Friday, July 20, 2018

Cork Gym Flooring Options

Comfortable, Durable and Sustainable Cork Flooring

By Paige Cerulli

Greatmats cork flooring for gyms
Cork flooring for gyms is gaining in popularity, and with good reason. Cork offers many benefits that are valuable to gyms, and when gym owners are looking for a comfortable, durable, and strong floor, cork can be a great solution as an alternative to typical rubber gym flooring.

Why Use Cork for Gym Flooring?

Below are just a few benefits of cork that make it such a popular option for gym flooring.

Comfort and Shock Absorption

While the base provided by cork is similar to wood flooring, it flexes and helps to absorb shock - properties that are ideal for gym floors. Cork is far more forgiving than traditional wood flooring, and athletes may even notice decreased joint pain after exercising on cork flooring, as compared to how they feel after exercising on a wooden gym floor.

Cork's shock absorption is due to its unique construction. Unlike other materials, such as wood or vulcanized rubber, which have solid construction, over half of cork's volume is made up of air. This gives cork the ability to both compress and flex without incurring damage. Its natural properties gives it excellent shock absorption properties that are favored in gyms and workout spaces.

Durability and Strength

Greatmats cork gym flooring tiles
You may assume that because cork is so flexible, it lacks the strength of other flooring options. Many foam tiles, which are soft and forgiving, can't withstand the significant weight of heavy gym equipment, but that's not an issue with cork flooring.

Cork is inherently strong and durable. It creates surface suitable for supporting gym equipment, and the equipment legs won't sink down into the surface, like they can with carpeted flooring. Cork offers excellent strength so you don't have to worry about damaging the flooring. It can even flex with dropped weights, returning to its original shape.

Because cork is so durable, it can withstand significant foot traffic common in commercial gyms.

Hypo-Allergenic

Cork is a great hypo-allergenic flooring option that can help to keep your gym a cleaner, healthier place. The dense structure of cork means that the flooring doesn't trap allergens like pollen, dust, or pet dander. It's a healthier option than flooring such as carpet, which can trap allergens and prove irritating for people with allergies.

Cleaning cork flooring is easy; just vacuum or sweep away the dirt, and use a wood floor cleaner if you're looking for a more thorough deep cleaning. Some cork flooring can be buffed with a wax coating for an eye-catching finish in your gym.

Sound Insulation

Greatmats rubber cork gym tile green
The structure of cork provides natural sound insulation in gyms. Cork contains trapped air, and that structure helps to muffle the sound of footfalls, jumping athletes, and even dropped weights. This sound dampening property is highly valuable in gyms, since it can make a workout space more enjoyable for all athletes.

Termite Repelling

Cork is a waxy flooring, and naturally repels termites and ants. And if that's not enough of a benefit for you, cork is also resistant to fire, mold, and mildew. It's a wise investment that can potentially save gym owners significant money.

Sustainable and Eco-Friendly

One of the greatest benefits of cork is that it's a sustainable, eco-friendly resource. It's a great way to go green in any gym.

Cork flooring is made from cork bark that's harvested from a cork oak tree. Most of these trees are located around the Mediterranean, with Portugal being the major supplier of cork bark.

Cork oak trees grow thick layers of cork bark. The bark is made of dead cells that are gradually pushed to the outside of the tree. Trees must be at least 25 years old before their cork is ready to harvest, and on average, trees produce cork for about 150 years.

Because only the bark of a cork tree is harvested, the tree itself can continue to regenerate. In about a decade, the tree can be harvested again, and then the process repeats. There's no killing of the tree involved, making cork flooring a very eco-friendly option.

Popular Cork Gym Flooring Options

Cork flooring in gyms comes in many different forms. From underlayment options to interlocking tiles, Greatmats offers plenty of different cork gym flooring options. 

Cork Laminate Floor Tiles

Greatmats cork gym flooring cork laminate floor tiles

Want to create a stylish, yet functional space in your gym? Cork laminate floor tiles are another choice. Our Cork Laminate Floor Tiles are a durable, abrasion-resistant cork gym flooring option. These tiles are the strongest cork floors available, and feature Wear Resistance Technology to keep the flooring looking great. The Wear Resistance Technology features tiny ceramic micro beads that protect the floor against abrasion and scratches.

These tiles offer excellent thermal insulation, and their shock absorption properties can't be beaten. They can help to prevent sore legs, feet, joints, and backs, making your gym a more comfortable workout space for athletes. These cork tiles are available in a few different designs so you can choose the look you want.


Cork Underlayment

Greatmats cork gym flooring underlayment
If you'd like to harness the properties of cork but prefer another surface product, consider a cork underlayment. Our commercial quality cork underlayments can be used with traditional wood gym flooring or even vinyl or laminate flooring, providing cushion, shock absorption, and sound insulation.

A cork underlayment can make your wooden gym floor more comfortable for athletes, offering the shock absorption that indicates quality gym construction. You can still get the eye-catching look of a polished hardwood floor, but cork underlayments take the athletic quality of your flooring up to the next level.

Greatmats rubber cork gym flooring underlayment Other cork underlayments use a composite of cork and rubber such as our AcoustiCork underlayments. These flooring underlayments help to control sound and gives you the benefits of both rubber and cork.

Most of our cork or cork/rubber underlayments are available in rolls for easy installation. We have a couple options available in smaller sheet sizes such as 2x3 which could be easier to install in small areas or odd-shaped rooms.


Rubber and Cork Combination Gym Flooring

Greatmats FlexeCork Interlocking Cork Rubber Gym Tiles
Weight rooms see significant use and abuse, and rubber flooring gym cork is an excellent option for these intensely used areas. Our FlexeCork Interlocking Cork Rubber Tiles are environmentally friendly, yet durable enough to hold up to significant wear and tear. They are made with a combination of cork and rubber. The tiles are available in 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2 inch thicknesses, allowing you to decide how much protection your subfloor needs. The mix creates a designer look, while still retaining the shock absorption and durability that these materials are known for.

