Is Rubber Flooring In The Basement A Good Idea? (Pros, Cons & Everything You Need to Know)

Kenneth Wilson

Rubber floors are known for their durability, versatility, and eco-friendliness. It is highly suitable for different areas in the house– particularly in the basements. This long-lasting material can cope with high humidity and water exposure well.

Regardless, installing rubber floors in your basement also has its fair share of drawbacks. Before pushing through with your installation project, let’s discuss everything you need to know.

Is Rubber Flooring Good for Basements?

One of the primary issues you can face in choosing the suitable flooring material for your basement is the high moisture levels. The damp and humid environment is prone to bacteria, molds, mildew, and other organisms. Mold and mildew growth can pose a serious health risk– especially if you have bad asthma. (Related: Mold in Basement: The Causes & Solutions Homeowners Need To Know About)

An estimated 40% of the air circulating in your home’s first floor comes from the basement. That said, you need to keep the basement clean at all times.

Rubber flooring can help you achieve that goal. The material keeps the basement dry and free from any moisture.

The Good: The Pros of Installing Rubber Floors in the Basement

Here are the benefits of installing rubber floors in your basement.

  • Moisture Resistance: Most basements are prone to water damage. In particular, groundwater may seep in from below during the installation, flooding water may enter from above and the humidity in such a moist environment may affect all parts of the floor. Rubber floors give you a waterproof surface layer to protect you from water damage. Important Note: While the rubber floors cannot be entirely damaged by water, moisture may penetrate the seams of rubber tiles and sheets in turn. High levels of moisture and humidity in the basement may lead to mold growth issues beneath the floors.
  • No Adhesive Required: Most rubber floors are installed without the need for glue or adhesive. So, you won’t need to deal with a messy installation scenario. Rubber floors rely on the interlocking edges and weight to keep them firmly in place. In basements, high moisture levels can render adhesives ineffective. Accordingly, fumes won’t fill the air in enclosed spaces as well.
  • Easy Installation: Rubber flooring tiles have an easy installation. Some handy homeowners even opt to install the flooring by themselves to offset the costs of professional installation. This flooring material is applied directly onto the concrete subfloor. As for repairs, you can easily pry up individual tiles and have them replaced. Think of it like puzzle pieces, as it is easy to reinstall.
  • Excellent Durability: Rubber flooring is highly resistant to stains. It is also tough to break, damage, or puncture. The basement is a durable material that can withstand a harsh environment. Even after flooding, rubber floors can be restored. The durability of this material ensures high-quality rubber floors last you for many years– all while appearing its best.
  • Comfortable Underfoot: The rubber material is notably pliable. As such, it gives you a cushion-like underfoot feel. It's why rubber floors are considered an excellent flooring option for playrooms, exercise areas, and kid's rooms.
  • Slip-resistant: It's crucial to ensure your basement floors are 100% safe, so you won't have to deal with accidental slips and the like. Rubber floors feature excellent slip resistance– even when it's wet (in the event of unintentional flooding).
  • Soundproof Properties: If you’re looking for a flooring material with good sound absorbent properties, rubber flooring may just be what you need in your basement. In fact, some rubber floors can provide up to 21 dB noise reduction properties.
  • Eco-friendly Floors: Homeowners are free to recycle their rubber floors if they choose to replace them entirely at some point. Additionally, the majority of rubber flooring material is made from recycled rubber. One rubber tire can create about 40 lbs of rubber flooring material. It is also highly safe, as it doesn’t off-gas compared to their vinyl and laminate flooring counterparts. If you have kids and pets running around in your basement, this is a good flooring option to consider.
  • Waterproof and Water-resistant: Basements are prone to high humidity levels and flooding problems. Accordingly, rubber floors are highly resistant to overcome humidity and water moisture damage.

The Bad: The Cons of Installing Rubber Floors in the Basement

There are a few drawbacks to consider in installing rubber floors for your basement.

  • Prone to Stains: Rubber is highly resistant to most staining agents. However, this isn't to imply it is 100% stain-proof. Some substances may cause discoloration, such as acids and grease. Homeowners using the basement as a garage/workshop need to be cautious of spills, as they may damage the rubber floor's surface. Accordingly, the material is also prone to harsh UV damage.
  • Strong Odor: Rubber floors are notorious for having a foul odor similar to the smell of car tires. This strong scent is most pungent upon the installation process, but it's known to fade eventually. Although this strong odor is harmless, some sensitive people may be burdened by the smell. Ensuring proper ventilation in the garage may offset the strong scent, so keep all windows and doors open after the installation is completed. Once the rubber floors have entirely aired, it will be difficult to catch a whiff of the strong rubber scent. You may need to put your nose against the flooring to do so physically.
  • Expensive Flooring Material: Expect rubber floors to cost you more than other standard flooring materials in the market. However, some homeowners choose to offset the high material costs by doing a DIY installation project. Since most basements cover a building’s entire length, this project can get rather costly.
  • Heavy flooring: Due to the weight of rubber floors, installation can be rather tricky. Standard rubber floor tiles rely on heavyweight and interlocking edges to stay firmly in place. Lifting this material around can be tiresome, especially with rubber rolls. It's best to opt for a professional installation if you don't want to be burdened by it.
  • Slippery when wet: Unfortunately, rubber roll flooring may become a safety hazard when your basement gets wet. It turns rather slippery when wet, unlike rubber tile floor– which you need to consider when choosing between the two.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is rubber basement flooring waterproof?

Fortunately, rubber flooring is waterproof. This feature makes the material highly suitable in basements, where humidity and moisture levels are high all year round. It's also pretty comfortable to step on even when there's contact with water. You don't need to worry about permanent damage to your rubber floors in the event of flooding or water leakage problems.

Can you put rubber flooring over concrete?

Rubber flooring can be seamlessly installed above the concrete floors in your basement. Aside from giving you a comfortable underfoot feel, it also protects your subfloor. It serves as a protective cushion layer to protect your bare concrete floors from heavyweights (equipment).

How do I clean rubber floors?

Fortunately, cleaning your rubber floors can be relatively easy. Start by giving the area a quick vacuum to eliminate any foreign debris or dust. It's also recommended to use a damp mop (paired with mild soap and water cleaning solution) only occasionally.

How do I get rid of the strong rubber smell?

The best way to eliminate the strong rubber odor is to let the rubber air out by proper basement ventilation. Some homeowners also opt to wash the rubber floors with a mild soap and water cleaning solution to alleviate the smell.

Kenneth Wilson
January 18, 2022
Contractor Tips, Flooring

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

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