Rubber Flooring – Rubber Floor Mats, Floor Tiles, and Rubber Gym Flooring
$1 – $12 per Sq/Ft
Rubber flooring is attractive, affordable, easy to install, and available in a range of solid colors and blends. Rubber is also durable, water-resistant and comfortable underfoot.
Considered primarily as a utility flooring material for commercial, hospitality and utility spaces such as hospitals and schools, homeowners are now looking to use rubber in certain areas of their homes thanks to its robust qualities.
Rubber flooring is the flooring of choice for commercial gyms, and that makes it ideal for your home gym, exercise or yoga space, kids’ playroom and anywhere you need flooring that is impact-absorbing and easy to clean.
It’s popular for garage flooring too because rubber flooring stands up to dirt and oil. Rubber flooring is also a safe, non-slip alternative to use outdoors on the deck or around the pool.
Rubber could also be the ideal choice for your home if you are specifically looking to choose alternative, unexpected flooring materials or wanting to experiment with more unusual design ideas: square and triangle rubber tiles are available, and specialists can create inlay designs for a truly unique floor.
In this in-depth rubber flooring guide, we will look at the following factors:
Buying Guide: We will look at the different rubber flooring options available for residential and commercial use, and how to choose the best option for your flooring project. We’ll also go through the pros and cons of rubber flooring and run through the most frequently asked questions.
Price Guide: In this section we will present current prices of rubber flooring, and how those costs compare with other popular flooring types such as luxury vinyl and laminate. We will also give you some top tips on how to save money when buying rubber flooring.
Installation Guide: Here we will go through the process of installing rubber flooring and everything you need to know to make rubber flooring installation a success.
Cleaning and Maintenance Guide: In the final section we’ll look at how to keep your rubber flooring clean and well-maintained so that you can enjoy your rubber flooring for years to come.
RUBBER FLOORING BUYING GUIDE
Rubber flooring is easy enough to handle for DIY installation. It resists moisture, is firm yet absorbs impact and cleans up quickly. This package of benefits makes it a better choice for several areas of your home compared to other flooring options.
Rooms such as home gyms, children’s play areas, basements and the garage are served very well by specialty rubber flooring available in rolls and tiles. Increasingly, we are seeing homeowners opt for rubber in their kitchens and bathrooms too.
However, in our experience, rubber flooring does not go well with pets! Pet claws can dig into and mark rubber, and if you have loose rubber gym mats, they will get chewed!
What is Rubber Flooring & How is it Made?
This unique flooring can be produced from natural tree rubber.
There are roughly 20,000 plant species that produce the latex sap that is used to make natural rubber, but the best known one is the Hevea braseiliensis which is predominantly cultivated in South America.
Be aware, however, that some people are strongly allergic to natural rubber and latex products.
You can avoid that risk by opting for one of the many synthetic rubber flooring options, Styrene butadiene rubber (SBR), ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) and ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM or M-class). EPDM mixed with cork is another composite rubber product that is non-allergenic.
Finally, rubber flooring is also, very often made by recycling old rubber products:
- Shredded rubber and recycled commercial vehicle tires are the preferred materials for the rubber flooring type known as gym flooring.
- Recycled roofing membranes, scraps from rubber product manufacturing facilities and other sources of pre- and post-consumer material are common too.
When you shop for rubber flooring, each product’s description should list the source and types of materials included in its makeup.
Regardless of the exact material composition, most rubber flooring is produced in the following manner with slight differences among types and brands:
- Recycled or virgin material is shredded or ground
- Recycled material is purified of contaminants such as metal and stones using screens, magnets and negative-pressure ductwork
- Binder and catalysts are added, and optionally colorants or color flecks, and the mix is heated in a cylinder where it becomes a solid roll when cooled
- A blade is then used to cut and peel the roll into the thickness desired; optionally, the material might be embossed and/or cut into tiles with straight or interlocking edges
RUBBER FLOORING TYPES AND OPTIONS
Gym flooring: This is the most common type of rubber flooring. It is available in rolls and tiles.
Rolls are 4’ wide. A black or gray base is most common because of the dominance of recycled, shredded tires in the composition. A limited number of tans, blues, reds and greens are available too, often made from new rather than recycled material. Hues may be solid or accented with rubber flecks or granules of one or more colors.
Rolled gym flooring is available in standard lengths from 12 to 24 feet or can be cut to custom lengths at the factory or warehouse. Tiles have straight or interlocking edges. Tile from 1 to 3 feet square is most popular, though a few non-square rectangles are available. As with rolls, a nice range of color options and blends are made. The most popular thicknesses for gym flooring are 3/8” to 3/4″ in both rolls and tiles.
