In places like garages, public storage facilities, and warehouses, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a fancy flooring option like hardwood or tile. That’s probably because these locations tend to see substantially harsher applications. In a garage, you might find someone’s home gym, full of heavy dumbbells and racks. And in a warehouse, you’ll find boots and forklifts marching back and forth across the floor. One thing’s clear. These locations need to be ready to withstand all sorts of physical abuse. Concrete, the most widely used man-made material in the world, is usually the base layer of flooring in places like these. And it makes sense. After all, we build homes, gates, dams, and even runways out of concrete. It’s tough stuff. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that concrete is immune to damage. Chips and cracks are common occurrences in concrete surfaces. Just look at your local sidewalk for an example. Over time, this acute damage accumulates, threatening the concrete floor’s structural integrity. And in some cases, it even becomes a slip and trip hazard. It seems sensible to install floor mats for protecting your concrete flooring.
Enter rubber floor mats. Rubber floor mats help you protect your concrete floors by absorbing most—if not all—of the damage caused by the abrasions and impacts that are the bread and butter of many heavy-duty applications. A custom rubber mat placed along a workstation will protect your heavy-duty flooring, as well as increase your standing comfort. Rubber runner mats will safeguard corridors through which heavy, bulky objects are carried or rolled. And installing black rubber matting, a red rubber mat, or a white rubber mat on a central pathway—while protecting your subflooring—can even help you clearly define a walkable area without sacrificing style or professionality.
It may seem counterintuitive to use specialized rubber surfacing to protect a floor that is already intended for heavy-duty applications. However, the use of rubber floor mats can help you prevent the challenges that arise if your concrete suffers excessive, accumulated damage. Repair and replacement jobs are time consuming and—not to mention—expensive. Below, we’ve listed five of the most common causes of concrete damage and how using rubber floor mats can help you prevent this damage.
Temperature Damages Concrete
Sharp changes in temperature throughout the year are a common cause of concrete damage. Oftentimes, cold temperatures fissure the concrete. While fissured, the concrete traps debris in its cracks. Then, warmer temperatures cause these cracks to close. The debris trapped within these closing cracks generates compressive pressure—which is like the pressure you feel when you press down on a metal spring. Over time, this pressure accumulates as more and larger pieces of debris become trapped in the concrete. Then, the concrete finally buckles up and ruptures (The Constructor).
Rubber floor mats help you prevent this from happening, but not in the way that you might think. While rubber is known as a great insulator, it doesn’t negate the drastic temperature changes that concrete often experiences. Instead, rubber floor mats prevent debris from entering the cracks caused by low temperatures. This means that rubber matting stops compressive pressure from accumulating within the concrete, preventing the ruptures in your flooring that would’ve occurred otherwise.
Moisture Damages Concrete
Concrete expands and contracts in response to the amount of moisture in its environment. As the surrounding level of moisture drops, the outermost layers of the concrete dry faster than its inner layers do. And when concrete dries, it shrinks. So the outermost layers shrink faster than the inner layers do. Over time, this cycle of disproportionate shrinking and expanding stresses the concrete, often cracking it (Polygon). One of the many material properties rubber has is that it is naturally water resistant. So by installing rubber floor mats on your concrete flooring, you are effectively shielding your concrete from any surrounding excesses in moisture.
Chemicals Damage Concrete
Now, concrete might seem like an indestructible substance, especially when it comes to chemical reactions. But even the toughest materials are vulnerable to certain chemicals. Concrete is no exception. Salt is the main cause of chemical damage in concrete. Sometimes, highly salinized solutions are left to dry on concrete. When the solution dries, high concentrations of salts cluster on the concrete. Then, when the area around the salt rehydrates, the solution reforms—but with an altered chemical composition. The chemicals in concrete paste react with the salinized solution to form calcium oxychloride. Calcium oxychloride damages concrete because, when forming inside of concrete, the substance’s crystals expand, pushing the concrete apart from within (Wikipedia). Rubber floor mats can help you protect your concrete against the potential chemical damage caused by salt. By acting as a barrier between the concrete and its external environment, salinized solutions left on the ground cannot react with the concrete paste.
Nature Damages Concrete
It is no surprise that nature damages concrete. After all, we see plants and tree roots piercing through concrete all the time. But even the more inconspicuous agents—like mold, mildew, and mosses—can damage concrete. For example, some molds produce acids that degrade concrete over time (Polygon). Naturally, bacteria and mold tend to thrive in moisture-rich places. But because rubber inherently resists water, bacteria and mold are deprived of a necessary nutrient source when they attempt to grow on things like rubber floor mats. So, installing rubber matting is one of the ways by which you can prevent things like mold from growing on—and eventually damaging—your concrete flooring.
Impacts and Abrasions Damage Concrete
It goes without saying that concrete is physically tough. It’s designed especially for heavy-duty applications. But—like when it comes to salt—concrete isn’t immune. Things like sharp, heavy tools often fall on concrete surfaces, so it’s no surprise that chips, cracks, and scratches happen all the time. Placing a rubber mat in locations where you know objects are often dropped—such as workout areas, assembly lines, and workstations—can help prevent this sort of damage. Furthermore, the use of rubber mats isn’t restricted to heavy-duty applications. Rubber floor mats can also be used as a general preventative measure to help protect against the potential chips and cracks caused by our everyday activities.
Can You Put Rubber Mats on Concrete?
While concrete is obviously well-suited for physically demanding environments, it’s still susceptible to wear and tear. The repair and replacement process for concrete flooring is onerous—expensive and time consuming. (A professional must break, remove, and repour the concrete flooring.) From this perspective, protecting your initial investment is a no-brainer. Why not protect what you already have with rubber floor mats? They are durable, water-resistant, and—of course—easily replaceable. And the nice thing is that rubber flooring comes in all types. Rubber runner mats are some of the best rubber mats for floors that are long and narrow. Custom rubber floor mats can be made to fit an area of any size or shape. And a black rubber mat, red rubber mat, or white rubber mat might enhance the clean and professional style of your workroom. You don’t even need the best rubber floor mats for an effective solution. Quality mats generally suffice. So, when choosing to protect your concrete flooring—while there are several options available to you—we encourage you to consider rubber. It’s a substance whose properties are, for the most part, unrivaled.