How to Lay a Rubber Floor

Written by amy a. whittle
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Roll rubber flooring has gained popularity as an environmentally sensitive and sustainable alternative to vinyl flooring. While it is more difficult to install than roll vinyl flooring, due to its vulnerability to marring, the installation process is very similar. If you are covering a small space, you can also purchase a piece of rubber flooring that is cut to fit the room. This makes it easier to lay a rubber floor, but it is also the more expensive option.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Pry bar
  • Roll rubber flooring
  • Utility knife
  • Straight edge
  • Chalk reel
  • Paintbrush
  • Polyurethane adhesive
  • Floor roller
  • Urethane seam sealant
  • Finishing nails
  • Hammer

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  1. 1

    Remove any nonporous floor covering, such as vinyl flooring, before beginning the installation. If the existing floor is sealed or painted, use sandpaper to break the surface of the coating. If the sub floor consists of recently poured concrete, be sure to wait at least a month before laying the rubber floor to allow the concrete to cure properly.

  2. 2

    Use a pry bar to remove any baseboards that have already been installed. For easy installation after you have finished laying the rubber floor, number the back of each piece of moulding, starting clockwise from the door.

  3. 3

    Unroll a section of rubber flooring, starting in one corner of the room. Allow for a gap between the flooring and all walls that is equal to the depth of the flooring. This will allow for expansion and contraction caused by temperature and humidity changes.

  4. 4

    When the roll reaches the opposite wall, mark the flooring carefully, allowing for the gap. Using a utility knife and straight edge, cut the flooring to fit the space. Roll up the piece of flooring you have just cut, keeping the wrong side of the flooring on the outside of the roll.

  5. 5

    Snap a chalk line using a chalk reel that is the same width as the rubber flooring. This line should be parallel to the wall and mark the area where the first piece of rubber flooring will be installed.

  6. 6

    Use a paintbrush to spread a thin coat of polyurethane adhesive over the area between the chalk line and wall.

  7. 7

    Unroll the rubber flooring onto the adhesive covered area of the sub floor, allowing room for the gap between the flooring and the walls. Press it into place with your hands, removing as many air bubbles as possible.

  8. 8

    Continue cutting and installing strips of rubber flooring until the entire sub floor has been covered. Keep in mind that there should be no gaps between the rolls of rubber flooring--just space between the wall and the floor at the perimeter of the room.

  9. 9

    Use a floor roller to remove any lingering air bubbles and firmly adhere the rubber flooring to the sub floor. To ensure that all bubbles are removed, roll over the rubber floor from several different directions.

  10. 10

    Apply a urethane seam sealant with a paintbrush to any areas where the edges of the rubber flooring meet.

  11. 11

    Install the baseboards that were removed prior to laying the rubber floor using a hammer and finishing nails. Installed correctly, baseboards will hide the expansion gap that is between the flooring and the wall.

Tips and warnings

  • Floor rollers can be rented at most home improvement centres. Do not attempt to lay a rubber floor without this tool; it is almost impossible to duplicate the firm, even pressure that the roller provides.
  • Be sure to work in a well ventilated area when laying a rubber floor. The polyurethane adhesive emits toxic fumes, making a face mask that filters volatile organic compounds (VOCs) a good investment.

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