Today Amanda writes:

Dear Diva, What do you know about rubber bark? I heard that it attracts less insects and lasts longer. Is this true? Thank you for your time.

Amanda, rubber bark is a great product for a number of reasons.  Even though it’s more expensive than traditional bark, its benefits may exceed the initial investment. By making the switch to rubber bark you are also being environmentally friendly, because you will be keeping old tires out of landfills. In addition to this, rubber bark attracts less insects and lasts ten times longer than traditional bark. Here are a few more reasons as to why you might want to consider rubber bark:

Rubber bark is fade resistant.  This means your newly “barked” area will look newer, longer.  This happens to be a huge selling point for me personally, because it’s usually when the bark has lost its red color that signals re-barking / mulching for me.  Especially since I can’t stand how gray and ugly bark looks when it’s been down for a while.  So in that respect, being fade resistant will also help add to the life of the bark overall.

Rubber bark just lasts longer. It doesn’t deteriorate over time and does not absorb water. It’s also heavier than traditional bark.  This helps to add to the life of the bark, because unlike traditional bark it won’t blow away or float off the next time it rains. Which means you will be less likely to look at the barked areas and wonder where it all went.  This translates into you not needing to re-bark the area as often.

Rubber bark doesn’t attract wood eating insects.  This particular selling point is also a big factor for me, because I absolutely hate bugs.  Any product that helps keep the bugs away from my house is a good one in my opinion! So if you’re also afraid of bugs, then rubber bark is a good thing.  This is also a consideration if you live in an area prone to termites. You will especially grateful for a product that reduces their interest in your home!

Rubber Bark

Rubber bark reduces weeds. It doesn’t kill them per se and it doesn’t prevent the seeds of existing weeds that are already in the soil from growing. However it does reduce new weeds from reaching the soil.  This happens because the rubber bark does not store moisture like traditional bark. So most seeds dry out before ever getting to the soil where they can grow. One company said that rubber bark reduces weed growth by over 85%. I’m not sure if the numbers are actually this high, but I have heard you can expect at least a 50% decrease. And that is certainly good enough for me!

As you can see these are some pretty compelling reasons to choose rubber bark over traditional bark for your yard.  However, there are a couple of things to consider before making your decision. First rubber bark can be 3x times more expensive than traditional bark for your yard. Considering rubber bark last ten times longer, it really ends up being cheaper in the long run. Second, there’s some speculation that rubber bark transfers zinc into the soil.  Realizing this, I definitely wouldn’t consider going the rubber bark path if you’re a gardener since the zinc could potentially kill near by plants. Using this product in a gardening space would be counter productive.

With each of the above negatives aside, rubber bark would be perfect for people like me, with “non-green thumbs” who are only wishing to make their garden look as presentable as possible. And as with any purchase, make sure you know the pros and cons before buying. Ask the experts at any big box store. Most of the time, they’re more than happy to answer any additional questions you might have.

Do you have questions about the selecting or the installation of: tile, carpet or wall treatments (window blinds, etc)? Then email me your tale of woe (diva(at) and perhaps I will be able to answer your questions right here at the Home Makeover Diva Blog!




Written by Amanda Hartley