The Ultimate Rubber Mats Buying Guide
Rubber Mats Buying Guide
Gym, office, kitchen – rubber mats are the perfect floor surface for a variety of uses. Find the best rubber mat for your application with this all-inclusive rubber mats buying guide.
Being on your feet all day can take a toll on your body. If your occupation requires you to stand or walk for long shifts, there are basically two ways to survive – strong, durable rubber flooring that relieves some of the fatigue, or fugly orthopedic shoes.
Guess which survival tactic I had to go with for my first job at Pizza Hut? As a 16-year-old girl, I was not thrilled to be handing over pizzas in those clunky clown shoes.
A few strategically placed rubber mats are the ideal flooring option for several situations, not only to help self-conscious teenagers survive their first job. Have you ever tried to do a sit-up on a hard floor? Or mop up muddy footprints tracked all over your house? Rubber mats provide the comfort, cleanliness and convenience you need from your flooring.
This guide will help you navigate the world of rubber floor mats and find the right one for your use. We’ll cover everything from the benefits of rubber floor mats to how to find the right size and thickness for your application.
Ready to dive in?
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Why Choose Rubber Mats?
Sure, it may look like floor mats have no other responsibilities than to lay on the ground. But a quality rubber mat goes to work providing support to tired feet, cleaning up after messy cooks and taking a beating from weight-throwing bodybuilders.
Not just any floor mat is built to withstand that kind of abuse. Rubber floor mats in particular have specific qualities that make them the go-to flooring for heavy traffic or those who are on their feet most of the day.
As the go-to flooring solution for gyms, restaurants, building entrances and homes, rubber matting comes with a range of benefits to serve multiple applications. Easy to clean, comfortable for footing, water resistant – all of these features wrapped into one portable surface makes for an incredibly consumer-friendly flooring.
Here are the main benefits of choosing quality rubber mats:
- Durability: Rubber is a strong material that withstands heavy foot traffic, heavy weights and any heavy use. Their durability makes them a long-lasting flooring option, so you can rest assured knowing you’re getting your money’s worth.
- Convenience: Most rubber floor mats are lightweight and portable, so you can easily pick them up and move them around as needed.
- Great for small spaces: If you’re looking to cover an individual work or workout space, a single rubber mat can do the trick.
- Comfort: Rubber anti-fatigue mats can relieve the stress of standing on a hard surface all day.
- Safety: Rubber flooring material provides good traction and is slip-resistant. Floor mats can help prevent falls and injuries in the workplace or gym.
- Floor protection: Because of their durability, rubber mats will protect your subflooring from heavy weights or objects.
- Appearance: Quality rubber mats have a smooth finish, making any gym or business look more professional.
- No installation: Just lay it and leave it. Seriously, so easy!
- Easy to clean: Simply vacuum or use a damp mop when necessary.
Now, think about which of these benefits are most important for your use as we take a look at different types of rubber floor mats.
Rubber Gym Mats
Whether you’re looking to cover a small weightlifting space, provide sturdy flooring under a treadmill or add an area for hardcore plyometric moves, you’ll want a durable exercise mat that doesn’t slide around as you do your thing. While rubber isn’t the only gym flooring option, it is the most versatile, lending itself to just about any workout.
The most durable rubber floor mats for gym use are machine cut and vulcanized from recycled rubber tires, which makes them a premium, high-density, long-lasting mat. Quality rubber flooring is strong, non-porous and low odor – a viable option for gym floor mats.
Gym floor mats are what the professional establishments use. You’ll see them in hockey arenas, school gyms, commercial gyms and ski resorts. But high-quality gym mats are also a top choice for the home-gym fitness buff because they are super durable, slip resistant and look amazing in a DIY gym.
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How and Where to Use Rubber Gym Mats
- Home gym flooring
- Commercial gyms
- High-impact workouts
- Weight rooms
- Small fitness studios
- Locker rooms
- Sports arenas
- Under exercise equipment
Related content >> The Ultimate Commercial Gym Flooring Buying Guide
Rubber Gym Mat Sizing Options
Once you know where you’ll be placing your gym mats, the next step is to determine what size exercise mat you’ll need. Rubber mats come in many different sizes to fit a variety of gym spaces and needs. These sizes vary between products, but include:
- 3’x6’ (just larger than a traditional yoga mat)
- 4’x10’ (large enough for workouts with plenty of movement).
