Everything You Should Know about Rubber Flooring

rubber flooring

Many people hear about rubber flooring when they need it. Though you would associate rubber flooring with playgrounds, gym surfaces, or hospitals, it has a distinct style allowing it to be manufactured for interior decorating. As such, homeowners can install rubber flooring in areas with heavy foot traffic.

Whether you are designing a workout room, kids playroom, or need a surface with high endurance, a rubber floor is a good choice. It is naturally slip-resistant, absorbs shock, and it’s a natural acoustic. Let’s look at this flooring option in detail.

What is Rubber Flooring Made From?

It can be made either from natural rubber or synthetic recycled materials from vehicle tires. These materials make the surface highly durable and also low-maintenance. Rubber flooring gives building owners various choices when it comes to installation. You will find interlocking tiles, sheets, and square edge tiles.

Types of Rubber Flooring

Though the material is suitable for commercial buildings, it also makes an excellent choice for homeowners in various rooms. However, to fully utilize the benefits of rubber floors, you need to find the right type. There are various products from which you can choose. Below are the types of rubber flooring available in the market.

Rubber Floor Mats

They are easy to install mats because they are incredibly versatile. You can lay them on a hard, flat surface, adding extra cushion or thickness to the area. Rubber floor mats come in various sizes enough to fit all spaces. They start from 3′ x 6′, a bit larger than a yoga mat. Their thickness also varies and ranges from ¼ inch and 2 inches. You can purchase thinner mats for a workout room at home. However, professional gyms and sports facilities have thicker mats due to foot traffic and heavy impact activities.

Ideally, rubber floor mats are used independently. However, you can install them next to one another when you want to cover a larger area. In such a case, you can purchase rubber mats with interlocking edges, ensuring a secure fit.

Rubber Floor Tiles

The most popular type of rubber flooring in commercial and residential places is rubber tiles. They are convenient in size and design, making them the best option for any purpose or space. Rubber floor tiles come in 12′ x 12′, 18′ x 18′ and 36′ x 36′ squares. They are also easy to cut into many shapes and sizes, making it possible for them to fit in any layout of a room. Additionally, you can use them to create unique patterns within the floor’s surface.

When it comes to ease of installation, these tiles have interlocking edges for a secure fit. Other interlocking rubber floor tiles have detachable edge pieces allowing installation in irregular-shaped rooms. Installers do not need adhesives or glue when working with interlocking tiles. However, in outdoor areas or larger commercial applications, you can glue down the rubber tiles. The most significant advantage of using tiles is that you can easily replace one damaged piece.

Rubber Floor Rolls

Do you need to cover a large area? You can use rubber flooring rolls. They have fewer seams compared to interlocking tiles. They are also economical. These rolls come in sheets, about four feet or more wide with a length of up to fifty feet. As such, you can conveniently cover an entire room using one or two rolls. However, the installation process is a bit difficult because the rolls are large and heavy.

Rubber gym flooring rolls are the most common application in workout areas. It is also used in larger commercial areas and event centers.

Rubber Flooring Backing and Thickness

When choosing a rubber flooring for a home gym or any other application, you also need to consider the thickness. Earlier, we saw that different rubber floor products have different thicknesses. Notably, thickness also affects the cost of the rubber flooring; the thicker it is, the more expensive it will be. However, it will also have a long lifespan. Thicker floors are also soft underfoot, shock absorbent, absorb sounds and offer better cushioning.

When choosing rubber flooring thickness, you first need to look at the intended use:

  • If it’s interior, the rubber floors can be thin since they are protected from harsh weather.
  • Exterior floors need to be thicker at least one inch, allowing them to withstand harsh weather conditions.
  • If you consider rubber gym floor thickness, the weight training aspect has to be a significant consideration. Power sports also require great thickness. As such, your floor needs to be sturdy, durable, dense enough to handle high impact activity without breaking, denting, or bending.
  • Commercial areas and fitness centers, housing heavy equipment, also need thick material to hold the extra weight.

Manufacturers can add cork, fabric, or foam backing to make the rubber flooring softer, safer, and improve comfort.

