Friday, June 29, 2018

How to Remove the Odor from Rubber Flooring

Plan Ahead for Rubber Odor Elimination

By Paige Cerulli

Greatmats rubber mats odor elimination
There are countless benefits to using rubber mats. They're versatile, highly durable, and incredibly strong. Rubber flooring and mats can withstand significant weight, and also offer excellent protection to your subfloor. But there's often one problem: The rubber flooring smell.

When you install rubber mats indoors, you may quickly start to notice a rubber flooring odor. Some rubber materials have a stronger smell than others. That rubber odor can be overwhelming especially if you've installed many mats in a smaller space, like a weight room or a garage. That smell can give people headaches, and if you're running a business then it could potentially drive people away.

But don't worry. We have a number of rubber odor elimination tips to help.

First, let's take a look at why the odor occurs.

Why Rubber Mats Smell

Rubber mats naturally give off an odor because they're made of rubber. Some people are sensitive to rubber odors, while others don't mind them so much - especially if they choose a low odor option.

Rubber flooring, particularly those made from vulcanized recycled rubber, can smell strongly, especially when they are brand new. Some mats made of vulcanized rubber are treated to help minimize the odor. Other mats, such as those intended for outdoor use on playgrounds or barns, carry a significant odor.

When you smell the rubber from a mat, you're actually smelling the mat giving off volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. Nearly all scents and odors derive from VOCs. These compounds have been trapped in the rubber, but as the mat is exposed to the air and left in place for a while, the release of VOCs will slow down and the odor will fade.

How to Get Rid of the Rubber Smell

1. Choose Appropriate Mats

Greatmats rubber mat thickness
If you haven't yet purchased your rubber mats, then make sure you read this section. Avoiding a rubber odor in the first place is far easier than rubber odor removal after the fact, so it's important to realize that some rubber mats have stronger odors than others.

At Greatmats, we make sure to identify when a rubber mat has a particularly strong odor, so you can tell whether it's the right choice for your intended use. These mats may be just fine for use in large gyms, outdoor spaces or horse barns, but you wouldn't want to use them in a smaller basement or garage with little ventilation.

As you choose your rubber mats, keep potential odor issues in mind. If you have any questions about the odor of the mat, contact our customer service team.
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2. Use a Neutral pH Cleaner

Cleaning your new rubber mats immediately before install can help to minimize the odor. Use a neutral pH cleaner such as Simple Green or PineSol, and thoroughly clean both sides of the mat. It's ideal if you can do this outdoors, rather than bringing the mat inside first. Allow the mat to thoroughly dry before you install it.

If you have a stack of mats, be sure to pull the mats out and clean each mat individually. Allowing the mats to remain stacked will cause them to retain their odor, rather than encouraging that odor to dissipate. 
If you are installing rubber flooring rolls or tiles, it may be time consuming and difficult to clean both sides of the floor. Instead, clean the flooring after installation.

3. Outgas With Sunning

Greatmats rubber flooring odor removal
Outgassing is a method to remove the rubber odor before installation. Earlier, we explained that the rubber odor you smell is the rubber releasing VOCs. You can speed up the process of the rubber releasing VOCs by using the natural power of the sun. Solar heat causes rubber to release (also referred to as outgassing) VOCs.

If you're going to sun your rubber mats, it's best to do it during the summer, when the sun is strongest. However, the method is still effective during other times of the year, too. Depending on the specific rubber mat you're working with, you may need to sun it for a few hours up to a few weeks before the process of outgassing is complete.

To sun your mat, follow these directions on how to get rid of rubber smell:

  • Lay your mats outside and put them in a sunny location - ideally before you've installed them. If you have already installed your mats without adhesive, you can pull them out and put them in a sunny location. Look for a spot where your mats will be exposed to direct sunlight for as many hours as possible. If feasible, you may want to move the mats throughout your yard to keep them in the sunniest, hottest locations during the day - this will speed up the process.
  • Strategically position your mats. It's important to position the mats in a way so that they have air circulation beneath them. Consider propping them up against a fence, pallet or a shed. You will also need to rotate the mats throughout the periodically so that both sides and all areas of the mats receive adequate sunlight. To avoid additional labor, avoid sunning the mats over lawns or dirty, muddy areas. If left for extended periods of time, the mats will kill the grass underneath them. If sunned in a dirt area, your mats may require additional scrubbing before installing them indoors. 
  • Check by smelling your mats. After sunning the mats for a day, check them by smelling them. If you can still smell a strong odor, then your mats will need more sunning. It can take hours, days, or weeks to outgas a rubber mat.

Most rubber mats are durable enough to withstand limited sunning, but if you ever try this strategy with another type of flooring or another product, realize that other materials may be more sensitive to sunlight. Excessive sun can bleach or fade products, and you should never sun a foam or latex product.

Make sure that your mats are thoroughly dry and odor-free before you bring them indoors and install them.

4. Maximize Ventilation

Greatmats interlocking rubber flooring installation
Proper ventilation is key to eliminating rubber smell. If you have your mats installed in a space with poor ventilation, you'll quickly find that the rubber odor will build up and only get stronger.

Start by opening all of the windows in the space, then work on establishing a breeze through the room. You may need to run fans to help circulate the air and push the air out of the building in the early stages of installation. When working in a large spaces, bringing in industrial-sized fans can help to give you the power and air movement that you need. Position fans so that they carry the air across the room and out of a window or door. If you can get a strong cross-ventilation going, this can help to quickly air out the room.

Ventilation can help significantly, especially during the first few days and weeks after you've installed the mats. Make sure that you have the windows open and fans going as often as possible until the smell has dissipated to an acceptable level.

5. Store Mats Strategically

Greatmats rubber mats stacked on pallet
If you're working through the above suggestions, you may not want to immediately bring your rubber mats indoors. Eliminating rubber smell can be more difficult in a small space, especially if you're living in that space during the process.

If you have a garage or shed, this might make an ideal storage space as you work on eliminating rubber smell in the mats. Storing the mats elsewhere will help to minimize the odor that you have to deal with.

6. Be Patient

When you first install your rubber, the smell will be at its strongest, probably leaving you wondering how to get rid of rubber smell. However, as a little time passes, the smell will dissipate. After a few weeks, you likely won't notice the smell at all, especially if you use some of the rubber odor elimination techniques listed above.

