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Comparing Rubber Rooftop, Playground and Patio Outdoor Flooring

Size, Weight and Thickness Come Into Play for Outdoor Rubber Flooring

By Kim Butler

April 4, 2017 -- Spring is in the air, so summer will be here in no time. Now is the time to start planning your warm weather projects.

Perhaps you want to add some outdoor living space, business or customer area or play space. Or maybe it is time to upgrade the playground in your facility or daycare. Just like indoors, you should start your project from the ground up, selecting a type of outdoor flooring that will help make your space appealing, durable and safe. Flooring for the outdoors faces a number of challenges, the first being that it can stand up to the environment. Moisture, cold, heat, and UV light can do a number on any man made material, causing it to warp, shrink, crack and fade.

This leads us to rubber, a natural product so tough it can withstand the elements better than many synthetic materials. In many cases, you won't have to worry about mold, mildew or fading. Another benefit is that many rubber flooring products contain recycled materials, which is good for the environment, and your wallet.

Since your flooring will be outside, it is not as important to look for rubber products that don't have an odor. While rubber can be an investment upfront, it is durable enough to last for years with a simple cleaning each season. Surprisingly, many rubber tiles work just as well as flooring for a deck as they do for a playground application. Generally you would chose a lighter weight tile for a rooftop or deck, and a thicker tile, with a fall rating appropriate to your playground equipment for your play space. But rest assured that a rubber roof tile will be an inviting space for children to play.

Flat rooftops can be added outdoor private space when you live in an urban area, or even a rural area to get a great view of a lake or scenic landscape. But it isn't a good idea to just walk out on your roof and set up a bistro set. Some flat roofs are covered in a membrane that can be pierced by high heels or furniture Other roofs are covered in tar, which can get stuck to shoes, and be tracked inside. The solution is cover the roof with a sturdy rubber tile. Rubber is durable, waterproof, and non slip, making it perfect for your outdoor space.

Remember though, these rubber tiles aren't just for rooftops. Perhaps your deck or concrete patio has seen better days. If refinishing or replacement isn't an option - or even a desire, think about recovering your damaged surface with a rubber tile. Let's look at a few examples from the selection of online flooring leader, Greatmats.

One option is Blue Sky Outdoor Interlocking tiles, which range in thickness from 1.75 to 3.75 inches. You would chose the thicker size for playground installation in order to increase the fall height, and a lighter weight when using on a roof, deck or other manmade structure. In either case, these tiles can be glued down, especially in smaller installations. Available in six colors, these tiles work work for playground and flat roof top, deck or patio installations. A bonus of these tiles is that they allow for water to to flow freely underneath the rubber pavers, which is important on the ground, or on a roof or deck.

Another option that works well on top of flat surfaces like concrete, asphalt, decking or roof tops are MX Outdoor Rubber tiles. These 2x2-foot by 1-inch thick tiles offer a 2 foot fall height, and come in four different colors. However, this thickness must be glued down. If you prefer not to do this, it is recommended that you go with a 2 or 2.5 inch thickness.

Another, lighter duty option are Greatmats Rubber Patio Paver Tiles. These 16-inch square tiles look like a standard patio block, but at less the weight and will not freeze or crack. One side has the standard brick design, while the other side has an architectural design, reminiscent of cobblestones. Both sides have grooves to channel water away, and the material is comfortable with or without shoes. Available in three colors, these tiles are just 3/4-inch thick and weigh just 6 pounds each. Staple or glue down installation is recommended to avoid curling, lifting or separating. These tiles are best on a deck or patio.

For roof tops, Greatmats recommends a 2-inch thick tile to allow for water drainage. A good choice is Sterling Tile, which comes in six colors in a 2x2-foot tile, with a 2-inch thickness. These high quality tiles are great for home and commercial usage. Ramped edges and corners are available. Customers praise the drainage and tight interlocks of these tiles.

Sterling also has a line of playground tiles which are durable and safety rated for fall heights up to 10 feet. Their playground tiles are thicker, and will look and perform wonderfully for years.

For playgrounds, some of the options are Bounce Back rubber playground mats which come in colors colors and five thicknesses, with fall heights ranging from 3 feet to 10 feet. The tiles are designed to allow rainwater to flow through the surface and away from the playground, which means fewer puddles, and more time on the playground.

Max Playground, and BB playground are some of the other lines of rubber playground and patio tiles carried by Greatmats. This company works to save customers money on shipping by offering rubber tiles made in different parts of the U.S. in order to reduce customers' shipping costs. Rubber is wonderfully durable, but with that durability comes weight, and shipping can add up. A knowledgeable customer service rep can direct you to the tile that best suits your needs, and budget. Regardless of which tile you chose, a rubber surface will provide years of enjoyment, good looks and safety on your roof, patio or playground.
For more on this topic please review our Outdoor Rubber Flooring product page.