Best Rubber Flooring Installation Conditions

Installing rubber flooring depends on your chosen product. Indoor spaces are suitable for rubber installation. If you have uneven spaces, cracks, or gaps on the surface, it can cause the flooring to bulge. You also need to install rubber in dry areas. Moisture underneath the flooring can cause mold and mildew to grow. For your rubber floor to give you the best performance, ensure you install it on a dry and flat surface. Different surfaces for rubber installation include:

Flat Concrete

The flat surface is the most ideal for installing rubber flooring. Installing the material on a flat surface offers a consistent, long-lasting foundation, creating long-term quality. It is the same case for commercial or residential areas. However, when using a flat concrete surface, you need to ensure the moisture level is low. If there is moisture, you can use a full-spread adhesive for waterproofing.  

If you are using rubber flooring on concrete steps, you need to glue it down. Failing to do this can cause it to shift and move underneath the feel, which is a safety hazard. In such cases, use an adhesive that will keep the rubber floor in place.

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile is another surface that is good for rubber flooring. However, since such a floor is fragile, you can lay down a subflooring material for protection. Most ceramic tiles break if used in areas with heavy traffic, and using thin material can also cause damages. When installing a rubber floor over ceramic tile, you can use padding.

Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring is elegant and attractive, but sometimes, you may need to cover it up. In such cases, rubber flooring is a great choice. However, to do this, you must use a protective paper underlayment, more so if it is high-quality hardwood. Also, you can cover hardwood indoors with rubber but not outdoor.

Carpet

If you want to install rubber flooring on carpets, you can use interlocking tiles. They provide a better grip. You also need to use the ones made from harder plastics as they have a lower chance of bunching. Using rubber mats or rolls over carpets can cause it to bunch up, leading to tripping. It can also damage the carpet.

Rubber Surface Options

Apart from thickness selection, you can select different textures and finishes.

Textures

Manufacturers can texture the rubber surfaces, which allows you to add more character and design to the rubber floor. Various texture options include dimples, rivets, or studs. You can also have complex textured patterns that include diamond-plate or waffles. If you require flat and smooth rubber flooring, you can also find it in the market. However, it can become slippery when wet, meaning it is not suitable for wet environments.  

Finishes

Often, rubber flooring has a subtle matte finish which is suitable for social areas. However, you can brighten their appearance by polishing the floor with water-soluble wax emulsion. It gives the surface a shiny appearance making it also much more stain-resistant and durable.

Pros and Cons of Rubber Flooring

Advantages of Rubber Flooring

Below are some of the advantages of rubber flooring:

Extremely Durable

Rubber flooring is highly durable, often lasting for 50 years. It is non-porous, meaning that it repels water and other liquids. Rubber floors are stain-resistant, and they do not degrade over time. Rubber is also recyclable, which makes it an eco-friendly flooring material.

Low Maintenance

You can easily maintain rubber flooring. It has a longer lifespan than other flooring options. It is easy to clean the rubber floor by sweeping, mopping, or vacuuming. The floor looks great once cleaned as it is stain-resistant.

Sound Proof

Rubber absorbs sound, making it a good soundproofing material. It is ideal as it helps reduce sound from below.

Frost-resistance

Rubber is non-porous, making it frost-resistant. Places that experience cold floors during winter can benefit from rubber floors.

Eco-Friendly

Manufacturers make rubber from recycled materials. This aspect makes rubber flooring suitable for the environment.

Economical

Rubber floor cost is significantly lower than other types of flooring, making it much more economical. You can also install it on existing subfloors, making it an excellent choice for homeowners.

Easy Installation

If you are a DIY fan, you will enjoy installing rubber flooring in your home. Often, you do not need a professional when installing rubber mats, rolls, or tiles.

Non-Slip

Many commercial and residential buildings choose rubber flooring because it has anti-slip properties. Rubber also feels comfortable underfoot, and it is nice to walk on. Being naturally slip-resistant makes it a safer flooring option.

Disadvantages of Rubber Flooring

Though rubber is a fantastic roofing material, it also has some disadvantages. They include:

  • Rubber has a distinct smell within the first few weeks of installation.
  • It fades over time.
  • Time-consuming installation in larger spaces.
  • Has limited applications.