These rubber flooring gym cork tiles are available in a range of colors, so you can get the exact look that you desire. Both the cork and rubber content are recycled, making this flooring eco-friendly. The interlocking tiles are easy to install, and are ideal for weight rooms where only the strongest, most durable flooring will do. These tiles are 3x3 foot in size so they are great for larger gyms and weight rooms.


Greatmats Nuclear rubber flooring rolls bright colors cork floor
Our other cork and rubber product, Rubber Flooring Rolls 8 mm 90% Color Nuclear, is a two-ply flooring system. The top layer is 3 mm thick with 90% colored rubber and 10% black rubber material. The bottom base layer is 5 mm thick with a combination of cork and rubber material. The colored rubber top layer will give you a vibrant, colorful look in your gym. This two-ply flooring system provides you added durability, insulation, noise reduction and added protection to your floor from free weights or exercise equipment.



If you're considering new flooring for your gym, cork may be a practical investment. There are countless reasons to use cork for gym floors. If you have questions about the cork flooring products we offer, please give our Customer Service Representatives a call. We would be happy to answer your questions and provide you with product samples as you explore the options for your new gym flooring.

For more on this topic please review our Cork Flooring product page.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Tips for Soundproofing Kids Room Floors

Foam Flooring Is Excellent for Noise Reduction


By Paige Cerulli

Greatmats sound reducation kids room floors foam material
When kids are playing, you know it - even if you're in a completely different room of the house. That's why we offer many different flooring options that are safe for kids but that also help to dampen sound.

Replacing floors in your kids room can be an expensive and time consuming project. However, using a flooring that doesn't need to be glued down and can be installed quickly over your existing floor may be your best option.

Foam flooring is one such option that can reduce noise and provides padding from the hard floor. Most foam flooring options are available in interlocking tiles for easy installation. Carpet tiles with foam padding provide the feel of carpet but also additional sound reduction with the foam base. We have carpet tile options with the puzzle style edges for easy installation. Plus if you are renting, our puzzle floor tiles require no adhesive and can be easily removed.

Any of our kids flooring options will minimize sound in a room that previously had a hardwood or concrete floor. By adding a softer floor, like a foam tile, you'll instantly reduce the reverberation, and the impact that kids have when they make contact with the floor. 

With these flooring options, your kids can play safely, and less sound will travel through other areas of the house. Ready to start looking at your options? We've highlighted some options for kids flooring that help with sound below.

Options for Soundproofing Kids Floors

Here are just a few kids flooring options to consider that will quickly install over your existing hard flooring. And your kids will love these options as well.

Foam Floor Mats Premium

Greatmats soundproof nursery room floor foam floor
Want a flooring option that's available in eye-catching colors kids will love? Foam Floor Mats 5/8 Inch Premium are available in 15 brilliant colors. They're made of a soft EVA foam, making a comfortable surface perfect for play. These tiles are both lead and latex free, and are also waterproof and stain resistant, so they'll continue to look great.

Our Foam Floor Mats have a thatch design on one side for increased grip, while the other side has a smooth finish. Measuring 2x2 feet, the mats fit together just like puzzle pieces, making installation fast and easy. Each tile comes with 2 border strips, so you can create a finished island installation, or you can cut the mats for a wall-to-wall installation.

These mats will help to absorb the impact of your kids jumping around, reducing the sound that travels through the rest of the house.

Royal Interlocking Carpet Tile

Greatmats soundproof kids floor carpet tiles
Our carpet tile with a foam backing is another excellent option for sound reduction, especially if you want that feel of carpet but with more cushioning. Royal Interlocking Carpet Tiles have a plush, durable carpet top with a foam padding. These tiles are 5/8 inch thick to provide cushioning. These tiles are waterproof and stain resistant. With the carpet surface, you don't need to worry about kids slipping on the floor.
These carpet tiles measure 2x2 feet and fit together like puzzle pieces. No adhesive is necessary for installation. Each tile comes with 2 border strips for island installations. Royal Interlocking Carpet Tiles are easy to cut to fit with a sharp utility knife.

Home MMA BJJ Mats

Greatmats noise reduction foam flooring for kids
If your kids like to play and roughhouse, our Home MMA BJJ Mats may be a perfect choice. These mats are made of closed-cell foam, and because they're designed for use with martial arts, they offer excellent shock absorption. They're soft and cushioning, but are also firm enough to provide plenty of grip and traction. Additionally, a special tatami texture won't give your kids rug burns when their skin makes contact with the mat.

Home MMA BJJ Mats are waterproof, so cleanup is easy. They're lead and latex free, and even offer anti-fatigue properties. The tiles fit together like puzzle pieces, and each tile includes two border strips for an island installation.

These tiles offer excellent shock absorption, and can reduce the impacts that result when kids roughhouse. Because they are professional martial arts mats, they offer your kids great protection from injuries while also reducing the sound of their playtime.

Indoor Playground Foam Tiles

Greatmats soundproof kids room floors foam tiles
For a top-quality tile designed to withstand serious use, consider our Indoor Playground Foam Tiles. These tiles offer an impressive 4-foot ASTM fall height rating, meaning they offer superior shock absorption, which will help to keep kids safe. The tiles also have the same no-burn tatami texture as the Home MMA BJJ mats, so you know any marks left on the kids after the roughhouse won't be from the flooring.

These tiles are waterproof and non absorbent, so cleaning and disinfecting is easy. They're also lead and latex free, and are designed specifically for use with indoor playgrounds.

These tiles fit together like puzzle pieces. They're on the larger size, measuring 3.3x3.3 feet, so they're a better choice for a larger space, like a basement, than they are for a smaller, irregular shaped playroom.