Residential rubber flooring: Like the premium rubber flooring that is made for commercial use, a handful of bespoke flooring companies are now offering rubber flooring specifically for residential use. Available in a range of colors – from standard neutrals to more fun bold and bright colors – residential rubber can be bought either in sheet form or in square or triangle tiles.
Foam rubber flooring: This type of rubber flooring has an EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) foam core that is less dense than gym flooring. The core is covered with a vinyl layer colored to resemble wood plank flooring. EVA flooring is suitable only for light use and is typically backed by a warranty of just one year. EVA flooring is made in a rainbow of colors.
Premium rubber flooring: Finally, premium rubber flooring is commercial flooring that is very dense, offers excellent wear and is often textured or embossed with a geometric pattern.
OTHER FACTORS TO CONSIDER WITH RUBBER FLOORING
Rubber Flooring Wear and Durability
In residential settings, this flooring lasts 5-20 years depending on the type, how heavily it is used and how thick it is.
In commercial installations such as gyms and cafeterias, durability is reduced to 2-5 years. Rubber flooring is produced in thicknesses of about 3/16” to 1”, or 5mm to 25mm. Standard and metric measurements vary among brands.
If you’re installing rubber flooring in the garage, choosing a product formulated or coated to resist petroleum products is essential to durability.
Water resistance and slip-resistant
Rubber flooring is a great choice for wet areas such as bathrooms, laundry rooms and mud rooms because it is both water resistant and slip resistant.
Where Can I Install Rubber Flooring?
Rubber flooring can be installed throughout your home, both above and below grade, so is great for basement conversions. It is also possible to install rubber over radiant floor heating systems.
Is Rubber Flooring Good for the Planet?
Yes and no. If you’re buying rubber flooring that has specifically been made using recycled rubber, then you’re good, as manufacturing recycled rubber has a relatively low impact on the environment.
Natural rubber flooring made from virgin rubber where the rubber sap (latex) has been harvested from responsibly managed rubber tree plantations, are the next least bad option for the environment. There is, though, the environmental footprint of transporting latex to factor in; most rubber tree plantations are found in Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Amazon.
Opting for rubber flooring that does not use adhesive is also going to be better for the environment generally, as it is easier both to remove and to recycle. And yes, rubber is 100% recyclable.
Be aware, synthetic rubber flooring that is made from synthetic materials (usually the by-products of crude oil) is the least good option for the planet, as the materials used are non-renewable. However, the manufacturing process to make synthetic rubber is relatively energy efficient, and synthetic rubber lasts longer than natural rubber. It can also be recycled
Recent Rubber Flooring Trends
Among its advantages is its versatility – it can be installed virtually anywhere over any type of subfloor and many existing floors including hardwood, vinyl and ceramic tile. There are two primary trends in rubber flooring:
First, this commercial flooring is increasingly being installed in residential settings, as perhaps you’re considering doing. Secondly, garages are being converted into living space with greater frequency, and rubber is the top flooring choices for these remodeling projects.
RUBBER FLOORING BUYING GUIDE SUMMARY
- There are different rubber flooring options depending on your project: gym flooring, residential rubber, premium commercial rubber and foam rubber flooring.
- Rubber flooring is water resistant and durable.
- Rubber flooring is considered environmentally friendly, especially when it is made using recycled rubber.
- Be aware that some people are strongly allergic to natural latex and natural rubber products
RUBBER FLOORING PROS AND CONS
Rubber Flooring Buying Guide FAQ
Q: What is the best rubber flooring for a home gym?
A: Flooring made from recycled rubber or synthetic SBR (styrene butadiene rubber) at least 3/8” thick.
Q: What is EPDM flooring?
A: Ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDA) is a synthetic rubber elastomer, one of the chief M-class synthetics. Flecks, granules and shreds of EPDM are used in flooring either to comprise the entire material or as an accent in genuine rubber or in synthetic rubber of another type. Its advantage is the wide range of EPDM colors. Kiefer Color Flex, for example, is offered in 24 colors.
Q: How is rubber flooring maintained?
A: The floor is vacuumed and then lightly mopped with a gentle detergent. A light sanitizing solution can be used too.
Q: What is the best way to adhere rubber flooring?
A: Double-sided tape is sufficient for residential applications including home gyms, but glue should be used in commercial settings.
