Rubber Flooring Installation Guide
Rubber flooring installation is relatively easy, and that makes it a DIY option or a quick job for a handyman.
This guide to rubber floor installation covers the tools, supplies and techniques needed. General information can be found in our rubber flooring buyers guide. Prepare your budget ahead of time with the price guide, and once your floor is installed, the care and maintenance guide will come in handy.
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.
Let’s start with how to install rubber flooring rolls.
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.
Now, let’s talk about how to install rubber flooring tiles.
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. Our Rubber Flooring Cleaning, Care & Maintenance Guide has the details.
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 handyman 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.