Our Indoor Playground Tiles are a great option for kids flooring that help with sound. They're designed specifically to withstand significant impacts, and are a great choice for active kids.

Folding Gym Mats

Greatmats folding gym mats for kids
If you'd like to offer some extra protection to kids when they roughhouse and provide additional sound absorption, Folding Gym Mats may be just what you need. These mats are designed for use with gymnastics, and offer excellent shock absorption. If your kids are practicing gymnastics or just like to roughhouse, these mats can be put down on top of any existing flooring to provide additional protection when you need it. When done, fold the mats up and store them away - easy.

These mats can help with soundproofing kids floors in a number of different ways. Because they're so thick, they'll absorb much of the sound as kids play and jump around. They're a great temporary option that can be added to any room in just minutes, so if your kids play in different locations, they can help with sound reduction in different rooms.

Additionally, these mats can be placed up against walls, too. If you're in a space like a gym or a garage, placing mats against the walls can instantly reduce the reverberation in the room, reducing the noise volume, in turn.

Tips on Choosing Kids Flooring to Reduce Sound

Greatmats soundproof kids room floors foam mats
You'll find that you have many options when it comes to noise proof flooring for kids. Here are a few qualities that you should look for in the flooring. 
  • Sound Dampening Properties - Sound dampening properties are a must for kids flooring. Noise reducing floor tiles for kids rooms can make a significant difference in the noise that kids generate while at play. Quiet kids flooring won't only help to reduce the noise level in the room, but can also help to keep the sound from traveling through the rest of the house or to the apartment below you. 
  • Cushion and Comfort - Look for a tile that offers excellent cushion and comfort, especially if your kids like to spend time playing on the floor. Foam tiles tend to be the most popular option for this, since they're soft, flexible, and comfortable to sit and kneel on. 
  • Fall Height Protection - When it comes to flooring for a kids' space, you may want a product that offers an ASTM fall height rating. This is especially important for an indoor playground with playground equipment that kids could fall from. These products have been tested and proven to help reduce injuries that may result from a fall of a particular height. The greater the fall height rating, the more protection a product offers.  
  • Traction - Just as important as a fall height protection rating, a quality flooring option for kids needs to have adequate traction. Flooring can be slippery when kids are just wearing socks, so look for tiles that have a textured surface designed to help prevent falls.  
  • Non-Toxic Properties - Any flooring you consider for a kid's room needs to be non-toxic. Lead and latex-free flooring is a great choice.
  • Waterproof - A spilled drink can stain or damage a floor that isn't waterproof, so look for waterproof options for kids' areas. And when kids are involved, you definitely want something that's easy to clean!

Additional Options for Kids Flooring That Help With Sound

Greatmats SilentTread rubber flooring underlayment noise reduction
If you are planning on removing the old floors and installing new floors in your kids room, carpet is the most popular option for reducing noise from a kids room. Using a sound reducing floor underlayment is the best option especially if you will be installing laminate, hardwood, or hard tiles.  Rubber flooring underlayments that are made especially for sound reducing are one choice, such as our SilentTread Underlayment. Cork underlayments are another option for noise reduction. There are also cork/foam and cork/rubber blends of flooring underlayments designed to reduce sound.

If you're looking for more extensive noise reduction, then you may want to explore the use of soundproof ceiling tiles, wall panels, and other noise reduction options. The disadvantage here, though, is that these options can be cost-prohibitive and usually require a permanent installation.

For more on this topic please review our Kids Play Mats and Flooring product page.

Greatmats Kids Play Mats and Flooring

Greatmats Kids Flooring for Playrooms and Bedrooms

Monday, July 16, 2018

Creating a Dance Floor on Grass

You'll need a firm, flat surface for portable dance floor tiles

By Paige Cerulli

Greatmats portable dance floor tiles
One of the great advantages of portable dance floors is that they can be used in many different locations, so you can literally take the dance floor with you. Whether you're setting up a dance floor for a special performance or need a dance floor for a wedding or other event, you may find yourself in search of flooring for dance that can be used outdoors.

Dance floors are versatile, but they aren't all versatile enough to be used on grass. Grass poses a number of different challenges. First of all, you'll need an outdoor dance floor that can withstand moisture without being damaged. Outdoor use means that you'll need a floor that can withstand UV rays. Dance floors are meant to be installed on a flat surface so an uneven grass area can create challenges.

Don't worry, though - at Greatmats, we understand the importance of being able to install portable dance flooring over grass. That's why we stock a number of suitable temporary dance floor products that can give you the versatility that you're looking for.

What to Look for in a Dance Floor to Be Used on Grass

Waterproof Flooring

Make sure that any dance floor you consider for use on top of grass is fully waterproof. Even if you plan on covering the floor with a tent, there will still be moisture in the grass especially if the floor will be outside for more than a day. We offer plenty of waterproof flooring options that are suitable for outdoor use.

As an added benefit, if you're working with waterproof flooring, it's no big deal if a guest spills a drink. Cleanup is easy.

UV Protection

An outdoor dance floor will be exposed to UV rays, which can cause your average flooring to fade, and may even degrade the quality of the flooring over time. Look for a dance floor that has been treated with UV protection so that it can safely be exposed to the sun.

Portability

Greatmats portable dance floor tiles
If you will be carrying the dance floor for a distance, you will want a flooring that is lightweight. Dance floor tiles are conveniently sized and easy to lift and carry, so even if you're installing the floor in a large field, getting the flooring into location won't be an issue. This will make installing the portable dance flooring over grass easier, and depending on the size of your floor, it's a task that a single individual can perform; no need for a professional installation.

