8 Reasons Why RPM Mats are the Better Alternative

RPM Mat installation is so easy, anyone can do it!

Replaces Backerboard Resulting in a Thinner Installation

Over Plywood/OSB, with RPM-330 or RPM-V1, the finished installation height would be 5/16”. Using 1/4” backerboard (i.e., WonderBoard®, HardieBacker®) with thinset mortar, wire and leveler, the finished height would be 1/2” thick at a minimum. This is very important if you are trying to match the height of your tile floor to a neighboring 3/4” hardwood floor, for example. Also, it’s a possibility that extra 3/16” may prevent you from having to trim the bottom of your doors to clear your tiled floor, and that’s always a good thing.

Most backerboards have been Robinson Floor Tested. Well, so have we. RPM mats have received a Robinson Floor Test “HEAVY” use classification as an installation material for “shopping malls, stores, commercial kitchens, work areas, laboratories, automobile showrooms and shipping/receiving areas.”

Use as an Anti-Fracture Membrane Over Concrete Slab

Over concrete, RPM mats have been tested “High Performance” (highest classification) method of anti-fracture membrane in accordance with ANSI A118.12 system crack resistance/isolation test. The “High Performance” classification means that after an 1/8” crack was created in the slab, there was no failure or cracked tile.

Use as a Thermal Break Over Concrete Slab

RPM mats, together with the adhesive used to adhere RPM to concrete, provides a thermal break from the substrate and allow more of the heat wire’s energy to be directed toward the surface. This means less heat loss down into the concrete and more energy efficient heat radiating to the floor surface. Keep in mind RPM mats are not an “insulation” product and we recommend using RPM mats in conjunction with a ¼” thick cork underlayment for assured insulation.

Extremely Lightweight and Tough

Compare RPM’s weight, size and transportability to backerboard and there is no comparison. RPM mats weigh only 1.8 lbs each and are about 7x lighter than 1/4” backerboard and 11x lighter than 1/2” backerboard. RPM mats are also flexible and easier to transport. For example, let’s say you can carry 60 lbs in one armload. That equates to 2 backerboards (3’x5’x 1/4”) which is 30 s/f of your job. With RPM mats (20”x 44”), 60 lbs is equal to 33 sheets or 201 s/f. So a less awkward and bulky carry, fewer trips to your vehicle, and a happier lower back.

It takes approximately 200,000 lbs of weight to compress all the studs on one sheet of RPM, and that’s even before the mats are filled with a cement leveler.

Speeds Up Installation

With RPM you can skip all the steps you take to install backerboard such as mixing thinset mortar, lay the backboard, nail/screw down, then backer tape all the joints, then fill all the joints with thinset mortar. To install RPM, simply open the pail of adhesive, spread it on the substrate, lay the mat, and staple it down.

What if you need to cut to fit the floor layout? To cut backboard you typically use an angle grinder and diamond blade which is dusty, messy and slow. If the job is a remodel, the backerboard cuts have to be made outside and carried back in. Here is where RPM excels again because you simply score the RPM mat with a utility knife and break right on the score line—right in the room you are working in—with no dust, no mess and 10x faster.

When you are ready to string the heat wire, RPM makes it easier and faster since there are no metal tabs to install/attach/fasten like the traditional installation method. RPM mats automatically provide a grid that is completely customizable in any 1/2″ spacing increments for your wire installation. What if you get to a point and realize you need to change the layout? This is also where RPM is above the competition, just lift the wire right out. No need to go back and lift and then re-pinch each of the metal tabs, so go ahead and give your thumbs a break.

Protects Heat Wire System Integrity

RPM mats give you piece-of-mind because the heat wire is actually below the surface of the RPM studs. You (or other people working on the jobsite) can walk on your installed wire without tripping on or pulling out the wire. Heavy cement mortar-filled buckets can be set on the RPM mats, and never touch the installed wire. And, in the event a portion of the completed tile flooring needs to be removed, the heat wire stays protected from any flooring removal tools. All of this greatly reduces the risk of damage to the heat wire and integrity of the in-floor heat system. Your installation is not only professional, but protected too.

Makes Cement Leveling Over Heat Wire as Easy as it Gets

With RPM, leveling over your heat wire with cement underlayment is fast and easy. Simply mix your underlayment to a workable consistency, pour the leveler into the RPM mat, and screed to the surface of the RPM studs. The wire stays protected from the trowel’s edge during installation. When complete, you have a perfectly smooth finish ready for your flooring installation.

Made In The USA From Recycled Materials

RPM is 100% made in the USA and constructed from a flexible yet extremely durable heavy duty 60 mil ABS plastic made from 80-90% recycled materials.

Cost Comparisons

RPM is priced at $2.38/sf. However, since it replaces backerboard which costs on average $.70/sf, the net is only about a $1.68/sf to use a superior product and installation technique.

RPM® vs. Backerboard

Let’s say you have a project that requires using an 80sf Suntouch mat which costs $837.00. Now, if you used RPM you would need 14 sheets at an approximate cost of $14.50 per sheet, that would be $203.00, plus the WarmWire spool for 80sf would be an additional $383.00. The total would be $586.00 or a 30% savings over the Suntouch mat. The material costs (the adhesive, bonding agent, and cement leveler) to install this size project over a wood substrate would be approximately $170, bringing the total up to $756.00 or about 10% less than just the Suntouch mat alone, and you just took care of your substrate/underlayment as well.

RPM® & WarmWire® vs. Suntouch® Mats

*Costs based on 2012 average Internet advertised prices.


RPM Mats Brochure
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