Rubber Mats versus Vinyl Mats
Are Rubber Backed Mats better than Vinyl Backed Mats?
by Steve Sirkis, Manufacturing Plant Engineer
Floor mats are available with two distinct types of backing: rubber-backed mats (or simply rubber mats) and vinyl-backed mats (a.k.a. vinyl mats). Rubber-backed door mats are superior to their vinyl-backed entrance mat counterparts for a variety of reasons explained below.
Rubber is the preferred backing for all floor matting products. Rubber backed mats are made for high-use / heavy-traffic areas; we sell them to office buildings, schools, hospitals, etc. all the time. The Nitrile (premium, commercial-grade) rubber will not dog-ear / curl up and is beveled so as not to be a trip hazard and to be
This rubber can be produced smooth or with cleats (grippers) that help hold the mat in place on carpeted surfaces. In addition to being able to withstand extreme temperatures (both hot and cold) and its ability to always lay flat, rubber is fade, stain and mildew resistant.
This backing helps produce mats that are quite durable and yet low maintenance. Vacuuming should take care of virtually all the cleaning for these door mats, but they can also be hosed off, shampoo- or steam-extracted and even laundered in a washer and dryer.
These are the types of mats that we use for our own mat rental/laundering program (where we own the mats and provide them as part of an exchange cleaning service) because of their durability and longevity.
Vinyl is a composite material and, although slightly less expensive than rubber, it does not have many of the key features associated with rubber mats. Vinyl mats are often placed in light to medium-use locations such as smaller retail stores, back doors and lower traffic entrances.
Vinyl mats are more chemical resistant, more resistant to moisture absorption and can be produced in a wider variety of colors than rubber floor mats can. The vinyl material, however, does not have the same resistance to extreme temperatures or the durability of rubber, especially when being unrolled and rolled frequently. Eventually, the vinyl may curl, warp or even crack.
Whereas rubber can be produced with the gripper backing, vinyl mats are only available with a smooth backing and thus should only be used on hard surfaces such as wood, tile and marble.
Vinyl door mats should be vacuumed or hosed off only, they cannot withstand the more aggressive cleaning methods of rubber and can definitely not be laundered.
Some of our vinyl backed mats include Carpet Entrance Mats, Ribbed Entrance Mats, Berber Entrance Mats, Chevron Entrance Mats and Flocked Carpet Logo Mats.
Although vinyl backed mats are slightly less expensive and although the offer greater chemical resistance, rubber backed mats are, in the long run, more durable, safer and less likely to be problematic. Thus, provided the aforementioned reasons, we would always recommend rubber-backed mats over vinyl-backed mats.