When it comes to eliminating rubber smell, a bit of patience is often necessary. Make sure that you start with a low-odor product, which will make the overall process easier. If you need to have your mats installed by a particular date, order them well ahead of time so that you have plenty of time to work on rubber odor elimination.

Tips for Businesses

If you'll be bringing rubber mats into your business, like a gym, then you probably won't have the luxury of being able to take your time in airing out a space and installing the mats gradually. In this situation, it's wise to advise your clients ahead of time that the installation will be taking space. Anyone who is highly sensitive to smells will have some notice to find an alternative situation for a few days.

When you notify clients, be sure to highlight the steps you'll be taking in eliminating rubber smell. Remind the clients of the benefits that the new mats will offer, and explain that you're aware that the odor may be a problem and that you have a rubber odor elimination plan in place.

Your New Rubber Mats

Rubber mats offer countless benefits, and they can make a space more versatile, safer, and even more comfortable. The smell won't last forever, and the above steps can help to get rid of the rubber smell so you can get back to enjoying the space even sooner. 

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

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Keeping Pool Decks From Getting Too Hot

Picking the right pool deck surface can make a world of different

By Paige Cerulli

Greatmats cooler pool deck tiles staylock perforated tiles
There's nothing better than spending a hot summer day by the side of your pool. It's the perfect place to lounge, keep an eye on the kids, and just soak in the sun. But homeowners and pool facility owners alike face a common issue: keeping pool decks from getting too hot.

If you've ever made your way across the pool deck in the middle of a sunny summer day, you've likely encountered the problem. Bare feet and hot pool decking don't make a great match. At best, the experience is an uncomfortable one. At worst, you or your kids can end up with burnt feet.

Luckily, there are a few types of pool deck flooring that will be cooler.

Cooler Pool Deck Flooring Options


Rubber/Foam Blend Tiles

Greatmats life floor outdoor deck tile slate
Life Floor pool deck tiles are ideal for outdoor pool surrounds, since they're temperature stable, highly durable, and suitable for use in wet areas. These tiles are made of a rubber foam blend, making them comfortable and forgiving, yet also durable. The tiles actually maintain a stable temperature no matter the weather, whereas concrete and asphalt becomes hot and uncomfortable. In hot temperatures and direct sunlight, the rubber/foam tiles feel cooler to the touch than concrete or rubber pavers.

Not only are these tiles ideal for areas where heat buildup is a concern, but they also offer many other features that you would want to see in any quality pool deck surface. The ripple texture maximizes traction even when the surface is wet, helping to prevent falls. If falls do occur, many of these tiles have a 1-foot or greater ASTM fall height rating, depending on the thickness, to help minimize potential injury.

Designed for use in very hot and cold climates, Life Floor tiles are highly durable and make a great investment. They are backed by a 5-year warranty, and are UV stable to keep the tiles looking great. These tiles are available in a slate or super grip ripple surface. The slate texture will give you the look of stone tiles but with additional safety features. The ripple surface provide additional traction where kids are running when the floor is wet.


Perforated Plastic Tiles

Greatmats patio outdoor tiles perforated cool deck tile
Perforated plastic tiles or mats are another great way to keep the pool deck temperature down. Air can flow through the tiles, which will help keep things cooler. Additionally, there is not as much surface area for the sun to heat up. Consider our Staylock Perforated Tiles or Patio Outdoor Tiles that many customers have chosen for their outdoor pool decks. 


Artificial Grass Turf

You may want to consider artificial grass as an option, too. Artificial turf can make for a natural looking area, while also doubling as a surface that is comfortable to walk on especially when natural cork infill is used instead of rubber infill which can absorb heat.


Lighter Colors

Greatmats life floor cream colored sandstone color pool flooring
Consider choosing a lighter color pool deck tile such as light blue, light grey or cream colors, no matter what type of pool deck flooring you ultimately choose. Dark colored flooring will absorb heat and will heat up much faster and be hotter than light colored flooring.


Add Shade Over Pool Deck

Greatmats pool deck tile with pool umbrellas for shade
When dealing with hot pool decking, another alternative is to create a way to shade part or all of the deck area. There are plenty of cost-effective, simple ways to do this.

The most basic way to create a shaded area to prevent hot pool decking is to invest in large patio umbrellas. You might also find that an awning that works for your needs.

If you're looking for something more permanent, then you'll need to identify the areas that receive the most sun and need the most shade. Planting a line of tall, dense shrubs or trees can create a natural, attractive barrier to the sun, so your deck stays cool for most of the day.  

If you shop around a bit, you'll find that there are all sorts of alternatives, including shade sails that stretch across your pool and the deck. Some pool owners opt to build covered outdoor spaces for lounging that lead directly into the pool. A small cabana may be the perfect in-between option to create a cool pool deck, depending on your space and your budget.

Want the ability to adjust your shade as the sun moves throughout the day? Retractable shade canopies may be the perfect solution. These adjustable options allow you to shade the surface during the hottest times of the day, but you can then retract the shade so you can soak up the sun as the day cools down. You can also retract these barriers on cooler days when you want more sun and warmth. 


Other Considerations for Choosing Pool Deck Tiles

atmats perforated pool decking tiles
Start by identifying the problematic areas of your pool surround - are there particular spaces that are frequently hot, or areas that see high traffic and need the most attention? Investing in a product to cover those areas can help to keep them more comfortable and safer, while saving you the expense of needing to remove the existing flooring to replace it with another flooring.

Keep in mind that you'll want any product you choose to have particular qualities if it will be used around a pool:
  • Comfortable: Choose a flooring that is comfortable under bare feet. Look for something that is forgiving, and ideally a product that offers fall height protection to help minimize injury in the event of a fall.
  • Waterproof: If you'll be using flooring around a pool, you need it to be waterproof. If water repeatedly is absorbed into a product, it will damage the flooring and shorten its life. This can also lead to mold and mildew issues. 
  • Designed for drainage: Standing water will happen almost immediately if you choose a flooring product that isn't designed to provide plenty of drainage. Look for a perforated tile or a tile that is designed to help channel water away from the surface, maximizing safety. 
  • Traction: Any product you consider must be designed to maximize traction. Look for a product with a textured surface that will provide grip, even when it gets wet. 
  • UV stable: When choosing flooring to be used outdoors, look for a UV stable option. The sun's rays can fade and degrade the quality of flooring, but products with UV protection are made specifically to withstand the demands of outdoor use. 
If you can't change the pool decking product that's already been installed, that's okay - many of our products can be installed over the existing pool decking. Our Staylock Perforated Tiles and Patio Outdoor Tiles can be installed over many types of flat and uneven surfaces like wood, concrete, tiles, and even grass. Life Floor tiles can be installed over a hard, flat surface like concrete or plywood. 
Greatmats perforated pool area tiles blue 
If you aren't looking to install a whole new flooring, consider installing perforated tiles or mats in areas where people will be frequently walking barefoot. Create a perimeter around your pool and pathways to your house with pool deck tiles or mats.