Related content >> Buying Guide: 5 Options for Home Gym Flooring
Rubber Gym Mat Thickness Options
Next, consider the thickness level you’ll need for your gym floor mat. The thickness level you need all depends on the types of workouts you plan to do and whether you’re covering a home gym floor or commercial gym floor.
Rubber mats can range anywhere from ¼” to 1” in thickness. The typical rule of thumb is the thicker the rubber, the more it will protect your subfloor.
Thinner mats are great for light, at-home workouts, while 3/8” mats are the standard for commercial gyms and Crossfit gyms. Thicker mats typically include a higher price point, but also (usually) offer more durability and shock absorbency, making them the #1 choice for high impact workouts and Olympic lifting.
Top Gym Floor Mats
|Tough Mats||Impact Mats||Premium Mats|
4’x6’ and 4’x8’
|Best Used For||Home gyms, exercise mats||Equipment mats, plyometrics||Commercial gyms, CrossFit, Olympic lifting||
Commercial gym, CrossFit, under gym equipment, Olympic lifting
Pros of Rubber Gym Mats
- Premium appearance: Quality rubber mats have a smooth finish, making any gym look more professional and legit.
- Water-resistant: Sweaty workouts, spilled water, even poolside yoga – rubber flooring exercise mats can withstand it all.
- Shock absorption and durability: Gym mats, especially our Premium Extreme and Shock Mats, are some of the toughest and most durable gym flooring options on the market. For tough workouts and heavy free weights, these strong gym mats will absorb the shock and impact. This helps protect your joints from injury.
- Sound insulation: Rubber floor mats are great sound insulators, so you can work out day or night without disturbing anyone else in your home.
- Great for small spaces: When you don’t need to do an entire area, exercise mats will be your best option, saving you time and money.
- Portable: Easily change your setup by simply picking the mats up and moving them where you want them.
- Subfloor protection: Gym mats are strong enough that if you dropped heavy free weights on them, the flooring underneath won’t get cracked or dented.* You can also use rubber material for treadmill mats or under other exercise equipment to protect your subfloor.
*Dependent on weights and thickness of the mat
Cons of Rubber Gym Mats
- Price: Although rubber gym mats may not be the cheapest option, they provide the best value. Rubber gym floor mats are affordable on their own, but they end up being more expensive per square foot.
- Not appropriate for large spaces: If you have a big space to cover, you’re better off going with rubber gym flooring rolls, both financially and time-wise.
Have you ever spent time sweeping and mopping your floors just to have your kids come in with dirty shoes five minutes later? Believe me, I know the frustration! (But in my case, it’s a furry kid with four muddy paws.)
Nobody wants mud or dirt tracked onto their beautiful, clean floors. Whether you’re running a household, office or corporate building, you know that entrance mats are a necessity to encourage people to wipe their shoes.
Rubber entrance mats help collect that outside dirt before it gets to your precious floors. These mats can withstand harsh weather conditions and are great for high traffic areas. Entrance mats made of durable rubber will stay in place despite heavy foot traffic.
How and Where to Use Rubber Entrance Mats
- Residential – porch, patio, garage
- Commercial buildings
- Construction areas
Entrance Mats Sizing
Rubber entrance mats are available in a range of sizes, including smaller 16″ x 24″ mats best in front of residential doorways to larger 3′ x 5′ mats for commercial buildings with more traffic.
Entrance Mat Thickness Options
Entrance mats come in either ¼” or ⅝” thickness. If you have a low clearance doorway, you may want to also consider Soil Guard Mats or Soil Guard with Grit Mats. These rubber mats have a low profile, allowing for easy door clearance, and they’re designed to be used in conjunction with an interior drying mat.
Pros of Rubber Entrance Mats
- Easy to clean: Because rubber entryway mats do not absorb water, your mats will stay dry even with people sloshing their dirty shoes around. This makes them easy to clean! Simply hose off any dirt or debris to keep your entry mats looking nice.
- Durability: Entrance mats take a heavy beating from being walked on all day, but rubber is one of the toughest materials and can withstand high traffic and harsh weather. Rubber mats are a long-lasting flooring solution.
- Keeps your floors clean: Rubber entrance mats can be built with pattern design that enhance their scraping functionality. This helps scrape dirt, debris and moisture from shoe traffic and keep your floors sparkling.
- Eco-friendly: Most rubber used to make floor mats comes from recycled tires and other materials.
- Ideal for various settings: Due to its waterproof, grease-resistant properties, rubber material makes a great entry mat for several industrial settings.
