Rubber sheeting is a key material in manufacturing, construction, food processing and countless other industries. A highly versatile product, there are several types of rubber sheet, each with their own qualities and properties. As a result, selecting the right sheeting is challenging. At Provincial Rubber Ltd, we’re rubber experts and ideally positioned to guide and advise on all aspects of rubber sheeting.

What is rubber sheeting? The science behind the sheet

Typically, rubber sheet manufacturing follows a three-step process. The rubber is prepared to ensure it is malleable, it is shaped and then cured or vulcanised. While this is a basic framework, additional steps may be required to equip the sheeting with specific properties, such as enhanced durability, elasticity or temperature resistance.

Manufactures shape the sheet according to one of three main processes:

  1. Calendering - calendering involves the use of a calendar, a piece of machinery resembling a mangle. The rubber passes through horizontal cylinders that press it into the required shape and thickness. It is then wound into a roll or batched. A highly adaptable method, it is the most common way to manufacture rubber sheeting.
  2. Extrusion - extrusion is often used to create rubber products with particular shapes, such as l-shaped seals or hosing. But it is also used to manufacture sheeting. In this process, the machinery forces rubber through a flat head, creating appropriately shaped sheeting. Extrusion heads are specifically designed for the purpose, are less flexible than calendering cylinders and can be costly. As such, this method is less common than calendering.
  3. Press Moulding - press moulding involves compacting rubber between two plates. Sometimes, the plates are heated, enabling the manufacturer to cure the sheeting during compression.

7 types of rubber sheet

Rubber is a versatile material and can be manipulated during manufacturing to create a diverse range of rubber compounds, each with unique properties, strengths and weaknesses.


Valued for its resistance to oils, fuels and other chemicals, nitrile rubber sheeting is manufactured by polymerising emulsified butadiene and acrylonitrile. As a result, it is primarily utilised in settings where contact with petroleum-based products is highly likely. Nitrile rubber sheeting’s stability ensures the long-term durability of components, machinery and environments, minimising the need for replacement and repair and reducing maintenance costs. It is easily cut into strips or extruded for use in seals, making it a flexible rubber sheeting product.


  • Excellent oil and fuel resistance
  • Good abrasion resistance
  • High tensile strength.

Nitrile rubber sheeting is found in seals intended for vehicles, engine systems and manufacturing lines, where exposure to oil and similar substances is likely. However, it does not perform as well when exposed to UV radiation. This limits its use in outdoor, exposed applications.


Manufactured by vulcanising silicone, oxygen, hydrogen and carbon, silicone rubber is one of the most flexible and versatile sheeting products on the market. It is typically certified as a food-grade material, making it suitable for food processing and medical applications. At the same time, it boasts excellent temperature resistance.

Silicone rubber sheet is highly regarded for its versatility and unique properties, exhibiting excellent flexibility and resilience. Notably, silicone rubber is commonly FDA-approved, making it a trusted material for applications in the food and medical industries.


  • Excellent temperature resistance and range
  • Good flexibility
  • Non-toxic and food-grade certified.

Silicone rubber sheeting is often found in food manufacturing and processing facilities and is incorporated into food-grade conveyor belting, surgical instruments and prosthetics, and non-stick baking mats in prep areas. Silicone rubber sheeting’s principal drawback is low tensile strength compared to other rubber compounds.


Neoprene sheeting is a highly versatile synthetic rubber product manufactured by polymerising chloroprene. Flexible and resistant to oils, chemicals and similarly harsh substances, it excels in challenging conditions. This extends to outdoor exposure - neoprene sheeting is waterproof and resistant to UV radiation and ozone. Overall, neoprene rubber is a tough and durable option and well-suited to applications where other, less robust rubber compounds may suffer from premature material degradation.


  • Excellent chemical stability
  • Waterproof
  • UV and ozone-resistant.

The compound’s stability and excellent resistance mean it is used in protection pads, dust seals, packing pieces and gaskets.


EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) rubber sheeting is typically selected for its weather resistance. Able to withstand ozone and UV exposure, it is a favourite for outdoor applications. Made by polymerising ethylene, propylene, and a diene comonomer, it is resistant to oxidants, water, steam and some chemicals. EPDM also benefits from being relatively flexible compared to other rubber compounds.


  • Excellent resistance to diverse environmental factors
  • Good electrical insulation properties
  • Wide temperature range.

As EPDM sheeting is suited to outdoor uses, it is employed as a roofing membrane in the construction sector, for waterproofing applications, and in gaskets and seals in the automotive industry.


Hypalon, or chlorosulfonated polyethylene (CSM), is known for its resistance to chemicals, UV and ozone. Highly weather resistant, it withstands significant temperature changes and is designed for use in temperatures ranging from -30℃ to 140℃.


  • Excellent weather resistance
  • Resistant to contact with chemicals
  • Suitable for wide temperature ranges.

With these strengths in mind, hypalon sheeting is frequently used by the construction industry in weatherproof membranes and to protect equipment in the chemical industries. Poor resistance to petroleum-based substances limits its application in those environments where these materials are commonplace.


A unique manufacturing method means insertion rubber sheeting benefits from high tensile strength. Made by embedding fabric layers within the rubber, it also benefits from fantastic tear resistance. This makes it the perfect option for applications requiring tough, hard-wearing sheeting, such as seals, gaskets and vehicle mud flaps.


  • High tensile strength
  • Improved durability
  • Enhanced tear resistance.