For more on this topic please review our Swimming Pool Decks Flooring Tiles product page.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Foam Flooring Installation Guide

How to Install Foam Flooring - Tiles, Mats & Rolls

Greatmats foam flooring installation guide
Foam flooring is quite possibly the easiest material of flooring to install. Foam floors comes in many forms including tiles, rolls and mats - and can use either closed or open cell foam materials.

While foam flooring has built a reputation as a go-to flooring for kids rooms and athletic facilities, the uses extend far beyond the gym or playroom. They have become a staple portable anti fatigue and show flooring solution for professional trade show booths as well as virtually every room in the house.

As the foam flooring industry has evolved, you can even find foam floors that look like wood or cork, some even have carpet or vinyl tops. 

Let's take a look at the most common installation methods for each type of foam floor.

How to Install Interlocking Foam Tiles 

When it comes to installing foam flooring tiles, just think about it as one of the easiest jumbo sized jigsaw puzzles you've ever seen. If you are building a foam floor out of all center tiles, each tile will have the same size (generally 2x2 feet or 1x1 meter) and shape (most often square). It's just a matter of whether or not they feature a universal interlocking system and whether or not they are reversible.

Foam tiles with universal interlocks can be connected together in any direction without disrupting the flow of your floor. If they do not have a universal interlocking system, the tiles will be directional - meaning you should watch for arrows on the back side or unique corners that will guide you in making sure the tiles all face the same direction.

Closed cell foams such as EVA foam is the most common material for foam tiles. Many EVA foam tiles are reversible and some even give you a different color or texture option on the flip side.

Greatmats install foam flooring tiles interlocking
Others foam tiles will have one finished surface and one clear underside. This option will most likely be the case if your foam tiles have a vinyl or carpet topped surface. It will also most likely apply if the foam is a cross-linked polyethylene variety - rather than EVA. If your foam flooring is a extra cushiony mat wrapped in vinyl, it will likely have an open cell foam core, such as polyurethane foam.

Another benefit is that these tiles are typically very easy to custom cut if necessary using little more than a sharp utility knife. The tiles are also conveniently sized for easy transportation and installation.

One drawback to this type of flooring, however is the fact that the puzzle edges may be visible at the seams and leaves a non-traditional edge to your flooring if you do not cut them to fit for wall-to-wall installation.

Luckily, many varieties of interlocking foam tiles also come with border strips to give you a finished straight edge on your floor. Others offer edge and corner pieces with built in finished edges. If the mat is thick enough, you may even find options with beveled edges on the straight sides or ramped border strips.

Foam Flooring Rolls Installation

Greatmats martial arts foam roll underlayment
If you're looking to cover a big area and without many seams, foam rolls are the way to go. Roll out  foam flooring typically uses a cross-linked polyethylene foam base, covered with a carpet or vinyl surface material. The foam base is typically scored for easier rolling. Keep in mind, these mats should not flipped over as the bottom side of the mat is not designed for direct contact with foot traffic, equipment or furniture.

You can also find foam rolls that are designed specifically to add a cushioned underlayment layer under other floors. This is most common for athletic environments. This rolls will not be scored, as they are typically thinner and easier to roll, but you still should not use them without an added surface flooring layer.

Greatmats vinyl roll out mats foam mats
The scored version with an already bonded surface layer will be easier to install than underlayment foam rolls as they lay much flatter even after being stored in a rolled up position for long periods of time. Underlayment rolls will have some memory from being rolled up - another good reason for installing another surface over top, as its weight helps flatten out the foam floor.

Rolled foam flooring will cover large spaces much faster than tiles and leave far fewer seams. In most cases, these floors will not need adhesives for installation, but double sided tape can be used in some situations. Connecting the rolls will require the use of tape or hook and loop connector strips, depending on the surface material.

With all closed cell foam flooring installations, keep in mind that the foam material will expand and contract with temperature and humidity variations, so make sure you remember to leave approximately 1/2 inch of room around the perimeter of the foam floor so that it can expand without causing the flooring to buckle.

Foam Mat Installation

Greatmats folding foam gym mats hook and loop velcro
The major difference with foam floor mats is that they are able to be used alone, without the need for multiple mats to be joined together. Many can, however, be joined together to make a larger matted flooring surface.

In many cases, foam rolls are often known as foam mats, but foam floor mats also come in a couple other forms. There are folding mats, gymnastics mats and traditional 1x2 meter martial arts mats. The core material for these can vary from polyethylene foam to polyurethane foam to a combination of the two.

Greatmats foam gymnastics mats pink folding matsFolding foam mats are not generally designed for permanent installations - thus the folding feature. These mats are designed for portability and the ability to store in a much more compact form. With that being said, they generally come with hook and loop connector strips on either two or four sides. This allows to stick multiple mats together to make either a tumbling runway or expand your flooring in multiple directions to a much wider padded surface. 
Competition landing mats for gymnastics are the largest size foam mats available. These skill cushion mats can be up to 8x18 feet in size and up to 12 inches thick. Many landing mats have hook and loop closures so you can connect the mats easily. Some of these large gymnastics mats are single or bi-folding for easier storage and portability.

Martial arts 1x2 meter mats are ruggedly built with a non-slip rubberized bottom and heavy duty vinyl top. Although they are rarely used by themselves, they do not connect together. They are simply butted up next to each other and are held in place by either their weight on the non-skid bottom or a being framed in - or both.

These floor mats utilize an open cell foam core, so exposure to moisture and liquids should be kept to a minimum.

Folding mats should not be cut to fit while 1x2 mats can be custom cut, but there is a much more labor intensive process to do so, due to the fact that all edges will need to remain covered/wrapped by vinyl when finished.

