Let’s get right down to it- they’re complete opposites! Whilst they are similar in appearance, the first obvious difference is how they feel – PVC is rigid and tough where rubber flooring is flexible and soft.
More specifically, rubber flooring is made out of a rubber granulate that is joined together by a thermosetting polymer such as polyurethane glue. PVC is a lone polymer – a type of plastic that is injected into moulds or that can be extruded.
Whilst plastic is commonly viewed as a material that is bad for the environment, there are often ecological advantages to using it over other materials. For example, in the flooring industry there are a lot of products that are biodegradable (unlike plastics), but once covered in sealers, screeds and adhesives, actually do more damage to the environment than you may think. These type of floor products end up in land fill where they may degrade over time, but chemicals like adhesives & sealants will not. They both emit high VOC levels that over time do a lot of damage to the environment.
Plastic is manufactured using crude oils, which are not renewable but once they are manufactured, they can be recycled over and over. Rubber matting as an example, is made from rebonded rubber which contains glue. That means rubber flooring cannot be recycled and will end up in land fill, over time releasing several dangerous gasses. We actually recycle our plastic tiles on site, and turn them into new tiles which can last up to twenty years without adhesives or additional chemicals.
In the long run, plastics like PVC are the most sustainable floor materials.
Which is easier to lay?
Rubber flooring can come in tiles, roll out mats, and smaller sheets. Suppliers often provide pre-cut rolls that can cover the majority of your garage. They can be rolled out pretty quickly providing nothing is in the way. If multiple mats are needed they can be bonded together using a compound which can be troublesome if you are unsure how to apply it. If you do need to cut the matting, it is fairly simple to do as they are often not very thick.
PVC floor tiles are always square and typically measure between 300-500 mm squared. They are also very easy to install, cut and move, but installing PVC tiles will take a bit longer as the joints need to be knocked together with a rubber mallet – you can’t just roll them out and walk away.
To summaries, both types of floor are very easy to install when compared to concretes and epoxies, but rubber flooring will definitely take less time. However, if you have cupboards, cabinets or large objects in your room, you will need to remove them to install rubber matting. PVC floor tiles are a lot easier to install around objects and enable you to fit them as you go rather than having to clear out your entire garage.
PVC vs Rubber Flooring – Which Is More Durable?
Both rubber and PVC floor solutions are fairly tough, but rubber is known for being softer and a little more bouyant. All in all, there is no general rule of thumb for how long rubber mats will last but on average, mats are designed to last anywhere between 1 and 3 years—but high foot traffic may mean your floor lasts 6 months or less. PVC tiles like this one have an anticipated lifespan of up to 20 years and are very difficult to dent or damage.
Which is easier to maintain?
PVC flooring is easy to clean and maintain, it is the plastic equivalent of Teflon as even chewing gum won’t stick to it and it’s impervious so it doesn’t stain easily. Rubber flooring on the other hand can be more difficult to clean as it is slightly porous and if you’re working in an environment that requires frequent use or transport of chemicals, solvents or oil, PVC is your best bet. Unfortunately, vulcanization is a problem for all floor types as tyres react with flooring over time leaving stains that cannot be removed – because of this, we always recommend darker colours.
Rubber floor mats are cheaper, but just as you expect, you get what you pay for. The majority of our customers come to us after they experience an issue with their rubber or epoxy floor as our PVC tiles are a solid solution to over 95% of common flooring problems and save you money over time. If you don’t want to or you cant afford to spend a little more to save money in the long run, you will end up replacing your floor year on year which will set you back way more than you even considered. Although this doesn’t sound logical, some customers prefer to do this.
It’s entirely depending on your preference, but we are a little biased – we can’t understand why you would want to spend money on something that needs replacing when you can buy something that lasts and is easier to maintain.
If you have any technical questions regarding the differences between another material and PVC, just reach out to us.