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Does rubber flooring have a tyre smell?

Rubber Flooring
Rubber Flooring
Rubber Flooring
Rubber Flooring

Rubber flooring products are usually made from some combination of:

  • Natural
  • Synthetic
  • Recycled rubber

Natural rubber is derived from the sap of the rubber tree, called latex, whose particular odour intensifies when the latex coagulates with exposure to air. When the latex is combined with other chemicals during manufacturing, the result is that ‘rubber tyre’ smell. All natural rubber products will have it, to some degree...

Synthetic rubbers such as styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR) are produced using a variety of polymers. Recycled rubber, also known as tyre-derived rubber (TDR), is 99% made up of used tyres that have been broken down into chips. And because these materials have similar chemical properties to natural latex rubber, they have the much the same smell.

Given these base materials, it is inevitable that rubber flooring will smell, especially when it is first manufactured. Recycled rubber chips are held together by another synthetic substance, such as urethane, which may have an odour too. But it’s the quality of both the base materials and the method of manufacture that determines how strong. Simply put, better quality products will not just perform better, they will smell better, too.

We stock a range of rubber flooring made from combinations of natural, synthetic and recycled rubbers, manufactured to the highest standards. Most of them will retain a noticeable rubber smell directly after being installed, but with a few simple treatments, that odour will soon dissipate and not return.

Nearly all scents and odours are the product of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, which release naturally into the air over time. The three best ways to help these compounds release from rubber more quickly are cleaning, ventilation and sunlight.

Soon after installation, rubber flooring should be mopped with a solution of neutral PH soap and water. Repeat the process over the next few days, while ensuring the room is well ventilated. This is fundamental in removing odours; the more any type of gas builds up in an enclosed space, the stronger it will smell. Keeping windows open for a while should be sufficient, but if that is not possible, use a fan over a few days to keep air circulating.

Finally, the power of sunlight will help do the job for you. Solar heat causes rubber to release VOCs (also referred to as out-gassing or off-gassing) and while this will happen automatically over time, warmth speeds it up.

With the right treatment, any remaining ‘rubber tyre’ smell will soon be gone, leaving you with a stylish, hard-wearing and odour-free surface for years to come.