More Foam Floor Installation Videos

 How to Install Interlocking Foam Tiles

How to Install 2x2 Foot Greatmats Foam Tiles

How to Connect Cheer Mats

How to Cut Foam Flooring

For more on this topic please review our Foam Floor Tiles and Mats product page.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Methods to Keep Playground Surfaces From Getting Hot

Prevent Playground Burns and Overheating with These Tips

Greatmats guide to keeping playground surfaces from getting hot
The main purpose of a playground surface is to keep kids safe and comfortable as they play and run around. Over the years, immense progress has been made in safety of playgrounds, particularly in regards to new surface technology. Playground flooring now has better cushion and shock-absorption to lessen the impact of accidents. Plus, they have better traction to prevent accidents in the first place.

While falling is a huge concern on playgrounds, there are other less obvious ones that are also important to consider. Thermal burns is another big one. It is not just metal slides that can get hot enough to burn skin. Even plastic playground equipment can cause thermal burns. Playground equipment and surfaces heat up when sitting in direct sunlight for long periods of time - even in cooler weather. Some surfaces can take longer for the heat to transfer, so be careful where children could be sitting or touching a surface for a longer period of time such as swings. Playground flooring is the same. Concrete, asphalt and dark-colored surfaces are particularly susceptible to reaching burnable temperatures.

Children under two are the most susceptible, but any child can be burned by playground surfaces. The younger the child, the more delicate their skin is and the easier it is to burn. Plus, reflexes do not kick in the same way as they do with older children, so a child may feel a burn but may not understand to remove himself or herself from the surface. Take into consideration that adult skin usually takes longer to burn than children's skin.

How to Prevent Playground Burns

Greatmats playground turf surface with shade structure
There are several precautions that should always be taken when visiting the playground. First of all, it is vital to be aware of weather conditions before taking kids to the playground, and parents should always check the temperature of equipment before letting kids loose on it. Second, children should be dressed in appropriate clothing to protect as much skin as possible especially appropriate shoes. Thermal burns are common with kids playing on playground in bare feet. The less skin that is showing, the less likely burns will occur. Always feel the temperature the equipment and surfaces yourself before allowing children to play on the playground.

There are a variety of other ways to protect a child from ground-related burns. Keeping playground tiles or playground rubber from getting hot in the first place is key. The following list provides ideas for maintaining a cooler playground surface.

How to Maintain Cool Playground Surfaces

1) Use Light Colored Playground Flooring

Greatmats light colored tan playground tiles for cooler playground surface
If a playground is being set up in direct sunlight, consider using light colored playground tiles. Dark colors absorb more of the sun's energy, which translates to heat. Thus, the lighter the surface, the less heat the ground will absorb from sunlight. This is the reason people recommend wearing white on a hot day instead of dark colors. The same concept also goes for playground surfaces.

Rubber is a popular playground flooring choice, and luckily, not all playground rubber is black. Playground rubber products come in a wide variety of colors. Consider choosing a color like tan, grey, or light green to help prevent the rubber surface from holding as much heat.

2) Choose a Perforated Tile

Greatmats perforated playground tiles colors
Perforated playground tiles are another excellent way to keep surface temperatures down. With perforated tiles, air can flow throughout flooring, which helps keep things cooler. Plus, there is not as much surface area for the sun to heat up, so tiles simply do not get as hot. 
Most perforated playground tiles are made with PVC plastic which are available in an even greater range of light colors, including white, yellow and beige. Plastic perforated tiles are great for toddler and preschool playgrounds where the equipment is not as tall and a high fall height rating is not required.

3) Install In a Shaded Area

Where you install the playground can make a huge difference in surface temperature as well. If it is possible to install playground flooring in a shaded area, parents and kids alike will be grateful for it. Because direct sunlight does more to create heat in playground equipment than the outside temperature, shade does wonders in keeping temperatures down. Shaded areas will also help to keep kids cooler while they are playing to help prevent heat exhaustion.

4) Build a Shade Structure for the Playground

Greatmats playground turf surface with shade structure

If playground surface has already been placed and does not get any natural shade, consider building some type of shade structure around the playground. Many playgrounds have tents, awnings or other structures to protect surfaces and equipment from direct sunlight. Shade structures or canopies are especially handy for urban areas or hot, dry climates or where there are not as many large, tall trees to provide natural sun protection. 

5) Use Playground Artificial Turf

Artificial turf is another option for playground surfacing that will be cooler than asphalt or rubber surfaces. Playground turf can also be padded to provide fall height ratings similar to playground tiles. Consider using a natural cork infill because it has low thermal conductivity, meaning that it will stay cooler than rubber crumb infill.

6) Install a Water Mister

Water misting systems will help to keep playground equipment and surfaces cooler. Kids will also be cooler will playing. Water misters are especially useful in hot, dry climates where the water evaporating off your skin faster will keep you cooler.

For More Help

If you need further guidance on creating a playground with the utmost safety, feel free to chat online or over the phone with a Greatmats representative. They can assist and support you in creating a playground environment both kids and parents will be happy about.

For additional playground blogs and ideas, visit our Playground Flooring Buyer's Guide.
For playground surface products, visit our Playground Flooring page.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

How to Choose the Best Indoor Event Flooring

Where will you install your event floor? And how will you use it?

By Julia Nass

Indoor event flooring is an essential ingredient to the success of many of the biggest names in any industry, whether its for trade shows, parties or other events. Let's take a look at the key features of indoor flooring for events.

1. Portability

Greatmats indoor event trade show floor First of all, it is essential to choose indoor event flooring that is very easy to install, remove and carry. An event floor should be lightweight enough that it can be transported with just one or two people. Further, it should not take more than one or two people to install indoor show flooring, and the installation process should be completely free of frustration.

Indoor show flooring products should be designed for portability and easy installation. Rarely do they need more than one person to install, and no special tools are adhesives are required in the installation process. Although installation techniques vary depending on the product, most push or snap together with an intuitive connecting system. After the event, these products require very little effort to disconnect and pick up. Well-made connecting systems ensure products can be installed and removed time and time again.

2. Water resistance

Greatmats indoor event flooring artificial grass
Event floors are highly susceptible to moisture, from spills and to mud and water tracked in from outside. Thus, water resistance is another key quality for indoor event flooring. Water resistant floors are far easier to clean and take less time to dry than absorbent flooring. Plus, they are safer. When moisture is present, it is easier for guests to slip and fall. In addition to water resistance, floors should also maintain traction even when damp.

