Top 9 Benefits of Rubber Flooring
Rubber flooring is an incredibly versatile option for a wide range of applications, from commercial and industrial spaces to living areas.
Made from natural or synthetic rubber materials, rubber floors provide indisputable benefits over other types of flooring, including excellent slip resistance, durability, and ease of maintenance. Rubber flooring is also comfortable underfoot, making it a perfect choice for spaces where people spend a lot of time standing or walking.
Rubber floors come in an exciting variety of colors, textures, and patterns, so you’ll have no trouble selecting rubber flooring to match the overall design aesthetics of your place. Moreover, it’s an environmentally friendly option, as it can be produced from recycled rubber materials.
In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at rubber flooring, including what it is made from, the pros and cons of rubber flooring, installation and maintenance considerations, and even more. Whether you are a homeowner looking for a durable and easy-to-clean flooring option for your kitchen or a gym owner searching for a slip-resistant surface for your workout area, this article has you covered.
What is rubber flooring made of?
Rubber flooring can be produced from a natural raw material or synthetically. Natural rubber is derived from the rubber tree sap; it’s renewable and biodegradable, making it a popular choice with eco-conscious consumers.
In contrast, synthetic rubber is typically made from petroleum-based materials. Although it doesn’t bring the same environmental benefits as natural rubber, many producers make rubber flooring material from recycled rubber, which doesn’t seriously compromise sustainability and eco-friendliness.
Given that, by selecting natural or recycled rubber flooring, you make a more environmentally conscious choice for your space.
Rubber flooring types
Rubber flooring is an excellent option for both commercial and residential areas, as it provides numerous benefits, such as durability, slip resistance, and sound insulation. However, selecting the right type is vital to maximize the rubber flooring advantages. Several kinds of rubber flooring are available in the market, each with unique features and benefits.
Rubber floor tiles
Rubber flooring tiles are the most popular type of rubber flooring, with convenient sizes and designs suitable for any purpose or space. Moreover, rubber tiles can be easily cut into different shapes and sizes, allowing you to effortlessly fit them in any layout. In addition, the interlocking rubber tiles ensure a secure fit, and you can replace individual pieces, which makes this option reasonably cost-effective.
Rubber floor mats
Rubber mats are a versatile option that is easy to install on a hard, flat surface, offering extra cushion and thickness to any area. They come in various sizes and thicknesses, from smaller and thinner mats for a home gym to thicker mats suitable for fitness centers. Rubber mats can be used independently, or you can install mats with interlocking edges next to one another to cover a larger area.
Rubber floor rolls
Rubber floor rolls are an economical option for covering larger spaces with fewer seams than interlocking tiles. They typically come in sheets four feet wide with a length of up to fifty feet, making it possible to cover an entire room using just one or two rolls. Rubber flooring rolls are common in workout areas, healthcare facilities, and other commercial settings.
Backing and thickness of rubber flooring
Rubber floors are available in different thicknesses, which affects their overall cost and lifespan. Selecting the right thickness for your rubber floor is crucial to ensure that the surface can provide adequate protection and durability for your intended use. Although thicker flooring options are generally more expensive, extra thickness comes with several benefits. Besides being soft underfoot, thicker rubber floors are great at shock absorption, fall cushioning, and sound insulation.
To make a more informed choice, you must consider where you’ll use your rubber floor. If you plan to install rubber flooring indoors, you can go for thinner rubber floors as they won’t be exposed to harsh weather conditions. Still, for exterior floors, a minimum thickness of one inch is necessary to ensure it can withstand the elements.
Also, you should choose rubber flooring with the intended use in mind. For instance, if you need rubber flooring for a gym, you should select the thickness that best suits the activities that will take place on the floor. Fair enough, since weight rooms or any gym housing heavy equipment will require sturdier and denser flooring than, let’s say, a yoga studio.
Pros & cons of rubber flooring
Advantages of rubber flooring
Without any doubt, one of the most significant benefits of rubber flooring is that it’s incredibly durable, making it an ideal choice for areas with heavy foot traffic. It can withstand heavy use without wearing out or showing signs of damage for decades. Moreover, rubber floors are stain-resistant, an excellent option for spaces requiring easy maintenance.
Rubber flooring is particularly slip-resistant, which makes it an ideal solution for wet areas. Slip resistance makes rubber flooring a safer option, so it’s a perfect choice for schools, nursing homes, playground surfaces, and hospitals.
The natural elasticity and flexibility of rubber make for resilient flooring able to withstand heavy impact, pressure, and foot traffic without breaking or denting.
One of the most outstanding benefits of rubber flooring is that it’s easy to clean and requires minimal maintenance. Rubber floors are resistant to stains, dirt, and moisture, so regular cleaning can be done with a just damp mop or cloth.
Rubber flooring can withstand extreme temperatures, so it’s welcome in cold climates. Unlike other flooring materials, rubber is non-porous and doesn’t lose its elasticity and strength in subzero temperatures.
