It mostly depends on where you want it and what exactly you expect from it. Both types have their specific qualities.
Each material looks quite similar at first glance, but don’t be fooled. Their composition is different and that determines their different qualities. Rubber tiles are made out of rubber granulate joined together by polyurethane glue. As its name suggests, the PVC variant is made of polyvinyl chloride (a type of plastic), which is injected into molds.
Durability and ruggedness
Rubber flooring is very durable. It can withstand chemicals, cigarette butts, even rain, wind and snow. It can be used for outdoor floor coverings without any problems. The effect of sunshine, however, causes it to fade and lose its original gloss over time. A greater load comes with choosing the right thickness, so it can be used in industrial facilities or in stables for cattle and horses. Read more about choosing a floor for stables.
PVC floor tiles are not recommended for outdoor usage, but their qualities are better for indoors. Besides withstanding chemicals and cigarette butts, which rubber floors do as well, PVC can also take heavy loads. They therefore make a good choice for garages or facilities where heavy equipment is moved around. A system of drainage channels specially designed for Fortelock tiles, moreover, takes care of excess moisture, and so there is no risk of mildew occurring. Fortelock PVC tiles are sold with a 10-year warranty on wear and with proper maintenance can last for up to a quarter of a century. You usually don’t get such a warranty for rubber floors.
Noise absorption and insulation
Both materials are comparable in this respect. Rubber and PVC perfectly absorb sounds and act as a thermal insulator. Rubber can be slightly more pleasant to stand on, since it is soft, but PVC will again be better for moving machines around on. Fortelock uses a tile pattern that keeps the floor from being slippery. This similarly works for rubber floors, where varieties with non-slip treatment are produced.
Choice of colors and types
Rubber tiles are available in different designs; popular is the non-traditional shape of a puzzle similar to interlocking tiles you know from playgrounds, the classic square, or rectangular shape. The color scale is far more abundant. Colors can be combined to create different patterns on the floor.
Fortelock PVC floor tiles do not offer for the present a variety of shapes for individual tiles. Their structure was designed to make installation as easy as possible, and so the square shape using interlocks that snap precisely into one another is used. Color options are broad and here colorful works of art can be created on the floor.
Complexity of installation
Rubber tiles with contours and those without have different conditions for installation. The first one has a contoured surface on the bottom in order to make it stable on a gravel substrate. The other one is used on a concrete substrate. Understandably, a floor should not be glued to a gravel substrate, so by choosing interlocking tiles, you can easily take them apart whenever and assemble them somewhere else. Polyurethane adhesives are usually used for gluing on concrete substrates.
Fortelock PVC floor tiles likewise must not be glued. It’s enough to make sure the original surface is even and assemble the tiles on it. Individual tiles snap into each other nicely; the only thing you need is a rubber hammer and knife. There is another advantage, which also exists for rubber floor tiles – PVC tiles can be disassembled any time and relocated elsewhere. And if one of the tiles becomes damaged, it’s no problem replacing it separately.
Ecology and the impact on the environment
Here the choice of both is comparable. Rubber tiles can be recycled – crushed and reused. The same is true with PVC floor tiles, which can be recycled and pressed again. Both variants are eco- friendly, do not damage the environment or your health. They are made of harmless materials. Modern PVC tiles certainly do not contain any phthalates or other hazardous substances that appear in plastics.
Where then is PVC good and where a rubber floor?
Rubber flooring is also good outdoors. It’s typically used on playgrounds or in sports halls, because it is soft, so when a child falls, he does not get hurt. People also put them around their pools, on terraces and balconies or as a walkway in the garden. It’s therefore clear that they are used outdoors, but nothing prevents you from using them in children’s play areas, in warehouses or workshops.
PVC floors are installed only indoors. You will see them very often as the floors of garages, workshops or in large industrial halls. They also look good in the basement, showroom, shop, car service or in the gym.
Both options can be used in many locations without any problems. It only depends on your preference. Is a simple installation and guaranteed durability of 12 years more important than a soft surface and greater choice in the shape of the tiles?