RUBBER FLOORING PRICES & BRANDS
How much does rubber flooring cost? This specialty flooring entails a wide spectrum of products, so prices vary considerably, from as little as $1.00 per square foot for basic gym flooring to over $15.00 per square for premium commercial grade rubber flooring. For more cost details of each kind of rubber flooring, scroll down.
Rubber Flooring VS Vinyl, Laminate and Other Flooring Types
Whilst commercial rubber flooring can be very expensive, most rubber flooring options that are suitable for use in your home will range between $1-$5 per square foot, which puts rubber flooring in the low to mid-range of prices compared to other types of flooring.
It’s hard to find an adequate comparison for rubber, since its qualities are so unique: both durable but cushioned underfoot. Cork flooring and carpet are perhaps the closes comparison in terms of a flooring that share the same level of underfoot comfort; whilst most other resilient floors such as vinyl and traditional floors such as hardwood, natural stone or ceramic tile offer the same (if not superior) level of durability.
Nevertheless, here is a basic comparison of the material costs for rubber against other types of flooring (note, these prices do not include installation).
TYPE OF FLOORING
PRICE PER SQUARE FOOT
|Rubber||$1 – $15|
|Bamboo||$3 – $9|
|Carpet (wall to wall)||$1 – $20|
|Ceramic tile||$0.50 – $15|
|Concrete||$0.60 – $2|
|Cork||$3 – $12|
|Hardwood – solid||$3 – $22|
|Hardwood – engineered||$3 – $18|
|Laminate||$0.70 – $5|
|Linoleum||$3 – $8|
|Natural stone – slate||$3 – $15|
|Natural stone – marble (basic range)||$4 – $15|
|Natural stone – marble (top range)||$10 – $45|
|Vinyl Sheet||$0.60 – $5|
|Luxury vinyl tile (LVT)||$1 – $7|
|Composite vinyl (aka rigid core, WPC / SPC)||$2 – $12|
Costs of Different Types of Rubber Flooring
Here is a breakdown of costs depending on the type of rubber flooring.
Gym flooring cost: $1.00 to $9.00 per square foot with the most popular products priced at $2.50-$4.50 per square foot
Rolls and tiles for home gyms, workout or yoga rooms and similar spaces are the most popular type of rubber flooring. You have thickness options from 3/16” to 1” for both. Tiles are offered in sizes up to 3’ square.
There are many factors affecting rubber flooring cost for gym floors. Higher density material that absorbs impact better and wears better costs more than lightweight materials. For flooring made of the same material, thicker products cost more, and tiles cost more than roll flooring. EPDM mixed with cork accounts for the highest rubber flooring prices in the gym flooring category.
Residential rubber flooring: $4.00-$10.00 per square foot
This is the rubber flooring that some homeowners are now choosing as an alternative to vinyl or ceramic tile, particularly in kitchens and bathrooms to take advantage of both its water resistance and its comfortable feel underfoot. Available both in rolls or tile format, either with a smooth surface or with an embossed pattern or round button studs.
EVA foam rubber flooring cost: $1.00-$2.25 per square foot.
This type is the cheapest rubber flooring in quality and price. Ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) is lightweight with very low density and designed only for low-traffic, no-shoe spaces like children’s play areas or yoga rooms.
Solid-colored EVA foam rolls and tiles are the least expensive. Foam flooring created with a top layer that mimics wood flooring costs the most in this category.
Premium rubber flooring cost: $9.00-$15 per square foot.
This is commercial flooring that is suitable for large commercial spaces and installed by specialist contractors. Premium rubber flooring is often textured for enhanced non-slip performance or embossed with a pattern for visual appeal.
Flooring designed to resist staining from grease and/or chemicals costs more than standard premium floor products.
RUBBER FLOORING BRANDS
Here are the major types of rubber flooring and the leading brands of each:
- Gym flooring: Kiefer, Made by Nature, Geneva, StayLock, Greatmats, Rubber-Cal, Flexco, Tuff-Roll/Tuff-Lock, Iron Company, US Rubber, PaviGym and Eco-Sport
- Residential rubber flooring: The Colour Flooring Company, Harvey Maria (currently UK only), Rubber-Cal
- EVA foam rubber flooring: Brava, Norsk and TrafficMASTER
- Premium rubber flooring: Johnsonite, Kiefer, Nora and Mohawk
How to Save Money on Rubber Flooring
You’ll find the best prices for gym flooring and similar rubber floors by shopping around. Check prices in the home improvement stores near you and from online sellers like BuildDirect, Rubberflooringinc and GreatMats.
