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Rubber gym type flooring that does not off gas/ have noxious fumes

C L | Posted in Green Products and Materials on

There are many sources on the internet to procure pieces, tiles or rolled lengths of recycled rubber mat flooring. This seems like a great solution of a non- slip, durable yet easy to replace, easy to clean, sound deadening, etc. floor for a laundry room / mud room, exercise room, etc. There are even blogs of people who have used this type of floor for a bathroom.

However, there are also many posts about how bad the floor smells initially. Even though it is a recycled product, the off gas smell makes me think there is something noxious/ unhealthy in it.

Is the smell just the used tires, and is that unhealthy?
If so, is there a similar product that is green/ healthy, etc.? I know there are similar products that are foam and vinyl, but they do not last anywhere near as long/ are not as durable.
What are the differentiators to look for between the healthy and unhealthy products?

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Replies

  1. Steve Knapp CZ 3A Georgia | | #1

    I wouldn't use a product make out of recycled tire rubber. Tire are made with numerous additives that are not particularly healthy. While some tiles are made from synthetic or virgin rubber, it is my understanding that most manufacturers do not recommend installing their products in unventilated spaces.

    Many products have material safety data sheets (MSDS) that list any regulated ingredients and their possible health effects. It is always a good idea to read these sheets before buying a product. At the same time, you should be aware that it is possible for a product to be made with unregulated materials that aren't particularly "green" or healthy.

    And even if a smell is not "unhealthy," that doesn't mean you want to be exposed to it. If you are sensitive to certain smells (and many people are), it is best to avoid exposure. Personally, I would order a sample, put it in a plastic bag for a few days, and then give it a smell test.

    Last thought. If you want a comfortable, healthy, renewable flooring material, consider cork tiles.

  2. C L | | #2

    Steve - Thanks so much for the response.
    I like the idea of cork; the downside is most of the tiles require additional sealing/poly after the cork is placed in order to seal the gaps between the tiles. And you cannot just use any type of poly, it is a special poly that has some elastomeric properties, so it can't just be applied concurrent with poly on nearby wood floors, and the special poly is supposed to cure and then get a few more coats. The other cork products seem to be floating floors, which also have gaps.

    Do you know of any cork flooring products that come in rolls and that do not need additional finishing? That would be ideal...

  3. Steve Knapp CZ 3A Georgia | | #3

    Many companies manufacture prefinished cork tile and planks. I purchased 1,000 square feet with a 30 year warranty from one of the big box stores and had no issues with odor or quality. (And l am very sensitive to smells.) You also might want to check out some specialty retailers such as Green Building Supply.

  4. C L | | #4

    Great info - is your 1k sf glue down or floating? Are you happy with the way it is wearing? Is it fairly anti-slip? Is it easy to maintain or does it mar or scratch easily? Do you mind sharing the product name? Thanks!

  5. Steve Knapp CZ 3A Georgia | | #5

    CL,

    It is is from Heritage Mill and available through HD.

    It is a floating floor over a concrete slab. I would probably opt for a glue-down install if starting over. Floating the floor makes it feel less solid than I really like. We don't use that level very much, so the floor is doing fine from a wear standpoint. And the cork layer is thick enough that the floor can be refinished if necessary. Note that the subfloor or slab needs to be fairly level for this type of product.

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