The most often touted benefit of rubber flooring is the fact that it is strong, tough, and resilient against a variety of conditions. Depending on the type of tile used, and the environment it is installed in, a properly cared for rubber floor should be able to last twenty years, if not longer.
Rubber flooring can be very easy to take care of. Synthetic flooring is generally more stain resistant than natural rubber. Polishing the surface with a water soluble wax emulsion will also make it more resistant to damage and discoloration. Cleaning generally requires no more than the use of a mop and warm clean water.
Despite the fact that it has commercial grade durability, rubber flooring is actually quite soft to the touch. This is can be important for helping to relieve stress fatigue associated with standing or walking for long periods of time, making this a popular flooring choice in retail locations. The soft yielding nature of rubber also makes it an appropriate floor for playrooms, bedrooms, and other living areas. This effect can be increased by purchasing tiles with fabric, cork, or foam-rubber backing.
This material is resistant to burns left from cigarette butts and other small heat sources. It is also non toxic, and will not release noxious fumes into the air in case of fire.
Rubber flooring is nonporous which means that you don’t have to worry about damage from basic liquid spills. This makes it a popular floor for wet environments such as bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms. However if you are installing it in an at grade or below grade environment you may need to install a vapor barrier to prevent moisture from seeping up from underneath. Some rubber floor tilesalso come specially treated to deal with particularly moist environments.
Depending on the thickness of the tiles, rubber can act as a powerful sound barrier between floors in a building. It’s natural elasticity can also reduce noise from walking and rolling carts by up to 18 decibels.
When rubber flooring first gained residential popularity in the 1970’s the colors of choice were typically polished black or slate gray. These would be contrasted by blues, reds, or yellows on occasion, but there really weren’t that many color options available.
Nowadays there are countless color and pattern options available when choosing rubber floor tiles. These can have a polished perfection, or a soft matte finish that will blend more naturally into a living space. They can also replicate marbling and random speck patterns found in natural stone materials, or can take on extremely bright, vibrant, neon tones to create a loud and brash flooring design.
The surface of these tiles can be manufactured with raised dimples, studs, and other complex textures that can actually become part of the piece’s design. This can also help to add traction to the floor, making it more slip resistant in wet areas.