Rubber mats and carpets are commonly used for boat flooring. Most of the boat floors and marine vehicle platforms now have rubber matting over the original flooring. This shows the significance of rubber boat flooring. It simply protects the flooring beneath and gives a more comfortable and smooth platform.
But many are skeptical about whether to choose rubber flooring or not. And some are thinking of which rubber flooring to select among the variety of options. Even I had such issues primarily when I researched the matter. However, with my experience and research in this field, I have solved my queries and learned tons of things about rubber boat floors.
In this article, I am going to talk A to Z about rubber boat flooring including its pros and cons, types of rubber flooring, and more. So stay with me and gather some important information before choosing rubber boat flooring. Let’s get started!
3 Types Of Rubber Boat Flooring: Know The Options
If you don’t learn to differentiate between rubber flooring products, choosing the right one can become difficult. As a variety of rubber floorings are available in the market, you should know what types are available before going to shop. For your convenience, I have mentioned three types of rubber boat floorings that are popular:
Latex is pure rubber polished and molded-in shapes to form mats or sheets. Just as you expect natural rubber to be you will get the same in the latex rubber boat flooring; soft, stretchy, and spongy.
Latex rubber flooring is the best for those who are looking for affordable boat flooring. It is the cheapest among the rubber floorings available. It is quite worn and tear-resistant but not more than the other rubber flooring options (to be discussed later).
Another issue can be the allergic problems that may occur due to the natural rubber. However, using latex rubber flooring is eco-friendly as it can be renewed, unlike synthetic rubber flooring.
Synthetic rubbers are made of styrene-butadiene rubber which is extracted from petroleum. As the name says itself, synthetic rubber is not pure rubber and thus they are made to be tougher and stronger than latex rubber.
Synthetic rubber is the most expensive rubber flooring as it is also the most long-lasting and durable flooring option. If cared for and maintained properly, synthetic rubber flooring can last between 20 to 30 years. So it is a perfect choice for extremely moist and wet areas like a boat deck!
So yes, synthetic rubber boat flooring is a wise choice if you want a durable one.
Recycled rubber flooring is preferred by those who are conscious of the environmental friendliness of the product. Moreover, it is extremely durable, almost like synthetic rubber floors.
Recycled rubber is more scuff and tear-resistant than latex flooring. It is tougher and durable as made by mixing different rubbers. So it is more long-lasting than latex rubber. You can call it an alternative to synthetic rubber if you want a cheaper option.
Below is a chart mentioning which property is the best in each rubber floorings:
|Rubber Floorings||Best For|
3 Forms Of Rubber Boat Flooring: Know The Differences
Rubber boat flooring can be laid in three different ways. What I mean is rubber flooring comes in three different forms. Just like plywoods are installed as boards or planks or tiles, rubber floorings are available in different forms. So when the forms are different, the laying method and the characteristics vary too.
In this part of the article, you would know briefly about the three forms of rubber boat flooring:
1. Rubber Tiles:
Rubber tiles are not so commonly used on boat flooring. The main reason behind this is that water may settle or pass across the seams and damage the edges. This can cause water stains and weaken the tiles.
Rubber flooring tiles can be interlocked easily just like a board puzzle. They can also be glued to the flooring. Rubber tiles are available in a variety of colors and patterns. An advantage of this is you can easily replace the tile that is damaged. But with the other options, you may need to take off the entire rubber flooring in case of major damage.
2. Rubber Sheets:
Rubber sheets are long and wide that alone can cover the entire boat deck. However, as boat decks are not plain, you would need to cut and shape them to adjust the area. Each rubber sheet is generally 20 to 25feet in length and about 4 feet in width. So for large boats, rubber sheets are suitable.
Rubber sheets are heavy, tough, and highly durable due to their thickness. The chances of water seeping are less as no seams are there in between the sheets. It has a better performance in marine conditions than rubber tiles.
3. Rubber Mats:
Rubber mats are the best for boat flooring. These mats are installed on hard floorings like aluminum or wood boat flooring. The biggest advantage is that they are available in customized shapes for each part of the boat. Or, if you provide a boat flooring template, the seller would customize the mats according to the model of the boat.
Installation of rubber mats is very easy due to the peel and stick mechanism. They make the boat deck non-slippery, water-resistant, long-lasting, and comfortable. Available in different thicknesses, rubber mats are suitable for high-impact and moist marine conditions.
Install Rubber Boat Flooring: 5 Easy Steps
Installing rubber mats is the most common form of using rubber flooring on boat decks. If you want that too, installation is very simple. But you need to do a series of works to install rubber mats. Note that you can also go for rubber tiles or sheets. But a rubber mat is the best choice for almost any boat and boating purposes.
On that note, let’s learn the 5 simple steps of installing rubber boat flooring mats:
Step 1: Prepare And Send A Boat Template
To make customized rubber mats for the flooring deck, you need to make a boat template. A boat template is a plastic sheet that is marked according to the design of the boat deck. For making the boat template, you need to have a transparent sheet and lay it on the deck. Then with a marker, mark the outline and the areas where there are holes, hinges, etc. These marks are necessary to give an idea of the deck design.
You don’t need to be very accurate. But at least point out the areas where the rubber flooring should be installed differently. I mean you can’t install the flooring on the console, right? So mark this and draw each section of the deck carefully.
Then send this template to the seller. The seller would make a digital template as per the manual template you have sent. The minor mistakes would be corrected by this digitization of the template. According to this pattern, the seller would prepare the mats.
