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Pros and Cons of Rumber Flooring: How to Avoid Slippery Floors in Your Horse Trailer

Last updated October 14, 2023 by Brad Heath

Here at Double D Trailers, safety is our top priority.  We’re always working to make our trailers the safest and most durable option out there.  One of the top features available on our trailers is a synthetic recycled flooring often marketed as “Rumber.”

This particular option has several advantages over other flooring types.  However, recently, we heard one story of a Double D Trailer owner whose horse slipped while standing on the Rumber surface.  In response, we sent out a survey to our client base to see how many people are experiencing issues and the best ways to fix the problem.

Here’s what we found…

The Benefits of Rumber Flooring

rumber flooring in horse trailerMany of our customers highly enjoyed the benefits of the Rumber flooring.  In fact, 2/3rds of those who responded did not have any issues with slipping.  They enjoyed the fact that Rumber is easy to clean, durable, and transfers less noise and vibration up from the road into the horses’ legs.

Sue F told us, “I find these floors very easy to clean, which we do after every ride, either with a pressure washer or regular hose.”

Carol shared, “It is much more durable than mats and a lot easier to clean.  I don't have to pick up mats.  I just sweep or hose it out.  It seems to have the same “grip” as my old matted floors for horses.”

DocSaria of the Gold Coast Mobile Vet said, “The horses keep their footing and don't appear sore or tired from standing even after long rides up and down hills.  It is also quiet, so horses that get nervous about loading are not spooked by the clomping of hooves on hard surfaces.  The flooring stays in place, so I don't worry about edges curling up and causing potential injuries to the horse's legs.  I definitely would recommend Rumber flooring.”

Rumber is a synthetic material made from old recycled tire bits.  Tongue-and-groove boards are fitted together to form a solid surface without the need for rubber mats on top.  To clean this floor, you can simply hose it out and let it dry.

In comparison to aluminum, Rumber transfers less heat and vibration up from the road surface into your horse’s legs.  This helps them arrive at their destination with fresh legs and less fatigue.

Problems with Other Flooring Types

Another flooring option available from Double D Trailer is pressure treated lumber with rubber mats on top. Lumber is very strong and even less expensive, but many find the need to haul out the heavy rubber mats for cleaning too much of a bother.  Other customers, who used to own other trailer brands, had issues with their rubber mats slipping or popping up

Peggy shared, “My floor is wood with rubber mats.  I haven't had a problem with slipping, but the mats at the seams sometimes raise.  It seems to temperature related. I just press the seams down.”

Sue F told us, “I am most grateful that I do not have to worry about wood rot underlying a traditional mat covering floor.”  She went on to explain that an old trailer she owned even had a rubber mat slip out from under the back doorway of your trailer once when driving it empty on the road.  She had to retrace her route and found it laying on the highway along her route!

Even these rubber mats can become slippery when they are wet.  Danielle M of Wisconsin told us, “I have had to deal with slippery floors in my previous trailer that had the standard trailer mat. When the horses would urinate or there was wet manure where they stood it would get slick making un/loading less than safe. We did attempt to use shavings that made a mess and created dust during travel. We also tried using barn lime for traction which seemed to work. Ultimately we ended up flipping the mats over, putting the smooth side down with the more textured up.”

Some trailers have metal floors with rubber mats.  We definitely do NOT recommend this type of flooring as metal (even aluminum) can corrode and weaken over time.  Some manufacturers will offer Polylast or WERM coatings that are placed on top of the metal base.  Again, we do not recommend these types of treatments because they are not durable and can present long-term safety hazards.

Are Rumber Floors Slippery?

So the ultimate question is this:  “Is Rumber slippery for horses?”

We found that 68% of our survey responders did not have any issues with slippage on Rumber floors.  Then, 32% did experience some issues which they found ways to fix using various methods listed below.

For instance, David admitted that his Rumber flooring can be slippery in the winter when there is snow and ice.  Despite this occasional issue, he still shared, “I love Rumber, best flooring I’ve had. Rumber is the best!”

rumber flooring in horse trailerEllen L said that her horse slips sometimes when he steps up into the trailer.  To fix this problem, she decided to add shavings to her trailer and then he is fine.  Overall, she says, “I am happy with Rumber because I don't need to worry about rot or corrosion.  I would bed the trailer with shavings anyway, but with Rumber  I make sure there is a good layer right up to the door where he steps in.”

Many of our respondents found that shavings help to soak up excess urine and prevent slipping in their horse trailers.  Barbara said “I use shavings all the time so do not have any issues with slipperiness.  I’m guessing, using shavings is important to reduce liquid (pee) that accumulates during trailering.”

John P of New Jersey told us, “Our flooring is highly textured and not slippery at all.  The texture prevents slippage but also makes cleaning out the trailer tough.”

Anne told us that her horse actually slipped at the end of a 10 hour ride with urine in the shavings.  “I really wanted the Rumber so I could hose everything out.  I did consider what I used when I last washed the trailer and I scrubbed it with soap. It made me wonder if there was soap scum left and then the urine hit it and made it slippery.”  On the return trip, she used extra shavings and her horse made the trip without incident.

