peculiar characteristics, it does nicely achieve both of these goals.
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