Think it’s impossible to get eco-friendly flooring that is also tough and durable, and easy to clean and maintain? Think it’s impossible to install eco-friendly flooring in an industrial setting or a public place subject to heavy traffic? Think again. Rubber floor tiles made from recycled rubber or sustainably harvested virgin rubber is your answer.
The Benefits of Rubber
Rubber is one of the hardest-wearing flooring materials available and can be used in a huge variety of settings, in both indoor and outdoor situations. It is slip-resistant, making it ideal for indoor wet areas, surfaces prone to spills or outdoor areas that are exposed to wet weather – even when wet, it provides excellent traction and it also has superior drainage properties when used outdoors.
Rubber is anti-static and absorbs noise, providing fantastic sound insulation and vibration reduction. What’s more, rubber is also resistant to fading and to burns, such as cigarette burns. It’s durability also means that rubber as a flooring solution is a sound investment value as it can withstand damage from dropped weights, scuffs from shoes, even scratches from sharp objects and stay new-looking for many years.
Rubber tiles provide another benefit – ease of installation. And when it comes to cleaning, there are few flooring materials as easy as rubber to maintain – simply use a broom, damp sponge, mop or vacuum cleaner if indoors – or a water hose, leaf blower or broom if outdoors.
The industrial chic of rubber provides any space with a clean and contemporary finish. And with its soft cushioning underfoot and its shock absorption properties, it provides a good anti-fatigue surface for workers who are on their feet all day.
Eco-Friendly Rubber Floors
Rubber in general is considered a low environmental impact building material – however, if you’re particularly keen on an eco-friendly rubber floor, be careful about the type of rubber you choose. Some companies supply rubber which is synthetic and made from the by-products of crude oils and these should be avoided if you’re looking for a more environmentally-friendly option. Some companies offer rubber that is sourced from trees (i.e.. natural virgin rubber) and provided that it is responsibly harvested, in a sustainable manner, then this can be a good option.
Recycled rubber is the best option if you’re looking for an eco-friendly flooring solution – not only does it obviously have lower environmental impact than virgin or synthetic rubber but it is actually cheaper and more durable as well. Rubber tiles which can be installed without adhesive rank especially high in the eco-friendly stakes. These can be designed to interlock so that they have a “seamless” appearance – and often can be customised to specific sizes, as well as easily trimmed if necessary. This also means that these tiles can be recycled for re-use again in another application, reducing waste and disposal problems. Remember, rubber flooring is 100% recyclable, compared to vinyl (petroleum-based) products.
Installing Rubber Flooring
Rubber tiles are particularly easy to install and can be applied over almost any smooth surface such as concrete, wood or even tile. They are designed to that no special tools are required for installation – the tabs simply fit securely together without the need for toxic adhesives or tapes, and then pressed together using your fingers or a rubber mallet. This also means that you save on the labour costs for installation and that you can disassemble and reassemble the tiles as often as you like without damaging them.
Eco-friendly rubber flooring can be seen in a range of places, including airports, cafes, restaurants, bars, night clubs, gymnasiums, golf clubhouse, schools, universities, colleges, crèches, kindergartens, information centres, hospitals, medical centres, veterinarian centres, zoos, galleries, prisons and foyers of public buildings. Often they can have special qualities added to them such as oil-resistance, electrical conductivity, outdoor durability, extra flame resistance, etc. Some famous places that have rubber flooring include the Eiffel Tower, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Lords Cricket Ground and Heathrow Airport.