3. Durability

Durability is not simply about a product's ability to withstand wear and tear - it is also about a product having a long life with low maintenance. For frequently-used indoor event flooring, durability is a must in order to maintain appeal and functionality. Plus, a long-lasting, durable event floor is a smart investment. 

Garage flooring tiles are a great example of event floor tiles that can withstand heavy loads of over 10,000 lbs per square foot, typically. These are a great option if you need a long lasting floor or will have vehicles or heavy items on the floor.

4. Style

Greatmats fashion runway flooring event floor white
For many indoor events, style is everything. Especially for trade shows, it is of the utmost importance to create an aesthetically pleasing space, which starts from the ground. With so many different indoor show flooring options available, it is possible to create almost any aesthetic you choose - from classy wood floors to sporty, fun foam tiles. If you want a homey cozy aesthetic, choose a interlocking carpet tiles. For a nature look, choose artificial grass which are available in tiles or rolls for easy installation.

5. Comfort

Any great indoor show flooring maker considers the comfort of users. Particularly for trade shows, where guests and hosts are standing for many hours throughout the day, using a comfortable flooring product makes all the difference. Seek out floors that is ergonomic, cushioned and supportive to joints and limbs. Many people choose foam tiles to provide the cushioned support for standing for long hours at a trade show.

6. Storing and Shipping

Greatmats trade show event flooring shipping case
Indoor event flooring tends often needs to be stored away for parts of the year. As noted before, it is helpful to find event floors that are easily transported and stored. Different products require different storage protocol. For example, it's important to store flooring rolls in a vertical position to ensure shape integrity.

For modular tiles that need to be shipped or stored, it can be helpful to purchase a storage and shipping container to keep them organized and protected. If you need a heavy duty container to store or ship indoor show flooring, look no further than our selection of trade show floor shipping cases. These containers are made from extremely durable polyethylene plastic and are freight and cargo ready. 

Indoor Event Flooring Options 

Trade Shows Floors

Even though carpet is not traditionally a transportable, impermanent flooring product, it is now with Royal Interlocking Carpet Tiles. These waterproof carpet tiles are easily assembled and disassembled just like other interlocking, transportable flooring products. Nevertheless, put them together and they yield a soft, cozy floor. 
One of Greatmats' most popular indoor event flooring products is the Wood Grain Reversible Foam Floor, which combines high-class style with incomparable comfort. The foam tiles are cushioned yet supportive. Users love feeling like they can stand on event floor foam tiles all day without feeling fatigue. Plus, they are light-weight, stylish, long-lasting and designed for repeated use. 

Dance Floors and Stage Floors

atmats portable dance floor tiles event dance floor
Greatmats' Portable Dance Floor Tiles are each only one by one foot and weigh a mere two pounds. With these tiles, an entire 10 x 20 foot dance floor can be assembled in minutes and disassembled in even less time. Tiles snap together with a durable tab and loop system made to be used over and over again. These tiles are perfect for events where time is of the essence.  
Greatmats can help you achieve any kind of floor style. If you are looking for something to really wow the crowd, check out the Event High Gloss Floor Full Roll, one of Greatmats' most eye-catching products. The vinyl roll creates a high gloss event floor perfect for video shoots, fashion promotions, wedding walkways, graduation celebrations and more. Ultimately, it brings glamour and sparkle to any event. 

Indoor Sports Events

Greatmats indoor sports event flooring turf
Putting on an indoor sporting event? Safety and comfort is essential and easily achieved with Turf Athletic Padded Interlocking Tiles. These tiles bring in the appeal of natural grass to an indoor setting. This indoor event flooring is stable, supportive and creates a comfortable indoor training area. Gym Turf 365 is another temporary sports turf. Just roll out these portable turf rolls and you have an indoor area for baseball, soccer, and other sports. For basketball, volleyball, and other sports where a hard, flat floor is needed, consider interlocking court tiles that are available in bright colors or wood grain look options.

Floor Protection

If your main concern for indoor event flooring is to protect gymnasium, hardwood, or other flooring, then you will need a protective floor cover. Large carpet tiles and vinyl protective covers are the two most popular options to protect a large area of flooring during an event.

For more on this topic please review our Event and Tent Flooring product page

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

9 Considerations for Choosing Outdoor Flooring

Features and Considerations for your Outdoor Floor

By Paige Cerulli

Greatmats pool deck outdoor flooring options
If you're thinking of adding outdoor flooring to your home or business, there are many reasons why this may be a great investment. Outdoor floors can expand the amount of useable space that you have access to. They make for great gathering places, can add safety to a playground, and are a must-have around pools and hot tubs.

In order for your project to be a success, you'll need to spend a bit of time deciding on which flooring product is right for your needs. In order to help guide you through the process of choosing the right floor, we've outlined some important questions that you should ask yourself. As you move down this list of questions, you'll narrow down your choices until you can decide on the perfect flooring product for your outdoor project.

1. How Will the Flooring Be Used?

One of the most important considerations for choosing your outdoor floor is your intended use for your outdoor floors because it will partially determine the type of flooring that's right for your project. Think carefully about what you need the flooring for, the types of activities that will take place on the flooring, the types of shoes - or lack thereof - people will wear while they're on the flooring, and other factors about how the flooring will be used.

Outdoor flooring can be used for many applications, including:
  • Patio flooring
  • Deck flooring
  • Rooftop deck flooring 
  • Pool surrounds 
  • Pet kennels and exercise areas 
  • Sports courts and athletic spaces 
  • Playground flooring 
  • And more

2. What's the Overall Look That You Want?

Greatmats outdoor flooring artificial grass
Think a bit about the overall aesthetic that you want the finished space to have. If you invest in artificial grass, you'll have a very different looking space than you'd have if you purchased pool decking or rooftop tiles. All of our products are available in different colors and finishes, so you'll have plenty of choices to make as you dream up the ideal solution for the space. Outdoor rubber and plastic tiles are available in a variety of colors to match your look. There are also wood look tiles as well as tiles with various surface textures.

3. What Climate Will the Flooring Need to Withstand?

Outdoor use brings a number of challenges for flooring, and one of those is a wide variety of temperatures. Depending on where you live, your flooring may need to withstand very high and very low temperatures.

If you live in a location with cold winters where temperatures drop below freezing, then make sure you choose a product that can withstand snow and ice, and that won't crack as ice forms in or on the product.