Cons of Rubber Entrance Mats
- Not appropriate for large spaces: If you have a big space to cover, you’re better off going with rubber rolls instead of mats, both financially and time-wise.
Rubber Kitchen Mats
If you’re a laborer of food love, you know how exhausting it can be to slave over the stove for hours. Rubber mats can be your best helper in the kitchen, soaking up your physical stress so you can put more love and joy into your meals. A happier cook and better meals? You’ll be unstoppable!
The kitchen is a place to get creative, and let’s face it – sometimes the best meals come with the biggest messes. Enter your kitchen helper!
That’s right – in addition to relieving your stress, rubber mats go to work cleaning up your kitchen mayhem. Spilled water or “cooking” wine, not a problem! Rubber kitchen mats allow liquids to drain through while providing traction for cooks and workers to move around without slipping.
Especially in a restaurant kitchen where people are moving quickly and food is flying everywhere, flooring with traction is a must to keep workers safe. Remember those fugly orthopedic shoes I mentioned earlier from my Pizza Hut days? Your workers will be much happier if they can get by without those clunkers knowing they’re not going to fall on their face.
How and Where to Use Rubber Kitchen Mats
- Home kitchens
- Restaurant kitchens
- Dish-washing and sink stations
- Cafeteria server stations
- Behind food service counters
- Behind a bar
- Coffee shops
Rubber Kitchen Mats Sizing
For counter use, you may need just a smaller rectangular mat. It’s important to get yourself a big enough mat so that you’re not constantly stepping on and off while you’re working. Measure the counter area where you do most of your prep work before shopping around.
Sizing options for small kitchen mats include:
- 2’ x 3’
- 3’ x 3’
- 3’ x 5’
However, for a bigger restaurant or industrial use, you may want a larger square mat or long runner. Think about where you plan to place the rubber mats and your main purpose for them, whether they’ll see heavy traffic or if you’re planning to roll carts over them.
Sizing options for long kitchen mats include:
- 2’ x 60’
- 3’ x 60’
- 4’ x 60’
Rubber Kitchen Mats Thickness
Kitchen mats come in the following thickness options:
- ¼ inch
- ½ inch
- ⅞ inch
Pros of Rubber Kitchen Mats
- Grease resistant: Due to its waterproof, grease-resistant properties, rubber material makes a great mat for the chemistry that happens in the kitchen!
- Comfort: Cooking doesn’t have to be strenuous! A good rubber mat will take your physical stress away so you don’t feel like you’re slaving over the stove.
- Slip- and water-resistant: Spills are bound to happen in the kitchen, but slips don’t have to! Rubber mats provide traction so you can move swiftly (maybe even gracefully!) in the kitchen or behind the bar.
- Durable: Because rubber is highly resilient, this material can survive kitchen trauma. Dropped dishes, punctures from the point of a knife – your floor won’t be damaged!
- Eco-friendly: Most rubber used to make floor mats comes from recycled tires and other materials.
- Easy to clean and maintain: With rubber mats, the floor is possibly the easiest part of cleaning up after dinner. Simply rinse off any dirt or debris to keep your kitchen mats looking nice.
- Shatter protection: If you’re accident prone, rubber flooring will be your best friend. No more shattered glasses, broken dishes or potential safety hazards – rubber will act as a cushion to anything you drop.
Cons of Rubber Kitchen Mats
- Smell: Rubber is known for smelling like, well, rubber. The smell fades over time, and you can speed up the process by keeping the area well ventilated as much as possible. Or start cooking right away and let your kitchen aromas take over!
- Stains: While rubber is resistant to stains from most agents, grease or oil can still leave their mark. Be sure to wipe up spills immediately to prevent staining.
- Design: Rubber, unfortunately, isn’t the most attractive flooring design, especially for home kitchens. Is the whole “pain is beauty” thing really worth it in the kitchen though? I know I’d rather be cooking comfortably! And the beauty of a rubber mat is that you can conveniently pick it up and put it out of sight when you’re done using it.
Rubber Mats for Animal Use: Horse Stall Mats and Dog Kennel Mats
Rubber mats are growing in their popularity for horse stalls, barns, trailers, even dog kennels. What makes rubber an ideal bed for animals? The material is great for our furry friends for a number of reasons.
Animal flooring needs to be durable, able to withstand large horses and heavy traffic from hooves or paws. Rubber is not only the most durable flooring on the market, but it serves as a comfortable bed for animals.