Rubber flooring can be made from recycled materials, which makes it a sustainable option. In addition, it’s long-lasting and doesn’t require frequent replacements. Rubber flooring is easy to clean and doesn’t require harsh chemicals or excessive water use.
Easy to install
Whether you opt for rubber tiles, rolls, or mats, the installation process is simple and easy. What is more, interlocking rubber tiles can be easily disassembled and put away for storage.
Rubber flooring is a durable and long-lasting material able to withstand heavy traffic and high-impact activities. Due to this, it boasts a longer lifespan than other common flooring options, saving you money in the long run.
Rubber floors can do an excellent job of reducing noise levels. This is because rubber absorbs sound, which makes it a great choice for noisy environments like hospitals, schools, and other public spaces.
Disadvantages of rubber flooring
Despite its indisputable benefits as a flooring material, rubber comes with a few downsides that are worth considering:
- Odor. Rubber flooring can have a strong smell, especially when first installed.
- Cost. Decent rubber flooring can be relatively expensive compared to other flooring options.
- Discoloration. Rubber floors can fade over time.
Where can rubber flooring be used?
Rubber flooring can be used indoors and outdoors in various residential and commercial settings.
Indoors, it can often be seen in gyms, playrooms, hospitals, and commercial kitchens since it offers excellent slip-resistant and cushioning properties. Plus, it’s often used in offices, where it helps absorb noise and provides an anti-fatigue surface for staff. Rubber flooring is a popular choice for basements, laundry rooms, and other wet environments thanks to its moisture-resistant properties.
Outdoors, this material is a widespread solution for a rubber pool deck, rubber crumb driveways, and sidewalks. In addition, a poured-in-place rubber playground surface is becoming increasingly popular due to its slip-resistant properties, durability, and ability to withstand exposure to sunlight and moisture. Rubber flooring is also a common choice for horse stalls and barns, providing a cushioned and non-slip surface for horses and livestock.
Best conditions for rubber flooring installation
When installing rubber flooring, it’s vital to ensure that the subfloor is flat and smooth, without any uneven spaces, cracks, or gaps that could cause the flooring to bulge. In addition, it’s crucial to install rubber flooring in dry areas, as moisture underneath the flooring can lead to mold and mildew growth. The most common surfaces suitable for rubber installation include hardwood, concrete, and ceramic tile. Let’s take a closer look at each.
When installing rubber flooring over a hardwood surface, it’s essential to make sure that it’s absolutely flat and smooth — any imperfections or bumps in the hardwood feed into an uneven rubber surface. Also, it’s crucial to ensure that there are no loose boards or gaps between the planks. Finally, it’s recommended to use an underlayment or adhesive to provide additional cushioning and support for the rubber flooring.
Installing rubber flooring over flat concrete is the easiest installation option. Still, you should ensure that the concrete is completely clean and dry before installation — moisture or debris can make the rubber flooring buckle or warp. Also, check the concrete for cracks or imperfections, which can cause an uneven surface.
Lastly, installing rubber flooring over ceramic tile is more complicated than over hardwood or concrete, as this type of surface is often uneven and has grout lines that can interfere with the adhesive. Given that, using a self-leveling compound over the ceramic tile is recommended to create a flat and smooth surface for rubber flooring, filling in grout lines and other imperfections. In addition, make sure that the ceramic tile is firmly secured to the subfloor, with no loose tiles or gaps between the pieces.
How to clean rubber flooring
Rubber flooring is typically installed in areas with high traffic. Over time, grime, dirt, and other debris can accumulate on it. Luckily, it’s an easy-to-clean surface. Below are steps to help you make your rubber floor clean:
- Sweep or vacuum up any loose dirt and debris.
- Mix a solution of warm water and a mild detergent or any cleaner specifically designed for rubber flooring.
- Use a mop or microfiber cloth to apply the solution to the floor.
- Scrub any stubborn stains or marks with a soft-bristled brush.
- Rinse the floor thoroughly with clean water.
- Be sure to completely dry the rubber flooring to prevent mold or mildew growth.
How to remove stains
To remove stains from rubber flooring, first, identify the type of stain.
- Food or beverage stains: use a mixture of warm water and dish soap to gently scrub the area with a soft-bristled brush.
- Oil-based stains: use a solution of warm water and a mild detergent, like laundry detergent or dish soap. Apply it onto the stain and let it sit for a couple of minutes before scrubbing gently with a soft-bristled brush.
- Paint/permanent markers: use rubbing alcohol or mineral spirits on a clean cloth to blot the stain. Then rinse the area with clean water and completely dry it.
Maintenance of rubber flooring
Lastly, here are some maintenance tips to help you extend the life of your rubber flooring.
- Make sure to clean up any spills as soon as they occur — this will prevent water damage to the adhesive underlay.
- Establish a regular cleaning schedule — this will help reduce the accumulation of dirt, keeping your floor looking fresh and new at all times.
- Take special care of your rubber floor during the first year — it will harden over time and become more resistant to wear and dirt.