If you’re operating a martial arts, yoga, or fitness facility, you may have questions about how to install rubber flooring in your space. Zebra Fitness Rubber is available in roll-outs or puzzle tiles. The rolled rubber flooring is ideal for covering larger areas and is less expensive per square foot than puzzle tiles. Installing puzzle tiles is straightforward, but rolled rubber flooring takes a few more steps.
Here’s a guide on the steps needed to prepare for and install rolled rubber flooring in your gym.
Before the Installation of Rolled Rubber Flooring
There are a few factors to consider before installing rolled rubber flooring.
- Ensure potential flooring areas are weather tight and maintained at a minimum temperature of 65° F (18° C) for 48 hours before, during, and after the installation.
- Flooring can be installed over concrete, approved Portland-based patching and leveling materials such as Ardex K-15 (or equivalent material), and wood.
- Wood subfloors should be double construction with a minimum thickness of one inch. Subfloors also need to be rigid and free from movement.
- American Plywood Association (APA) underlayment grade plywood is the preferred underlayment panel to use.
- Concrete floors need a minimum compressive strength of 3000 psi; new concrete slabs must be fully cured and permanently dried before rubber flooring installation.
Subfloor Requirements and Preparation for Rubber Flooring Installation
Subfloors must be dry, clean, smooth, level, and structurally sound. It’s crucial to ensure they’re free of extraneous materials such as dust, solvent, paint, wax, oil, and old adhesive residue. They must be smooth to prevent irregularities, roughness, or other defects from telegraphing through the new flooring. Remove all traces of debris by scraping, sanding, or scarifying the substrate—do not use solvents.
Low spots, saw cuts, cracks, indentations, and any non-moving joints in the concrete must be filled with an approved patching compound. Allow this to dry thoroughly as excessive moisture in patching material may cause bonding problems or a bubbling reaction with the adhesive.
Lastly, conduct adhesive bond tests in several locations throughout the area before installing. For more information on how to perform adhesive bond tests, check out our Rolled Rubber Installation Guide.
Rubber Flooring Storage and Handling
- The rolled rubber flooring material should always be stored lying down, as storing on its end will curl the edges and permanently alter the material.
- The rolls should only be stored on a clean, dry, smooth surface for no more than six months and stacked no higher than four rolls high.
- Inspect the materials to confirm that you’re using the correct style, color, and amount of material. You also want to make sure that your rolled rubber flooring is free of any visual defects.
- Ensure that the material and adhesive are acclimated to room temperate for a minimum of 24 hours before installation.
Rolling Material for Installation
It’s now time to begin the process of installing your flooring.
- Draw a chalk line to create a starting point for an edge of the flooring to follow.
- Remove the product from the shrink-wrap and unroll it onto the floor, making sure to lay the rolls out in a way that will use your cuts efficiently.
- Cut the rolls at the required length (including enough to run up the wall). Allow the cut rolls to relax in position for a minimum of two hours (though 24 hours is preferred).
- Place the edge of the first roll along the chalk line and then position the second roll with no more than a 1/16” overlap over the first roll at the seam.
- Work the material back to get rid of the overlap—this procedure will leave your flooring with tight seams and eliminate gaps. Repeat this process for each consecutive roll needed to complete the area.
Installing Rubber Flooring Using the Tape Down Method
You’ll need to tape the rolls down to finalize your installation.
- Draw a pencil line beneath all seams needing tape
- Fold over the first drop along the chalk line, which should be half the width of the roll.
- Using a high-quality double-faced carpet tape (with a two-inch minimum width), apply two strips along the seam—one on each side of your pencil mark).
- Remove the release paper and place the rubber flooring onto the exposed tape. Overlap the seams by no more than 1/16” and work the material back to eliminate the overlap. This step ensures tight seams over the tape and protects against leaving gaps in the flooring.
- Hand-roll the seams to guarantee adequate contact—don’t roll the entire floor simultaneously as that will increase the likelihood of issues arising with the installation.