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Questioning rubber flooring: 5 you need answered before specifying

01 Aug 2022 by iRubber

There are a number of questions specifiers should ask before selecting a flooring product for spaces subject to high foot traffic, particularly on the points of slip-resistance, longevity and maintenance.

As always, the specification process should include a cost analysis of different flooring options but it has also evolved of late to consider the environmental impact of the flooring materials in question.

One option, particularly for use in hospitals, sporting halls and transport hubs, is rubber flooring, which has a good performance track record but has, in the past, received scrutiny about its sustainability credentials, initial capital cost and aesthetic variety.

Thankfully manufacturers of rubber flooring are innovating and developing products that match or better the performance of other popular options such as vinyl, linoleum and carpet.

Here are a few questions to consider before specifying:

AM I GOING TO SLIP?

Slips and falls lead to thousands of injuries in Australia every year and, unsurprisingly, flooring surfaces are one of the major associated factors with these incidents. Choosing flooring products in high traffic areas that are slip-resistant is therefore paramount for the designer as it guarantees the safety of users and reduces the likelihood of litigation. Textured rubber flooring is highly slip resistant and most suppliers on the market offer products that exceed the Australian Standards for slip ratings in public buildings for both new (AS 4586) and existing (AS 4663) surfaces.

Know your requirements: HB 198:2014

Australian Standards HB 198:2014 ‘Guide to the specification and testing of slip resistance of pedestrian surfaces’ sets out the parts of the Building Code of Australia (BCA) that require slip ratings in certain circumstances and also outlines guidance as to what the general consensus is for slip ratings in areas of public buildings where the BCA doesn’t apply.

HOW LONG WILL IT LAST?

Considered by some as more important than a product’s slip resistance rating and surface quality is its ability to maintain it. Rubber is an incredibly enduring material and most suppliers offer long warranties on their products. In general, rubber floors with a high amount of synthetic content are more enduring than those with high natural rubber content but they are less environmentally friendly.

HOW DO I MAINTAIN IT?

Rubber flooring can be very easy to take care of and in some instances doesn’t need to be waxed or sealed. Synthetic flooring is generally more stain resistant than natural rubber while recycled rubber is not as suitable for kitchens, laundry rooms, or garages, as it may be subject to staining from grease, petroleum, fats, and detergents.

“The amount of VOCs emitted from a single waxing of a floor is comparable to the amount of VOCs emitted from the flooring itself over its entire lifetime!” - Dr. Greg Norris of the Harvard School of Public Health.

Rubber flooring is also a very hygienic product as it is dense and can be laid up walls. This reduces joints in the floor where dirt and bacteria can deposit or form and also makes it easy to clean.

A conundrum often faced by specifiers is whether to choose the no-wax synthetic flooring option, which can be cleaned with a simple mop and a mild pH-neutral cleaning product, or to specify the environmentally friendly natural or recycled rubber that could need stripping and rewaxing later in the maintenance cycle.

Artigo’s Granito range (pictured above) for example, which is available in Australia from Nova Products Global and Spectrum flooring, is ideal for most areas as it is manufactured from synthetic rubber and has a non-porous, matte and waterproof surface. It can also be specified with a special surface treatment that protects the surface, improves performance, reduces the need for cleaning and maintenance, and requires no further waxing or polishing. No-wax products are particularly attractive for hospital projects because it enables them to function 24 hours a day without interruption or air contamination by harsh strippers and waxes.

HOW MUCH IS GOING TO COST?

The initial cost of rubber flooring is high compared to vinyl and linoleum however there are studies that show rubber flooring life cycle costs are substantially lower than vinyl, linoleum and carpet. Two separate studies, conducted by The Global Development and Environment Institute in 2003 and American architect Suzanne Barnes in 1999, show that rubber costs less to maintain per year, has a longer lifecycle and will actually cost less than vinyl, linoleum and carpet over a 20 year lifecycle.

IS IT SUSTAINABLE?

The ecological impact of rubber flooring is directly related to the type of rubber that is used as well as the manufacturer’s level of commitment to sustainability from sourcing materials to delivering the product. This commitment is generally, but not always, recognised by third party green product assessors such as EcoSpecifier and Good Environmental Choice Australia, and designers looking to buy green should ask to view a product’s accreditations before specifying.

Synthetic

Synthetic rubber is made from petroleum, a non-renewable resource. However, the processes used to manufacture synthetic rubber can be energy efficient and have a low impact on the environment.

