5 Rubber Flooring Myths: Get the Facts from Our Experts
By Ari Ziskin
| Fact Checked By: Lamont Robbins
Published: August 17, 2015 | Updated: April 28, 2021
Rubber flooring – you’ve probably heard that it’s durable, shock-absorbing, and the perfect gym flooring. But how much do you really know about it? There are a lot of myths about how and where to use rubber flooring.
The truth is, there is a right way to use rubber flooring, and a wrong way. It’s important to get the facts so you don’t invest in a new rubber floor that won’t actually meet your needs.
So, without further ado, let’s debunk five of the most common myths about rubber flooring!
|Related Content >> Rubber Flooring FAQ: Everything You Need to Know|
Myth 1: Rubber Flooring is Great Garage Flooring
Expert Opinion: Mostly False
You’ve probably seen those flexible rolls and tiles that people install in their garages and assumed they were rubber. Surprise! They’re not. That garage flooring is made from PVC, which is a kind of flexible plastic that performs better in garages than rubber does.
So why isn’t rubber garage flooring always a good idea?
It’s because 90% of the rubber flooring sold in the U.S. is made from rebonded rubber. This kind of rubber is held together by polyurethane-based glue. Oil from your car can break down that glue over time, and damage your floor.
However, we’re calling this myth only mostly false, because there are still appropriate ways to use rubber flooring in a garage.
Vulcanized rubber flooring or virgin rubber flooring are okay to use but aren’t as common. They aren’t made from glue but are instead melted together with heat to form extremely durable rubber flooring that is resistant to oils and solvents.
Plus, if you’re converting your garage into a gym and won’t be parking on it all, you can use any rubber garage flooring you want!
|Related Content >> How to Choose Garage Flooring|
Myth 2: Rubber Flooring Can Be Used as Basketball Court Flooring
Expert Opinion: False
While rubber flooring is great for absorbing impact, and some rubber floors provide enough bounce for a basketball, it’s very rarely used as basketball court flooring. Why?
It’s all about friction. Basketball courts need to have a little bit of slide to them, so you can make sudden stops and quick side-to-side movements without tripping over your feet.
Rubber flooring is very slip-resistant, which makes it great in gyms, but that much slip resistance on a basketball court can actually cause you to trip or become injured.
For these reasons, we don’t recommend rubber basketball courts.
Pro Tip: For the perfect floor for your basketball court, check out some hard plastic sport tiles or wood planks. If you want the cushion of rubber with a basketball-friendly surface, you can choose a vinyl roll that includes a rubber backing.
|Related Content >> Rubber Flooring: Tiles vs. Rolls|
Myth 3: Rubber Flooring Will Make Your Home Smell Like a Tire Store
Expert Opinion: Partially True
Okay, this myth is a little tougher to bust. Rubber flooring is made primarily from rubber so, yes, it’s going to smell like it. However, some rubber flooring products smell stronger than others, depending on the type of raw material used or how the flooring was made.
Recycled rubber is going to have the most powerful rubber flooring smell, while virgin rubber flooring will be much less noticeable, if you can even smell it at all.
The smell will be the strongest when you first get your flooring, but after installation, there are steps you can take to get rid of it quickly.
First, you can mop the floor with a mild solution of soap and water. Do this a couple of times, and make sure the room is well-ventilated. The room and floor will air out over the next few days/weeks, and at that point, you shouldn’t even notice the smell.
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Myth 4: Rubber Tiles and Foam Floor Tiles Are the Same
Expert Opinion: False
It’s hard to know how this myth started, because rubber tiles and foam tiles are very different things. There are some combination products, such as foam tiles with rubber incorporated into them, and foam tiles with a rubber top, but those are still two different materials.
Here are the facts: Foam floor tiles are made out of EVA (Ethylene-vinyl acetate) foam. This is the same kind of foam used in wall pads, gymnastics folding mats, bicycle seats, basketball pole pads, etc.
Rubber tiles are made from SBR Rubber (recycled tires), EPDM Rubber (the colorful flecks mixed in), or virgin rubber (made from trees or synthetically). Foam is light and inexpensive. Rubber is heavy, dense, and more durable.
Pro Tip: If you’re not sure which product would be right for you, think about the traffic and weight that it will need to stand up to. If it’s playtime and light weights, foam can handle the job. However, if it’s a commercial gym or CrossFit box, rubber is the way to go.
|Related Content >> Home Gym Fooring: Foam vs. Rubber|
Myth 5: Rubber Flooring is an Excellent Insulator
Expert Opinion: Partially True
This one is half true. Rubber flooring insulation is an excellent way to dampen sound transmission, which makes it a great underlayment or gym flooring. However, rubber is not very good at insulating against temperature transmission.
If you put rubber flooring down over a cold basement subfloor, it will feel cold. However, it will make the room and the sounds of your weight lifting sound much quieter in other rooms.
Pro Tip: Grab a mat to use on top of your rubber floor! Foam mats are excellent heat insulators and more comfortable to do workouts like sit-ups on since they have more cushion than rubber flooring.
Now that we’ve busted these myths, you know the facts about rubber flooring, and you can shop with confidence.
Want to learn more about rubber flooring? Check out our FAQ, or order some free samples to experience it yourself!