Easy Installation Method

When you're working with tiles, you'll want a flooring product that connects together easily. Most of our tiles have a snap together or tab and loop closure design. Either of these systems is easy to use, and lets you quickly connect and disconnect tiles. This means you can quickly assemble the dance floor, giving you plenty of time to finish with the rest of your event preparations.

Additional Tips on Choosing the Right Dance Floor

We outlined a few specifications above about what to look for in a dance floor that will be installed on grass, but there are a few other tips you should know about choosing a dance floor for any event or venue.

  • Consider the type of shoes dancers will be wearing - Footwear, particularly high heels, can damage some types of dance flooring. Make sure you select a product that's appropriate for what people will be wearing.
  • Think about the aesthetic that you want - Are you looking for a classic floor with a wood grain finish? Or is a more generic tile suitable for your needs? 
  • How large of a dance floor will you need - How many dancers will you have, and how large does your finished floor need to be? Remember, you can always add or remove tiles to customize the size and dimensions of your floor during different events. 
  • Think about additional accessories you'll need, like ramped edges. Many of our products are available with ramped edges for safety, and for an overall clean finish.

Here are a few of our tile options that are suitable for use as a dance floor on grass.

Portable Outdoor Floor Tiles

Greatmats portable tile for dance floor over grass
To create a flat, stable surface for your dance floor, consider our Portable Outdoor Floor Tiles. These tiles are recommended to use as a base for your dance floor especially if the outdoor area is not even. Then install your choice of dance flooring over the tiles. These tiles are extremely strong, and can even support the weight of vehicles. They can be used over many different existing surfaces, including uneven terrain. There's no worrying about finding a perfectly flat space, which will save you both time and stress. You can place these tiles directly on top of grass, and the tiles can even be rolled up for easy storage and a faster installation the next time.

These tiles can also be used as a stand alone dance floor depending on the type of dance. While they don't offer the traditional wood grain finish of a dance floor, they are highly versatile, making them a great investment for event facilities.

These tiles are both waterproof and UV treated, so they can be safely used outdoors. Their unique hinge system makes installation a breeze, as it quickly locks into place for a secure fit that won't separate during use.


Portable Dance Floor Tiles

Greamats portable dance floor over grass
Our Portable Dance Floor Tiles are versatile enough to be used both indoors and outdoors. These tiles are UV treated, so they'll resist fading when used outdoors. The tiles fit together tightly so you don't have to worry about them pulling apart while in use, and the commercial grade vinyl top surface is durable enough to hold up to serious dancing. Ramped border edging is available to create a clean, finished edge that is both safe and attractive.

One major benefit of these tiles is in their construction. The tiles themselves are built on a raised base, so air and moisture can circulate freely beneath the tile's surface. This helps to prevent water from working its way up to the actual dancing surface, even when the tiles are used outdoors.

Sized at 12x12 inches, these portable dance floor tiles are easy to handle and transport. You can vary the size of the floor by setting up just some or all of the tiles, and can also customize the floor's dimensions according to your needs. The tiles fit together quickly and easily, and you can assemble a 10x20-foot dance floor in just minutes. They can be installed over grass, but note that they're only intended for temporary outdoor installations and do still require a hard, flat surface. Significant bumps, spongy ground and/or mud in you grassy surface can cause the installation to become difficult and/or uneven.

With a choice of seven different finishes, including five wood grain options, you can have a beautiful floor suitable for any event.


Basketball Court Tile Gym Floor Pro

Greatmats portable dance floor outdoors
Want a durable dance floor with the look of real wood? Our Basketball Court Tile Gym Floor Pro product offers you both. These tiles feature a generous 20-mil wear layer that is both scuff and stain resistant, ensuring the tiles continue to look great. Please note that these tiles aren't UV treated, and should only be used outdoors temporarily and preferably in shade or an event tent.

These tiles offer a raised flooring surface which will grip and accommodate grassy surfaces. They snap together easily for a fast installation, and are designed to withstand repeated installations. These tiles are lightweight, weighing only 2 pounds, making transportation easy.

What You Need to Know About Installing a Dance Floor On Grass

Greatmats portable dance floor infographic
While the above products are suitable for use as a portable dance flooring over grass, it's important to realize that these products are only intended for temporary use. Don't leave them in place longer than necessary, and if possible, install a tent or find another way to protect the flooring from the weather, which will prolong its life. Another concern is leaving that leaving a dance floor for days on grass will leave an unattractive patch of brown, dead grass. When setting up for an event, be sure to keep in mind how long the floor will need to be installed.

When deciding where to install the dance floor, look for an area that is as flat and as level as possible. Installing the flooring on an uneven surface may make it difficult to get the tiles to connect correctly, and can place unnecessary stress on the tiles. It may also make the flooring itself uneven, and an uneven dance floor can be dangerous for dancers.

You'll have the best results if you install the flooring over grass that has been mowed, since it will create a firmer, flatter surface than you'll have if you're working with grass that is longer.

When it comes time to uninstall the flooring, try to do so when the flooring is thoroughly dry. If the weather isn't cooperating, then dismantle the flooring and allow it to dry indoors before stacking it and storing it away in a closed space.

Most of our dance flooring tiles are designed to be easy to clean, but be sure to review the specifications for the particular product that you purchase. In most cases, you can damp mop the floor with a household cleanser.

Please don't hesitate to contact our great customer service team if you have any questions as you explore our many outdoor dance floor options.
For more on this topic please review our Portable Dance Floors product page.

Friday, July 13, 2018

FAQs About Stall Mats for Horses and Cattle

Frequently Asked Questions about Stall Mats

By Julia Nass

Stall flooring is an important factor to consider in planning for the perfect conditions for horses and cattle. It makes a bigger difference in health and safety than many people realize. Although there are many options out there, rubber stall mats are an ideal flooring choice for cattle and equine environments. Below, you will find answers to some frequently asked questions about stall mats for horses and cattle.

