What is Rubber Flooring? A Detailed Look at Rubber Material Properties
Updated: Santa Ana, Calif., July 9, 2013
In the accompanying video Mr. Elasticity sets out to inform and entertain his viewers by answering the question of “what is rubber flooring?” To answer this question we must first jump into rubber material properties and discover what type of different rubber blends can be used for various rubber based products. Starting from the basics, rubber is an elastomer, meaning that it is a large molecule that can be stretched and returned to its original shape. Cushion floor mats made of rubber utilize this elastomer property to provide a comfortable shock absorbent yet tough rubber floor. Natural rubber is harvested as latex from “Para Rubber” trees by puncturing the tree and collecting the sap that drains from the tree in a process known as “tapping.” This latex then goes through an extensive refining process to make it ready for commercial process use.
Besides natural rubber drawn directly from plants, there are three other types of rubber used often for today’s production of rubber floors, gaskets, sealers, and insulation. A second type of rubber known as recycled rubber is a blend of old tire parts that have been discarded due to them being old or unwanted. These recycled tire crumb are reused in shoe soles and surfacing known as reclaimed flooring. Recycled rubber, due to its resistant rubber material properties, makes it a great item to recycle as it is tough and does not wear easy over time. Recycled rubber is a popular material seen in many Rubber-Cal products such as Elephant Bark, Eco-Safety rubber playground surfacing, Shark Tooth heavy-duty floor mat, the Elliptical mat, the Treadmill mat, and many more. A third type of rubber blend is known as synthetic rubber. Synthetic rubbers are petroleum based synthetic compounds that function as an elastomer as well. This blend functions well as flooring having very similar properties to natural rubber. Synthetics can be seen in various Rubber-Cal cushion floor mats like Terra-Flex tiles, corrugated Ramp Cleat, Terra-Flex roll rubber flooring, as well as many more. The last type of rubber blend is known as a thermoplastic elastomer. This is a unique blend of plastic and rubber compounds that allows this substance to contain some plastic properties while still having the ability to stretch like a rubber.
Now that we have answered the question of what is rubber flooring, the next question is why should it be used. The rubber material properties of elasticity and durability make rubber a great material for long lasting outdoor and indoor flooring applications. The durability granted from reclaimed flooring allows for a long term solution to your flooring needs as these materials have already traveled thousands of miles as car tires and will not wear easy over time. The elasticity of rubber allows for some of the best cushion floor mats around, providing safety and security for your subflooring by providing a sufficient buffer layer between heavy materials and your current surface. Hopefully this has helped you learn a bit more about what goes into rubber floors, and some of the advantages that come with choosing a versatile material like rubber.