Wisconsin Woman Brings Foam Floor Mats To Life for Halloween

From Bumblebee to Arcee to Heavy Machinery, Wisconsin Mother Creates Costumes from Foam Puzzle Mats

By Brett Hart

Having already built a reputation for creating elaborate Halloween costumes, Tia Hoffmann of Pewaukee, Wisconsin, set the bar a bit higher a few years ago when she and her then fiance’ attended a Halloween themed engagement party.

Bumblebee & Arcee Transformers Halloween Costume Tia Hoffman Greatmats Foam Floor Tiles

”We wanted to surprise everybody with our costumes,” Tia said. ”They knew every year, we had something elaborate.”

Inspired by the Transformers movies, Tia came up with a plan to dress her husband as the yellow Camaro, Bumblebee, and herself as the motorcycle, Arcee. The first challenge was finding the right materials to create the costumes. She needed something lightweight, yet dense enough to hold its shape.

”I considered something like a PVC material and really just thought it was too heavy,” Tia said. ”I started looking at stores, going up and down aisles to see if I had any materials that popped into my mind, and then I saw yoga mats.”

Tia determined the yoga mats were too malleable, but knew she was on the right track.

”Then I thought of those foam floor mats, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh. That would be great.”’

After a little research, she stumbled upon the website Greatmats.com where she found just what she needed – 5/8 inch thick Premium Foam Floor Mats.

She ordered five of the 2×2 foot mats in yellow for Bumblebee and another three mats in Purple for her Arcee costume. The project consumed her living room and her time for about three months as she constructed the jaw dropping costumes out of these foam tiles.

Using photos and her own imagination and references, Tia logged more than 800 hours working on the costumes.

”We couldn’t invite anyone over, and if we did, we had to scramble and shove everything into a bedroom,” Tia said.

But the time, effort and research paid off as Tia was able to successfully bring her ideas to life.

”I have a very cooperative husband who allows be to dress him up in elaborate costumes every year,” Tia said.

The experience also planted a seed for future costumes.

A couple years later, Tia came across a woman on Facebook looking for someone who could create a Halloween costume for her child who needed a wheelchair to get around. Tia knew just what she could do to help and ordered another 15 foam tiles from Greatmats and donated her time to create a Caterpillar front end loader costume to adorn the child’s wheelchair.

Front End Loader Halloween costume for wheelchair Tia Hoffman Greatmats Foam Floor Tiles

This August, Tia connected with that mother again and they decided to have Tia construct a fire truck costume for the boy using just seven foam tiles and 15 hours of her time.

Fire Truck Halloween Costume wheelchair Tia Hoffman Greatmats Foam Floor Tiles
”I really like using the foam,” Tia said. ”It’s works really well for what I do. I have no education in art, but I’ve always been creative and crafty.”

Since 2011, Tia has constructed four costume’s using the foam tiles, including bride and groom Lego characters. Now the mother of a 9-month-old child and owner of a new puppy, Tia’s time and focus is a little more restricted, but the experiences have inspired her to help other families with disabilities.

Her goal is to set up an annual charitable event where several families with children in similar circumstances can enjoy the festivities of Halloween.

Fire Truck Halloween Costume Wheelchair Tia Hoffman Greatmats Foam Floor Tiles
Tia Hoffmann
Pewaukee WI
For more on this topic please review our Foam Tiles product page.
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Customer Review-Premium Foam Mats

Carol M. sent us a nice review and photo.  She selected our 5/8” Premium Foam Matsfor her project and, if this picture is any indication, it turned out fantastic!  (Did we mention these mats are on sale and come with free shipping?)



Here’s what Carol had to say:  “The mats are wonderful and very substantial in thickness.  My little grandaughter’s playhouse could be on the cover of a magazine….. What a color match! The samples you sent were spot on perfect.

The company and its representatives were very informative and nice to work with and I certainly would order from you again.  I will definitely recommend your company and your mats.  Thank you.”

Thank you, Carol.  We appreciate your business!

If you would like more information on our foam mats or any of our specialty flooring products, give us a call!  877-822-6622.

