All You Need to Know About Rubber Flooring
Rubber flooring material is made of butadiene-styrene rubber and other synthetic materials. Rubber is very resilient and durable, has good dent resistance. Rubber tiles are excellent for entrances where dirt and mud can be tolerated and where traction is needed on wet floors. Most popular in commercial gym flooring spaces as it is designed to carry on heavy loads and high traffic. Also used in outdoor and playground areas, laboratories, elevator cabs, and other sporting arenas.
It is available in two forms:
- A flat surface with a marbleized pattern or
- Solid colour with a variety of raised surfaces.
Two types of rubber used for flooring:
- Natural rubber
- Synthetic rubber
Floor coverings can also be made from a combination of natural rubbers, synthetic rubbers, and recycled rubber.
Advantages of Rubber Flooring:
- Good in resilience
- Durable and easy to install
- Extremely versatile
- Dent resistance
- Suitable for indoors and outdoors
- Mold and mildew resistant
- Water-resistant and Slip resistant when wet
- Easy to clean and maintain
Disadvantages of Rubber Flooring
- Porous and can accumulate salts in water when wet.
- May expand and contract with temperature differences when used outdoors.
- Highly resilient and resistant to indentation.
- Non-porous surface and nonglare finishes.
- Durable and virtually indestructible.
- Stain and chemical resistant.
- Slip resistant and flame resistant.
Rubber floor coverings are available in various colors and textures. Few of them are :
Varies from 1/4″ to 2″+
- Thin rubber flooring : Ideal for small areas such as residential gyms.
- Medium thick rubber flooring : For commercial gyms.
- Ultra-thick : It is ideal for playgrounds and where shock absorbency is needed.
Recycled Rubber Flooring:
Recycled rubber flooring is made with discarded automobile and truck tires.
A large number of tires that are discarded after consumer use can be recycled and used for other purposes to preserve natural resources and environmental conditions.
Recycled rubber is an ideal flooring material as it is durable, cost-effective, ensure safety for staff and also has sound absorbing qualities.
Benefits of Recycling:
- Reduces pollution
- Saves energy and low life cycle costs
- preserves natural resources
- saves landfill space used for waste disposal
- saves crude oil that helps in the manufacture of rubber
- reduce environmental impact and improved air quality
- encourage use of recycled products
- Creating employment opportunities for recycling industries.
Types of Rubber Flooring:
Ideal for covering large spaces and are easy to install.
Mostly used for commercial gyms, fitness studios, CrossFit boxes and in outdoors, water prone areas. Rubber rolls are used for outdoors for decks, porches, patios, walkways, etc. Used for indoors in basements, locker rooms, art studios, etc.
Available in various color and surface finish options.
Lengths can vary depending on thickness and can be cut on site to suit the installation. Rolls are available as pre-cut and custom-cut rolls. Pre-cut rolls are typically cut at 4′ wide and 25′ or 50′ in length. Custom cut rolls are cut at minimum 15′ in length.
Thickness: 1/8″,1/4″,3/8″,1/2″,8mm etc.
- Loose lay
- Full glue down/adhesive
As the name suggests, simply roll the flooring into place without adding any adhesive/tape. Ideal for portable spaces/if you are changing locations of your spaces. Sometimes double sided tape is used along the perimeter and along the seams for extra stability.
Full glue down
Simple use glue/adhesive to stick the rubber rolls to the floor. Ideal for permanent and seamless flooring. Glue down method is ideal to be used in areas where temperature fluctuates.
Tiles are easier to handle than heavier rolls and are easy to install as they require little cutting and interlocking tiles are available. Many interlocking rubber tiles are flappable, doubling the life of the floor.
Ideal for small spaces like residential gyms, small retail areas such as kiosks, etc. Rubber tiles are resistant to scuffs, scratches ad indentations.
Rubber tiles are cut in two methods for interlocking:
- Waterjet: cut by using a very high-pressure jet of water.
- Steamed: cut by a rolled stamp
1/4″ to 1″
Types of rubber used to make Rubber Tiles:
Vulcanized Rubber Tiles:
The rubber changes its properties which created consistency by this method of vulcanization. The rubber is compressed into a non-porous, durable and denser rubber.
The advantage of denser and non-porous rubber tiles is that they do not trap salts from water or any sweat from workout.
Non-Vulcanized Rubber Tiles:
Non-Vulcanized Rubber Tiles are less dense and porous when compared with vulcanized tiles and are affordable than vulcanized rubber.
Virgin Rubber Tiles
Virgin Rubber Tiles are made from natural rubber. They are denser and are resistant to colors that helps so that the tiles do not fade and lasts longer.
Interlocking rubber tiles are easy to install as they have precision-cut sides that lock together and do not require any adhesive. They can be installed over existing surfaces and easily removed. These tiles may not stand up to heavy rolling loads.
This method is recommended in areas with heavy traffic. Tiles are laid onto the floor into wet adhesive and then rolled to ensure good contact with the adhesive.
The tiles are secured with dowels to form a loose-lay floor in this method.
Rubber mats are good for absorbing shocks. Rubber mats are durable and are portable mats used for covering a small space for residential or commercial spaces.
Available in various thickness and color options.
Ideal for workouts at home gyms, designated areas for commercial gyms, etc.
Sizes: Most commonly used standard size: 4’x6′
Thickness : 1/4″ to 2″
Types depending on usage:
- Kitchen rubber mats:
- Used for cafeteria service stations, behind food serving counters, before sink counters in commercial kitchens, etc. near work areas to be safe and comfortable.
- Entrance rubber mats:
- Ideal near entrances to clean dirty shoes off the floor for removing dirt without dirtying the floor.
- Animal rubber mats:
- Used for animal stalls, barns, dog flooring in kennels, etc.
- Weight room mats:
- Ideal for heavy duty equipment and are good choice for shock absorption.
- Utility mats:
- These mats are used in laundry rooms and serve as a padding between washer/dryer and floor.
- Other mats such as yoga mats, sports mats, fitness equipment mats, boat deck mats, industrial floor mats, comfort mats, etc. are available depending on the usage and manufacturer.
Other features are Anti-slip/skid, damp proof, interlocking mats, washable, etc.
PVC and plasticizers in rubber flooring do not meet sustainability criteria. PVC-free and halogen-free rubber flooring will not emit dioxins or furans in the event of fire.
Natural rubber products contain latex, which is not completely hypoallergenic.
Select products that do not contain formaldehyde and plasticizers, adhesives that emit low VOC’s to improve indoor air quality.
Rubber flooring reduces the need for frequent replacing as they are durable and long-lasting.
Rubber waste can be recycled.