Rubber Flooring: It’s time to get reintroduced

by Raymond Alexander Kukkee


As a modern homeowner or bathroom floor renovator you have probably seen hundreds of flooring choices –exciting, chic and cool. Everything from exotic marble to laminates, common linoleum, endless vinyl, and a dazzling range of beautiful high-quality ceramics are offered . What most do-it-yourself renovators may not realize is that there is another contender in the residential flooring market that may be perfect for your specific application: Rubber has been reintroduced.

Rubber? You mean the same stuff tires are made of? Not exactly. Contemporary rubber flooring products bear little resemblance to the dated, sometimes high-odor and rather plain, dull rubber sheet flooring offerings typically used by commercial establishments and utilitarian applications.

In times past, synthetic rubber sheet flooring was reserved traditionally only for garages, auto showrooms, factories and similar applications for the simplest of reasons.  The most commonly perceived single drawback of rubber flooring was the initial rubber odor when new. Modern rubber products, however, are specifically manufactured to reduce odor to a minimum. Residential rubber flooring is made of synthetic low-odor rubber that offers operating characteristics suitable for residential applications.

Products may also include some recycled rubber as an environmentally green advantage, so rubber is now a stylish and modern choice you can make for your bathroom, foyer, hallways, basement, or virtually any other residential application.

“Rubber even offers it’s own unique, soft appearance when cleaned and buffed.”

In the mainstream flooring market today, colors for rubber flooring are almost unlimited, and patterns are made available in anything from geometrical patterns to lookalike slate or marble. Other offerings include virtually any design from spotted retro to ultramodern. Rubber flooring is available in hundreds of colour combinations reborn, speckled- recycled and literally an imitation of everything.
Rubber flooring is unlike other products in that the manufacturing process ensures color runs throughout the product, so eventual wear on the colored tough surface material does not cause the surface to be less attractive by removal or dulling of the surface color.

Embossed, exotic contemporary square tiles in several sizes that interlock are offered, but rubber flooring can also be purchased as rolls or one-piece sheet flooring. Floors can be textured or smooth. Rubber offers a walking surface that is warm and comfortable. It is impact-friendly.

It is also recyclable, sound-absorbing, and slip-resistant. Rubber even offers it’s own unique, soft appearance when cleaned and buffed.

Installation of rubber flooring is relatively easy. The interlocking tiles are offered in various sizes and can be installed by anyone with moderate do-it-yourself skills. You can also roll it out and glue it down if you prefer. Let’s remember that rubber is always easier to handle and more flexible when it’s warm, so store it inside and on site prior to installation rather than out in a cold garage.

For installation of rubber products, bathroom floor preparation includes routine substrate repair or replacement as necessary. Inspect that substrate carefully, the new rubber flooring is going to be there for a long time. Fill holes or depressions in the substrate and sand it smooth. Just as if you were preparing for ceramic tile or vinyl tiles, always remove nails and staples and other bits of material as needed. That prevents them from showing as bumps, causing unevenness, or even working up through the rubber flooring surface in time.

Additional benefits of modern rubber bathroom flooring include being waterproof, shockproof, mold and bug-proof, and easy to clean. Maintenance of rubber flooring is no more difficult than standard maintenance required for vinyl or linoleum –just get out the damp mop, mild cleaners and the broom.

Warranties offered on rubber flooring are primarily for anti-cracking, chipping and other problems caused by defective manufacture.  Warranties vary substantially from product to product and application.  One year total warranty to 10 years as a limited lifetime warranty not including wear might be considered typical.  It’s always a good idea to take time to familiarize yourself with the details of warranty on any specific brand of flooring product you purchase.

With all of the new floor coverings now offered, maybe it really is time to explore the added benefits of modern rubber for your bathroom flooring project.

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