Good darkroom floor mat for spills/easy cleaning?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by Some Dude, Jul 13, 2004.

  1. Some Dude

    Some Dude Guest


    I'm in the market for a pretty sizable floor mat for a darkroom that
    has a wooden/metal/don't ask kind of floor. I'm looking for a size
    about 6' by 6'.

    Other than using several "bathtub" slip mats I can't think of anything
    that would be big enough. Anyone have any ideas?


    Some Dude, Jul 13, 2004
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  2. Some Dude

    Fred Leif Guest

    Check out the 'locking' 2' x 2' mats available at auto supply stores ( like
    Kragen) ... reasonable cost, oil/solvent resistant. Cushions the feet.
    Doesn't have a tapered edge for transition to floor, but it's only about
    1/2" thick ... so not a major trip hazard.
    Fred Leif, Jul 13, 2004
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  3. lost in space, Jul 13, 2004
  4. Visit MSC ( and look at their shop mats. These are
    foam, intended to ease standing for long periods at a work bench,
    neoprene, for good chemical resistance (they resist oils and solvents,
    should be fine for developer and fixer), and come in sizes from "welcome
    mat" to huge. And they're light weight, so shipping won't cost an arm
    and a leg.

    I may be a scwewy wabbit, but I'm not going to Alcatwaz!
    -- E. J. Fudd, 1954

    Donald Qualls, aka The Silent Observer
    Lathe Building Pages
    Speedway 7x12 Lathe Pages

    Opinions expressed are my own -- take them for what they're worth
    and don't expect them to be perfect.
    Donald Qualls, Jul 14, 2004
  5. Some Dude

    Mike King Guest

    The mats I use are a red "rubber" compound and measure 1.3m x 1.3m (well 4x4
    feet anyway), I got them used from a guy that bought them from a restaurant
    supply house. They are pierced for drainage and heavy enough to lay
    perfectly flat, I hose them off on the driveway in the summertime.
    Mike King, Jul 14, 2004
  6. Some Dude

    Lloyd Erlick Guest

    jul1404 from Lloyd Erlick,

    A scrap of carpet, with or without underlay, would be the
    zero cost solution.

    No cleaning required, replace when required. A scrap of
    plain underlay, no carpet, would probably be good, too.

    I used to do this for years. Whenever a 'new' scrap appeared
    on my garbage picker scopes, the former one disappeared.
    Carpet is good upside down, too, if the smoother surface is
    more appropriate.

    If spending money is desirable, those interlocking
    perforated rubber fatigue mats are often available cheaply
    at places like Costco or Home Depot, or at boating supply
    outfits (for extra cost, of course, like buying a funnel in
    a photo store).

    Lloyd Erlick Portraits, Toronto.
    voice: 416-686-0326
    Lloyd Erlick, Jul 14, 2004
  7. Some Dude

    Mike Guest

    I was told that carpet is a dust magnet. I used to have carpet near my
    enlarger but then removed it for this reason.
    Mike, Jul 14, 2004
  8. Some Dude

    Some Dude Guest

    Deluged with answers!

    ahh, Usenet.

    Thanks folks.

    Some Dude, Jul 14, 2004
  9. Some Dude

    Lloyd Erlick Guest

    well, true enough, although the dust on the carpet need not
    get into the enlarger. In any case, when the carpet gets too
    dirty, it still didn't cost anything. Time for it to go...

    Lloyd Erlick, Jul 14, 2004
  10. Some Dude

    Some Dude Guest

    Only thing I'd say about carpet is that you're not really cleaning up,
    you're just absorbing. So if you spill a bunch of fixer/whatever on
    the carpet then its instantly trash whereas mats can be sprayed off
    and reused indefinitely...

    But yeah, carpet is definitely poorman technique! ;)

    Some Dude, Jul 16, 2004
  11. Some Dude

    Lloyd Erlick Guest

    jul1604 from Lloyd Erlick,

    Very true, especially 'poorman technique'.

    But -- if we're going to talk about spilling chemicals --
    maybe a large absorption device might be an advantage. The
    rubber mat cleans easily with a hose, no doubt about it, but
    it still leaves all your fixer on the floor. The carpet
    might catch most or all of it, leaving a minor amount
    scurrying under your sink or into the bottom of your

    But really, the floor covering is for comfort. The sink is
    for chemicals. My personal policy is that chemicals never
    leave the sink. Always handle chemicals in or over the sink,
    and spills never hit the floor. My floor has been wet many
    times, but water only. This is one of the reasons I like to
    use my solutions one-shot, and mix from dry powders to a
    working solution rather than perparing stock. A big jug of
    some chemical or other in water solution stored in the
    cabinet is just an invitation to a spill. Might as well use
    glass containers, just to add broken glass to the fun.

    Ideally we'd all have nice waterproof floors with a drain.
    Hose down the floor, squeegee toward the drain, done.

    I very foolishly discarded my last fatigue mat during my
    move. It came from the back alley; I had to trim away the
    parts torn up by truck traffic. It had all the advantages of
    carpet scrap (zero cost) as well as the cleanability of
    rubber. Too bad it was irregular, but so am I, so why did I
    throw it away? Silly boy.

    Lloyd Erlick Portraits, Toronto.
    voice: 416-686-0326
    Lloyd Erlick, Jul 16, 2004
  12. Some Dude

    jjs Guest

    Good darkroom mats are very expensive. I enjoyed having them when I was
    working for someone else, but since then I've opted for a plain, sealed
    cement floor and _good shoes_! See, the shoes can do double-duty - you can
    walk in them elsewhere, too. And it's easy to clean sealed cement. If you
    have a wood floor... well how about good old lineolum or something like it?
    You can get real bargains on the ugly looking stuff and you are in a _dark_
    room, so what do you care? :)
    jjs, Jul 16, 2004
  13. Some Dude

    Lloyd Erlick Guest

    jul1604 from Lloyd Erlick,

    Absolutely, nice shoes. Even ugly ones if they're
    comfortable, eh?

    However, even under such great shoes, a fatigue mat helps.
    At a minimum I like one in front of the enlarger and one at
    the paper developing place. When developing film I sit on a
    stool, in the dark, so I don't care about a mat.

    Lloyd Erlick Portraits, Toronto.
    voice: 416-686-0326
    Lloyd Erlick, Jul 16, 2004
  14. Some Dude

    Some Dude Guest

    I found pleated brown plastic rolls at Home Depot for $1.97/ft. They
    are about 28" wide and can easily be cut. It cost me about $16 for
    two sheets of 4x3' matting and I duck taped it down to the floor by
    the sink and it works most excellent! (Its not slippery when wet
    either). Its very thin but it works. I'm

    About spilling chemicals: I don't spill them all the time, and I never
    work *not* over the sink usually but its gonna happen sooner or later,
    you're gonna spill an entire darkroom on the floor :)

    Some Dude, Jul 19, 2004
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