Rubber tiles can be used in landscape design for a number of purposes, such as for patios, decks, driveways and walkways. They are also sometimes used for designated play and garden areas, where their non-slip surfaces and cushioning make them ideal for accidental falls or long periods spent on hands and knees. They are also sometimes called rubber paving, and they are an alternative to more conventional flooring options, such as those made from stone, wood, tile or gravel.
Walkways and Driveways
Rubber tiles can be shaped like bricks to be used in place of concrete, real bricks or flagstone for paved areas such as driveways and walkways. These rubber tiles are harder than those designed for recreational areas, but they are still non-slip. Rubber tiles used for paved areas need to be specially installed -- you cannot place them on top of pre-existing pavement. In many cases, a gravel bed is needed to keep the tiles from shifting as these areas see frequent traffic and are often load-bearing.
Benefits of Cushioning
Rubber tiles can be made to be hard or soft, depending on the use. Softer rubber tiles, such as those used to pave play areas, help reduce injuries from slips or falls. They can also be used by gardeners as protective mats during long gardening projects, providing welcome relief to knees and feet that could otherwise become very sore. Rubber tiles that are there primarily for cushioning are also often designed to be non-slip.
Removable Rubber Tiles
Rubber tiles do not need always be permanently installed. You can have interlocking or modular rubber tiles, which can be arranged to fit your needs, and then packed away when no longer needed. Common uses for these include on patios, such as a mat in the cooking area to prevent slips and stop dropped food from staining wood, or in outdoor sheds and workshops to reduce potential slips and falls. Modular rubber tiles are also useful in high traffic areas that can become slippery when wet, such as near pools or hot tubs.
Points to Keep in Mind
Rubber tiling is often less expensive than other flooring options, especially if you choose recycled rubber. In addition to providing non-slip surfaces, rubber tiles also provide sound insulation — again useful for high traffic areas such as patios and walkways — and are simple to clean. If you are considering installing a permanent rubber floor, however, you need to ensure there is a moisture-resistant sublayer installed first. Otherwise there is a chance of mildew and mold forming.
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