The term Rubber flooringrefers to the lower enclosing surface of spaces within buildings. This may be part of the floor structure, like the upper surface of a real slab or floor boards, but usually, it is a permanent covering laid over the floor. There is a wide variety of flooring materials available, including rubber flooring.
History of rubber
Around 1600 BC, Mesoamerican civilizations extracted sap from rubber trees to make the earliest-known ordinary forms of rubber. Evidence of its reality illustrates how the substance was used for practical purposes (such as waterproofing) and for free time activities (such as balls used for Mayan and Aztec sporting events).
Scientists in France, England, and Italy discovered and expanded the uses of rubber in the 1700s, but its applications were still fairly limited. In 1839, the chemical process of sulfur vulcanization was used by Charles Goodyear to modify the properties of rubber (such as durability and elasticity) and create a synthetic, stable form of the material that could be used in a wide variety of presentations. Ultimately, this durable form of rubber was incorporated into the manufacture of automobile tires, medical gloves, toy balloons, and many other household and industrialized products.
Rubber flooring applications
In 1896, the first knitting rubber floor tile was patented by Frank Furness, but before World War II, rubber flooring was not normally used.
During that time it was mainly used to make floor mats for the automotive industry. Rubber-based adhesives were also integrated into the carpet backing.
After World War II, rubber flooring gained approval. It was introduced into hospitals, sports facilities, laboratories, schools, garages, electronic manufacturing sites, and other applications where water resistance, toughness, insulation, non-slip, anti-fatigue, anti-bacterial, and anti-static features were required.
Today, rubber flooring is made from natural or artificial materials, including recycled rubber tires. It is classified as resilient flooring because it exhibits characteristics of elasticity or ‘bounce’. This also makes it appropriate for dance floors, restaurants, and other high-traffic areas where foot fatigue and slippage can happen.
Rubber flooring is also suitable and more common in residential installations. It is being used for children’s playrooms, showers and bathrooms, garages, home gymnasiums, and other uses that tend to require moisture and stain resistance, sound absorption, durability, elasticity, and temperature firmness.
Types of rubber flooring
Rubber flooring can be uniform (with color uniformly dispersed through the entire product) or laminated (with patterns and colors only functional to the top layer of the product. It comes in three main categories: interlocking tiles, square edge tiles, and sheets or rolls.
Interlocking can be installed using a free-lay technique that does not require adhesive. In its place, they lock together. While this is a somewhat temporary method of connection, the tiles should not shift due to their locking characteristics.
Square edge tiles can be installed through the free lay technique as well. Nevertheless, they typically require an adhesive for permanent installation. They are cut with a sharp edge that is considered to create a virtually seamless finish from one tile to the next.
Rolls are commonly glued down in permanent installations. This type of installation can be a large project and may be best fingered by a flooring professional.