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Resilient Flooring: Rubber

Resilient floorings - vinyl, linoleum, rubber and cork, are so called because they are soft and flexible, and give a cushioned effect underfoot.

They are suitable for most rooms, as long as they are given a non-slip finish for areas that might get wet and slippery.

One of the newer resilient floorings is rubber. Rubber floors have been around for a long time, but mainly as industrial or warehouse floors. Now they have moved into interior decorating.

Rubber is available in great textures, colours and designs. Not only does rubber look good, it also has several advantages.

It is a natural product and is completely recyclable. Rubber flooring comes in sheets or tiles, and can be new or recycled material.

Rubber is a very durable flooring material that is water and heat resistant. As such is ideal for use in wet areas.

It is comfortable to walk and stand on and is a good sound insulator. For these reasons, it was previously most widely used in gyms, bars and restaurants.

Where to Use Rubber Flooring

Although a rubber floor would look cool and funky in a living area, it is generally used in bathrooms, laundries, basements, games rooms and garages.

It is most suitable for these areas because it is durable, water, mould and bacteria resistant, and very easy to maintain and keep clean.

Despite being used in restaurants, rubber floors are not really suitable for kitchens, because grease makes rubber dangerously slippery, and also grease can cause rubber to perish.

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Disadvantages of Rubber Floors

Despite their good looks and durability, rubber floors have a few drawbacks you should consider when thinking about choosing a rubber floor.

  1. Slippery when wet: Although generally used in the wet areas of a home, caution must apply as rubber floors can be slippery when wet. Also, avoid grease, which makes rubber a falls hazards.
  2. Expense: Rubber floors are relatively expensive compared with a similar area of vinyl or linoleum
  3. Easily damaged: Although rubber floors resist marking they are easily damaged by sharp objects

Maintaining Rubber Floors

Although rubber is fairly low maintenance, you still need to keep the floor clean, removing dust and grit with a broom or damp cloth. You can clean rubber flooring with a mop and mild household detergent or a special rubber cleaner from the rubber manufacturer.

Rubber Floor Installation

Installing a rubber floor is relatively simple, and any competent DIY-er can manage it. Rubber comes in either tiles or rolls of sheeting. Tiles are easiest to install, while the sheeting requires a bit more precision. Some companies make t tiles that install by a click-and-lock mechanism.

Pick out the rubber at the manufacturer and if it is sheeting, have it cut to your rooms' dimensions.

Before installing your rubber, the subfloor should be level, clean and dry. Use a polyurethane adhesive if the rubber needs to be glued down, and seal the seams with a urethane seam sealant if using a rubber sheeting products

Rubber is not easily damaged, though you do have to be careful when handling sharp objects, because it marks easily.

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