How and Where to Use Animal Rubber Mats
- Horse stalls
- Horse trailers
- Pig mats
- Cow mats
- Dog kennel
- Doggy daycare facilities
- Animal training facilities
- Dog runs
Animal Rubber Mats Sizing
Animal rubber mats can be purchased as single mats or as kits of various sizes. For horse stalls, it’s important to have interlocking rubber mats to create a secure connection. Horses can lift up areas where flooring is not properly secured.
Horse stall mat kits have an interlocking design to prevent the mats from moving apart. Due to their heavy weight, the rubber horse mats will stay in place without any adhesives.
If a kit doesn’t cover your area perfectly, it’s best to get a larger kit and cut the mats back as needed. Simply use a sharp utility knife and cut the mat along the side of a straight edge, such as a yardstick or carpenter’s square. The mats are thick, so be prepared that it may take multiple scores to completely cut through them.
On the other hand, if you go with a single mat and it does not cover the entire area, you’ll need to interlock multiple mats or anchor them to the floor.
Animal Rubber Mats Thickness
Horse stall mats and rubber mats for animal use are available in ½” and ¾” thickness options.
Best Animal Mats for Horses, Dogs and More
|Diamond Top Horse Mat Kits||Button Top Stall Mat Kits||Diamond Top Dog Kennel Mat Kits||Waffle Backed Animal Mat Kits|
|Vulcanized rubber||Vulcanized rubber||Vulcanized rubber||Vulcanized rubber|
|Size||Sold in kits of various sizes||Sold in kits of various sizes||Sold in kits of various sizes||
Sold in kits of various sizes
|Installation||Interlocking mat system||Interlocking mat system||Interlocking mat system||
Interlocking mat system
|Best Used For||Horse stalls||Horse stalls||Dog kennels||
Horse stalls and dog kennels
- Slip resistant: Rubber flooring provides good traction and footing for animals.
- Comfort and safety: These mats provide a soft cushion for animals and keep them warm from cold subfloors.
- Non-porous: Rubber horse stall mats will not harbor or grow bacteria.
- Durable: Rubber is a highly resistant material that can withstand the weight of heavy animals or heavy foot traffic, resulting in a long-lasting flooring option.
- Low maintenance and easy to clean: Simply hose off any dirt or debris to keep your animal mats looking nice.
- Eco-friendly: Most rubber used to make animal mats comes from recycled tires and other materials.
Cons of Animal Rubber Mats
- Price: Rubber mat flooring can be costly to start, but you’ll save on other bedding for your animals and you’ll have a long-lasting, quality product.
- Mats may shift: Rubber horse stall mats will move around unless they’re anchored or secured by interlocking pieces.
Back pain, sore feet, poor posture – anyone whose occupation requires them to stand all day knows the exhaustion may bring them to curse the floor they stand on. An anti-fatigue mat made of rubber material will be your new best friend.
Rubber anti-fatigue mats are designed to alleviate fatigue from standing for long stretches of time on a hard surface. The rubber material is shock absorbent and provides a cushion for the feet.
How and Where to Use Anti-Fatigue Mats
- Home kitchen
- Restaurant kitchen
- Standing desk
- Bar or coffee shop
If you love to spend hours baking elaborate creations in the kitchen (is that just me?) or spend your Sundays in meal-prep marathons, an anti-fatigue mat can quickly become your new best friend. When it comes to the highest quality of anti-fatigue mats, the hard rubber ones win over the market. They are the most resistant and have a long lifespan, making them perfect for long working days.
Anti-Fatigue Mats Sizing
Anti-fatigue rubber mats come in various sizes. Whether you need an anti-fatigue mat for individual use or a long runner mat to cover a larger work space, there are plenty of options for you.
Anti-Fatigue Mat Thickness Options
With anti-fatigue mats, you’ll want something that provides some elasticity but is not so soft that someone cannot stand comfortably.
Pros of Anti-Fatigue Mats
- Reduce stress on body: Anti-fatigue mats allow for better blood circulation, reducing fatigue from standing.
- Provide resistance and shock absorption: The relief from rubber mats lessens the effects on joints and legs from standing on hard concrete floors.
- Help your posture: Long hours of standing can significantly affect your spine and posture. Anti-fatigue mats help reduce compression of the spinal cord and reduce poor posture and back pain.
- Easy to clean: Simply hose off any dirt or debris to keep your anti-fatigue mats looking nice.
- Portable: Anti-fatigue mats are lightweight. You can move them around wherever they’re needed.
Cons of Rubber Anti Fatigue Mats
- Design: Rubber anti-fatigue mats aren’t exactly a trend for your modern kitchen, but they make up in the comfort and cleanliness departments!
