Types and characteristics of stall mats
Material: Rubber is generally used for mats, although the types and qualities of rubber differ due to the manufacturer. Some companies make non-rubber mats, and usually use EVA.
Quality: A long warranty (5 to 10 years) is a good indication of quality. Also check to see if the manufacturer has a reputation for producing quality products. Find out if the rubber is vulcanized or if the rubber has been bound with urethane glue, which will produce a lower quality mat.
Size: Mats are usually about a square foot to about 3 square yards. However they also come as large as 12 x12’ designed to cover an entire stall. Large mats are heavier, which makes moving them more difficult. However once they’re in place they don’t move much in the stall and edges or corners don’t curl up. Smaller mats are easier to work with; if a mat gets torn or damaged, it’s cheaper to replace.
Thickness & Weight: Thickness varies from about 1-2 ½ centimeters. Thicker mats are more durable, less likely to curl at the edges, and less likely to move in the stall. Thicker mats are usually higher quality, but are more expensive and weigh more. The weight of the mat depends on the material type and thickness of the mat. EVA is much lighter then rubber and weighs about a quarter as much as rubber. Lighter mats are convenient if you are travelling to horse shows and like to take a portable mat with you.
Interlocking vs. Cut to Fit: Some mats interlock, while others have straight edges. Interlocking mats stay in place better and the edges are less likely to curl. Some mats are designed to lock and unlock easily for portability and others are designed to lock firmly in place which makes them better for permanent stalls. A single mat may be easily cut to fit the stall.
Permeable vs. Porous: Mats shouldn’t be permeable; urine should not be able to enter the surface of the mat. Low quality mats may be partly permeable, which will let urine enter the mat and produce odors. Some mats are porous, which allows urine to drain through. Most mats aren’t porous, although urine can still drain through the joints where the mats meet.
Flat, grooved or footed bottom: With flat bottoms, urine that gets under the mats can be trapped there. If there’s compacted stone under the mats, urine won’t be an issue, but if there’s concrete under the mats, trapped urine will release ammonia and odors. With groves or feet, urine may be able to drain off if the surface is sloped.
Flat or textured top: Some mats have a flat and smooth top; others have a textured top. Smooth tops are easier to clean, but textured tops provide better traction. Some people buy mats with a grooved bottom and then flip them over so that the grooved side is up; and use them in corridors or wash stalls which might get slippery.