A rubber mat can be made of natural, synthetic, and post-consumer rubber materials and is generally used for its protective, anti-slip, and anti-fatigue qualities. Rubber is a very versatile material allowing a rubber matting roll to be used in industrial, commercial, and residential settings. It retains excellent non-slip properties that can be seen through its naturally grippy surface that prevails even in the face of moisture. A rubber mat is available in different forms, including long rubber mats, smaller individual mats, and interlocking tiles, which allows it to be used for various applications, such as walkway surfacing or comfort matting, in any setting.
What is a Rubber Mat?
A rubber mat is a protective, non-slip, and anti-fatigue surfacing option that is a popular product used not only in industrial and commercial settings, but in residential settings as well. Some rubber mats, such as those made of post-consumer and synthetic rubber materials, are highly resistant to damaging environmental factors, such as UV rays, ozone, and, and moisture, allowing them to be used in both indoor and outdoor settings. Rubber retains high tear strength and an excellent compression set allowing a rubber mat to efficiently absorb the force of impact and vibrations. A rubber mat also retains a high coefficient of friction which gives it its natural grippy surface. This high coefficient of friction is not affected by moisture which, in turn, allows a rubber mat to retain traction even when moisture is present on its surface. Furthermore, a rubber matting roll has an excellent compression set which gives it excellent comfort qualities. Compression set refers to the “permanent deformation remaining after removal of a force that was applied to it” (Wikipedia.org). Having a low compression set allows a rubber mat to “bounce” back to its original form whereas a high compression set product will not be able to provide anti-fatigue properties. A rubber matting roll can provide long-lasting protective and safety applications in both indoor and outdoor industrial, commercial, or residential settings.
(a) What is a Rubber Mat Made of?
A rubber mat is made of durable rubber materials including natural rubber, synthetic rubber, and even post-consumer rubber. Each of these rubber materials are used to create durable rubber mats that offer varying properties. For example, natural, synthetic, and post-consumer rubber mats will all offer excellent abrasion resistance, impact absorption, traction, and anti-fatigue properties; however, synthetic and post-consumer rubber mats will offer enhanced resistance properties such as better resistance to damaging environmental factors. A synthetic rubber matting roll can also resist damage caused by caustic chemicals and grease/oils and will be more resistant against damaging environmental factors. For example, synthetic nitrile rubber is ideal for creating kitchen mats as nitrile is highly resistant to the greases and oils that are present in kitchens. On the other hand, SBR, or styrene butadiene rubber, is a more general-purpose synthetic rubber that will be better resistant to aging caused by environmental factors. Post-consumer rubber mats are highly weatherproof and tear resistant due to the repurposed vehicle tires they are made of. Also known as a “tire derived product”, recycled and reclaimed rubber mats will retain the same excellent outdoor resistance properties and physical strength as vehicle tires. Due to the various natural and synthetic rubber materials rubber mats are made of allows them to be versatile products that can be used in numerous abrasive environments.
(b) Is Rubber Mats Smooth or Rough?
Rubber mats are smooth, but they are also available with various surface patterns, such as coin-grip, diamond-plate, block-grip, and corrugated ridges. Both smooth rubber matting as well as textured mats can provide excellent traction despite the difference in surface texture. Smooth rubber matting still holds a natural high coefficient of friction and can provide excellent traction despite its lack of a surface pattern. A rough, or textured, rubber matting roll provide raise protrusions that help enhance rubber’s natural high coefficient of friction. These raised protrusions offer extra gripping points for shoes to grab onto for sturdier footing with each step. In addition, not all mats are solid rubber mats as some types of rubber mats can be offered with drainage holes to help further improve non-slip safety. While solid rubber mats can offer excellent drainage, these drainage holes are not necessary for retaining traction. A drainage rubber mat work to increase traction by reducing the amount of moisture accumulating at the surface of the mat.
Is Rubber Matting Waterproof?
Rubber matting is an extremely water-resistant material; however, it is not 100% waterproof. The level of moisture resistance can vary depending on the type of rubber used to create the mat. A rubber mat can be made of different rubber materials, therefore, having different levels of moisture resistance. Natural and synthetic rubber a both highly resistant to moisture, but synthetic rubber will be better resistant to the permeation of moisture. Post-consumer rubber mats are also highly moisture resistant, yet recycled rubber material will be slightly more susceptible to the permeation of liquids. There are two types of post-consumer rubber material: recycled and reclaimed rubber. Reclaimed rubber, due to its solid structure, will be able to resist the permeation of moisture. Reclaimed rubber is made by “mixing waste vulcanized rubber with unvulcanized new rubber and a devulcanizing agent; and kneading the resulting mixture in a heating atmosphere” (patents.google.com). Because the heat of the vulcanization process melds the scrap rubber together, reclaimed rubber is a solid sheet of rubber. On the other hand, recycled rubber is made up of post-consumer rubber as well, but it is made of crumb rubber that is essentially glued back together – making it a slightly porous material. It is made as scrap pieces of post-consumer rubber is ground up and mixed with an adhesive to form a sheet of rubber.
(a) Do Rubber Mats Get Slippery?
Rubber mats do not get slippery due to rubber’s natural grippy surface that is retained through rubber’s high coefficient of friction. This high coefficient of friction creates excellent grip and traction as your feet move across the surface of a rubber mat. Case in point, “Current theories suggest that when rubber moves over smooth surfaces, it’s the molecular forces between the two that are the main cause of friction. But when the surface is rough, it’s the deformation of entire molecular layers of rubber that’s the chief cause of friction” (sciencefocus.com). Rubber is highly moisture resistant which also helps enhance a rubber mat’s natural grippy surface. Other times, a rubber mat is offered with an added surface texture that help add extra grip with each step. For instance, coin-grip, diamond-plate, and corrugated rubber mats offer protrusions that provide extra gripping points for shoes to firmly grasp. Whether or not a rubber mat is smooth or textured, it will not get slippery and will maintain a grippy surface, even in the presence of moisture.
How Do You Attach Rubber Mats?
Depending on how permanent you would like them installed, you may attach rubber mats using a double-sided tape adhesive, or you can lay them without any adhesives. The method of installation depends on the environment, the level of abuse it will experience, and permanence. Long rubber mats are often found outdoors where they are used to create safe and non-slip surfaces along walkways. Due to the weight of the mats themselves, they do not need to be adhered to the ground. Furthermore, wet weather conditions can loosen the grip of double-sided tape, making it not suitable for outdoor use. Stationary, single person mats – i.e., comfort mats and area mats – also do not need to be adhered to the ground as they are mobile products that are often moved around during use or for maintenance; however, if the mats will be subjected to heavy foot traffic, you may use a double-sided tape adhesive for a sturdy, yet semi-permanent, installation.
Rubber is a highly safe, durable, and long-lasting surfacing material option that is ideal for creating non-slip, comfortable, and protective rubber mats for industrial, commercial, and residential settings. A rubber mat is offered in different rubber materials, such as natural, synthetic, and post-consumer rubbers. Solid rubber mats can be either smooth or textured for enhanced grip on top of rubber’s natural grippy surface. Additionally, these versatile mats can be used in both indoor and outdoor settings due to their excellent resistance to harsh UV rays, ozone, oxygen, and moisture. Overall, a rubber mat is used to create non-slip, protective, and comfortable surfaces in any setting ranging from industrial to residential.