Although synthetic rubber floors are made with a finite resource they are more durable than natural rubber and have a longer life cycle. Their embodied energy is also slightly improved by the fact that they can be recycled at the end of their final use.

Natural

Manufactured from the sap (latex) found in para rubber trees, natural rubber floors are generally made completely from renewable resources. Rubber trees last until they are about 30 years old before they are chopped down for fuel and then replaced by new trees. Because natural rubber is made from a small number of materials, it is easier for rubber flooring suppliers to prove that the entirety of their product comes from sustainable sources.

Recycled

According to flooring expert Joseph Lewitin, recycled rubber floors are the most environmentally friendly. They are generally manufactured using rubber found in old car tires and most suppliers can offer products that will not emit vinyl chloride, plasticizers, asbestos, or CFCs and have no PVCs. The process of manufacturing is low cost, and requires less energy than is used in the creation of most other resilient floors however they are not always appropriate for all specifications as they are subject to staining from grease, petroleum, fats, and detergents.

iRubber
Australia
Welcome to iRubber!The Commercial & Domestic Rubber Flooring Experts!Recognised as a leading supplier of high-quality, colourful rubber flooring products, including ESD anti-static, stair systems, coving and skirting/base boards,-  iRubber are specialists in the industry with over 20 years of experience.- The choice is yours!- Unparalleled with quality rubber manufacturers- globally sourced.- It’s up to you to decide what flooring you are really after  and not be dictated by a sole supplier.- Free advice on what you should be looking at- after all- it will be there for many years so make it a wise choice -based on advice from our experienced team.We supply an extensive range of colourful rubber flooring products, including new age flooring, sourced from reputable manufacturers throughout Europe and the USA.For the best commercial or domestic rubber flooring and rubber wall products, contact iRubber today.iRubber can  provide  rubber flooring  tiles come in seemingly endless varieties, appealing to a wide range of taste and styles. Their rubber floors are available in sheets, square tiles and interlocking tiles. They offer dozens of different solid colors, and have specialized lines in flecked and speckled patterns.Of course, many people like to get rubber floor tiles in a ribbed or stippled texture to add a grunge, industrial or postmodern feel that really brings character into an otherwise plain space. This is perhaps the most popular commercial use. We also source a range  of rubber floor options for wall bases, stair treads and stair nosing as well. Mostly from Roppe or REMP- depending on colours and lead times- most deliveries arrive into Australia in around 8 weeks from ordering.If you are designing a space, either from scratch or a renovation, take a look at iRubber’s range of rubber floor tiles. They could do wonders for your space at an affordable price.When discussing types of flooring options for new residential building construction or existing home renovations, rubber flooring is starting to gain attention. Rubber flooring is often associated with home gyms because it is a durable product that handles wear-and-tear easily while offering the traction that people need when working out. It also offers superior sound absorption, making it ideal when you are looking to lessen the amount of noise from the gym equipment when it is in use. Yet the possibilities of adding this material to other areas of the home has started to appeal to homeowners.Basic Facts about Rubber FlooringNormally rubber is considered a natural material as it comes from the sap of the rubber tree. However – the predominant type of “rubber” flooring is synthetic or SBR grade. It is cheaper, more scratch resistant, anti- allergenic and hardens over time while being easier to clean Han conventional rubber floods. Yet for flooring purposes in the United States, manufacturers will recycle items, such as rubber tires, into this versatile flooring. This manufacturing process is ideal for homeowners who are considering eco-friendly flooring alternatives.Rubber is considered water resistant, can handle harsh chemicals (one of the reasons why it can often be found in commercial or industrial settings), and offers a soft, cushioned feeling underfoot. With the advancement of flooring technology, manufacturers are able to offer a wide range of patterns, colors and designs to make this material appealing in residential spaces.You may find rubber floor tiles with rounded spot or coin patterns, or have the same ridge patterns that you would find on textured stone tiles. The color scheme for rubber tile is vast, as you can find solid colors and mottled colors. Some homeowners will create patterns, motifs and murals on their floor by using different colored rubber tiles.The Perfect Rooms for Rubber FlooringDue to the water resistance of rubber, homeowners will often place this flooring in rooms that are prone to a buildup of moisture, such as bathrooms and laundry rooms. It is also finding its way into trendy mudrooms, as rubber flooring is easy to keep clean and maintain. Sunrooms are also another ideal place for this material as it can withstand outdoor weather conditions such as rain and mud.As manufacturers are increasing the number of designs and patterns to