Guy Stanton, Nora UK managing director, discusses the benefits of rubber flooring for a wide range of projects
Flooring plays a key role in the overall aesthetic of the interior and must also endure considerable wear and tear. In the life cycle of a building, only around 20 per cent of the total costs can be attributable to the actual construction, with maintenance costs making up the other 80 per cent. Thus, taking these facts into account, it becomes clear that the chosen flooring must look good and perform well for the long-term in order to be a sound investment. Rubber flooring presents strong credentials for all of these aspects and more.
From infection control in hospitals to chemical-free cleaning and long-life in airports and shopping malls, rubber flooring is hard to beat.
Floor coverings in public buildings, such as schools and hospitals, not only have to be extremely durable and hard wearing, but must also be resistant to stains and damage, hygienic and easy to clean.
Rubber floor coverings are totally sealed and therefore practically impervious to stains, scratches and other damage. In contrast to linoleum and PVC, rubber coverings do not require a coating. Other resilient floor coverings, however, have to be regularly recoated as soon as the prone surface has been scratched, becomes stained or wears down.
Simple cleaning with just water
The dense rubber material is less susceptible to dirt and also resistant to surface disinfectants and even brief exposure to solvents, diluted acids and dyes, making it ideal for healthcare facilities with their high hygiene standards. Rubber flooring can be cleaned and polished using just water. This is much cheaper and better for the environment.
Healthy indoor air
Energy-saving construction methods, which create more sealed buildings, have brought with them huge challenges; they minimise air exchange, making the use of low-emission materials even more important. Rubber floor coverings that carry recognised eco-credentials and meet with the criteria for the protection of health are now a necessity; for example the Blue Angel eco-label for low emissions ensures quality for indoor air hygiene. This is important for all buildings but even more so for environments with more vulnerable occupants, such as nurseries and hospitals.
Free from PVC, plasticisers and halogens, rubber is safer in the event of a fire as no toxic substances such as hydrogen chloride gas or dioxin can be released by the floor covering.
Safe and comfortable
In many areas, such as hospitals and schools, it is important that the floor covering is non-slip and safe to walk on. Rubber floor coverings are tested according to DIN 51130, and have been classified as at least R9 according to BGR 18. The high elasticity of rubber flooring significantly relieves strain on the back and the spine.
Design is considered important for private commercial buildings, where the quality of interior serves to convey a sense of prestige and corporate branding. It is equally important, however, in all built environments. Whether to calm or to stimulate, inspire or point the way, the flooring contributes greatly to the interior space.
Rubber floor coverings are available in a variety colours to create elegant room designs and an ambience for feeling good. They also come with structured surfaces which add depth or light-reflective granite particles which create subtle sparkle. Rubber flooring allows many designs, including logos, patterns and way-finding, to be cut-out and laid into the material.
The final word
If you consider the life-cycle costs of a building, maintenance should be high on the list of priorities. By choosing flooring which is exceptionally durable, has a long life warranty, and only requires solution free cleaning, the client is assured a superior quality, healthy and also economical long-term solution.