- Smell: Rubber mats are known for smelling like, well, rubber, but this goes away after some time!
Rubber Mats Installation
Rubber mats are a consumer favorite because installation is typically a simple DIY endeavor. In most cases, all you need to do is lay the mat down where you need it. Flooring installation doesn’t get much easier than that!
Mats used for entryways or larger commercial purposes may be bigger and a little heavier. No need to hire a professional, but you may need to enlist some muscle-y friends to help you out.
Horse stall mats and interlocking rubber mat kits are also simple to put together. Each kit comes with a layout showing how to position the mats in the stall. All you have to do is make sure your subsurface is prepared correctly (more about that in the next section!).
If you are placing rubber mats in a horse stall or barn, we recommend a ¼” to ½” gap between the edge of the mat and the wall. Rubber can expand and contract in extreme temperatures, so be sure to leave some space.
The Best Subfloor for Rubber Mats
Rubber mats can be placed over concrete, asphalt, wood or any level, well-compacted surface. You can also install them over decomposed granite and limestone fines. For limestone fines, make sure the fines do not exceed ⅛” in size.
How to Cut Rubber Mats
Sometimes you end up with a little extra material. No worries! Learning how to cut rubber flooring is quite simple:
- Measure the size of your cut.
- Measure it again. No, really – you can’t go back once you make a cut, so we always say to measure twice, cut once.
- Use a straight edge and chalk to mark the cut.
- Place your straight edge on the chalk line and use a sharp utility knife to score your floor, adding a deep crease in the rubber.
- Pick up the rubber and bend it at that crease to break it open further.
- Return the rubber flooring to the ground and continue scoring the rest of the way through until your cut is complete.
Rubber Mat Cleaning and Maintenance
With how simple it is to clean and maintain rubber matting, this chore might be one you look forward to!
- Give it a quick vacuum to get rid of any loose crumbs, dust or debris.
- Occasionally, use a damp mop with a mild soap and water cleaning solution.
- Sit back and enjoy the extra time rubber flooring is saving you!
Note: Do not use any solvent or oil-based cleaners, such as Pine-Sol, Lysol. Murphy’s Oil Soap, WD40, paint thinner, etc. These cleaners may damage the floor over time.
Rubber Mat FAQs
From the rubber smell to environmental responsibility, check out our answers to a few more common customer questions.
How do I choose the right thickness for rubber flooring?
There’s more to it than this, but the typical rule of thumb is: the thicker the rubber, the more it will protect your subfloor.
Ultra-thin rubber can hold up to bodyweight exercises, light dumbbells, high-traffic areas, etc. Medium thicknesses are great for commercial gyms, CrossFit, powerlifting, Olympic lifting etc.
Here’s a quick breakdown of our most popular thicknesses:
- 8mm – Most popular for home gyms.
- 3/8” – Most popular for commercial gyms and CrossFit.
- 1/2” – Ultra-thick commercial gym / CrossFit flooring.
- 3/4” Ultra-thick commercial gym / CrossFit flooring.
- 1” – Ultra-thick mats that you can lay over plush carpet.
Does rubber flooring smell?
I mean….yes. Rubber flooring does have the smell of, well, rubber. Some rubber flooring products smell stronger than others, depending on the type of raw material used or how the flooring was made.
Here’s the real deal: when you first get your flooring, the smell will be the strongest, but after installing your rubber flooring, the room and floor will air out over the next few days/weeks.
Once your rubber floor has had the opportunity to fully air out, you won’t even notice the rubber scent without bending over and physically putting your nose up to the flooring.
How do I get rid of the rubber smell?
Letting your rubber air out is the best way to reduce the rubber smell.
Additionally, you can give it a nice wash with a mild soap and water cleaning solution like Dawn or Tide. This will help alleviate some of that rubber smell.
Is rubber flooring eco-friendly?
Absolutely! In fact, most rubber flooring options are made from recycled rubber.
Additionally, almost all of our rubber flooring options are made right here in the USA. Choosing American-made product reduces your carbon footprint by reducing carbon emissions associated with transportation, according to Recyclebank.
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Rubber mats serve various functions. From providing comfort to those on their feet to keeping buildings clean and kids on the playground safe, rubber mats have a lot of responsibilities! As the toughest flooring option on the market, we trust that they’re up for the job.
So, where can you benefit from a durable, cushion-y rubber mat? Order a free sample today and get one step closer to safe, comfortable and resilient flooring.