The Benefits of Using Rubber Stable Mats
Like all equipment that you purchase for your farm and home, you want to know all of the advantages and disadvantages before purchasing rubber mats. One of the first things you should know is that rubber is a durable, heavy duty material which provides a unique level of cushioning and anti-slip properties which make it ideal to be used in stables, walkways, parlour pits, and shop floors. In this article, we are going to examine:
- What is rubber stable matting?
- What are the benefits of rubber matting?
- How to choose the best rubber mat?
What is rubber stable matting?
Rubber is a unique material which is highly sought after for its shock absorbing properties. Rubber mats are used in many industries, from workshops to farms, specifically because it provides a more forgiving surface than natural ground or concrete floors.
Solid rubber is also a heavy duty material, able to bear the weight of heavy objects, like large animals, and compresses to absorb the shock. In fact, rubber mats have almost a “bounce” to them, which makes them a more forgiving surface, whilst also being hard wearing and able to hold up to decades of wear and tear.
Rubber materials are also specifically designed to reduce slips and trips. Very few other mats have similar grip quality compared to rubber mats. They provide just enough friction for traction even in cold and wet weather conditions.
Rubber stable mats benefits
Improved levels of comfort
Rubber matting provides more comfort for cows and horses, and this is precisely because rubber mats helps reduce stress caused to an animal’s joints. By laying down rubber mats, you can reduce pain and stiffness. They provide a far softer surface than traditional bedding alone. Your horse can sit or stand on rubber matting and have reduced levels of fatigue when compared to just concrete floors.
Rubber covers provide shock absorption, protecting the joints of horses. This mat gently moulds into the shape of your horse’s hooves and absorbs the stress resulting from standing, giving your animal an easy and comfortable place to perform grooming and hygene activities .
In fact, an article in the Journal of Dairy Science found that rubber mats decrease lameness in cows significantly. What this means for you is that you don’t have to worry as much about animals in your care. Anti-fatigue flooring will aid in the quality of life for your animals and help prevent pesky vet visits.
Reduced odour and easy to clean
Unfortunately, rubber mats do not eliminate the need for bedding materials, and consequently don’t eliminate the chore of mucking out stalls. However, rubber mats reduce the amount of bedding needed for stables. In fact, you can reduce bedding up to 25% by purchasing rubber mats. Having less bedding also means that you will take less time to muck out private stables and replace it with fresh bedding.
Another major benefit is that with rubber mats, stables remain odour free, and help to reduce the lingering smell that most stables have. Rubber is nonporous and water resistant, so it doesn’t absorb liquids. Consequently, urine and water will pool on top of the mats making it easy for you to clean.
Multiple uses outside the stable
Rubber mats are not only useful for stable flooring, they can also be used in other applications throughout your barn. They can be mounted in stable walls for additional protection for horses who frequently kick or bite.
Rubber matting can be used for all terrain areas in your stable that are highly susceptible to slippage. The added grip on the mat helps minimise fall risk and helps prevent serious accidents or injuries. It’s a good choice to protect your trailer by rubber matting.
Other uses for rubber stable mats
Rubber mats are great to use not only for inside of stables, but for other areas found around your home and barn. Rubber mats make great antifatigue, anti-slip flooring for:
- Wood shops
- Dog runs
Practically any place where there is a bare concrete floor, placing down rubber mats can prevent slips and trips. For example, an outdoor walkway is a great place to put down rubber mats, as rubber resists moisture and allows for stable footing even during cold, wet weather.
Have you ever noticed how cold your stables are? A cold stable is usually uncomfortable and can cause discomfort. Your stables can also get very warm in the summer, especially when the flooring is concrete. Rubber flooring provides an excellent alternative to cold cement surfaces, providing increased insulation and increased comfort for floors in cold weather. If your horse needs additional warmth, you might attach rubber matting to the sides of the stable.
How to choose the best rubber mat?
The best rubber matting for you really depends on your circumstances, budget, and needs. Thinner mats will be less expensive, but may not be able to hold up as much as thicker mats can. In addition, thicker mats work best for larger animals, like cows and horses, whilst thinner mats are best to use for smaller animals, like goats, sheep, and calves. Let’s discuss ways you can find the best mat .
As mentioned above, when purchasing rubber matting, one of the most important things to look for is the thickness of the mat that you need. Mats in the 12 mm to 15 mm thickness are really only suited for smaller animals, whilst 15 to 20 mm mats are great to use as a stable mat for a larger animal. Thicker mats may cost a little more, but they may save you in the long run because you’re purchasing the proper mat to use for the animal in your care.
- Best 12 mm mat: 12MM 6FT X 4FT STUD DOT RUBBER STABLE MATS
- Best 15 mm mat: 15 MM DOG BONE RUBBER JIGSAW TILES 1.1M X 1.1M
- Best 17 mm mat: 17MM 1.83M (6FT) X 1.22M (4FT) AMEOBIC RUBBER STABLE MATS
Rubber mats also come in several types of surfaces, and you should take into consideration what type of surface you’d like for your flooring needs. There are two main types of surfaces for rubber mats: amoebic and stud dot. Amoebic surface texture is a mosaic of incongruous shapes which are slightly raised from the mat itself to provide minimal traction. If you’re looking for more traction, the stud dot surface features hundreds of raised bubbles which offer more traction.
There are benefits and drawbacks to either type of surface. Stud dot mats are great to use for animals who need more traction, like lame animals or elderly animals. Stud dots can offer difficulty when cleaning and sweeping, as things can be caught between the raised stud dot. Alternatively, the amoebic surface texture is easy to clean, but doesn’t provide as much traction as a stud dot surface texture.
It’s entirely up to you which type of mat you’ll need, and the differences are minor, so you don’t need to worry about purchasing the wrong mat necessarily.
Rubber mats are available in several sizes. The most common size is 1.83 m (6ft) by 1.22 m (4ft), but we also offer most mats in a half sized mat of4ft x 3ft mat which you can also purchase. These half mats are great to use if you want to save your back from the strain of lifting heavy mats.
Rubber mats are also available in different sizes, including 1 m x 1 m gym mats and 1.1 m x 1.1 m interlocking dog bone shaped rubber tiles. The gym mats are great to use as antifatigue flooring rooms, walkways, and shops. The dog bone rubber tiles are aesthetically pleasing and will brighten up any outdoor space, giving it the look and feel of a real brick path.
The last thing that you should consider before purchasing rubber mats is how to remove water from underneath the mat. The 4ft x 6ft and 4ft x 3ft mats come with drainage furrows underneath the mats, which help to provide channels which water and urine can flow away from the centre of the mats. This helps to prevent pooling, which can cause a buildup of bacteria and odours.
If you’re still undecided about purchasing rubber mats, you should know that they offer lots of benefits to the health and comfort of the animals in your care, whilst also saving you bedding costs. Consider all the tips listed above to choose the perfect mat for your needs, and contact Stable Mats Ireland if there’s anything that you would like clarified. Outfitting your stables, parlour pits, and walkways with rubber mats is a significant investment, but one that will continue to pay you back from year to year in reduced upkeep and maintenance costs.
Author: David Van Kooten