Rubber flooring may conjure images of restaurant kitchens and day care centers, but attractive new options are available for home kitchens, bathrooms, play rooms, garages and more. It's also now environmentally sound. The new generation of rubber flooring is made of recycled materials that require little energy to produce.
Why Rubber Flooring is a Good Option
It is a good option for any cost-conscious homeowner, but is especially attractive for families.
- Recycled rubber flooring is inexpensive -- typically less than $3 per square foot.
- It is durable, stain-resistant, and easy to clean.
- It is slip-resistant and cushioned underfoot. That makes the floors easy on the knees -- both when children fall and when the home cook is standing for hours in the kitchen.
- Johnsonite has specially formulated recycled rubber flooring that resists petroleum and other types of oil, make it a good option for kitchens and garages. It can also cover existing floors to protect hardwoods or tiles and for added safety in home gyms or other areas.
- Installation is relatively simple. Some brands have interlocking edges and do not require an adhesive, simplifying installation and replacement. Like many flooring types, a sealant is required on most brands.
- The main component of recycled rubber flooring is rubber mulch, which can be dyed in a wide variety of solid, marbled and speckled colors. Some companies will make custom colors. The flooring is sold in many shapes and sizes as both tiles and large sheets.
- It is a proven product. Several companies have made recycled residential rubber flooring for more than a decade, and recycled rubber flooring is good enough for Yankee Stadium and the Charles Schwab corporate headquarters.
- Perhaps most attractive for parents, recycled rubber flooring is sound-absorbing.
Why Rubber Flooring is Environmentally Friendly
- Rubber flooring is made from recycled tires. One 36-inch car tire can be recycled into 20 square feet of rubber flooring. The estimated 290 million disposed tires each year could supply a lot of flooring.
- The tires are ground into granules that are mixed with an adhesive, reducing the need for energy-intensive heating. Also, one recycled rubber company claims one pound of its recycled rubber requires 29 percent of the energy needed to produce one pound of new rubber.
- Many brands are produced in America, reducing the energy costs of transportation.
- The tires can be recycled after they are replaced.
- Atmosphere sells interlocking pieces of recycled rubber flooring online and offers free samples. Capri Cork creates interesting color blends by adding cork to the rubber mix. The company also sells rubber tiles online and offers free samples. Burke, which also sells flooring online and has free samples, offers some styles with raised patterns that look unique and improve slip resistance.
Rubber flooring for homes may not be popular yet, but the green movement may drive recycled rubber tiles into the mainstream. They are an attractive, durable, and environmentally friendly flooring alternative.