rubber tiles, the flooring is slowly making its way into kitchens. You can select rubber flooring that takes the appearance of ridged stone tiles to have increased traction. One thing to keep in mind is that grease and fat dropped on this floor may stain the rubber and cause colors to fade. So cleaning up spills immediately can increase the longevity and beauty of this material if you decide to lay it in your kitchen space.The Suitability of Rubber Flooring for The Elderly and ChildrenWhen it comes to living spaces, rubber flooring in living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, and play areas offers numerous benefits for homes with children and the elderly. The material can handle the rough play of kids while still offering enough cushion to prevent injuries from falls. Having rubber flooring in a play area or game room can give you peace of mind and offer sound absorption properties to lessen the amount of noise echoing into other areas of your home.For the elderly, rubber floor tiles can give a soft feeling underneath feet and the desired traction to prevent them from slipping on the surface. If you have an elderly relative who has mobility issues, rubber flooring may be perfect for living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens if you are afraid the relative will fall and hurt themselves on harder surfaces.If you are trying to decide whether rubber flooring is right in your home, consider the family members living with you, the functionality of the room and the price. Rubber flooring has a broad price range based on the color, style and quality of the material. Some rubber tiles can be as affordable as vinyl or as expensive as wood flooring.Why Choose us?As there are no longer any Australian companies that produce colourful vulcanised rubber flooring, we offer unique options that can’t be found anywhere else. Currently, the only rubber flooring products manufactured in Australia are made from recycled tyres.Rubber floor tiles are -without a doubt- rapidly becoming one of the more popular and widespread flooring materials in new buildings.This is particularly true in loft style apartments around Melbourne and Sydney  and in condos, retail store spaces, and the kinds of inviting, visually appealing offices often used by design firms and other companies that routinely host clients in their work area.Surprisingly, there are still some people who aren’t aware of the flooring options available in rubber floor tiles even though they have become so popular. So what exactly are rubber tiles and what makes them so desirable? Let’s take a look.Rubber floor tiles are literally that: flooring tiles made from rubber. You’re familiar with the useful qualities of rubber from other products in your house.Rubber has a well-earned reputation for being able to withstand almost any abuse without getting scratched, marked or dented. Imagine if you took that same rubber, made a thick, super-strong version of it in attractive patterns and colors, and manufactured flooring tiles out of it. That’s exactly what rubber floor tiles are. Many rubber tiles are even made from recycled materials, making an already green product even greener.There are a number of advantages to rubber floor tiles over conventional flooring methods like wood, regular tile, or vinyl. Rubber tiles are one of the sturdiest flooring materials on the market.They are virtually impervious to water, naturally resist stains, and are resilient to scuffing. Rubber flooring was originally engineered for extremely high-traffic public areas that thousands of people walk on daily. It is designed to stand up to the absolute heaviest abuse you can give it.Now, leading companies like Dalsouple, Roppe and REMP have brought rubber flooring to the home and office settings by making affordable, extremely attractive versions.Rubber Flooring for any ApplicationAs industry leaders, we’re thorough in choosing only top-of-the-range products. Our wide range includes natural, synthetic and recycled options, as well as anti-static rubber floor tiles and rolls.  We also provide rubber skirting, rubber wall products, rubber stair treads and rubber entrance matting, fulfilling every flooring requirement.Our products are suitable for all indoor or outdoor applications, including industrial, domestic and commercial flooring installations. From sports and playground flooring to bathroom and kitchen flooring, rubber has become a popular choice due to its unlimited range of colours and textures, as well as its numerous environmental attributes. A versatile material, rubber can also be used for walling, stairs and benches.We’re more than happy to offer our expert advice to all who need it, and also supply our products directly to homeowners, builders, architects and flooring contractors. Whether you need to install rubber flooring in a bathroom or an airport, no job is too big or small for iRubber.  Service You Can Rely On!At iRubber, we understand that flooring is one of the most important investments in a building.It’s a product that some feel quite passionately about, with many domestic flooring customers taking their time to carefully select what they want to put on their floor.That’s why we provide tailored advice and assistance, guiding you through the available options and helping you to make the right choice for your requirements.  Our quality service doesn’t stop there, though – we’re in contact with our major suppliers nearly every day, ensuring we can help arrange prompt delivery for your project. 

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