And if you plan to use the flooring during the hot summer months, you'll be happier with a product that stays comfortable underfoot, even when temperatures are hot.

4. Will the Area Be Used When It's Wet?

Greatmats splash pad waterproof outdoor floors
Water adds another complication to flooring, and it's important to think about this aspect ahead of time. Any outdoor flooring needs to be waterproof, so it won't be damaged during a rain. However, if you plan on using the area while the flooring is still wet, then you'll need flooring that has a few specific qualities:

  • Drainage - Standing water on top of flooring creates a slippery and dangerous situation, so choose a product designed to maximize drainage. The best pool surround tiles have plenty of drainage holes to quickly remove water from the top of the tile. These pool deck tiles usually have a raised base, which allows water and air to circulate beneath the tile's surface, so the top of the tile stays relatively dry.
  • Traction - Traction becomes a concern anytime a surface gets wet. Many of our outdoor flooring products are designed to maximize traction, with specially designed surfaces that help to keep you from slipping. 
  • Cushion - If a fall does happen on the flooring, then you'll want to minimize the potential injuries that could result. That's why many of our flooring products intended for use in wet areas, like pool tiles, are also soft and offer some sort of shock absorption to create a safer space.

Pool decking products typically offer excellent drainage, and are specifically made for areas where they'll be continuously wet for a good portion of the time.

5. Do You Need Cushion or Shock Absorption?

Greatmats playground tiles outdoor floor tiles
For areas where you'll be spending time with your family, cushion and shock absorption can make the surface both safer and more enjoyable. A softer surface makes for a more inviting space, and many patio decking tiles are created with this quality in mind.

If falls may take place, then you'll definitely want a product that offers fall height protection. Fall height protection refers to a product's ability to help absorb or disperse some of the impact from a fall, helping to minimize injuries. Most playground tiles offer fall height protection, which makes the space a safer area for kids to play.

Keep in mind, though, that if you're looking at softer surfaces, you also need to make sure that they're still strong enough to withstand the weight of any furniture or structures you'll be using in the area. Furniture feet could potentially damage some softer tiles, especially if left in place long-term. Consider the weight of any and all furniture you may use when choosing a product.

6. Will the Flooring Be a Permanent or Temporary Installation?

Greatmats portable outdoor flooring trade show
One major decision that you'll need to make as you choose your flooring is to decide whether you want a product that will be left in place permanently, or if you're looking for something that's more suitable for a temporary installation. 

Most outdoor flooring products are meant to be installed permanently. With these products, you don't have to worry about removing them at the end of the season, as they're durable enough to withstand year-round use outdoors.

On the other hand, many products are suitable for temporary installations. Many of our interlocking tiles are ideal for this, since installation is fast and easy, yet you can also disconnect and remove the tiles when you need to. This feature also gives you the versatility to relocate the flooring, changing the layout of your yard or even bringing a patio with you while camping.

7. What Type of Surface Will the Flooring Be Installed On?

Greatmats rooftop deck tiles outdoor flooring tiles
As you narrow down your choices, you'll next need to consider the type of surface that you'll be installing your outdoor flooring on. Generally speaking, you'll need a flat, level surface to act as your base. Some of our flexible plastic outdoor tiles can be installed over grass or dirt and other uneven surfaces.

If you're working with flat rooftop tiles, you'll need to be extra careful to make sure that the tiles are appropriate for your roof. Rubber roof membranes can be damaged if you use a tile that isn't designed to be placed onto the membrane. At Greatmats, we do carry plenty of rooftop tiles that can be placed directly on a rubber membrane.

8. How Will the Installation Be Performed?

If you've spent time exploring the many outdoor products, then you've found that there are many different installation methods to choose from. Some tiles connect together easily and can be used for temporary or permanent installations, while others, such as playground options, sometimes require adhesive and a more permanent installation.

It's important to think about the type of installation that you desire. Are you looking for a great do-it-yourself project that you can accomplish in a weekend? Or are you putting in a permanent floor that you want to last for years? It may be necessary to enlist some professional help for a large-scale installation, or for an installation that requires adhesive. This can increase the cost of your project, but it's also well worth it in order to ensure that the work is done correctly from the start.

9. What Is Your Budget?

Greatmats rubber outdoor floor tiles patio
As you narrow down the products that may be suitable for your project, you'll be able to start considering which ones fit into your budget. We offer many outdoor flooring options suitable for a wide range of budgets, so we have something for just about every project.

Our online Pro Floor Designer tool can help you to calculate how much product you need for your project. Just input the dimensions of your project, select the product, and you'll be able to quickly tell the potential cost of the product that you need to order.

To see all of our flooring products for outdoors, visit our Outdoor Floors product page.

Visit our Buyer's Guide for more blogs about outdoor flooring.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

How to Choose the Best Exercise Flooring

Choose Flooring Based on the Types of Exercise

Greatmats foam tiles exercise flooringBy Paige Cerulli

Sticking to a regular exercise regimen is good for your health, but it also takes discipline. If you're exercising on the wrong type of floor, you could risk injuries, unnecessary pain, and overall discomfort that makes it even more difficult to motivate yourself to exercise regularly.

Choosing the Right Exercise Floor

We wish we could tell you the perfect workout floor for home use, but the truth is that the right flooring for your needs will depend on a number of different factors. We've outlined some important considerations below to help you choose the right type of flooring for your needs.

1. Types of Exercise

Greatmats high density foam tiles exercise floor garage gym
Start by considering the different types of exercise that you will use the area for.

    Greatmats rubber flooring garage gym exercise room
  • High-impact activities, like exercise involving lots of jumping or repetitive movements, is hard on your joints and on your body. Look for a floor that gives you the firmness you need to push off for a jump or leap, but which also helps to absorb some of the shock of the impact. Good shock absorption is particularly important, since it can help to prevent injury and will increase your overall comfort.
  • Floor exercises, like sit-ups and most yoga positions, require a fitness floor that provides extra cushion and comfort without sacrificing stability. Personal exercise mats made of forgiving foam often offer the kind of comfort that you want for such exercises, and will help to avoid pressure points on your body as you move or lie on the floor. 
  • For weight lifting, you'll need a completely different type of flooring. Weight lifting demands a dense, strong fitness floor that can help to protect your subfloor and cut noise while maximizing your output. Generally, rubber mats, tiles and rolls tend to be the most popular option, since they're dense, durable, and strong enough to absorb the shock of dropped weights - especially with increased thickness. 
  • Martial arts training requires a flooring that offers superior shock absorption with a proper level of firmness and traction. For some disciplines, you'll need to carefully choose a floor that can absorb much of the impact of a throw, helping to keep you safe and reducing the chance of injury. We offer a number of tiles specifically designed for your arts, though folding gym mats can sometimes also be used.

