MILLTOWN, Wis., January 1, 2019 (Newswire.com) - Rubber is the most highly-sought after flooring option for gyms and workout rooms, and for good reason. Rubber mats can take a serious beating and still last for ages. They withstand an outrageous amount of weight while protecting the subfloor and equipment resting or falling on it.
Despite all of the positives of a rubber gym floor, there exists one significant down side: the smell. When rubber mats are installed indoors, the rubber odor can be overwhelming for those sensitive to smell. Some rubber materials have a stronger scent than others, especially in confined spaces.
What makes rubber gym flooring smell
Many rubber products are vulcanized, a process that fortifies rubber against heat and cold and gives it more durability. In addition to the natural odor of rubber, binders used in vulcanization can smell, especially those that are sulfur based. Rubber mats intended for outdoor use on playgrounds or barns, often carry a significant odor. Some mats made of vulcanized rubber are treated to help minimize the odor. Other non-vulcanized mats can be naturally low odor. So the type of rubber gym flooring chosen is often the biggest factor in odor situation.
Choose Low Odor Rubber Mats
Avoiding rubber odor in the first place is far easier than rubber odor removal after the fact.
GymRubberFloor.com identifies when a rubber mat has a particularly strong odor and when it is a low-odor option.
Use a Neutral pH Cleaner
The first step to removing odor from rubber mats is immediately cleaning. Before hauling rubber mats into a house, thoroughly wipe down both sides with a pH neutral cleaner and allow the rubber to thoroughly dry before installing it.
Be sure to clean each mat individually. Allowing rubber mats to remain stacked will cause them to retain their smell, rather than promoting scent dissipation.
Proper ventilation is essential to eliminating rubber smell. Luckily, creating ventilation is not too tricky.
Ventilation is especially important during the first days that rubber flooring is installed. Start by opening windows, then establish a breeze through the room. Run fans to help circulate the air and push the smell out of the building in the early stages of installation. For large spaces like gyms or workshops, it may be necessary to bring in industrial-sized fans in order to create air movement that is powerful enough to ventilate. Position fans so that they carry the air across the room and out of a window or door. Strong cross-ventilation can help to quickly air out the room.
Make sure the windows are open and fans are going as often as possible until the smell has dissipated to an acceptable level.
Sunning Rubber Mats
Rubber odor comes from the release of VOCs. Speed up this process by using the natural power of the sun. Solar heat causes rubber to outgas - a.k.a release VOCs.
It's best to sun rubber mats when the sun is strongest. Outgassing rubber in the sun may take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks. The length of time depends on the specific rubber mat, how much odor it carries, and the intensity of the exposure to the sun.
To sun your mat, follow these directions:
1. Lay your mats in a sunny outdoor location. If you are able, move mats accordingly throughout the daylight hours to maximize exposure.
2. Strategically position mats so they maintain air circulation on all sides. Consider propping them up against a fence or a shed. Rotate the mats periodically so that both sides and all areas of the mats receive adequate sunlight.
3. Avoid dirty, muddy areas as well laying mats flat on lawns or over grass. If left for extended periods of time, the mats will kill the grass underneath them. If sunned in a dirt area, the mats may require additional scrubbing before installing them indoors.
4. Do a smell check after a day. If odor seems to reduce significantly, mats may only need another few hours in the sun. If little difference seems to have been made, mats may need another several days in the sun. Install mats once they are completely dry and odor-free.
Note: Most rubber mats are durable enough to withstand limited sunning, but excessive sun can bleach or fade products.
Be Patient and Plan Ahead
The smell will dissipate with time. Especially if one or more of the above rubber odor elimination techniques are utilized. Be patient in the process. If the mats installed by a particular date, order them well ahead of time.
For more on this topic visit GymRubberFloor.com.