Another way to save money on rubber flooring is by choosing only the quality that you need. In low-impact, light traffic areas, EVA foam rubber or 3/16” gym flooring might be sufficient. Where workouts are vigorous or heavy weights are used, you’ll have to use better flooring to ensure it will withstand the activity.
Rubber Flooring Pricing FAQs
Q: Can I find better prices online or in stores?
A: On average, online pricing is lower. However, when home improvement stores put gym flooring or other rubber floor types on clearance, prices are often excellent.
Q: Will a residential flooring contractor install rubber flooring? At what price?
A: Most don’t install a lot of gym flooring and foam rubber flooring, but do install commercial-grade, premium rubber floors for $1.50-$3.00 per square foot. If you ask a contractor to install gym flooring or foam rubber flooring, they will likely charge at least $1.50-$2.00 per square foot to make the job worthwhile.
RUBBER FLOORING INSTALLATION
Rubber flooring installation is relatively easy, and that makes it a DIY option or a quick job for a handyman: let’s look at the tools, supplies and techniques needed.
Tools and Supplies
Before we share tips on how to install rubber flooring, this checklist covers all possible installation tools and supplies. You may not need them all for the specific type of flooring you choose.
Hand tools: Tape measure, T-square, utility knife, chalk line, notched trowel and (optional) a flooring roller
Power tools: Shop vacuum, mop and bucket
Supplies: Floor cleaner, extra knife blades, double-sided tape, glue
Prepping the Floor for Installation
Most rubber flooring can be installed over hard flooring, so it’s your choice whether to remove the old flooring first. The condition of the existing material, how thick your rubber flooring is and whether installing it will create significant height differences with materials it adjoins are the primary considerations.
The subfloor should be level. If you know there are low spots, now is the time to raise them with self-leveling concrete. Chisel away old mortar or tough adhesive from concrete. Pull padding staples, tack strip nails and similar fasteners.
Whether you use tape or glue to hold down the floor, the subfloor must be clean. If it’s a hard surface, vacuum and mop it. Simply vacuum a wood subfloor.
Rubber Flooring Rolls Installation
Some sellers pre-cut the rolls to fit your room, giving you a few extra inches for trimming. If this is an option, it’s worth taking, but not essential.
Step 1: Use the T-square and knife to trim the roll end to square, if necessary.
Step 2: Roll out the first run of flooring with the long side against the most visible wall, keeping it tight to the wall.
Step 3: Run the roll all the way to the far wall, and if the roll is not pre-cut, use the utility knife to cut off the piece with a couple of inches to spare.
Step 4: Trim the end of the first piece using the T-square as a guide.
Step 5: Repeat steps 2 through 4 for all but the last run of flooring.
Step 6: The last run will likely have to be trimmed. To do this, measure the distance it will cover. Cut the last piece for length, allowing a few extra inches on each side for trimming. Measure and snap a chalk line, cut along it using the T-square as a guide, and install the last piece.
Step 7: For trimming out floor vents, push your knife through the center of the vent hole, and cut from there to any side. Then, carefully trim around the interior outline of the vent.
Step 8: If your lengths aren’t precut, you’ll likely end one roll midway through a flooring run. Cut a second piece of flooring to finish the run, but make it a few inches longer than necessary. Overlap the end of the first piece with the beginning of the second pieces, and make sure they’re butted firmly to the piece they lay next to. Lay the edge of your T-square across the flooring where it overlaps. With a fresh blade, cut down through both pieces, all the way to the subfloor. Lift the second piece to remove the end of the first piece, and the two pieces should fit nicely along the cut you made.
Step 9: Now that all the pieces are fitted, pull them up and apply glue or two-sided tape, per the manufacturer’s instructions.
Step 10: Reinstall the pieces, and if you want to encourage good adhesion, go over the rubber flooring with a flooring roller.
Rubber Flooring Tiles Installation
Trimming rubber floor tiles requires the same techniques as trimming rolls. Starting at the most visible side of the room and working end to end is the same too. The differences are in how the tiles are connected to one another.
For tiles with straight edges, use the plastic connecting pins recommended for the purpose and available from the retailer.
For interlocking tiles, use the T-square and knife to cut off just the tabs from tiles that butt against a wall. You’ll get the hang of how these tiles fit together within a tile or two, and the work will go easy from that point on.
Finishing the Job
Clean the floor to remove installation dirt and debris.
When you’re filling the room with gym equipment or furniture, carry rather than drag items to where they will be placed.
Placing a large rubber mat beneath a weight bench or weight machine will protect your new rubber floor. Pads should be placed under furniture legs and chair legs too to prevent damage to the flooring.
