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Installing Rubber Flooring Do–It–Yourself (DIY) Guide

With so many options available today, resilient rubber is one of the most popular floor coverings for your home or office. Below are the essential things you'll need to know during your rubber flooring installation. For more detailed information on what to do before, during and after your rubber flooring installation, see the full Installing Rubber Flooring guide on FindAnyFloor.com®.

Download FREE Do–It–Yourself Guides Below

Rubber Flooring Installation Instructions | PDF's
PDF icon for
file download of rubber quick guideQuick Guide on How–to–Install a Rubber Floor
390kb pdf | Our short installation guide for those with DIY experience.
PDF icon for file download of full installation guideFull Guide – Complete Installation Instructions on Installing your Rubber Floor
480kb pdf | Our full set of DIY installation instructions.

Our Rubber installation quick guide has been posted below for your convenience. Should you choose not to download the free pdf of our install guides, feel free to browse below using the green navigation at the top of the page to go to each cork installation section.

FloorTube™ your flooring video source for rubber flooring installationThe full PDF version of our full installation
guide for rubber flooring.

Getting Started or Ready to Install your Floor?

The Basics – Preparing to Work

Rubber flooring is installed one of four ways depending on the type of rubber flooring you choose:

  • Glued Down Sheet Rubber – Sheet rubber is installed with full spread adhesive. Some manufacturers may also approve the use of double–sided flooring tape for certain applications.
  • Glued Down Rubber Tiles – Rubber tiles are secured to the subfloor with an epoxy or polyurethane flooring adhesive.
  • Interlocking Rubber Tiles – Rubber tiles are fit and locked together (much like a puzzle) to form a loose–lay floor. Some manufacturers may also approve of using double–sided flooring tape to secure this type of flooring to the subfloor.
  • Dowel Secured Rubber Tiles – Rubber tiles are fit together and secured with dowels to form a loose–lay floor. Perimeter tiles may be secured with full spread adhesive if the flooring is laid in an area without surrounding walls.

Tools and Materials

You will need most of the tools and materials on the first list plus anything specific for your installation method.

Tools Needed For All Rubber Flooring Installation

  • Broom
  • Carpenter's square
  • Chalk line
  • Knee Pads
  • Masking or painters tape
  • Measuring tape
  • Metal straightedge
  • Utility knife with extra blades
  • Vacuum

Tools Needed For Sheet Rubber Installation

  • 100–lb roller
  • Electric drill (variable speed)
  • Felt–tipped pen or pencil
  • Full spread adhesive or 2" double–sided adhesive tape
  • Floor pattern or craft paper
  • Gloves
  • Notched trowel
  • Paint mixing drill attachment
  • Safety goggles
  • Scissors
  • Seam sealer kit (optional)
  • Shears or snips

Tools Needed For Glue Down Rubber Tile Installation

  • 100–lb roller
  • Electric drill (variable speed)
  • Felt–tipped pen or pencil
  • Gloves
  • Epoxy adhesive or 2" double–sided tape
  • Notched trowel
  • Paint mixing attachment
  • Safety goggles
  • Seam sealer kit (optional)
  • Scraper

Tools Needed For Interlocking Rubber Tile Installation

  • 2" double–sided adhesive tape (optional)

Tools Needed For Dowel Secured Tile Installation

  • Adhesive (full–spread; optional)
  • Dowels
  • Notched trowel (optional)
  • Rubber mallet or dowel setting tool
  • Scrap piece of 2" x 4" or other tapping block

NOTE: This is not an all inclusive list. Your tools and materials may vary based on your specific installation needs.

Prepare The Floor

  • Rubber flooring can be installed above concrete, APA exterior grade plywood, and asphalt subfloors.
  • Some manufacturers approve installations above existing flooring as long as it is completely adhered to the subfloor. However, do not remove any existing flooring if you find asbestos. Follow all local, state and federal guidelines when handling and/or disposing of asbestos.
  • All subfloors and existing flooring must be structurally sound, level and dry.
  • Clean all concrete and asphalt slabs prior to your moisture test and installation to remove anything that may interfere with the flooring adhesive.
  • For concrete slabs, perform all moisture tests as directed by the manufacturer. This may include a Polyethylene, Calcium Chloride, and ASTM Drilling test. Follow all your manufacturer's recommendations if your subfloor has excess moisture.
  • Ensure your subfloor is level and free from all dips, valleys or imperfections (such as drywall mud, paint overspray, etc.). Scrape your subfloor clean. Sand down any high areas. Use latex floor filler to level all low areas.
  • If desired, you can install 6mm polyethylene sheeting below a loose–lay installation for additional moisture protection.
  • Allow your rubber flooring to acclimatize to your installation area. This is especially important for sheet rubber. Follow all the manufacturer's recommendations for room temperature (both before and during the installation) and acclimatization time.
  • Always choose an adhesive recommended by your flooring manufacturer. Conduct an adhesion test prior to your installation to ensure the adhesive bonds properly to your flooring and subfloor.
  • Always prepare and spread flooring adhesives according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Do not install rubber tiles over concrete expansion joints. Install an expansion plate over the joint and use tiles on either side.
  • If desired, undercut door casings in the installation area.
  • Remove all molding, if desired. Remove and set all doors asides, especially if working with sheet rubber. Remove all toilets if working in a bathroom.
  • Sweep and/or vacuum your floor before installing your rubber.
  • Always install safely using the proper safety equipment. Follow all manufacturer safety recommendations.

Tips and Tricks

General Tips and Tricks

  • If using a full spread adhesive, always wear gloves.
  • Always follow your manufacturer's recommendations with regard to "open time" if using a full spread adhesive.
  • Follow all your manufacturer's recommendations if installing your rubber flooring in an exterior area.
  • Do not store your rubber flooring in direct sunlight.
  • Always use a sharp knife to ensure you get clean cuts.
  • Score rubber tiles or sheet rubber then bend at the mark to break apart.
  • Always place factory edges to factory edges whenever possible.
  • Double–cut sheet rubber to create a custom factory edge when needed.
  • Ensure all seams are snug but not tight. When installing the flooring, overlap two pieces slightly then "walk" into place for precise positioning.

Sheet Rubber Tips and Tricks

  • Pay attention to color matching between rolls. Follow your manufacturer's guides or compare colors yourself to ensure even color transitions.
  • Use hook blades to trim rubber flooring in place. These work with any standard utility knife and can be purchased at most home improvement stores.
  • When trimming rubber along walls, use a scrap piece of wood to create a crease in the rubber along the wall. Cut along the crease.
  • Cut vertically from top to bottom when trimming sheet rubber on outside corners.
  • Cut "V" shapes in the sheet rubber when trimming on inside corners until the rubber lays flat along both walls.
  • Place heavy objects on the sheet rubber during trimming and gluing to ensure the material does not shift before it is secured to the subfloor.
  • Do not overlap adhesive coats as they may cause unevenness which will telescope through the flooring.
  • Leave a gap (equal to the width of the flooring material) between the sheet rubber and the wall to allow for the material to stretch over time.

Rubber Tiles Tips and Tricks

  • Use tiles from at least 3 packages at a time to evenly distribute color variations.
  • Pay attention to any manufacturer guides that indicate the direction in which tiles should be installed.
  • All tiles along the perimeter must be 5"–6" in length. If necessary, cut the last full tile to ensure this minimum length is met.
  • Scribe fit tiles to fit along the perimeter of a room or in custom areas.
  • Undercut tiles along all walls for a professional looking installation.

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