One of the most effective ways to prevent sports injuries is to ensure that athletes are playing on the right type of sports flooring and surfaces both indoors and outdoors. Sports flooring types are made with special care to provide shock absorption as well as a suitable surface for each sport. The following is a complete guide on the different types of sports flooring used for indoor and outdoor applications.
Rubber flooring offers a highly versatile, exceptionally resilient, and extremely durable flooring option, suitable for various commercial and sports applications. It provides a sturdy, slip-resistant, and shock-absorbent surface to workout, play, stand, and walk on, while also being soft and comfortable underfoot. Therefore, it’s ideal for high traffic and high impact areas and is often used for gyms, playgrounds, commercial establishments, and multipurpose areas, such as field houses and event centers. Rubber flooring comes in a variety of colors and styles, allows for diverse design options, and can be customized to create a unique look. It’s a green, cost-effective flooring solution that can last for decades when properly cared for.
All these features make rubber flooring the perfect choice for any commercial or professional athletic installation. To be able to fully benefit from its numerous advantages, you need to find the right type of rubber floor for your facility. With so many products to choose from, you better be well informed about the available options and fully aware of your needs in order to make the right decision. Here are the options to consider when choosing and buying rubber flooring.
Rubber Flooring Options
When planning for a rubber floor, make sure you review all the available options and find the one that best suits your needs and preferences.
Types of Rubber Flooring
Rubber flooring products come in three common types – mats, tiles, and rolls.
Rubber floor mats
Rubber mats are very easy to install and extremely versatile. They can be laid on any hard, flat surface to add extra cushioning or thickness to the area, however small it may be.
Rubber mats come in many different sizes to fit all spaces and needs – from 3’x6’ (just a bit larger than a traditional yoga mat) to 4’x10’ (large enough for plenty of movement) and more. You can choose from a variety of thicknesses as well, ranging between 1/4 inch and 2 inches. Thinner mats are great for home workouts, while gyms and professional sports facilities need thicker pieces that can withstand high impact activity and heavy traffic.
Rubber floor mats are intended to be used independently but can also be installed next to one another to cover larger surfaces. For a secure installation over a larger area, you may want to consider rubber mats with interlocking edges that ensure a secure fit.
Rubber floor tiles
Rubber tiles are the most popular rubber flooring option for residential and commercial settings alike. Their convenient size and design make them suitable for any space and purpose.
Typically, rubber tiles come in 12”x12”, 18”x”18”, and 36”x36” squares, but they’re very supple and easy to cut into different shapes of varying sizes in order to perfectly fit the layout of the room or create unique patterns within the surface of the floor.
Most rubber tiles have puzzle-style interlocking edges for easy installation (some even come with two detachable edge pieces to facilitate installation in irregularly shaped rooms). Interlocking tiles do not require adhesives, but glue-down forms are also available for larger commercial areas or outdoor applications.
Rubber tiles for outdoor use can be as thick as 5 inches, while tiles for indoor applications tend to be between 2 mm and 3/4 inch thick.
A great advantage of rubber tiles is that if one piece is damaged, it can be removed and replaced quite easily.
Rubber floor rolls
Rubber rolls are ideal for covering larger areas – they create fewer seams than interlocking rubber tiles and are the most economical rubber flooring option available on the market.
Rubber rolls come in sheets that are four feet (or more) wide and can be twenty to fifty feet long, allowing you to completely cover an entire room with just one or two rolls. Keep in mind though that the rolls are large and heavy and, therefore, more difficult to install. They are most frequently used in large industrial or workout areas, as well as in event centers and common areas.
Rubber Flooring Thickness and Backing
Apart from the rubber product format, you also need to consider the rubber thickness when choosing your flooring. As already mentioned, different types of rubber products are available in different thicknesses. The thicker the material, the more expensive it is going to be, but it will last longer, will be softer underfoot, and will provide better cushioning, shock absorption, and sound absorption.
