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How to measure Rubber’s Softness: Understanding Durometer Hardness

With so many different types of durable rubber to choose from, pinpointing the perfect one for your project can prove itself a difficult task. While you probably have an idea of the color, thickness, and specific resistances needed in your application, you probably haven’t thought very much about the durometer hardness of the material. Durometer is a unique method of rating rubber hardness that was developed by Albert Shore in the 1920s. The system uses one of two particular scales indicated with a letter A or D, and assigns a corresponding number that indicates the hardness, flexibility, and resilience of rubber materials. To make sure you pick the perfect rubber every time, you are going to need a good understanding of Shore’s durometer hardness scale.

The simplest and most important thing to remember about durometer hardness is that the higher the number rating is, the harder the rubber material is going to be. For example, soft rubber flooring typically has a durometer hardness around 40 Shore A, whereas heavy-duty industrial floors will have a rating closer to 70 or 80 Shore A. Both are effectively durable rubber materials, but the softer surfacing demonstrates a clearly softer and more forgiving surface than the stiff industrial flooring. But, when comparing a Shore A 60 durometer rubber with a 70 durometer, distinguishing the difference with touch and feel can be tricky! To understand the difference between similar hardness ratings, you need to understand how hardness is defined by Shore’s durometer scale.

For the sake of the durometer scale, the rubber hardness refers to the material’s resistance to indentation. To determine the durometer hardness of a rubber material, force is consistently applied to the surface and the depth of the resulting indentation is measured. The harder a material is, the more force will be needed in order to leave an indentation with the same amount of force. This method easily demonstrates the resilience of rubber, allowing us to assign it an appropriate hardness rating. Though rubber materials with different durometer hardness ratings may look and sometimes even feel incredibly similar, the rating indicates a significant difference in both performance and possible applications.

Rubber Flooring Insights - Tiles vs. Rolls

Rubber flooring is an outstanding option for use in a wide range of settings and applications. But it usually comes in two different forms – rubber rolls and modular tiles – with each form suited to different settings and needs. So, when should you opt for modular tiles rather than flooring rolls?

As you might expect, rubber flooring rolls and tiles are very similar in many respects and share several key characteristics. Both are designed to provide high-performance surfaces which are comfortable, high-grip, durable and protective. But modular tiles also have a series of qualities which are specific to them. Perhaps the most obvious is that they are smaller, lighter and easier to handle than full rolls. They are interlocking products, coming in small sections that fit together using pins or puzzle edges to create a larger area. This means that tiles are easier to handle, store and transport, but also makes them supremely easy to install. The main situation in which tiles should be used rather than rolls is when a priority is simple installation. One person can lay a rubber tile floor without the need for help or messy adhesives.

Another situation in which tiles present the better choice is in a room where specific areas might see heavier wear than others. Individual tiles which have suffered significant wear or damage can be swapped out for new tiles, without the need to replace the entire floor. A great example of this is in a gym, where pressure points around heavy machines and weights will wear faster. Modular floors are also more versatile and can easily be pulled up and moved to a different room or area. You can also expand an area simply by adding more tiles. You can even mix and match different colors to create unique aesthetics with a tile floor. Modular tiles offer the best choice when you specifically need versatility and easy installation.

Playground Surfacing – Approved for Falls up to 6ft.

Every adult can remember taking an unfortunate fall on the unforgiving surface of their childhood playground. For many, these falls from monkey bars and swing sets would result in broken bones and lengthy healing periods. Such injuries can be largely credited to traditional playground surfaces such as sand, woodchips, and sometimes even concrete. Though children still play as rough as ever, the choices of ground cover for playgrounds have certainly evolved.

These days, the go-to surfacing for playgrounds is made from affordable and durable recycled rubber material. Rubber is the ideal ground cover for playgrounds because of its high elasticity, resilience, and slip-resistance. Any public playground surfacing must be tested to meet ASTM standards to ensure it is safe enough for little ones to play on, otherwise you may end up with an unforgiving floor type that hurts more than it helps. In fact, rubberized playground tiles are specially designed to handle the high-impact, physical needs of children at play. This type of ground cover for playgrounds is typically held to ASTM F1292-09 Standards and cleared for falls as high as 6ft. to prevent any serious injuries. Rubber playground covers are extra-thick, often up to 2 or 3-inches, and feature less dense waffled undersides to flex under impacts and lessen the severity of falls. Despite their elasticity, rubber playground floors must maintain a sturdy surface for children to run and jump on. If the surface is too soft, it can actually add stress to joints and muscles rather than release it. The unique underside of rubber playground tiles allows them to flex and provide protection without sacrificing stability. Rigid, unforgiving playground surfaces are a thing of the past—rubber is the safest and most reliable option for a play area of any kind.

Flooring for Basement Playrooms

Basements are incredibly versatile spaces, and have the ability to become nearly anything you can dream of. If you have children, a basement remodel project is the perfect opportunity to build them their own playroom so they aren’t causing mischief in the rest of the house. A basement playroom is a great home addition because it gives your little ones a safe, indoor space to play, but picking the right flooring for basement playrooms might seem tricky. Luckily, the decision can be made easy once you’ve learned that rubber is the ultimate flooring for both basements and playrooms. There are many rubber options that work excellently as basement playroom flooring, and they are all durable, resilient, and even easy to install.

You may be wondering, why rubber flooring for basement playrooms? For starters, rubber basement floors are both waterproof and slip-resistant. This is important for all basement floors because the space is close to the outdoors and consequently prone to moisture. Rubber also provides insulation to warm up your new basement playroom, so the little-ones don’t get too cold when they’re playing in the winter. Rubber is also a popular material for playroom flooring thanks to its elasticity and resilience. Some rubber floors are even specially designed for playgrounds and playrooms, and they go through safety-testing before being put on the market. Rubber flooring for basement playrooms is ideal to lessen impact and provide cushioning for falls. The material flexes, providing both comfort and protection for children playing on its surface.

Rubber flooring for basement playrooms can be purchased as either tiles or rolled mats, both of which can be easily installed on your own. There are several colors, thicknesses, and rubber materials to choose from, ensuring a perfect match for any basement playroom project.