Customer Review – Wood Grain Reversible Foam Tiles

If you’re looking for a floor that is soft, warm, and comfortable but provides the look of hardwood floors, our Wood Grain Reversible Tiles might be a product you’ll be interested in.  They are called reversible because you can also flip them upside down and display the tan side instead of the wood grain side.

Santina L. bought some and she was very impressed.  Here’s what she had to say:

“We used the tiles for our basement project where we created two rooms for our teenage daughters.  The concrete floors were professionally waterproofed 2 months prior but still had a lot of irregularity in shape and contour.”

Foam is a great product for basements.  Although it doesn’t sound as though Santina’s basement will have any issues with water, many basements do.  Foam is waterproof and doesn’t absorb moisture into the material.  Unlike a carpet pad, which is destroyed the first time it gets wet, foam will simply dry out as soon as it’s removed from the damp area.  Once the area is dried, it can go right back down as good as new.

“The installation went like a dream.  The tiles were easy to lay and easy to cut to fit the odd shape of the rooms.”  (Installing foam tiles wall-to-wall is a simple process.  All you need is a straightedge and a sharp razor and you can cut your tiles to fit.)

“The connecting tiles were great to connect the floors in both rooms through the pocket door in the center.  It took us about an hour to lay the two rooms and the closet.  We used a board and a straight edged T-square and a box cutter to cut the tiles to fit.  It really saved us from having to even out the floors.”

Another nice thing about foam: it doesn’t require any adhesives or special surface to attach to.  If you have a hard, flat, indoor surface, you’re in business.

“We would definitely buy the tiles again.  Our son is jealous already that they have such cool floors.  They are nice to walk on and cover the unevenness of the concrete wonderfully.  Even a room full of teenage girls though it was comfortable to sleep on.  The wood grain in the tiles looks like wood floors if you look quick and people are shocked that they are foam.  What a cool product.”

Thank you, Santina.  Would you recommend Greatmats to your friends?

“Yes, we would recommend you and already have.  Price was great, product arrived in a timely fashion, well before we needed them, and are fun to use.”

Choosing the best home gym flooring

Because I work for a specialty flooring store, I am often asked which flooring is best for a home gym.  The answer depends on a few variables and I usually reply with a few questions of my own:

What will the home gym be used for primarily?  If you’re looking for a tough material to protect your concrete or hardwoods from being damaged by free weights or heavy exercise equipment, you may want to look at rubber.  Rubber is the traditional flooring for both home and commercial gyms and it is an economical solution for keeping your floors, as well as your equipment, protected.

However…

Rubber flooring is heavy.  By heavy, I mean REALLY heavy.  A square foot of 3/8″ rolled rubber weighs 2.3 lbs.  (8mm is slightly less)  That means to cover a 10×10 foot area, you’re dealing with a 230 lb roll of rubber.  “Well,” you say, “that’s not so bad.  A buddy and I could roll that baby out no problem.”  And maybe you’re right.  But here’s something else to consider:  the rolls show up at your front door on the back of a semi-truck.  If you get a liftgate included in your shipping costs (something to consider) they will lower the roll of rubber to the ground and drive away leaving you to wrestle it into your workout area.  If you don’t get a liftgate, you will have to pull that baby off the truck yourself and that’s a serious endeavor.

Another option is interlocking rubber tiles.  These come in various sizes (typically 2×2 foot or 3×3 foot) and can be installed without adhesive of any kind.  Depending on the type you buy, you can find them at a reasonable price, although generally more expensive than rolled, and they are much easier to handle.  Also, the fact that they require no glue makes it easy for you to bring them with you if you decide to move.

 However….

RUBBER IS NOT WATERPROOF.  Many people are under the impression that rubber is like plastic.  That it can be submerged indefinitely in a flooded basement and come out unscathed.  This is simply not the case.  The porous materials of most rubber flooring will absorb water and hold it.  Over time, this will break the rubber flooring down to such a degree that the floor is rendered all but useless.

If you are considering putting your home gym in a basement that gets mildly damp on occasion, this will probably not be an issue for you and rubber flooring may be your best bet.  If you’re considering putting your home gym in a wet basement that floods from time to time, you may be better served with a waterproof option  such as plastic, modular floor tiles that allow airflow beneath the tiles for a quicker dry.

