Differences Between Rubber & PVC Matting
We manufacture and supply matting for any application, from health and safety to leisure. Each application requires different designs and materials for the mats, in order to ensure that you get the most out of your product. Currently the most versatile and popular materials to manufacture mats are rubber and PVC. In this post we are going explore the strengths and weaknesses of each material to help you determine which product is best for you.
It is important to note that there are many different compounds of rubber available each offering slightly different properties depending on the application. In order to keep this comparison fair we will look mainly at natural rubber (NR) as it is the most popular rubber compound for use in matting applications.
Natural rubber is highly durable and offers resistance to both impact and wear which ensures that the matting lasts. It is also resistant to a variety of chemicals which make it easy to clean without deteriorating the material. In most cases our rubber mats are simply laid loose but you are able to use adhesive for a permanent solution. Depending on the thickness of the rubber, the matting has been shown to absorb and reduce noise which make it highly desirable in multistory or built up areas. Rubber matting also contains good insulation properties which enable it to retain both hot and cold temperatures depending on the time of year.
One of the key features of rubber matting is the materials excellent gripping capabilities even in wet and damp environments. This ensures that rubber mats reduce the risk of slips which make them perfect for use as health and safety mats.
Rubber matting can be more expensive than a PVC alternative depending on the thickness and hardness of the material. Certain chemicals and detergents can stain or discolour the material, which may be a problem if used in an area which will be seen by potential customers or clients.
PVC, also known as Polyvinyl chloride is the third most widely produced plastic around the world. It is a material which almost everyone will likely come in contact with on a daily basis. PVC is available in two formats, either rigid or flexible depending on the application. Flexible is typically favorable over rigid for matting uses as it enables the mat to follow the contours of the ground and provide a stable walking surface.
Much like rubber PVC matting is highly durable, which ensures that you are able to get a lot of use out of a single mat. PVC is also lightweight which makes transporting and installing the mats very easy. PVC offers good weathering resistance which enable you to use it in almost any exterior application without fear of deterioration. The high chlorine content found in PVC matting grants it self extinguishing properties, which makes it fire resistant.
You have greater control over the design, colour and texture of the mats as they are easier to produce compared to the rubber alternative. This is an important feature for anyone looking to make an impact with the mats. Certain applications such as swimming pools tend to favor blue or white mats which are both easier and cheaper to produce out of PVC.
PVC can be difficult to replace if the product is no longer being produced. In some cases, the mats are made to order which can result in longer production times, however we always try to keep a good stock of our most popular PVC mats.
Ultimately there is no right or wrong product, it always comes down to the application and what you require from the mats. We are always to help customers who are unsure which product is most suitable for their unique requirements.