What are Stall Mats Used For?


Greatmats rubber barn aisle mats
In general, horse mats and cow mats are most useful any place the animals spend an extended amount of time in, such as stables and stalls, barn aisles and wash bays. Some stall mats are portable and can be easily packed away and taken to animal shows. A number of users also utilize stall mats for vehicles and trailers to make transporting animals safer and more comfortable.

What Are Stall Mats Made Of?


Rubber is the most common and popular material for horse mats and cow mats, largely because it is remarkably long lasting and durable. It holds up under intense use and extreme weights. Rubber stall mats come in a variety of shapes and sizes - from lightweight, interlocking tiles to large rolls.

What Are the Benefits of Stall Mats?

1. Increased Comfort

Greatmats horse stall mats black
Cow and horse mats provide a more comfortable place for animals to lie on. With a supportive yet softer surface to lie on, animals are at less risk for body, joint and limb injuries, including arthritis. For cows in particular, it is extremely important they spend a significant amount of time lying down. If they do not have a comfortable surface, they will not spend as much time lying down, which decreases circulation and can affect their overall productivity.

2. Safety

Stall mats increase comfort and safety while cows and horses are standing and walking as well. Mats provide a significant amount of traction that prevent animals from slipping and falling. At the same time, mats provide an even surface for animals to walk across, so they are at less risk for tripping. Plus, a comfortable surface reduces hoof wear and tear, foot rot and heel warts.

3. Warmth


Greatmats horse stall mats in wash bay
Further, horse and cow stall mats provide insulation and warmth for animals , especially in the winter time. Unlike other surfaces, rubber stall mats prevent moisture and reduce the chill from the ground or concrete floor to permeate or reach the animals.

4. Hygiene

Maintaining hygiene in a barn environment can be difficult, but it is extremely important. Bacteria and disease must be warded off with fine hygiene practices, and using stall mats is a great start. They are easy to clean and disinfect, and some products are even anti-fungal and antibacterial. Stall mats are easily maintained by sweeping, vacuuming or hosing down.

5. Eco-Friendly

Most rubber stall mats are made from recycled rubber. Using recycled rubber products helps cut down on tire waste in landfills.

How Do Stall Mats Compare to the Alternatives?


Greatmats horse stall mats in grooming bay
Stall mats are a smart alternative to concrete, asphalt, and other hard flooring surfaces because they are far more comfortable and supportive. Hard surfaces are not comfortable for animals to lie down on, so they are less likely to lie down and rest. Unlike stall mats, concrete and asphalt can get slippery and unsafe when moisture is present. Wood flooring also gets very slippery when wet.

While other materials like topsoil, clay and sand may be easier on limbs and joints, they are not nearly as long-lasting or durable as stall mats. Clay, sand and topsoil need to be replaced far more frequently and are overall more high-maintenance than rubber mats. Some horses have a tendency to dig holes in clay stall surfaces making the surface uneven and harder to clean.

Cow mats and equine mats can be more expensive than other materials, but the investment pays off. Mats will remain intact and in great shape even years down the line.

How Much Are Stall Mats?


At Greatmats, stall mats range in price from $1.64 per square foot to $11 per square foot depending on size, thickness, material and style. Straight edged mats tend to be cheaper than interlocking mats. Rubber pavers that are used commonly used for barn aisles, outdoor pathways, and wash bays are the most expensive.

How Do I Choose the Right Stall Mats?


Greatmats wash stall rubber mats
When searching for a stall mat, make sure to find one that meets all of the above criteria. At Greatmats, doing so is easy. We provide a wide variety of cattle and equine mats that all meet the highest standards of durability, comfort, safety, and hygiene. Plus, Greatmats prioritizes affordability with quality. 

Related Blogs to Help You Choose Stall Mats



Greatmats offers a wide-range of products to meet more specific needs and a friendly customer service team to help you meet yours. If you are on a budget, the Greatmats team can help you find a quality product that will not break the bank. If you need something portable, Greatmats can help you find something lightweight and simple to install and remove. No matter the size or location of your barn, stall, wash bay or vehicle, Greatmats will help you find the perfect fit.

For more on this topic please review our Horse Stall Mats product page.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

What Materials are Martial Arts Puzzle Mats Made From?

Martial Arts Puzzle Mats Materials


By Paige Cerulli

Greatmats martial arts puzzle mats eva foam material
If you're creating a martial arts training space in your own home, tournament, or professional studio, then investing in interlocking martial arts mats is a must. These mats are specifically designed to give athletes exactly what they need in terms of support, traction, and shock absorption. They're able to do this because they're made of a special foam with unique properties.

What Are Martial Arts Puzzle Mats Made Of? EVA Foam Material

Interlocking martial arts mats also known as puzzle mats are made of a material called ethylene-vinyl acetate, also known as EVA foam. EVA foam is a closed-cell foam with elastic properties that give it  softness and flexibility.

Many people confuse EVA foam for rubber, but it doesn't actually contain any rubber. It is sometimes referred to as a ''foam rubber'' or ''expanded rubber."

Because EVA is a closed cell foam, it's firmer than open cell foams. EVA foam allows athletes to make subtle movements without having so much give or flexibility that they risk losing their balance, rolling an ankle or getting their foot stuck during a spin.

EVA foam is waterproof, so the mats are easy to clean. This is an essential quality that you'll want for health and hygienic purposes. You can vacuum and mop most mats with mild household floor cleaners (but please refer to the maintenance instructions for the specific product that you buy).

EVA foam, which serves as the puzzle mat foam, offers many benefits to martial artists. Interlocking martial arts mats create an ideal surface in terms of functionality, safety, and convenience.