Rubber Flooring Installation FAQs
Q: If I hire a contractor to install rubber flooring, how much will it cost?
A: First, make sure the person knows how to install rubber flooring, or you might waste your money. Most experienced installers charge $1-$2 per square foot for installation.
Q: Does rubber flooring have to acclimate to the room like wood flooring?
A: While acclimating rubber flooring isn’t as critical, it is still a good idea, especially if the rolls have been stored in the cold. Bring them inside several days before installation. The rubber will install easier if it relaxes and reaches room temperature.
RUBBER FLOOR CLEANING, CARE & MAINTENANCE
Rubber flooring is chosen for its impact-absorbing performance in home gyms and similar settings, but a bonus is that it very easy to care for.
This guide to residential rubber floor care covers the basics and give specific tips for various types of flooring.
NEWLY INSTALLED RUBBER FLOORING CLEANING AND MAINTENANCE
How to clean a rubber floor that has just been installed differs by product.
Virgin rubber flooring (standard and premium) and synthetic rubber flooring.
These classes of floors include but are not limited to SBR, EVA and EPDM (M-class) floors.
Use a mild detergent such as diluted soap detergent or a solution containing 1 to 2 percent Simple Green or Pine Sol for the first cleaning of virgin rubber gym floor. There are also detergents formulated specifically for home gym flooring.
This first wash will remove any protective waxy coating applied at the factory. Be sure to go over the flooring with clean, fresh rinse water too. Open windows and a fan will help the flooring dry quickly. This is especially helpful for rubber flooring tiles, since water can penetrate the cracks.
Recycled rubber flooring
The technique is the same for floors made from rubber buffings and recycled tires. However, these materials often have a stronger initial odor than the first class, so you might find it helpful to increase ventilation in the area for two to four weeks.
Vacuuming Rubber Flooring
The preferred way to remove general dust, sand and debris from gym flooring and other rubber floor types is with a vacuum cleaner. If not removed, these substances grind away the surface of the flooring, and it wears out much more quickly. Vacuuming weekly is OK for home gym floors; commercial floors should be vacuumed daily.
The best type of vacuum cleaner to use is an upright vacuum with the cleaning head supported by wheels, casters or a ball. A shop vacuum or canister vacuum should not be used because dragging the head across the flooring causes undue wear. Also, the rotating brush of the upright vacuum should be turned off for the same reason.
While bagless vacuums are convenient, a bagged vacuum, especially one with an advanced HEPA filter, provides the most effective cleaning and filtration.
MOPPING RUBBER FLOORING
This essential step of rubber floor cleaning should be done daily or weekly in commercial installations and at least monthly in residential space.
Your mop should be nylon, microfiber or sponge. Avoid cotton mop heads because cotton tends to leave lint behind.
A mild detergent solution of your choice or one recommended by the manufacturer is best. Use a mop that is damp; avoid getting too much water on the rubber floor surface. Again, this is especially true when cleaning rubber tile flooring.
Avoid cleaners with harsh chemicals or petroleum since they might stain or break down the rubber. Stay away from products containing wax because it will leave behind a residue.
GENERAL RUBBER FLOORING CARE
These tips will prevent damage and prolong the life of your rubber floor.
- Make pure water your workout liquid of choice rather than soda, energy drinks, Gatorade or coffee. If a spill occurs, cleaning up water is easy. Anything else might stain or leave behind a sticky residue.
- Use pads under the feet of weight racks, workout machines and other heavy pieces of equipment.
- If you’ve installed a floating tile floor, consider removing it once a year to vacuum and mop beneath it.
- Tiles have penetrable edges, and eventually fine particles will sift through them. Water can do the same, so use a mop that is only slightly damp when cleaning.
- If you notice a bad odor starting, it’s likely from water trapped beneath the rubber. Take up the tiles, and give both the underlay and the tiles themselves a sanitizing wash.
Rubber Flooring Maintenance and Care FAQs
Q: Do you recommend rubber floor sealer?
A: If the manufacturer recommends it, then sealing the floor is a good idea. Only use sealers approved by the manufacturer, if you use them at all.
Q: Plenty of sweat ends up on our gym floor. What do you recommend for sanitizing the flooring?
A: A home solution of one cup white vinegar per gallon of warm water is an option. CleanBreak is the most widely recommended disinfectant for gym flooring and animal rubber flooring.
Q: Should I use a steam cleaner on rubber floors?
A: Most manufacturers DO NOT recommend steam cleaners due to their excessive heat and the fact that moisture might penetrate seams where it will get trapped.