Buying Rubber Floors: Style and Options
Long gone are the days when black and gray were the only choices you had for rubber flooring. Now there are countless options available to you, giving you the ability to evoke a wide variety of floor styles and designs using rubber . This has caused it to become a popular material in numerous residential and commercial, as well as interior and exterior environments.
Rubber Flooring Size Options
Rubber Tile: Much easier to install than sheet flooring, rubber tiles come standard in 12”X12”, 18”X”18”, and 36”X36” squares. Supple and easy to cut and shape, these tiles can be cut down into rectangles or triangles of varying sizes in order to create unique patterns within the surface of your floor. One of the advantages of tiles is that if a single piece is damaged, it can be removed and replaced relatively easily.
Rubber Sheet Rolls: These materials generally come in sheets that are four feet or more in width, and can be twenty to thirty feet in length, allowing you to completely cover most rooms with just one or two rolls. Far more difficult to self install than rubber tiles, rolls are especially difficult to size properly, and even small mistakes can ruin large sheets of material. The advantage is that there are fewer seams in the floor, which can make for a more resistant, water tight installation.
There are also smaller rubber flooring sizes that are specially made to use as runners and stair tiles.
Rubber Floor Surface Options
Textures: One of the great things about rubber tiles and sheets is that they can be textured during the manufacturing process, allowing you to add depth and dimension to your flooring design project. Available textures include rivets, dimples, or studs. You can also get more complex textured patterns such as waffles or mottled surface features.
You can also purchase rubber materials which are perfectly flat and smooth. The problem is that flat polished rubber floors can become extremely slippery when water is present. That is why in wet environments such as kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms, a textured material is generally used.
Finishes: Generally rubber flooring is going to come with a flat matte finish that will be subtle and subdued. However you can deepen the colors found in the material by polishing it with a water soluble wax emulsion. This will not only make the surface more durable and stain resistant, but it will also give it a shimmering glistening sheen.
The matte finish is a good choice for bedroom and social living areas, as the soft hues won’t overwhelm the other colors in the space. A polished finish is better if you want your flooring to stand out, with a strong, perfect, almost corporate presence that will tend to dominate the space where it is installed.
Thickness and Backing
The thicker your material is, the more expensive it is going to be. However thicker materials will also be softer underfoot, and can provide greater insulation against heat loss, as well as noise.
Interior rubber flooring will usually range from 1/4” to 1/2” in thickness. There are also economy style extra thin sheets and tiles that can be as little as 5-8 millimeters in thickness. Exterior pieces need to be thicker in order to withstand the elements, and are usually at least one inch. For playgrounds used by small children 2” and 3” pieces may be used to create extra cushioning which can protect against falls.
In some cases the material will be mixed with cork during its manufacturing process to make it even softer while still retaining the durability of rubber. Tiles can also have cork, fabric, or foam backing.
Style and Design With Rubber Floors
The fact that it is now so easy for manufacturers to print colors and patterns onto rubber flooring means that you have more style options than ever when using this versatile material. There are so many different colors and multi-colors available that you are free to get really creative with your designs, envisioning new surfaces of color and texture that will express your innermost artistic spirit.
When choosing a material it is important to match the colors used to the type of textures found in the material. If you have a very busy pattern of wild hues in the surface of a tile, you want to avoid complex textures that may clash chaotically with them. On the other hand solid colored tiles and sheets can be enhanced by dimensional effects, that can add subtle interest to what would otherwise be a quiet, unnoticed floor.
Rubber tile will allow you to create repeating patterns of color across the surface of your floor. Rubber sheets will create a more consistent appearance, with fewer seams and a single running pattern traveling along each roll.