Why Is EVA Foam Used for Martial Arts Mats

Greatmats martial arts puzzle mats eva foam
Martial arts mats need to be able to support athletes properly, remain durable enough to withstand both practices and competitions, and yet stay flexible enough to absorb significant shock as athletes jump, are thrown or tumble down onto the mats. That's a lot to demand of any flooring material.

EVA foam is up to the task. The composition of puzzle mats is essential in providing a safe area for athletes, and that's why EVA foam is so popular. One of the greatest benefits that EVA foam offers is its excellent shock absorption. EVA foam is firm enough to support athletes, giving them a surface to push off of and land on without throwing them off balance or being so soft that it impedes their movement. However, this foam offers such shock absorption that it can take the sting out of a throw or take-down. The shock absorption helps to minimize the chance of injury, whether during training or during an actual competition.

Lastly, EVA foam is durable, so martial arts puzzle mats last longer than other foam mats made up of softer foams. Martial arts mats can support significant weight and can withstand plenty of use. Many mats are reversible, so you can use both sides and maximize the use you get out of the mats.

Choosing The Right Martial Arts Interlocking Mats for Your Needs

Now that you're familiar with the composition of puzzle mats, how do you choose the mats that are right for your needs? You'll want to weigh a number of different factors when evaluating mats for martial arts studios and training spaces.

Composition of Puzzle Mats

Pay particular attention to how the mats are made, and the material used within them. As noted above, EVA foam is ideal for martial arts mats. At Greatmats, we stock a selection of quality puzzle mats all made of EVA foam. If you're shopping elsewhere, though, you might see mats advertised for martial arts use that have a different composition.

Make sure that any mat you consider is both firm enough and offers adequate shock absorption to help keep athletes safe. Buying a low-quality mat that isn't specifically made for martial arts may result in a surface that athletes find difficult to train on. It could also put their safety at risk.

Thickness

Greatmats eva foam puzzle mats thickness martial arts mats
Even if a mat is made of EVA foam, it's still important to make sure that it's of an appropriate thickness for martial arts use. The thicker the mat, the more shock absorption it can offer. You may find thinner mats measuring 1 inch or less that are advertised for martial arts use. These mats are designed for striking arts, but are not generally recommended for throwing or grappling arts.

For grappling martial arts use, we recommend a thicker mat, which can help to optimize safety. Our thickest martial arts puzzle mats measure 1-5/8 inch and offer a 4-foot critical fall height rating, which creates a nice, thick surface to help keep athletes safe.

If you already have puzzle mats but they're too thin or don't offer enough shock absorption, using a foam underlayment can help. Placing a foam roll underlayment beneath your puzzle tiles can lead to increased impact absorption, and may work as a temporary fix. Make sure that you don't just use the foam underlayments alone; they are designed to be covered by another surface and can be damaged if they're used as the only flooring layer.

Safety Surfaces

Greatmats tatami martial arts puzzle mats
If you've ever been thrown onto a mat and made contact with your bare skin, then you probably know how painful a friction burn can be. That's why some puzzle mats are made specifically to help prevent this painful problem. Many of our martial arts mats, such as our Home MMA BJJ Mats, feature a no-burn tatami surface. This helps to prevent rug burns, allowing you to practice and compete in comfort.

Waterproof Qualities

Look for martial arts mats that are waterproof. A waterproof, non-absorbent mat is a healthier option for a practice or competition space. It also makes for a surface that is easy to clean up, since you can damp mop and easily disinfect the surface if needed. Plus, if someone spills a water bottle, it's no big deal and can be easily and quickly cleaned up.

Reversible Design

Greatmats reversible eva foam puzzle mats martial arts
You may want to consider a reversible martial arts tiles. This is beneficial for a number of reasons. If you're working with colored tiles, purchasing dual-sided tiles that have different colors on each side means you can easily create fun patterns or mark competition rings. Just flip the tiles over to reveal the different colors.

EVA foam color tone variations can, and will likely, occur within the same batch of mats. Even EVA foam mats that are made at the same manufacturer within minutes of each other can vary in color. This is common with all EVA foam. Creating a checkerboard pattern will help to make the color variations less noticeable if that is a concern for you.

But there's another benefit to reversible tiles: If one side gets worn or damaged, you can flip the tile over and keep using it. This design allows you to get the maximum use possible out of the flooring, which is a real benefit if you use the flooring heavily.

Strong Interlock Design

Greatmats martial arts puzzle mats interlocking designPuzzle tiles are easy to work with because they fit together like puzzle pieces. You can remove, reinstall, and even expand the floor by adding on new tiles in the future. Do keep in mind, however, that if you've been using your mats for an extended period of time, compression may have taken place and it my take a little time for the new tiles to match up uniformly in terms of thickness at the interlocks.

When choosing a flooring product, make sure that the tiles fit together securely, so that they won't separate during a training or competition. At Greatmats, all of our martial arts mats are made to be the highest quality possible. While it's easy to connect the tiles, the seams fit tightly, so they remain secure while the floor is in use.

You may also want to look for a product that comes with border strips. If you're performing an island installation in the middle of a room, you can add border strips on to the exterior edges, giving the floor a clean, finished appearance. This also helps protect your interlocking edges.


For more on this topic please review our Martial Arts Mats product page.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Create a Soft Patio or Deck Floor for Kids

Look for flooring with cushion, fall protection and drainage

Greatmats deck flooring for kids soft and safe

By Paige Cerulli

When you have kids, you quickly realize how many hazards your average house contains. Hard surfaces can be dangerous, especially for young children, and a slip or a fall can result in an injury. Patio flooring is one area where this issue often occurs.

Many patios have stone tiles or are made of concrete. Not only are these surfaces hard and unforgiving, but they can also get slick when they're wet. Combine this with energetic kids, and accidents are bound to happen.