Therefore, the right thickness for your rubber floor depends on its intended use:
- Interior rubber floors can be thinner as they’re not exposed to harsh weather conditions and too much wear and tear – they usually range from 1/4” to 1/2” in thickness;
- Exterior flooring needs to be thicker – at least one inch – in order to withstand the elements and the test of time. When used for playgrounds, rubber covering should be about 2” and 3” thick, so that it can create extra cushioning and protect against falls;
- Weight training and other “power sports” require greater rubber thickness, as the floor has to be sturdy, durable, and dense enough to withstand the high impact activity without bending, breaking, or denting;
- Fitness centers and commercial areas that house heavy equipment need thicker rubber flooring (so that it can hold the extra weight);
- Busy training facilities will also benefit from greater rubber thickness which provides greater durability and resistance to wear and tear.
Rubber flooring may have cork, fabric, or foam backing to make it even softer, safer, and more comfortable.
When planning a rubber floor, you can choose not only from different formats and thicknesses, but also from different textures and finishes:
- Textures – Rubber products can be textured during the manufacturing process, allowing you to add depth and character to your rubber floor. You can get rivets, dimples, or studs, as well as more complex textured patterns such as waffles and diamond-plate textures. Flat and smooth rubber flooring is also available, but it can become very slippery when moistened and is not adequate for wet environments such as kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, or pool surrounds;
- Finishes – Rubber flooring usually comes with a subtle matte finish that is very suitable for social areas and athletic installations where the soft hues won’t overwhelm the atmosphere. If you want a greater impression, however, you can brighten the colors by polishing your rubber floor with a water soluble wax emulsion. This will not only give the surface a beautiful shine, but will also make it more durable and stain resistant.
Rubber Flooring Styles and Designs
Contemporary rubber flooring comes in an array of colors and styles, with complex patterns mimicking natural stone and wood and dimensional effects that add plenty of visual interest to the space.
Manufacturers can print colors and patterns onto rubber products which results in limitless style options and designer possibilities. You can even create custom color mixtures to match your team or corporate colors and have your company or team logo printed on the flooring. (Custom logos and graphics are built into the rubber surface with a water-jet cutting machine which makes them very durable.)
All rubber flooring products are available in pure black 100% recycled rubber and a wide range of vibrant color blends in varying intensity, so that you can easily find a style that perfectly complements your facility’s interior décor and matches your artistic vision. You can use rubber tile to create repeating patterns of color across the surface of the floor, rubber sheets for a more consistent appearance and fewer seams, etc. – your imagination is your only limit!
Your Specific Needs
Now that you know your rubber flooring options, it’s time to assess your available resources, specific needs, and personal preferences:
- What activities will take place on the rubber floor?
- Does the flooring need to meet any specific requirements or standards (stability, traction, rotation, slip resistance, surface abrasion, shock absorption, sound absorption, etc.)?
- Will the rubber flooring be placed indoors or outdoors?
- What is the size and shape of your flooring area?
- How long do you want the floor to last?
- How much traffic will the floor see?
- What is your project budget?
- What kind of installation do you prefer?
- What maintenance can you provide?
- What are your aesthetic preferences?
The answers to the above questions will let you know exactly what type, thickness, texture, finish, and style of rubber flooring is most appropriate for your project. Then, you can start researching products by type, price range, or intended use. Make sure you read the provided descriptions to get a sense for a product’s installation process, durability and comfort, maintenance and cost. Check out customer reviews and take a close look at the photos posted along with the reviews to see what the specific type of flooring looks like after installation. Comparing different products will give you a good idea of what to expect from a rubber floor and will help you clearly define your needs and concerns.
The Experts’ Opinion
At this point, you will have probably found a few rubber flooring options that seem appropriate for your needs. Yet, you may not be sure which one is best for you. This is where the experts at KieferUSA come in – our customer service team has the rich experience and professional knowledge to answer all your questions, assess your situation, help you narrow down your search, and choose the right rubber floor product for your project. We can even give you free samples, so that you can check how different types of products will actually look in your facility. What’s more, we offer reasonable prices, so you can get quality rubber flooring for your project.
Once you make your final choice, we will give you lots of useful tips on how to care for your rubber floor, help you with the installation (if necessary), and give you warranty to ensure your peace of mind (even though rubber flooring is very durable, accidents happen – if a flooring product has to be replaced, KieferUSA will be there to assist you and restore the damage in a quick and efficient manner). You can consult with our specialists and order products online or over the phone at 800-322-5448. We’ll be happy to help you get the best rubber flooring for your project.