Rubber Kitchen Flooring

Rubber Kitchen Flooring
Getty Images - Elyse Lewin - The Image Bank

Rubber flooring has been a popular choice for restaurants and commercial kitchens for years, due to the fact that it is resistant to stains, water, and damage while being very low maintenance. Despite this, it has had trouble gaining popularity in residential kitchens. This is because of a variety of reasons including cost, smell, and the lack of color and design options that are available.

Installation

It is fairly easy to install most rubber kitchen flooring and you will generally be able to do it yourself without having to hire a professional.

If you are installing roll or sheet rubber in this space, you will simply have to roll out the material and cut it to size. Rubber tiles are even easier, allowing you to place them down in the pattern of your choice directly over the subfloor.

Water Concerns: If the subfloor is a material that is susceptible to water damage then you will want to act accordingly to protect it against future drips and drops that may sink down through seams between tiles or sheets. If the subfloor is concrete or tile it can usually just be sealed, however hardwood subfloors may require a vapor barrier underlayment in order to avoid the development of mold and mildew later on down the line.

The bond between the rubber flooring materials and the subfloor can be achieved in a variety of ways. Adhesive tape and glues will be used in some cases, while bolting can provide a more permanent solution. You can also often find click together tiles, which provide the easiest installation since they just have to be fitted into one another.

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Comfort

The kitchen is a place where the chef or chefs will spend long periods of time standing as they prepare the various meals needed throughout the week. With hard surface flooring, this can cause standing fatigue, which can lead to leg pains and back problems over time.

However, this is not a problem for rubber kitchen flooring, as that material conforms to the shape of your foot, creating a gentle, comfortable surface for you to stand and walk on.

Durable

Rubber flooring is highly resilient and is quite difficult to damage. If the sharp end of a knife is dropped directly onto its surface then it will puncture, but after being removed the rubber will tend to plump out hiding the gouge. Otherwise, pet nails, high heels, dropped dishes and other common traumas are not a problem for this durable material.

Slip Resistant

Sometimes spills and splashes cause puddles on the kitchen floor. With rubber, there is a natural traction that will help to offset the danger of slipping. This can be increased by choosing a rubber material which has been manufactured with dimensional traction textures in its surface.

Eco-Friendly

Virgin rubber flooring is made from the sap of the para rubber tree in a process that can allow harvesting for several years without doing damage to the plant.

That means that new rubber tiles and sheets are all natural, and are made from readily renewable resources.

However the majority of rubber flooring manufactured today is actually recycled using old automobile tires to create new, durable, heavily resilient floor surface coverings. This helps to eliminate waste while creating a material that is often even stronger and more resistant to stains than virgin first-time rubber flooring.

Water Resistance

One of the main criteria which will determine whether a floor surface covering is appropriate for a functional kitchen is how it handles water. With rubber, water is not a problem. As long as you have quality, well-manufactured tiles or sheets, they will be completely impervious to penetration from any moisture. The only thing you have to pay attention to are the seams between tiles as those can act as conduits for small drips of moisture to seep down and damage the subfloor.

Low Maintenance

Regular maintenance of rubber flooring is a simple task that just requires sweeping or vacuuming it free of debris periodically. You can wet mop the floor if you desire but avoid acidic or harsh chemical soaps. Otherwise, spills and splashes can just be wiped up with a clean, warm wet cloth.

Color Consistency: Rubber flooring is manufactured in such a way that the colors run true through the entire body of the material. That means that as it wears down over time those colors won’t fade, because they look the same all the way down.

Anti Bacterial: Microbes and small germs have a hard time living on the surface of a rubber floor, making it easier to keep your home clean.

Shatter protection: Because it is so soft, a rubber floor will act as a cushion that will catch anything that you drop, whether it's plates, bowls, or cooking utensils. This makes it much less likely that accidents will turn into shattered shards and shopping trips.

Important Precautions

Smell: Some new rubber flooring installations will have a distinct odor that emits naturally from the material. This is not generally harmful, however, some people will find it unpleasant, and it may make it difficult to perform culinary duties properly. This effect will dissipate over time, and you can speed up that process by keeping the area well ventilated as much as possible.

Stains: While rubber is resistant to stains from most agents there are a few things that can discolor its surface. This includes acidic liquids, abrasive cleaning agents and any type of grease or oil. You may be able to find certain types of rubber flooring that are specially treated to resist these agents, but they should still be wiped up immediately if spills or splatters occur.

Design: Today you will find rubber flooring in dozens of solid colors, as well as a variety of two-tone speckled patterns, that combine different hues to create a unique contrasting effect. Unfortunately, manufacturers have not yet perfected the art of masking that distinctive rubber surface appearance, which many people find unattractive. This has done a lot to stunt the popularity of this material in residential interior locations.