You will find insertion rubber sheeting in heavy-duty gaskets, on the bottom of doors to prevent drafts and improve thermal management, and in packing pieces. While its strength and durability are significant benefits in these use cases, they also make insertion rubber sheeting heavier and less flexible.


Unlike synthetic rubber compounds, natural sheeting is derived from latex. Highly flexible and abrasion-resistant, it performs well in wide-ranging temperatures and remains stable in challenging environments. It can be manipulated in various ways, allowing distinct types of natural rubber sheeting, including food-grade natural rubber and shot blast natural rubber sheet.


  • Excellent elasticity
  • High tensile strength and resilience
  • Good abrasion resistance.

Rubber sheet uses and applications

It’s found in almost every industry and has remarkably diverse applications. Key use cases include:

Automotive industry

The automotive industry uses rubber sheeting in seals, gaskets and protective covers. It is also employed for vibration dampening, noise reduction and weather stripping.

Construction sector

In the construction sector, it’s used for waterproofing -  it forms impermeable barriers in roofs and prevents water penetration in underground structures. It is also used to protect equipment, surfaces and materials during construction.


Rubber sheeting is everywhere in the manufacturing sector. From belting, gaskets and seals to protective linings and pads, it ensures production lines function seamlessly. As the various types of rubber sheet are suited to different environments, facility engineers can select materials that are perfectly suited to their intended applications.

Medical and healthcare

In the healthcare environment, rubber sheeting is used in medical devices, prosthetics and some protective clothing. Here, its durability, stability and toxin-free construction are highly valued. Silicone rubber is particularly prevalent in the medical sector.

Electrical applications

Used as insulation and in protective casings and anti-static mats, rubber sheet features prominently in electrical applications. Though its insulating properties are the most desirable characteristic in this context, there are often other complementary benefits. For instance, anti-static mats can also include anti-fatigue and non-slip qualities.

How to choose the best sheeting for the job

Maintenance engineers and construction professionals must consider several factors when selecting rubber sheeting. In many cases, they will already know what they are looking for and quickly identify suitable products. However, rubber and plastics specialists, like Provincial Rubber Ltd, are always available to advise on material selection and provide technical specifications and guidance. Our material experts are extremely knowledgeable and often help customers problem-solve and find appropriate solutions.

The main considerations are:

  • Size and thickness - The sheet must fit the correct dimensions for the intended application.
  • Performance properties - The sheet must meet your performance needs. Consider whether the rubber will be exposed to high or low temperatures, chemicals, abrasion, UV, ozone, weathering and other environmental factors.
  • Cost - Rubber compounds vary in price and businesses always work to specific budgets. This requires a balancing act. While minimum performance levels are obligatory, maintenance engineers must decide whether a higher quality rubber sheet is justified in a particular application. It is also important to consider long-term costs. A lower-quality rubber sheet may cost more than a more expensive alternative if it requires regular replacement or repair.
  • Type of rubber - The final consideration is the type of rubber sheet you require. Your performance and cost requirements will play a significant role in this decision.#

Maintaining and storing rubber sheeting

To extend the lifespan of rubber sheeting and ensure it is properly maintained before and during use, we suggest the following recommendations.

  • Storage - Store rubber sheeting in a cool, dry place away from contaminants, direct sunlight and ozone sources.
  • Cleaning - Clean sheeting with mild soap and water. Avoid any harsh chemicals if possible.
  • Regular inspection - Routinely check for signs of damage, deterioration, wear and cracking when possible.


What is the main difference between natural and synthetic rubber?

Natural rubber is derived from latex - a milky white liquid emulsion typically extracted from the rubber tree. In contrast, synthetic rubber is man-made using chemical processes. Manufacturers can manipulate these processes to create synthetic rubber compounds with distinct properties, such as enhanced temperature resistance or high tensile strength.

Is rubber sheeting recyclable?

In many cases, rubber sheeting is recyclable. However, it does depend on the chemicals used during manufacturing and how the sheeting was utilised before recycling.

What thickness of rubber sheeting should I opt for?

The thickness of sheeting depends on its intended use. Often, the mechanical stress the sheet will be exposed to is a determining factor. Thicker sheeting is regularly found in manufacturing environments where a higher degree of protection is required, such as loading docks, machinery matting and areas where vibration dampening is necessary.

Is rubber sheeting safe for use in food processing applications?

Certain types of rubber sheeting are suitable for food processing and are utilised in the food processing industry. Silicone rubber is an excellent example. Food-grade rubber is typically advertised as such and will feature an “FDA-approved” or “food-grade” tag.

How do I cut rubber sheeting to size?

You can cleanly cut thinner rubber sheeting with a honed utility knife. Specialist cutting tools are also available. For thicker sheeting, saws and mechanical cutters are more common.

Find premium rubber sheeting products with Provincial Rubber Ltd

At Provincial Rubber Ltd, we supply high-quality rubber sheeting products for diverse industries and applications, from food processing and construction to protective packing and the automotive industry. With over 90 years of industry experience, we ensure our products meet the exacting standards of maintenance engineers and facility managers across the UK and beyond.

At the same time, we pride ourselves on our outstanding customer service and support. Our unparalleled product expertise enables us to assist customers with appropriate product selection and problem-solving. We prioritise quick responses to enquiries, ensuring you get the answers and information you need, without delay. Our always-on-time delivery and streamlined ordering and repeat order processes mean we move rapidly, so you’re never left waiting.

Head to our rubber sheeting page to learn more about Provincial Rubber Ltd products.

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