Comparing Rubber Flooring Material: Natural Rubber vs. Urethane Rubber

Rubber is an extremely popular flooring product, especially for home gyms. However, not all rubber is created equally. Different rubber products are made up of different rubber compounds and thus have different qualities.

Rubber flooring material often involves a number of major components. However, the most well-known types of rubber products are those made predominantly of virgin rubber, and those containing urethane. Because those are the two most well known, we shall compare the two and their differing benefits. Understanding the differences between these two products will help you to determine which flooring product is best for your application.

Natural Rubber Flooring Material

Natural rubber is rubber that is harvested from rubber trees in the form of latex. Latex is a sticky fluid that is ''tapped'' from rubber trees and later refined into rubber. Typically, people tend to think that natural, or virgin, rubber is the superior product. It doesn't contain recycled materials and tends to cost more than rubber created with a urethane mix.

Natural rubber surfaces tend to make a more comfortable standing surface for people, as it contains greater cushion and pliability. It also has a better elastic memory so it tends to hold its shape better. Because of all of these characteristics, there is a widespread belief that natural rubber is superior to that which is made with urethane.

Urethane Rubber Flooring Material

Urethane is one of the fourteen member titles chemists utilize to classify rubber. In other words, urethane is not a foreign product, it is simply a type of rubber. Although it is not the only component mixed with natural or synthetic rubber to create rubber flooring, it is a very popular one.

What urethane rubber lacks in softness and pliability it makes up for in toughness. Urethane manufactured rubber floors are more scratch-resistant than natural rubber ones. Urethane (or polyurethane), when mixed with rubber, creates a harder product.

Urethane rubber flooring material tends to be more affordable because it often contains recycled rubber made from recycled tires. Recycled rubber products are more environmentally friendly than natural rubber since it helps reduce the number of tires sitting in landfills.

Smell of Rubber

Most people carry the misconception that urethane rubber carries a stronger, worse odor than natural rubber. Once again, however, this is not necessarily the case. The type of rubber used in the manufacturing process is not the cause of the rubber odor. The cause is the binder used in the vulcanization process. Vulcanization is a process that gives rubber its elasticity and ''bounce back'' capability. In its natural state, rubber is brittle and susceptible to the expansion and contraction caused by fluctuations in temperature. Vulcanization reinforces rubber to make it more durable and temperature resistant.

In most cases where the rubber odor is strong, the binding agent used in the process was usually a sulfur-based agent. Gym Rubber by Greatmats offers rubber flooring material products that have been manufactured with sulfur-based agents and products that have not.

Before purchasing rubber flooring, make sure you know what kind of odor your different options carry. If your rubber flooring is for a stable or well-ventilated warehouse, you may find that the less expensive, higher odor, flooring is the way to go. If you're putting it in a bedroom or basement exercise room, you will probably be better served to go with a lower-smell option. Talk to your customer service representative to determine which type is best for your application.

Quality of Rubber

The quality of the rubber compound in rubber flooring material, or other rubber products, depends not only on the rubber and urethane but also the added components that are added. It is important to always understand the different added components, as some countries do not regulate what can be thrown into the rubber mix. There are manufacturers that have been known to even add motor oil into rubber mixes as an easy way to dispose of it. Make sure to use a trustworthy, transparent source like Gym Rubber by Greatmats. At Gym Rubber, all urethane rubber tiles and rolls are made in the United States and are held to the highest standards in urethane flooring. There are never toxic or unsafe mystery ingredients added into the rubber mix.

Rubber Flooring Material from Gym Rubber

Gym Rubber by Greatmats deals in products made of both urethane rubber and natural rubber. It is impossible to say that one type is better than the other because they both offer different benefits. Having sold rubber flooring since 1999, Gym Rubber has seen firsthand that there are specific advantages to each type.

No matter what kind of rubber product you choose, you can be assured that choosing it from Gym Rubber means you are getting the best. Check out their rubber flooring product page for examples. Each and every rubber product sold by Gym Rubber is top of the line at the most affordable price possible.

To Learn More

To learn more about rubber flooring material, get in touch with the Gym Rubber lead flooring experts, or check out the Buyers Guide. The Buyers Guide is made up of articles, blogs, customer profiles and how-to videos that will help you make the most informed decision possible.
For more on this topic please review our Rubber Flooring product page.

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