Luckily, you don't have to settle for a stone or concrete patio, even if that's what you currently have. There are plenty of kid friendly patio tiles that can make the area safer, softer, and more forgiving.

Qualities to Look for in Soft Patio Flooring for Children

There are a few qualities that you should look for in all kid friendly patio tiles:

  • Cushioning - Safe patio floor tiles should be soft, forgiving, and able to absorb the shock of a fall. Not only are these tiles safer, but they're also more comfortable underfoot. You'll find that kids and the whole family will appreciate the cushioned patio decking.
  • Fall height rating - Some patio tiles offer a fall height rating that have been proven to help absorb impact and minimize the potential injuries that could result from a fall. Flooring tiles offer various fall height ratings, ranging from inches to multiple feet. The greater the fall height rating, the greater the amount of protection a tile can potentially offer. 
  • Traction - An ideal patio safety surface will be designed to provide maximum traction, even when the surface gets wet. You'll find that there are many different surface designs that help to maximize traction. 
  • Drainage - Good drainage is another feature that you may want on your patio. Standing water can make flooring slick, so look for a tile with plenty of drainage to quickly move water off of the surface. When a tile is designed to maximize drainage, you can start using the surface again soon after a rainfall.

At Greatmats, we offer many kid friendly patio tiles that are equipped with the above qualities, and more. These tiles can be placed on top of your existing patio flooring to make it a safer, more enjoyable space for your whole family.

Greatmats Patio Flooring Options for Kids

Greatmats staylock perforated tiles blue gray patio flooring children

Here are a few of our favorite options when it comes to soft patio flooring for children.

StayLock Perforated Tiles

StayLock Perforated tiles are a great choice if you're looking for safe, cushioning patio flooring with drainage. The tiles have a non-slip surface, and a 20-inch ASTM fall height rating. They're also waterproof and perforated. They can be used around pools, spas, and decks. The StayLock tiles also have anti-fatigue benefits making a comfortable surface. The raised base design allows air and water to freely circulate beneath the tile. This helps to prevent mold and mildew growth, making for a safer, healthier space for your family. 
Did we mention the colors? These tiles are not only available in black but light blue, dark green, terra cotta, tan, gray, and custom colors as well. The interlocking design will allow you to install these tiles yourself if you choose and you can easily remove these tiles and relocate them.

Patio Outdoor Tiles

Greatmats kid safe patio tile pool deck tile patio outdoor tile
Our Patio Outdoor Tiles are made of a flexible PVC material that is comfortable underfoot. The tiles are perforated, so water quickly drains through them. This helps to avoid mold and mildew growth. The tiles are UV stable, so they can be used outdoors without fading or degrading. They're comfortable in bare feet, and snap together for a fast and easy DIY installation without any adhesive required. These tiles are common on pool decks because they provide traction even when wet. Unlike our Staylock Tiles, these tiles do not have a fall height rating. Our Patio Outdoor Tiles also feature an interlocking installation design for easier installation. Some people use these tiles to make temporary and portable patios.

Greatmats kid safe patio flooring Ergo Matta Perforated Tile

Ergo Matta Perforated Outdoor Tiles

Ergo Matta Perforated Outdoor Tiles are designed to make for a safe flooring surface and are excellent for use with younger children. These tiles have a 20-inch fall height rating and are made of a forgiving PVC plastic, making them popular for use in both preschools and playgrounds.

These tiles are available in 8 brilliant colors that children are sure to love. They can be installed directly on your existing patio, and their perforated design offers excellent drainage. The tiles interlock for a fast and easy installation. They're suitable for use in an impressively wide range of temperatures from -22 degrees F to +194 degrees F. Versatile and durable, these tiles are a great way to add comfort and safety to your patio.

Life Floor Super Grip Ripple Tiles 7/8 Inch

Greatmats outdoor kids safe floor Life Floor Super Grip Ripple Tiles
Life Floor Super Grip Ripple Tiles are one of the safest choices for patios where moisture is often present. These tiles are designed to reduce slips and falls in wet areas. The rubber foam tile is comfortable and forgiving underfoot, and is equipped with a super grip top surface texture that offers the highest traction rating when wet. In addition to maximizing traction to prevent falls, these 7/8 inch thick tiles offer a 4-foot ASTM fall height rating to minimize injury if falls do occur. They're UV stable and can be used in both very hot and very cold climates, making them a versatile outdoor patio tile solution. These tiles are backed by a 5-year warranty, so you can buy with confidence.

Please note that unlike the interlocking tiles mentioned above, these tiles need to be installed using commercial grade contact cement. They're a long-term solution to patio flooring for kids. 

Life Floor Slate Tiles 3/8 Inch

Greatmats Life Floor Slate Tiles kids patio flooring non slip
Life Floor Slate Tiles are made with the same material as the Super Grip Ripple Tiles mentioned above but in a slate texture and look that will give you a designer look. This tile helps to reduce slips and falls on decks, patios, and pool areas. The rubber foam material is soft and cushioning and kids will love playing on it. These tiles offer a 1-foot ASTM fall height rating to minimize injuries if a fall occurs. Life Floor tiles need to be glued down when installing outdoors.

These slate textured tiles are available in a variety of colors including shades of greys, blues, creams, and terra cotta.


How to Choose the Right Patio Flooring For Kids

Greatmats staylock perforated tiles kids patio flooring
As you see, Greatmats offers a variety of kid friendly patio tiles. Wondering which tile is right for you? Here are some points that can help you to make your decision.
  • How likely is it that a kid will fall on the flooring? If your kids are younger or more prone to a fall, then you'll want a tile with significant fall height protection.
  • Will you be using the patio during or right after a rain? If so, finding a tile that maximizes drainage is important. 
  • What is the existing surface in your patio now? Most tiles can be installed directly over any hard, flat surface. 
  • Will you be installing the tiles yourself, or hiring someone to do the project? 
  • Will the tiles be left in place year-round? If so, then you will want a product that can be used in a wide temperature range. 
  • Is it important to you that the tiles are modular and can be removed, or are you willing to purchase a product that must be permanently installed? 
  • What is the overall look that you want your finished patio to have? Do you want brightly colored tiles, or something more reserved? 
  • Is it important to you that the tiles be made out of recycled materials? 
  • What is your budget for the project?