2. Amount of Traffic

You'll want to consider how much traffic your fitness floor will see. For home gyms and workout spaces, your flooring won't need to be as durable as what you would choose for a commercial gym. Be sure to choose a product that is highly durable and check the warranty. Some exercise flooring options are even reversible, so you can use both sides and get a longer life out of the product.

3. Traction Needs

Greatmats exercise floor tiles staylock bump top
When choosing a fitness floor, traction can mean the difference between a successful workout and one that ends in a slip and an injury. Before you think about the type of surface and traction that is best, consider if you are wearing shoes or what types of shoes that you'll be wearing for your workouts.

Then, consider the types of activities that the floor needs to provide traction for. High intensity workouts and plyometric exercises will require more traction. If you're doing yoga, you'll likely want a flooring that offers a bit less traction than you'd want for Jazzercise or HIIT.

4. Exercise Equipment

Greatmats rubber flooring home gym exercise flooring
Will you be using exercise equipment in your workout space? If so, you'll need to choose fitness mats that are strong enough to support the weight of heavy exercise equipment without being damaged.

Foam mats and tiles are highly popular options for home gyms, because of their affordable cost, comfortable surface, and ease of installation. However, most foam workout mats are so soft that placing a heavy piece of equipment on them can cause permanent indentations if left for long periods of time. Some higher-density foams and plastic products may be suitable, but if you'll be working with heavy equipment, then investing in a rubber mat may be the best option. Rubber is extremely strong and durable, so you won't have to worry about exercise equipment damaging your flooring.

If you'll be using heavy equipment but would still like a comfortable floor, then placing a rubber mat underneath the equipment but using alternative flooring in other spaces is a practical way to get a versatile space.

5. Location

Greatmats wood grain raised vinyl tile exercise room
You'll also need to think about the location where you'll be installing the flooring. If you're working in a basement or garage, you may face issues that affect the type of flooring right for your project. Many basements and some garages have moisture issues, so it's important to choose a flooring that can withstand moisture. Most of our foam flooring options are waterproof, If the foam tiles get wet, they will need to be pulled up to to let the floor dry out.

Alternatively, we offer a selection of plastic or vinyl tiles with a raised plastic base. This raised base allows air and moisture to freely circulate beneath the tile, speeding drying and helping to eliminate mold and mildew. These tiles are ideal for damp areas where moisture may be an issue. Some raised tiles can also be installed over carpeting to create an exercise floor if you don't want to or can't pull out your carpeting.

If you're working with a concrete subfloor, then you'll also appreciate how foam flooring can help to suppress the cold from permeating up into the floor. This means that you'll have a comfortable workout surface available to you year-round.

6. Temporary or Permanent Installation

Don't have a designated exercise room at home? Don't worry - we offer many personal exercise mats and workout floor options that are portable and temporary. You don't have to dedicate an entire room or space to just working out, since you can pull up the flooring, relocate it, or store it between uses. This is an ideal solution for homeowners who only have access to a multipurpose space when it comes to exercising.
If you are lucky enough to have a designated space for your home gym, then you'll have a wide variety of options to choose from. Tiles, folding and rolled flooring can all be used for permanent installations.

7. Ease of Installation

Greatmats rubber flooring exercise gym basement
Will you be installing your fitness floor yourself? Greatmats offers many products that are easy to install, and that can make for easy DIY projects. Our workout floor options range from personal fitness mats that you just roll out or unfold, to interlocking tiles that fit together like puzzle pieces.

Most of our products are conveniently sized, so they're easy to carry into your home. Tiles and personal workout mats are lightweight and small enough that you can easily carry them through narrow hallways and down stairs.

Rubber flooring rolls are a heavier option, and require a bit more of time and assistance when installing. If you invest in rolled rubber, you will need multiple people to handle the rolls, because of their significant weight. Rolled rubber results in fewer seams in your floor than you'll see if you use tiles, and it may be a more budget-friendly option when you're working with a larger area. However, many homeowners prefer tiles over rolled flooring, just for the convenience and ease of transportation and installation.

Almost all of our products can be trimmed to fit the area that you're installing them in. Some tiles are available with border pieces, so you can create a clean island installation. Most others can be trimmed with a sharp utility knife and a straight edge.

8. Budget

Greatmats wood look vinyl exercise floor tiles over carpet
Your budget will also factor into determining which workout floor is right for your needs. At Greatmats, we work to provide a versatile selection of budget-friendly options. We carefully select the products that we offer to give you many different choices, while also never sacrificing quality for a lower-cost product. Plus, we offer a price match guarantee. We're confident that you'll be happy with any exercise floor that you choose at Greatmats.

Please be sure to use our Pro Floor Designer as you plan out your exercise floor. This online tool can help you to design your floor, using the actual dimensions of your space. It will help you determine how much product you'll need to purchase, so you have an accurate idea of what each product will cost, and where it falls in your budget.

Buying Your Fitness Floor

Are you ready to purchase your new fitness floor? Please contact our customer service team. Our flooring experts will be happy to provide you with product samples and shipping quotes, and they can also help you to determine which product is right for your needs.

View our Exercise Flooring Buyer's Guide for more blogs and how-to guides. For more on this topic please review our Exercise Flooring product page.

Greatmats exercise flooring

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

How to Keep Interlocking Foam Tiles from Buckling

Prevent Foam Flooring from Buckling

By Paige Cerulli

Greatmats interlocking foam tiles grey and blue
If you're looking to create a comfortable, forgiving flooring surface on a budget, then foam floor tiles may be the perfect solution. But have you had issues with your foam floor buckling? Buckling can occur with foam floors, but it's also easy to prevent and fix.

Foam floor tiles are very easy to install, which is just one of the many benefits that foam flooring offers. Interlocking foam tiles fit together like puzzle pieces, and can be installed on any hard, flat surface. However, there's one step that people sometimes overlook during installation, and that's why foam floor buckling may become an issue.