Do you plan to do aerobic activities in your home gym area?  Zumba, P90x, or Insanity?  If so, you probably don’t want rubber.  Rubber is quite hard and provides little to no fatigue-relief.  If you’re looking for a flooring type to keep your teeth from chattering every time you jump up and down, you need something else.  I typically suggest foam.

Foam flooring is available in various densities and thicknesses.  The play mats that kids play cars on and the MMA mats that fighters throw one another around on are not the same.  Determining which type of foam product is best for your needs depends on what specifically you’ll be using it for.

Unlike rubber, foam is waterproof and can be submerged indefinitely without the foam taking in water and damaging the foam itself.  It provides great shock absorption, requires no glues for installation, and it’s lightweight.  It can be easily installed wall-to-wall because all you need to cut the interlocking tiles to fit is a straight edge and a utility knife.  It doesn’t get much easier than that.  However, under some equipment, foam will indent and stay indented for the life of the product.  If you can live with that, foam is generally your best bet.  It is inexpensive and, because it is so lightweight, is typically fairly cheap to ship.

Hopefully, this gives you some insight into what you’re looking for.  The easiest and fastest way to get your specific questions answered is to call one of our customer service reps and have a conversation.

Call Greatmats at 877-822-6622.

Customer Review-Premium Foam Mats

Amy H. found an interesting way to use our premium 5/8″ foam mats.  While these mats are commonly used in kids play rooms, those rooms are usually in a house.  🙂

“We bought the tiles to go in our 1-1/2 year-old’s playroom in our fifth wheel travel trailer we just bought.  It has a vinyl type flooring that resembles wood.  We wanted it to have more cushion for safety and also we wanted it to look pretty and colorful like a playroom should,” Amy says.


Premium 5/8″ foam mats come in fifteen vibrant colors so it’s easy to find mats to match your decor. This type of foam flooring is an excellent choice for kids rooms, exercise rooms, basements, family rooms, and trade show booths.  The interlocking foam mats are 2×2′ and interlock together easily with no glue required.  You can lay them directly over any flat, hard surface.

“The installation went great!” Amy told us.  “It only took my husband about 45 minutes.  I went to the Greatmats website and downloaded the installation brochure and the care brochure.  My husband followed the suggestions on the brochure as recommended.  He used cardboard to use under the tiles to protect the floors and a utility knife to make the cuts.  We used borders and went wall to wall.  We had to make cuts even in the center of some tiles to cut where the vents were for our furnace.  I am happy to say we have run the furnace since installation and the tiles have not warped or been damaged by the heat.”

Unlike many foam mats on the market today, these play mats are comprised of a dense EVA foam which makes them tough.  They resist scuffing.  They are also waterproof.  You can also rest assured that they are lead and latex-free.

“We would absolutely buy this product again and are very pleased with it!”  Amy says.  We have already recommended this to friends and family and will continue to.  When we finished installing it, we took pictures and put hem on our Facebook accounts for our friends and family to see.  We got many compliments and questions on where we purchased it and the cost.  We bragged about the wonderful deal and many bright fun colors y’all had to choose from.  The playmats in stores are flimsy and always tend to fall apart.  They also come in too many pieces which is very frustrating because toddlers tend to pull them apart which makes the mat come apart.  I’ve now had this mat for quite some time and never had my toddler rip it up.  It is very easy to clean and is very sturdy!  We are so pleased with y’alls product!”

Thank you for your review, Amy.  We appreciate your business and the time you’ve taken to let us know your thoughts.

If you would like to check out our foam products or any other specialty flooring at Greatmats, Call 877-822-6622 and talk with a customer service rep.  We can help you find the right product to fit your needs.

