June 3

Hear from Custom Rubber and Urethane Experts

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When to Use Rubber and When to Use Urethane

In the oilfield and wastewater business, splash zone water erosion and unmanaged rust are big problems that can jeopardize operations and lead to huge financial losses. That’s why elastomers, also known as industrial "rubbers,” have been used to coat pipes for nearly a century. They were the standard coating for nearly all pipes until the introduction of polyurethane coatings more than half a century ago.


Our high-density elastomer SplashTRON® coating has been used to coat pipelines for over 30 years, up to depths of over 1,000 feet. SplashTRON® is great because it:

  • Bonds strongly to metal
  • Bends with its surface — it will never crack or disband as a pipe flexes
  • Shields from saltwater and oxygen; features exceptional durability
  • Resists buildup of scale, fungus and sea life; is easy to clean
  • Is a great electrical insulator
  • Absorbs shock and resists impact damage
  • Lasts indefinitely

Our premium SplashTRON® coating isn’t for everyone, and it isn’t necessary for all purposes. Some simpler jobs call for simpler, more affordable coatings, and that’s when our namesake, rubber, and polyurethane enter the picture.

Rubber vs. Urethane

Our customers regularly ask us about the difference between our rubber and urethane options. In order to explain how they’re different and the pros and cons of each, let’s look at their benefits, first:

Advantages of Custom Molded Rubber

  • Very strong; less rigid than other materials
  • Withstands more stress and exhibits less wear
  • Acts as non-conductive insulator
  • Very affordable

Advantages of Cast Urethane

  • Better strength, toughness, durability and versatility than rubber
  • Is better suited for specific applications than rubber (due to strength)
  • Has adjustable / customizable chemical properties for different applications
  • More affordable than SplashTRON®

So, as you can see, the main difference between cast urethane and custom-molded rubber is cost. Polyurethane is all-around a better customizable solution, but rubber is quite simply more affordable — and both solutions are more affordable than our premium SplashTRON® coating for pipes.

A better way to understand the difference between rubber and urethane is to determine which applications call for their use most often:

Custom Molded Rubber Applications

Cast Urethane Applications

As you can see, cast urethane has more applications than rubber due to its higher versatility, strength, and durability. But rubber is still the material of choice for simpler applications, like pipe rollers and tensioner pads. Rubber is also preferable for custom-molded equipment.

Which should you use?

It’s difficult to truly distinguish between the benefits of each material and what you’ll need for your project given a specific budget.

That’s why Mark Tool & Rubber specialists are always on the line to answer your questions. If you’re wondering whether rubber, urethane or SplashTRON® are right for you, feel free to give us a call at 337-828-4479. We look forward to hearing from you!

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