Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Math of Mat-Thematics

After spending all that time, money, and effort sealing the driveway, the last thing I want is Ladybird leaking all over it again. (It’s not her fault. She’s old. Some of her parts are just beyond repair.) So, I decided that I would get some shop-style mats for the carport.

I wanted something that was rugged, weatherproof and a little on the heavy side as I don’t want the wind to carry it off when the car isn’t over it. (And for some reason, the carport gets hit with some mighty strong winds sometimes.) I had seen some mats somewhere during one of my many recent hardware outings, but I couldn’t remember which store. (Do you do that – swear it was at Lowe’s when it was at Home Depot or vice versa?) So while the mother and I were out looking for locks and rocks, I rekindled the mat quest.

At first, I got blank stares. Then I got directed to flooring. (This was at Lowe’s.) They have these awesome heavy-duty, interlocking rubber mats that come in a variety of colors. They were a little pricey ($12.99 for less than 2 square feet) but I thought six or eight would be a good number. You have to special order them.

But then here’s the catch: to get the corresponding trim, so the edges aren’t all exposed like some giant puzzle pieces, you have to spend another $10.99 per tile. And you’d need TWO for each of the four corners! I started adding all this up and quickly decided that was just way too much to spend. The sales associate was really helpful. She led me over to the doormat area.

Foam playmats? No, too lightweight, though the right size and concept. Some heavy doormats? No. Even a single heavy doormat can be thrown around by the wind. Hey, what about this anti-fatigue mat? Wow! It’s black, thick, heavy, can be interlocked with others, but wait … it’s all full of holes. That doesn’t really solve my problem.

Then I spied the rolls of heavy plastic sheeting that you throw down over rugs. You know, the ones that are smooth on top but have the nasty, pointy teeth underneath to grip the rug with. I could roll that out under the mat, teeth side up, to help contain the drips. Perfect!

Initially, I bought only one mat. That’s 9 square feet of coverage. A good size, but you have to be kind of precise in how far you pull the car in. I ended up buying it a companion. The final tally: 18 square feet of coverage at a total of $48.20. (This compares to the special order shop-mats at $143.88 for 12- or $191.84 for 16-square feet, including the trim pieces.)

Problem solved – and at a fraction of the cost. Not bad. Not bad at all.


MonkeyGirl said...

At some point you need to relinquish the brain so the rest of us can figure out how to save money and get the things done we need to! You are so smart!

Dee said...

You are so cool. What a great idea!

NV said...

MG -- I don't always have control of it. And I'm not that smart either. I hope that the blog helps too by sharing some of my brighter moments. :-)

Dee -- Thanks! Necessity truly IS the mother of invention.

Jayne said...

Good idea! The cost of those little trim pieces for the other mats you looked at is just crazy.

Michael said...

Clever! I wonder how they will hold up in the sun?

Sheesh, the price of the other mats was more expensive then asphalt.

NV said...

Jayne -- Thanks! Yeah, that trim was a deal-breaker.

Michael -- Thanks for stopping by! I think they will be good because most of the time the car will be over them and because they are so thick, I think they'll be alright.

Corey said...

You bought fatique mats for you car. How thoughtful. :-)

Ann said...

Aha! I love creative solutions, you're awesome!

NV said...

Corey -- Yeah. Ladybird is old. She gets tired. :-)

Ann -- *blushing* Aw, shucks

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