In Australia, many baby boomers might remember their parents' or grandparents' rubber flooring when they were little. In the 60's and 70's vinyl and lino flooring took over as a cheaper option and rubber flooring was almost forgotten as a domestic flooring option and only used commercially.
In Europe, the UK and the USA rubber flooring is one of the most popular selling resilient floors. In Australia, with the increase of high quality, architecturally designed homes and the awareness of 'green' building materials, high quality colourful rubber flooring is making a comeback.
Most people mistakenly think rubber floors are made of cheap recycled tyres. This is not the case, the rubber flooring currently on the market is synthetic or man-made. A few companies, such as Dalsouple Rubber Flooring in France, make natural rubber flooring. Natural rubber is made from the milky sap (latex) of the rubber tree. Some companies, such as Roppe Corporation, combine natural rubber and synthetic rubber in their products.
Rubber flooring is resilient, flexible and durable, resistant to burns & dents and perfect for allergy sufferers. Rubber tiles are impervious to liquid, warm underfoot, and easy to clean by simply mopping or sweeping.
People are increasingly considering rubber flooring for gyms, garage, basements, workshop floors and other high traffic areas or in areas where moisture is a genuine threat.
Some rubber flooring products such as Endura rubber flooring have a built-in self-releasing wax, which allows the rubber flooring to 'self heal' when scratched or abraded. The colours available are almost limitless and come in a huge range of textures.
Rubber tiles are naturally anti-slip but can be a bit slippery if wet. So if you want to be safe, choose an appropriate texture for wet areas such as kitchens and bathrooms.
Shown below are some samples of the colours and patterns available in rubber flooring.
Rubber tiles are generally considered a "low-impact," environmentally friendly building material. Virgin rubber is considered a sustainable product as it is derived from trees, and the manufacture of synthetic rubber also has a low impact on the environment. Rubber flooring is three times more efficient to produce than vinyl and 17 times more than lino (Lino sits in a vat for about 2 weeks).
The rubber tiles can be easily cut into shapes, stripes, for flooring and walling. Some designers love using it for splash backs in kitchens.
DIY installation is not usually recommended. A good vinyl installer from your local carpet retailer should be able to remove old flooring, fix up the substrate and install the new rubber tiles. The tiles vary in size from 34cm, to 50cm x 68cm and can be fiddly if they are not installed correctly. With a 10 year guarantee you want to be happy in the future. A handyman can install them, if they have had experience with using adhesive, as the spread rate of the adhesive needs to be correct and rolling bubbles out is important. The manufacturer's instructions must be followed. There are videos such as those on Burke Flooring's website that can help with instructions.
A couple of thin coats of wax/polish over the tiles after they have been installed is recommended to protect the rubber and make it easier to clean. Tiles that have inbuilt wax, such as from Enduro, don't need the initial sealing.
Cleaning rubber flooring is a simple matter. After sweeping or vacuuming, going over with a damp mop with a neutral detergent or even an Enjo mop will be all that is needed.
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