How to Clean Rubber Flooring

Most commercial and residential buildings install rubber flooring in areas with high traffic. Learning how to clean rubber flooring is essential to keep it looking good. Routine cleaning, removing stains, and regular maintenance are crucial to keep the floor in good condition. Let’s look at those three parts in detail.

Routine Cleaning

The following are the steps you need to follow for routine cleaning.

  1. Thoroughly vacuum the floor: First, you need to dry vacuum the floor when you start cleaning. Remove grit and dirt. Start from one side of the room to the other, ensuring you do not miss a spot. Accumulated dust can lead to uneven wearing of the rubber floor.
  2. Then, mix a cleaner using water and soap: Mix mild dish soap with warm water in a bucket to make a rubber floor cleaner. Use about ¼ cup of 60ml of soap, and do not add more soap as it can leave a residue.
  3. Use a mop and your cleaner to mop the rubber floor. Start from the area that is furthest from the door and work your way to the exit. Wring the mop periodically.
  4. Air-dry the area: You do not need to towel dry the freshly cleaned floor. Let the floor air dry. If it is a room with poor ventilation, open the window to allow it to dry quickly.

When doing routine cleaning, you need to avoid harsh cleaners or cleaning methods. Some cleaners contain solvents and acids, which can erode the rubber flooring if you keep using them regularly. A harsh cleaning routine can also cause wear and tear. Use plain soap and warm water whenever you can.

Additionally, avoid cleaning the rubber flooring 72 hours after you install it. Remember that the flooring is softest after installation. It needs time to cure and become harder. Wait until 72 hours elapse before you clean it the first time. When you do it before that, it can cause permanent floor damage.  

Removing Stains

Follow the following steps to clean a stain from a rubber flooring.

  1. Using a vinegar solution when it’s water-based stains: You cannot lack occasional water-based stains on the floor. Such stains include sweat or beverages. To clean it out, mix 50% white vinegar and 50% water and use a towel to rub the mixture on the stained areas. Do so in small circles. Once you finish doing it, use warm water and a mild soap dish to clean it like in the previous step.
  2. Remove oil-based stains with turpentine: Handle turpentine with care as it is highly toxic. Wear gloves and ensure you ventilate the area properly. Pour three teaspoons of turpentine onto a dry cloth and blot the stained area to remove the stain. After you are done, follow the routine cleaning method to clean the floor.

Rubber Flooring Maintenance

Apart from regularly cleaning and removing stains, you need to maintain a clean floor. To do so:

  • Ensure you clean spills immediately they occur. When you leave the water to stand on the rubber floor for long, it can damage the adhesive underlay.
  • Have a regular cleaning schedule: When you vacuum your rubber floor regularly, you reduce the accumulation of dirt. Doing this keeps your floor looking bright and new. Removing the grit also ensures fewer scratches.
  • Take care of the rubber floor within the first 6 to 12 months: Rubber floors become hard with time, making them more resistant to wear and dirt. However, if you want to extend this lifetime, you need to take diligent care of the floor within the first year after installation. Remember to keep a vacuuming and mopping schedule and carefully follow it.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are Rubber Floors Comfortable?

Whether you choose rubber floor mats or any other type, they are comfortable to walk on. Rubber is soft and provides better cushioning than most flooring options.

2. Is Rubber Flooring Safe?

Apart from being comfortable, rubber flooring is also safe. When installed in a gym, it provides a high friction coefficient giving feet a better grip during intense workouts. It also has more traction and stability, significantly reducing the chances of falling.

3. Can Rubber Flooring Get Wet?

Rubber flooring does not absorb water or any other liquids, making it a great waterproof flooring option.

4. What is the Rubber Flooring Cost?

If you are going for premium rubber flooring, it can be pretty expensive. You may need about $2 per square foot for tiles ideal for exercise rooms. However, if you want attractive designs for living areas, you will need $12 to $15 per square foot. On average, decent rubber flooring is between $3 to $8 per square foot.

5. What are The Advantages of Rubber Flooring?

When you choose rubber flooring, you give yourself a durable flooring option. It can last for about 50 years. It has anti-slip properties making it ideal for wet areas. The material is also versatile and comes in various designs and colors, giving your room more character.

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