One person actually found the opposite effect with shavings.  Kevyne from Montana shared, “I have noticed that there has been slipping with the Rumber flooring. I do, however, use pine shavings over the floor. I have not used the trailer without the shavings. I had just recently come to the conclusion that the combination of shoes and shavings makes slipping more likely when I received this email. I would like to completely clean and dry the floor and spray something gritty on it (even though the Rumber itself is somewhat rough) The flooring is ONLY a slipping issue when loading or unloading.”

Another woman, Danielle, felt that shavings were not needed. “The floor is textured and provides good, solid footing for the barefoot or shod horse even when wet. I do not use shavings as they are not needed and I find they cause more issues than good.”

Devon told us that he’s never experienced any slipping problems.  He went on to add, “If someone is having that challenge, throw a handful of dirt, sand or shavings in their area.”

Ultimately, you need to do what works best for your horse.  If shavings seem to be the key, then use them on your floor to help prevent wetness and provide extra grip.  We do recommend that if you are taking a very long trip, make sure to clean out the trailer partway through your journey so that wet urine-soaked shavings don’t cause a problem for your horse.

Or, as Barb P joked, “I guess the answer is to buy horses that don’t like to pee in the trailer.  Just kidding!”

What Does the Rumber Manufacturer Have to Say?

rumber flooring in horse trailerRumber is a third-party product that we install in our horse trailers because we feel it is the best option out there.  We reached out to the manufacturers to hear what they had to say on the “slipping” question.

The CEO, Brian Adams replied, “There are always people that have isolated incidents with certain products. Of course there has been instances where Rumber becomes slippery - it has plastic in the mixture. That is why we created a rough surface and advise people at the beginning to place sand or kitty litter on the floor until there is some wear on the product. The real advantage of our product is the long lasting and cost saving.”

He went on to explain that the Rumber is a bit like a pair of slippery new boots and it needs to be scuffed up a bit before it provides more traction.  Plus, the material is made of HDPE plastic and Crumb Rubber.  The top layer is stripped off to create a rougher surface.

Praise from Customers for Rumber

We are happy to hear that the majority of our customer are fully enjoying the benefits of Rumber flooring without any problems.  For those that are experiencing issues, feel free to reach out to us to discuss your concerns.

Here are some more comments from our survey respondents talking about the positive benefits of Rumber flooring:

“Rumber is the best flooring for me.  I believe it offers some cushion for the animals, is much easier to clean, avoids the problem of under wood floor rot, and stays secure.”  Sue F.

“So far, I like the Rumber the best, for ease of cleaning and my horses seem to ride well.”  Carol

horse in trailer“I love the Rumber flooring in my Double D Trailer....it doesn't have to have shavings for comfort, however, shavings (not wood pellets unless reconstituted) will certainly absorb any urine that could cause slipping and make the cleanup of manure much easier.  Over the years in various trailers, I have had "WERM" (We Eliminate Rubber Mats) over aluminum flooring, rubber mats over aluminum flooring, rubber mats over wood flooring.  Hands down, I prefer Rumber flooring, it's 'etched' to help with traction of the horses hooves...it dissipates heat, is comfortable, is safer than traditional mats over wooden flooring and a breeze to keep clean ...and my horses certainly agree in this flooring choice.!!”  Karen J

“I have had no slippery floor problems with our Rumber flooring.  I do not use shavings or straw.  My Rumber is not smooth; there is a rough finish to it.  Horses are loaded directly on to Rumber.  Sometimes they are dripping wet from sponging after a hot ride, and we still have had no problems.”  Sue F.

“In my experience with mats vs Rumber, I prefer Rumber to avoid slipping.  Love the Rumber!” (Customer requested name withheld.)

“I have not experienced slippery floors with my Rumber floor in the 6 years I have owned my Double D trailer. The floor is textured and provides good, solid footing for the barefoot or shod horse even when wet. I do not use shavings as they are not needed and I find they cause more issues than good. The Rumber provides good drainage out the back and through the few drain holes that are drilled in the floor. I clean out manure after the horses are out and sweep it once it’s dry just to keep it tidy. After long trips I sanitize with an animal-safe cleaner and pressure wash the floor and allow it to dry. I've never had an easier time keeping a trailer clean. So, in the end I love my Rumber floor. I wouldn’t want any other flooring style. It’s safe easy to clean and has stood up to the abuse of two 16.2h horses.” - Danielle M of Wisconsin

Cindi said, “I have never had any issues with slippery floors, even when using the trailer to move furniture in the rain.  When moving horses I always use shavings and clean up any manure or ruin right away, it never sits in the trailer.  I think that helps the flooring from being slippery.”

“I don’t shoe my horses, so shoes may be an issue on any surface. My horses’ hooves seem to grip the Rumber just fine.” Carol

We want to send a gigantic THANK YOU to everyone who responded to our survey via email!!

What are your experiences with Rumber flooring?  Do you have any suggestions or feedback to share?

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