Chances are, you got a brand new wrestling mat, or you’re thinking of getting a new one. I’ve been in the situation before, and the truth is, it is hard to tell how long do wrestling mats last because of numerous factors. However, there are signs we can look for to try to find that out. But before we start, in general, how long do these wrestling mats last?
As a general rule, wrestling mats are at their peak for about 6 to 12 months after first use. However, it can also last longer or shorter depending on the frequency of use, material quality, and maintenance. You can quickly tell when wrestling mats are not in their optimal condition when deformities begin to surface.
In this blog post, we are going to talk about how long do wrestling mats last. Furthermore, we will talk about signs when you should replace your mat. Lastly, I provided a table summary of the prices of wrestling mats you can use when deciding to replace them.
How long do wrestling mats last?
There is no set period for the durability or longevity of a wrestling mat. However, wrestling mats are generally in their peak condition 6 to 12 months after first use.
After that, wrestling mats that aren’t in their peak condition start to form deformities in the foam. Deformities include cracks, shrinkage, and bumps.
How long it lasts depends on the storage conditions, frequency of use, and maintenance.
However, there are some cautions you can use to make your mats last long.
The easiest thing you can do to prolong the optimal condition of your wrestling mat is to open or roll it at the ideal temperature.
As a general rule, you should roll, open, or walk on your mat at the standard room temperature, which is 75°F or 24°C. Using your mat at 55°F or 12°C can reduce the protective properties of the mat. Furthermore, wrestling mats freeze at 40°F or 4°C, which increases the chances for the mat to crack.
In short, the easiest thing to remember is to use your mat at room temperature. Wrestlings mat freezes up at 40°F. So, if you use or roll something on it, the chances of mat cracking will increase.
If the mat has been moved or stored in a cooler place, keep the mat wrapped for at least 24 hours before unrolling the mat. In addition, at 55°F, although not frozen, the effect of the protective properties in the mat will be significantly reduced.
Furthermore, you can also do something to prolong its lifespan when you first open the mat.
Before first use, the white powder on the mat should be swept or vacuumed from the carpet. The white powder used is starch or cornstarch, which are protective agents manufacturers place to preserve the mat while on delivery.
The purpose of the white powder is to prevent the foam from sticking to each other.
However, it is good practice to remove the powder once opened because it absorbs moisture, inducing bacterial growth on the mat.
Another precaution you can do to preserve the mat is to check the floor where you’ll be rolling.
Some floors may include chemicals that can be damaging to the wrestling mat surface.
New mats should never be positioned on new waxy wood, varnish, tiled, or synthetic rubber floor till the mat is completely cured because the thinner in the mat coating transfers chemicals on the floor.
Concrete floors have a similar problem: they contain alkaline, which reacts with the mat’s solvent coating and puts off grayish-white spots.
The mat should be wrapped in a polyethylene sheet to avoid damage. Polyethylene sheets are readily available from local building supply houses.
For better performance, you should place the wrestling mat at a room temperature of approximately 75°F or 24°C.
Lastly, cleanliness can expand your mat’s lifespan.
Cleaning the mats after each use is key to a longer-lasting mat. Disinfecting them with mat disinfectant solution can remove bacteria and fungus that can eat the foam.
Bacteria and fungus have been known to significantly reduce how long mats last because they can destroy the foam.
That’s why removing the starch after delivery is a good practice since it prevents the growth of these microorganisms.
When should I replace my wrestling mats?
You should replace your wrestlings mat when you see signs such as significant shrinkage, deformities, cracks, holes, and discoloration. These signs tell that the mats are not working at optimal levels and might cause it to tear soon or cause harm to the wrestler.
Many different signs may indicate the significance of a new wrestling mat, but here I have listed a few of them.
1. Shrinkage on the Mats
Shrinkage is typical on wrestling mats, and it happens naturally upon use.
However, for the mats to be at their peak performance, the shrinkage should be at most 3% from the original size.
The reason for using mats is to prevent friction and injuries by providing a cushion or foam.
Thus, too much shrinkage removes the purpose of the wrestling mat.
Shrinkage is normal. It’s what happens to the foam upon prolonged use.
A simple way to tell if there is too much shrinkage to your foam is when you start to feel some pain when using it. This means the cushion is not enough to reduce friction and collision.