Step 2: Choose The Color And Pattern
Wood brush and dotted are two available textures in rubber mats. Most people choose the teak look. But there are a variety of other colors and patterns available. So depending on what you like, you can choose a suitable design by seeing the catalog by the seller.
You can also add the name of the boat or other specifications on the mat to adorn it. Put all your demands to the seller. The seller would make them as per the template and your instructions and send you the rubber mats.
Step 3: Clean The Deck
After you get the mats, don’t install them on the deck immediately. The flooring has to be clean and dust-free. Otherwise, the seal won’t be intact and the adhesive won’t work well.
So first, use a mild cleanser to clean the entire deck. Next, use acetone to remove all the grease, dirt, previous adhesive, sunscreen, etc. from the boat platform. Cleaning the deck makes sure that the peel-off mats stick well on the deck.
Step 4: Place The Mats
Placing the mats on the deck helps you understand which mat is matching which part of the deck. So first, lay all the rubber mats on the deck by checking the patterns. Now if you can see that the mats have covered the entire deck correctly, you can start installing them.
Step 5: Install The Rubber Flooring
Now start from one end of the deck and install the rubber flooring. Peel one corner of the mat and keep removing the sticker down the mat. Press the mat hard on the floor so that it evenly adheres to the deck. In this way, install all the mats on the deck and wait for it to settle down on the deck.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Why Choose Rubber Boat Flooring?
There are quite valid reasons to buy rubber boat flooring. There are a number of advantages of using rubber boat flooring. Have a look into the advantages of rubber flooring to know why you can choose it:
- Unlike wood and aluminum flooring, rubber flooring is non-skid and thus it is very safe for boat flooring. You can walk and even run on a wet rubber flooring without the risk of falling or slipping;
- Rubber flooring is quite durable and long-lasting. If you maintain the rubber flooring, it can serve for more than two decades. High-quality rubber mats are fairly wearing and tear-resistant;
- Rubber flooring is easy to maintain and clean. Just as easy it is to install the rubber mats, maintaining them is very simple. Keep them clean and replace the mat that gets damaged. That is it;
These are some basic reasons why people choose rubber boat flooring.
What Is The Difference Between Vinyl And Rubber Boat Flooring?
When it comes to choosing a cost-effective boat flooring, vinyl and rubber are two lucrative options. But people find it hard to differentiate between the two and get puzzled. So here is a chart mentioning the differences between vinyl boat flooring and rubber boat flooring:
|Differentiating Parameters||Vinyl Boat Flooring||Rubber Boat Flooring|
|Installation||Moderately easy||Very easy and simple|
|Longevity||Lasts for 10 to 20 years||Lasts for 20 to 30 years|
|Eco-friendliness||Not so eco-friendly||Eco-friendly|
Now that you know the differences, choose the flooring you want.
What Is The Ideal Thickness Of Rubber Boat Flooring?
The thickness of the rubber boat flooring is important. This is because it determines the level of protection and longevity of the boat flooring.
Ideally, a rubber boat flooring should be at least one inch thick. Many people also install ½ inch rubber boat flooring and it is fair enough for occasional usages. But if it is for regular use, the flooring should be at least one inch thick for the utmost protection. In fact, some people also install 2 to 3 inches thick rubber mats for long-lasting and strong protection.
Is Rubber Boat Flooring Waterproof?
To decide whether rubber boat flooring is waterproof or not, you need to understand that it depends on the form you are installing.
For instance, rubber sheets are not completely waterproof. They are surely water-resistant but long exposure to water can damage rubber rolls. Similarly, rubber tiles are not waterproof as water may cross the seams and damage the bonding. However, rubber mats are fairly waterproof. They are crafted especially for boats and don’t damage easily in moist and wet conditions.
How Safe Is Rubber Boat Flooring?
Rubber boat flooring is safer than other boat flooring options like vinyl and more. It has been scientifically proven to be one of the safest flooring options.
Be it natural rubber flooring or recycled rubber boat flooring, they are ecologically sustainable. As rubber is renewable and recyclable, you can reuse rubber flooring. Also, as it is a natural material, the health risks are almost zero.
It is not toxic like vinyl flooring and thus no risks are involved during installation. Therefore, rubber boat flooring is quite safe.
What Is The Cost Of Rubber Boat Flooring?
The cost of rubber boat flooring depends on which form you are buying, which company you are choosing, and the quality, design, and color of the rubber flooring. Therefore, there is only an idea that I can give about the cost of rubber flooring. Have a look at the chart below to get an idea:
|Cost Range||Per Square Feet|
|Lowest Cost||$4 per sq. ft|
|Highest Cost||$12 per sq. ft|
|Average Cost||$10 per sq. ft|
So the cost per square foot of rubber flooring can range between $4 to $12.
How Long Does Rubber Boat Floors Last?
The rubber boat floor has excellent resilience and impact resistance. It is extremely durable, tough, and if maintained properly, it would last for a long time.
The minimum a rubber flooring can last is about 20 years. If you maintain and care for it correctly and keep it clean, it would last more than 20 years. People use rubber boat flooring for up to 30 years.
With time, the bonding and resistance capacity weakens which is why you need a replacement. But be tension-free for 20 to 30 years with the rubber boat flooring.
Okay, so you got a lot, I mean quite a lot of information about rubber boat flooring by now. I have tried to cover most of the issues that you might have been thinking of.
Analyzing all the factors and information I have given here, it is your turn to decide whether to choose rubber boat flooring or not.