If you're still wondering about which kid friendly patio tiles are right for your needs, please contact our excellent customer service team. Our flooring experts can help you find the right soft patio flooring for children, and can also provide product samples and quotes.

With our wide selection of soft patio flooring for children, you're sure to find the right product for your needs here at Greatmats. These patio tile options are designed with safety and comfort in mind, and can transform your existing patio into an ideal space for your entire family to enjoy. 
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For more on this topic please review our Patio Tiles product page.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

How to Purchase Rubber Flooring Guide

How to Buy Rubber Flooring


By Julia Nass


Greatmats rubber flooring in commercial fitness center
Congratulations - you are officially in the process of purchasing rubber flooring. With so many companies and products to choose from, planning for a rubber floor can be an intimidating process to engage in. How do you possibly find a rubber flooring product that is just right for you? Well, the fact you are reading this right now means you are on the right track. The following is a checklist to make sure you have all of your bases covered while you are purchasing rubber flooring.

1. Learn About Rubber Flooring


A perfect way to get a general rundown of buying rubber flooring is to head to Greatmats.com and review our rubber flooring page.

You will find a wide variety of some of Greatmats' best and most popular rubber flooring products, but you may not be quite reading to delve into specifics yet. Instead, scroll to the bottom of the page. There, you will find a comprehensive summary of purchasing rubber flooring. Skim over the Frequently Asked Questions for a general run down on rubber products and their different uses. You can also find information about rubber as an environmentally friendly product.

Planning for a rubber floor also requires you to choose between the three most common rubber product types: rubber rolls, mats, and tiles. Each style boasts different benefits depending on where and how you plan on using your new rubber floor. As you read about each, consider which style might work best for you. 
For blogs and how-to guides, visit our Rubber Flooring Buyer's Guide. Guides for cleaning and installing rubber flooring will be helpful for your purchase. Other blogs will help you to choose the best rubber flooring for your needs.

2. Get to Know Your Options


Greatmats rubber flooring mat thickness options
Now that you have a better sense of buying rubber flooring, you can hone in on more specifics. Search products by price range or intended use. Greatmats makes it easy to find products specifically designed for some of the most popular rubber flooring uses: home gyms, weight rooms, stalls, barns, playgrounds, rooftop decks and more.

There are so many options in rubber flooring that it can be overwhelming. Rubber floors can be as thin as 2 mm or as thick as 5 inches. Commercial rubber flooring for retail stores and hospitals tend to be very smooth and in a variety of colors that you wouldn't normally expect from rubber. Rubber flooring is available in mats, tiles, and rolls. Rubber tiles can have various types of interlocking edges. There are also recycled, virgin, and vulcanized rubber types. Rubber can be smooth or with diamond or pebble surface textures for increase traction. Did we mention colors? Choose solid black or with various color flecks mixed in. There are also rubber products that are mostly colored with no or very little black in them.

Descriptions will give you a sense for a products' installation process, durability and comfort, weight and dimensions, maintenance and, of course, cost. As you start comparing different products, be sure to check out customer reviews. Many customers post photos along with their review, so you can get a feel for the style and aesthetics of products after installation. Looking at different products will give you a sense of what to expect in a rubber floor and what kind of questions you may still have.

3) Speak With a Greatmats Flooring Expert


Greatmats rubber flooring rolls
At this point in your planning for a rubber floor, you probably have some different options that strike your fancy. So how do you choose? Let a Greatmats Flooring Expert help. The customer service team has a wealth of knowledge on rubber flooring. They are happy to answer any remaining questions you may have. Or, once you give them a sense for what exactly you are looking for, they can help you narrow down your search.

If you are feeling stuck in between a few different products, the Greatmats team is happy to set you up with free samples. Further, you can check in about volume discounts. Plus, Greatmats offers a price match guarantee - so you can be confident you are getting the best possible deal when purchasing rubber flooring.

The friendly folks at Greatmats are on your side. They want to help you find success and satisfaction in buying rubber flooring. You can order products over the phone, or customer service can support you in ordering online. Greatmats dedicates itself to not only providing the best products, but the best shopping experience as well.

4. Get to Know Your New Product Inside and Out


Greatmats installing rubber tiles demonstration
Once you have landed on a product, make sure you have all of the installation and maintenance information you need. You can find general information on rubber flooring in the Greatmats Buyer's Guide. There, you can find blogs and videos that go into detail on installing, cleaning and maintaining rubber floors. 

Most products can be upkept by sweeping, vacuuming or damp mopping with a neutral pH cleaner. Each product page also outlines cleaning protocol, so make sure you are familiar with those product-specific guidelines before you begin to use your product.

Product pages and blogs can also assist you in determining how best to install your new rubber floor. They will outline if adhesives should be used or not. Sometimes, flooring must be cut in order to fit a space. Usually, this can be done easily with a sharp utility or box knife. Overall, installation of many Greatmats rubber flooring products tends to be a simple, do-it-yourself project.

5. Enjoy Your Rubber Floor


Greatmats rubber flooring infographic mats rolls tiles The final step in purchasing rubber flooring is of course to sit back and enjoy it for years to come. Rubber floors are some of the most durable and long-lasting floors out there. Many of Greatmats products are under warranty. If a need to replace any flooring product arises, Greatmats will once again be there to assist and make the experience as happy as possible. 

For more on this topic please review our Rubber Flooring product page.