Customer Review-Premium 5/8" foam mats

Here’s another great review, this time from Dannette M.  Dannette purchased our 5/8″ premium foam mat which is an excellent, and economical, foam floor option for a variety of applications.  Dannette used these foam mats as an office and workout floor.
“I live in a garden floor apartment in Brooklyn with a finished basement floor,” she says.  “I use the basement as my office and workout area (mostly for P90X and Insanity which can involve a lot of plyometric or jumping exercises.)  I was finding that my yoga mat was very confining when doing these workouts and I have knee problems, so I was looking for something to help reduce the impact on my knees and vie me a little elbow room.”
All of our interlocking foam mats are made with a high density EVA foam material that provides excellent cushion for various aerobic activities.  Easy to piece together, these tiles interlock with one another like a large puzzle.  This provides a stable flooring option that requires no adhesive for installation.  Dannette says, “the installation was extremely easy and the edge pieces fit nicely together.”
Foam mats are soft and warmer than hard surfaces.  They are also waterproof.  Available in 15 bright colors, they add fun and warmth to any room.  These mats come with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty and should last for ten years or more in a normal residential setting.  The 5/8” premium foam mats are our most popular product.

“It was nice to be able to mix and match the edge pieces to create a funky look.  Since the ceramic tiles on which I was installing the mats are pretty slippery, I ended up using carpet tape to keep the mat secure.  Peeling the double-sided tape apart was the hardest part of the whole project.”

These foam mats are so popular because of their versatility.  We find that a large variety of people enjoy these mats.  We sell them to both nurseries as playmates and to military bases for training exercises. 

5/8” Premium foam mats are convenient and easy to handle because they’re so lightweight.  This makes installation and breakdown remarkably easy.  For wall-to-wall installations, the tiles can be easily cut with a sharp utility knife.  When it’s time to relocate, simply stack them up and you’re on your way.

“I would definitely buy the product again,” Dannette told us.  “I love the “grown-up” colors and the ability to mix and match.  I love the thickness and the quality.”


“Shipping was quick.  Customer service has been very professional.”
Thank you, Dannette, for trusting Greatmats to help you find the perfect flooring solution for you.  We appreciate your business.

Call Greatmats at 877-822-6622.


Customer Review-Playground Ergo and Pebble Mats

 

 “I am a big fan of your projects and I hope to do more.”
-Lisa F.

Lisa is the principal designer for Vonn Studio in Charlotte, NC.  She has used a variety of our specialty flooring products for her projects for various customers.

Greatmats Ergo Matta CushionTred Solid“I am an interior designer and I was charged with finding a “cool” gym floor.  The client…wanted a pattern using yellow, grey, and black.  We continued the yellow and grey stripe up the walls and across the ceiling giving a banding effect.  Very cool.”

Lisa used our Ergo tiles for this gym flooring.  Ergo is a flexible modular plastic floor tile that comes in a variety of colors.  It is made of 100% recycled materials and, because it mixes PVC with rubber, it’s very resilient.  These modular floor tiles are guaranteed for five years.  Ergo is often used as an outdoor playground surface area for younger kids where fall heights aren’t a huge concern.  Ergo is easy to install and care for.  It requires no glues or special surface to attach it to.  Just snap in together and you’re done!

Lisa goes on to say that she used our Pebble mats for someone who wanted to practice Yoga in their space.  “The installation was very simple.  I even installed one myself.  The only challenge with the Pebble Mat was understanding the interlocking pattern in the corners.  After that, it was so easy to install and easy to cut to size when I reached the wall and steps.”

Pebble mats are fantastic foam flooring product that is so dense and rugged we are able to use it in horse stalls.  However, it is soft and provides a great cushion so people enjoy using it in their home gyms or workout areas.  Lightweight, it can usually ship via ground carrier and is much easier to move around and work with than heavier rubber tiles or rolls.

Like the Ergo plastic floor tiles mentioned earlier, Pebble Mats are a breeze to install.  Just lay them out and cut to fit with a straightedge and a sharp utility knife.  These foam floor tiles measure 2ft x 2ft and are 3/4” thick.  They are great for areas with light free weights and other equipment.  They come with a one-year warranty and two border strips per tile.  They are waterproof also which can come in handy.

“I am very happy with the products, “ Lisa says.  “I hope to have the opportunity to specify Greatmats in the future.  I would recommend Greatmats to clients, family, and friends.  A very diverse product for many types of applications.”

Thank you, Lisa, for the kind words and the wonderful photos!

If you have questions or would like to discuss the possibilities for your area with one of our professional specialty flooring representatives, we hope that you’ll give us a call.  We would love to help you find the product you need to make your project a success.  Samples are also available upon request.

Call Greatmats at 877-822-6622.