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Recycled Rubber Tiles: Appropriate for Home Use?

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Question: Recycled Rubber Tiles: Appropriate for Home Use?
The reader says, "I like the idea of recycled rubber tiles, but I'm not sure about whether they are good for residential installation. What do you think?"
Answer: True, recycled rubber tile floors are not common. First, let's cover a few of the positives before heading into the negative zone.

Recycled Rubber Tiles - Pros

The best thing is the "recycled" part. In this age of everything green, it's becoming more important to reuse and recycle as much as possible. Used-up rubber tires are an insidious mess, clogging landfills, creeks, and oceans. What better way to get rid of old rubber than flatten them out and turn them into a floor?

Gerbert's ECOsurfaces boasts 100% post-consumer recycled materials. Any kind of mix-in color is about 30% post-consumer recycled.

Also, recycled rubber floors do have insulating properties and are very comfortable to walk on.

Porosity is a Factor

But consider the fact that these rubber floors are very porous. So, they really don't do well in kitchens or other areas where you can expect a lot of spills.

Even Diamond Safety Concepts, a leader in recycled rubber flooring, says, "For some athletic flooring applications the relative thickness and porous attributes associated with most recycled rubber materials may not be the best choice."

Limited Colors

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but in my eye they aren't gorgeous. Recycled rubber floors come in (as Henry Ford used to say) any color you want as long as it's black. Not quite that dramatic—since there are recycled rubber floors with other colors mixed in—but not too far from the truth.

Summary

For residential use, I would limit installing recycled rubber tile floors to basements and laundry rooms.

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