Recycled rubber underlayment and flooring lessen burden on landfills and curb illegal dumping
If that company happens to be focused on durable “green” products, you also know that one of your best underlayment options is made from recycled tires.
“Versa-Quiet (from Renew Brands) is superior in both performance and from the standpoint of the environment,” says Ken Weisbacher, president of KW Flooring companies in southwest Ohio, whose rubber underlayment sales have diverted 125,000 tires from landfills in the past year. “The cost of Versa-Quiet also is no greater than other premium underlayment products.”
A floating floor – which can be self-locking and made of anything from laminate to hardwood — does not attach to the subfloor. An underlayment is needed beneath the floor to provide support and shock absorption so that the up-and-down movement from walking on the floor does not put undue stress on the joints or interlocking mechanisms that hold the floor together.
KW companies, including Carpetland Carpet One Floor & Home and Buddy’s Flooring America in Greater Cincinnati and Dayton, prefer the rubber underlayment to cork underlayment because a 2-mm rubber underlayment offers thermal and acoustic insulation that is comparable to a 6-mm cork underlayment, making rubber the less-expensive option, Weisbacher says. In addition, he says, rubber is more resilient than cork, and it’s waterproof.
That’s impressive. But what about indoor-air quality?
“We distill the crumb rubber thoroughly prior to the product’s creation and, hence, emit very few VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) when installed,” says Kent McClelland, president of Renew Brands in Canton, OH, which licenses Regupol America to manufacture Versa-Quiet in Lebanon, PA.
Versa-Quiet accounts for about 500,000 of the 6 million tires Renew Brands diverts from landfills annually to make rubber flooring products. Most of the tires used by Renew are harvested along the eastern sea board from densely populated areas such as New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. On the northwest coast, RB Rubber Products, Inc., with manufacturing facilities in McMinnville, OR, and Milan, GA, converts about 5 million tires into rubber underlayment and flooring products annually.
RB Silent Tread rubber underlayment eliminates the “ping” or hollow sound when walking on a laminate floor, and it offers installation advantages that cork and lightweight foam underlayment don’t, says Jill Shenefield, RB Commercial Division manager.
“Rubber underlayment lays flat during installation and does not require taped seams,” she says. “Lightweight foam underlayment slides during installation and must be taped. Silent tread is also very flexible and resilient where rolled cork tends to crack and break.”
RB Rubber Products are distributed throughout the Northwest by the Wanke Cascade distribution company, headquartered in Portland, OR. Eco Floors of Portland has used RB Silent Tread underlayment with great success, Owner Sam Snow says.
“We have used it over both wood and concrete subfloors, and have installed cork, bamboo, marmoleum, and other products over it,” Snow says. “RB underlayment offers great noise reduction, it’s crushproof, and it resists mold and bacteria. On top of that, it is a product made from recycled tires that would normally have been disposed of. So a very green story comes along with it as well.”
In Seattle, WA, customers have been quite receptive, says Mark Thompson, sales manager for Major Brands Floor Supply/Abbey Carpet.
“No complaints from my customers,” Thompson says. “I like that RB is a Northwest Company and helps to keep tires out of our local landfills. Rubber products are specified for many reasons. Acoustical is way up there. Environmental is another for sure. Ease of installation helps make the sale.”©
– Nancy Kibbee is editor at www.naturalinteriors.com.