What You Need to Know About Foam Tiles

Most foam tiles are made of Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate, also known as EVA. This type of foam offers excellent shock absorption. It's durable, comfortable, and makes for a safe and soft flooring tile.

Because EVA foam is a closed cell foam, it's both waterproof and non-absorbent. This means that you can use foam tiles in many different ways, in many different locations. Because the tiles won't be damaged by water, you can use them in basements even if leaks or moisture may be an issue. And cleaning up spills in kids' play spaces is a breeze, because the tiles won't absorb a spilled drink.

If you pick up any of these foam tiles, you'll quickly discover that EVA foam is also lightweight. The tiles are light and easy to carry, so they're portable, and a single person can install them. Though the tiles are lightweight, they're soft and cushioned, and some even offer anti-fatigue properties that help to keep you comfortable.

What You Need to Know About EVA Foam Expansion

Greatmats wood grain foam tiles installed
EVA foam offers many benefits that make it ideal for use in flooring tiles. However, one downside to the foam is the fact that it's somewhat temperature-sensitive, and expands and contracts with temperature fluctuations. The contraction as temperatures drop doesn't tend to be an issue, but when temperatures increase, the foam tiles expand.

It is this expansion that can lead to foam floor buckling. If the foam flooring has been installed in a wall-to-wall fashion, where the flooring presses up against each wall, the foam floor expansion may cause the tiles in the middle of the floor to buckle up. This creates an uneven area surface that may cause a tripping hazard and it doesn't look great.

The problem won't be permanent, and will resolve once the temperature drops and the EVA foam expansion is reversed. But you can also solve this foam floor buckling issue by following the installation steps below.


Prevent Foam Tiles from Buckling

When you're installing foam flooring, whether you're working with EVA tiles or rollout cross-linked polyethylene foam flooring, you need to leave room for the product to expand. This means that you'll always need to leave a little bit of a gap between the edge of your flooring and surrounding walls or other objects.

For a wall-to-wall installation, start in one corner of your room, and position the tiles so there's a gap of at least 1/4 inch between the tiles and the walls. If you live in an area with high heat and humidity or you use in-floor heating, plan on allowing additional room for expansion. Work your way out into the room, piecing the tiles together like puzzle pieces as you go.

When you reach the opposite walls, you likely will need to cut your tiles to fit. Foam tiles can be cut easily with a sharp utility knife. Measure the remaining space between the last tile and the wall, accommodating for a 1/4-inch-plus gap between the tile and the wall. Then, using a straight edge as a guide, cut each tile to fit. Run your utility knife along the straight edge to make repeated, shallow scores. If the utility knife starts to pull up or shred pieces of the tile, then it's time to replace your blade.

Once you've cut the last of your tiles, you can finish the installation.

Island installations are a bit simpler, since you're not working between walls. Many of our tiles are available with border pieces, which create a clean, finished edge. Position the tiles in the room, fit the tiles together, and install your border pieces. There's no concern of EVA foam expansion when you're performing an island installation, since the tiles will have plenty of room to expand and contract. Foam floor expansion will occur, but you won't see the floor buckling or curling up. 

Solving Foam Floor Expansion After an Installation

Greatmats interlocking foam tiles installation
If foam floor buckling becomes an issue only after you've installed the floor, you may need to partially uninstall the floor to correct the issue. Your floor will buckle when you haven't left enough space between the tiles and the surrounding walls.

Start by removing the tiles that travel along one wall. You may need to cut these tiles using the method described above, so that they're small enough to allow for a gap. If possible, you may be able to slide your whole floor out from the opposite walls just a bit to allow for the adequate gap. If your floor is large, you may need to take more of the tiles apart to allow for the adjustment and movement.

This is one of the benefits of working with tiles - if you find that you need to remove or alter the flooring, you can pull up the tiles and reposition them. Once you've altered the floor so that there's enough room for the foam to expand, the buckling won't be an issue in the future. 

Using Foam Tiles Outdoors

Greatmats foam floor tiles outside kids play mats
Foam flooring is not recommended to be used outdoors on a permanent basis because of the heat and sunlight may cause these tiles to deform and curl. Some people choose to use these tiles outside for temporary use such as play mats for toddlers. If you use foam tiles outdoors, try to keep the flooring in the shade if possible and bring them inside as soon as you done using it. Do not leave foam tiles outside for extended periods of time.

Choosing the Right Foam Flooring

Foam flooring does expand, but it's a problem that's easily avoided with a proper and deliberate installation. However, for that one potential downside, foam flooring offers many benefits that make it a popular choice for homes, trade shows, and even workplace flooring.

Are you looking for a flooring solution for a new project? Foam flooring offers many benefits, including:

Greatmats eva foam home gym floor
  • Comfort - Foam makes a comfortable, forgiving surface. It's forgiving properties can be beneficial for anything from anti-fatigue impact absorption. It's no wonder that foam tiles are so popular for trade show flooring, where people spend hours on their feet.
  • Thermal Buffering - Additionally, foam helps to provide some thermal buffering, keeping the cold of a concrete floor from working its way up into the flooring. This feature means that you can use foam to quickly and easily convert an unwelcoming floor into one that's comfortable to walk on with bare feet. 
  • Ease of Installation - With foam tiles, you don't have to hire a professional installer. Most tiles can be installed directly on a hard, flat surface without need for any adhesive. If you need to remove the tiles in the future, you can pull them up and reinstall them again. 
  • Durability - Foam may be soft, but it's also highly durable. We offer a range of products that are comfortable to stand on, but which are constructed to withstand high traffic, such as those intended for use in trade shows. 
  • Versatility - Looking for an all-around product that can be used in multiple rooms in your home? Foam flooring fits the bill. Foam can make the perfect kids' play area flooring, but it's also a great choice for use in a basement, where moisture may be a concern. Turn an unused space into a welcoming room suitable for your family, or make a workspace more comfortable by using foam flooring. 
  • Low-Maintenance - With foam flooring, there's virtually no maintenance needed. You can clean foam tiles with a vacuum, and can damp mop when necessary for a deeper clean. You can also spot clean foam with a sponge. If you'd like, you can even pull up the tiles, take them outside, and clean them. Once the tiles have dried, you can bring them back indoors and reinstall them.
For additional blogs and information about foam flooring, visit our Buyer's Guide. Review our Foam Floor Tiles and Mats product page for all of our foam flooring options.