It’s always good to make a pro-con list, especially when it comes to your hard-earned money being spent on a new flooring..
Some of the advantages of rubber floor tiles are visible at first sight: they are pleasant to walk on, attractive to look at and much easier to maintain than other floors. Our clients, who have installed and used rubber flooring, point to the fact that it is durable and any scratches or dents from e.g. high heels are not visible on rubber floor tiles. Rubber floor is weatherproof, which means that it can be used all year round – it is resistant to frost, changes of temperature and, in case of EPDM rubber, sunlight.
Because of its water-permeability it can be used after heavy rains because there are no puddles on the surface. It is slip-resistant in dry and wet conditions, that’s why it’s so safe and child-friendly. Most people know these tiles from playgrounds; such “safety flooring” is installed mainly on playground surfaces and is recommended by European standard EN1177 due to its fall protection qualities proved in HIC (Head Injury Criterion) tests. Terrace tiles, although made of different rubber granulate (EPDM), also have impact protection comparable to that of safety tiles.
Sceptics claim that rubber granulate tiles lack a natural feel. On the one hand – true, their feel is nowhere near what wood or stone feels like, but on the other, outdoor rubber tiles eliminate problems related to these materials, such as decay, lack of insulation, hardness. Contrary to what some people fear, rubber granulate tiles are ecological. They are manufactured from recycled rubber, can be reused or further recycled. What is more, they do not seal the ground when installed on the ground or compacted grit base course because they are liquid-permeable.
Another drawback might be that terrace tiles from rubber granulate are still unpopular and hard to come by. Especially, if you want to buy them in small amounts, few markets or online shops sell them to individual customers at see-through prices. And finally, this is not a cheap product. The material and manufacturing process, if a tile should last decades, must be of highest quality. Obviously, there are cheaper alternatives from China, without European certificates, so the risk is yours!
“Rubber floor tiles from EPDM granules pay off more than standard flooring” – explains Michael Schladt, owner of WARCO Bodenbeläge, a leading producer of rubber floor tiles in German-speaking countries. „There is a one-time investment cost and then you don’t have to do anything about them for 15-20 years. Other terrace surfaces require constant maintenance, repairs and have a much shorter life. Our clients, who come from all over Europe, are pleased with their new terraces. They say this is something they’ve been looking for.”
„I was building a terrace and thinking of installing patio slabs or wooden boards but frost and rainy weather were my big concerns” – says Mark from Nottingham. „I discussed it with my landscape architect and he advised me to try rubber floor tiles. My wife and me are really pleased with the result. Kids love playing on the new terrace and our dog sleeps there whenever she can. We hired a specialist to install the tiles and in the evening the terrace was ready!”
⁃ extremely durable
⁃ easy to install (DIY)
⁃ low maintenance
⁃ economical (one-off installation)
⁃ high heel proof
⁃ wide selection of colours and dimensions,
⁃ fall-attenuating properties
⁃ still relatively hard to get the products of good quality
⁃ few online shops selling the product
⁃ might be considered as expensive
⁃ rubber smell (which however, should quickly go away after first two weeks of use)
So, before you spend your money on a new flooring, make your own pro-con list and see what matters for you. Don’t buy a pig in a poke! Make a call, enquire what kind of tiles there are and what would be the most suitable product for you, ask for a sample.