2. Deformities on the Mats
You can also check deformities on the mats, such as bumps and shrinkage.
These are signs that the foam does not function as optimally as it once was.
Deformities happen due to wear and tear.
3. Cracks on the Mats
Cracks are also a sign that the foam is not what it once was.
Cracks on the mats mean the foam has hardened, frozen, or fungus has grown inside the mat.
This is also why I told earlier that we should use the mats in optimal condition because using the mat at 40°F or 4°C can cause the mats to freeze, which increases the likelihood of cracks.
I should note that using the mats at 40°F or 4°C can cause the carpets to crack even if they’re brand new.
4. Hole on the Mats
Common indications of damage to wrestling mats are divets, holes, or gouges.
While this shouldn’t be the case, strange collisions and tough take-offs can damage mats in this way.
All of these signs are visible to the eye, and you can take the necessary steps immediately.
However, having no fortification among them and the floor, the athletes, are more likely to get injured in matches.
Furthermore, if these mats are not cleaned properly, various bacteria can enter the mat through these bad spots, putting everyone who falls on the mats at higher risk.
5. Bacterial or Fungal Growth on the Mats
If you don’t store or clean your mats properly, you are pushing them at a higher risk of bacteria appearing in the mat fibers, which is harmful to every person who may have contact with them.
While we can’t see these microorganisms, they leave signs such as a strong odor and discoloration.
Furthermore, bacteria and fungi are known to destroy foam materials.
Hence, if bacteria or fungi affect the wrestling mat, you must immediately buy a new one.
There are numerous mat disinfectant solutions you can get for a low price, and they do wonders to maintain your mat.
Also, make sure to get mat disinfectant as a regular disinfectant can contain chemicals that can destroy your mat.
6. Old-sized Mats
The last but not the least sign that you must change your mats is if they are too old.
Today’s rules dictate that there should be at least 5 feet of space across the circle where the match can take place.
Therefore, if your mats are outdated and do not meet this standard, you must replace them immediately.
This rule increases the level of protection if the wrestling stars go out of the circle during the match.
Wrestlers with an extra five feet of the mat are less likely to hit the hard gym surface without protection.
What is the cost of wrestling mats?
Official regulation size wrestling mats cost around $6,800 to $8000. However, there are smaller wrestling mats available that costs around $3 to $3000. Their prices vary because of the brand, quality of materials, size, thickness, and purpose.
Here is a summary of the cost of wrestling mats:
|1″ MMA Mats
|$3 – $4
|Home Wrestling Mats
|$120 – $140
|Custom Cut Home Wrestling Mats
|$450 – $550
|Competition Wrestling Mats
|$1,650 – $3,000
|$600 – $800
|$380 – $450
|FlexFit Home Fitness Mat
|$65 – $75
|7/8″ Judo Mats
|$4 – $6
|Folding Landing Mats
|$175 – $250
|42″ x 42″ Official Size Mat
|$6,800 – $8,000
These mats are the only equipment used to practice MMA, wrestling, Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, or any other martial arts in which you might be interested.
But before buying a mat, it is critical to know the prices of various wrestling mats.
Generally speaking, wrestling mats are available in three types: classic, lightweight, and competition mats.
I have mentioned here below.
Classic mats are a type of mat that is very common and applied in both training and matches.
Mostly, schools and colleges buy classic mats, which come with bushy padding to protect against all kinds of wrestling tactics.
These mats are two-sided, and many institutions employ one-sided for regular training and turn the mat over in competitions/matches.
Lightweight mats are primarily used for private tournaments, home training sessions, and friendly competitions.
Lightweight mats are mainly designed for easy storage and portability. They can be wrapped up, moved instantly, and set in a new location in minutes.
The main advantage of having a lightweight mat is that it encourages you to customize the thickness and size according to your requirements.
Even though classic mats are applied in competition, they don’t have the same size or thickness as permitted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
Competition mats are utilized only for matches because it is most expensive to use them for practice.
This type of mat is used in professional wrestling, high school, and college.
What’s next? Now that you know how long do wrestling mats last, it is a good idea to know what factors affect the price of these mats. You can find more information about that here: Why are wrestling mats expensive.