Story at a glance:
- REGUPOL flooring is made from 100% post-consumer waste tire rubber or a mixture of tire rubber and colorful rubber granules.
- With ever-evolving design capabilities, the material easily meets the aesthetic needs of commercial spaces and educational facilities.
- The products are durable, easy to install, and simple to maintain.
When rubber tires sit idle in landfills they slowly release methane gas that can contaminate surfaces and groundwater in addition to fuel fires and environmental degradation. They also take up space—seemingly forever.
Enter REGUPOL—a global business that turns the non-biodegradable pollutant into a sustainable solution. Their flexible, durable, and easy-to-install commercial flooring can be used everywhere from schools to hospital laboratories to airplane jet bridges.
“From an environmental standpoint, what do you do with tires?” ponders Bill Neifert, sales manager for commercial flooring at REGUPOL. “What we can do with them is grind them down, crush them, shred them, and make them into products that are usable.”
In addition to the environmental benefits, REGUPOL’s sustainable flooring comes with incredibly flexible design capabilities and is high performance, with incomparable value. “Where can it be used?” Neifert asks. “The easier question is where can’t it be used?”
Every year REGUPOL repurposes more than 9 million landfill tires into products composed of shredded SBR tire rubber (100% post-consumer waste) or a compound of SBR tire rubber and EPDM color granules (post-industrial waste).
But the sustainability story doesn’t stop once the tires are ground into REGUPOL rubber flooring (after being filtered of impurities to maintain indoor air quality standards). “We can divert worn-out surfaces from the landfill and instead reclaim and recycle them into new REGUPOL products,” Neifert says. Health care flooring, gym floors, luxury plank flooring—many products on the market today are made using this regrind process of transforming the old material or waste into a new product.
While the old material may become something new, the sustainable attributes carry over, having 75 to 100% recycled content. The rubber also offers slip resistance and sound deadening properties, plus a cushioned surface that’s easy on the feet. All aspects contribute to a healthier environment in spaces where people live, work, and play. Even REGUPOL’s manufacturing process helps the environment and its inhabitants, as it uses minimal water, avoids heat, and recycles waste.
REGUPOL rubber flooring has long been known for its presence in sports environments—weight rooms, running tracks, and playgrounds—but Neifert says the product team wants consumers to realize the offerings beyond the obvious.
Picture the intricate patterns of a stone or terrazzo museum floor. That look can be recreated using rubber, for example. “In copying those with rubber, I can use the same colors and get the exact same look but with the benefits of comfort, slip resistance, and quiet,” Neifert says.
The design capabilities continue, as REGUPOL’s commercial flooring can also be waterjet cut into different shapes (like strips, squares, or circles) to add patterns and texture to any space. You can walk into a number of big-box retail stores and see large, round circles under mannequins that are REGUPOL. “That is our material as well,” Neifert says. “We do that for all kinds of fixtures, all kinds of designs. It’s just a matter of people getting comfortable with it.”
Mixed, matched, yet perfectly coordinated—REGUPOL Upscale is REGUPOL’s new take on a traditional classic. The recycled rubber tile and plank collection features 12 neutral, earth tones. “First with Revolution and now Upscale, REGUPOL is staying true to its philosophy by delivering a floor with sleek looks that designers and architects want and the performance they need,” Neifert says. “Upscale features either a square or micro-bevel edge. Square-edged floors fit together flush, resulting in a smooth, sleek and seamless looking transition. Whereas the micro bevel edge brings subtle texture and dimension.”
It seems REGUPOL’s rubber flooring is always evolving. “Looks, designs, patterns, textures—that’s how it’s changing,” Neifert says. The technology allows them to do more than ever before, so you can achieve virtually any look.
Neifert likes to think of REGUPOL flooring as having, hypothetically, a 60,000-mile guarantee, just like the recycled tires it’s made from. “It’s going to ugly out before it wears out,” he likes to say.
At Arbor Grove Elementary School in Oklahoma City, former principal Brenda Davis said the rubber flooring from REGUPOL’s Revolution Progress Series remained in stellar condition six years after installation. Arbor Grove swapped out the less kid-friendly vinyl composition tiles for rubber flooring—popular in educational facilities because of its durability and long-lasting polished look. The flooring proves resistant to scuffs, in addition to chair indentations. Unlike a car’s tires, the flooring will take quite a while to reach 60,000 miles, Neifert says. In fact, he posits that the material could last indefinitely.
“How long does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? That’s what I tell everybody when I do my presentations because I don’t know,” he says. “We’ve got installations that have been down for 20 to 30 years. You’re not driving it on the road in your car; you’re literally just walking on the surface. How long is 60,000 miles on a flooring product?”
Even if the design goes out of style, though, in many cases the floor can be recycled into something new yet again.
It’s no secret that installing a material like stone or terrazzo takes time and money. Removing it can be just as much of an investment. On the contrary, REGUPOL’s rubber flooring is easy to install and remove at a more affordable cost.
Neifert says installation is easier because, unlike using stone, you don’t have to use a mud or a cement mixture to put the flooring down first. “With traditional products you have to do all that, and then you have to grout the material.”
Unlike floors with grout, REGUPOL’s rubber flooring can boast the look of a tiled, ceramic, or wooden floor while still being easy to clean and maintain. The same can’t always be said for floors with grout that often become dirty.
“Vacuum, sweep. You can autoscrub it if you need to, depending on the amount of debris and how much is on the surface and how tough it is to get off,” Neifert says. “For daily maintenance it’s just a damp mop, vacuum, or sweep.”