Neuman K-9 Academy uses its climate controlled training facility to ensure its clients have optimal comfort and safety during the training process.

K-9 Academy beats Mother Nature with patio tiles and foam mats

Neuman K-9 Academy uses its climate controlled training facility to ensure its clients have optimal comfort and safety during the training process.

Neuman K-9 Academy uses its climate controlled training facility to ensure its clients have optimal comfort and safety during the training process.

By Brett Hart

Fighting the elements isn’t always the easiest thing to do in Minnesota. That’s why Josiah Neuman, owner and training director of the nation’s leading dog boot camp, designed a premiere 3,600 square foot climate-controlled all-weather training area when he moved his 20-acre St. Peter training facility, Neuman K-9 Academy, onto 10 acres of pristine wilderness in Hugo, Minn., in late 2011.

“I’ve been training dogs professionally since 2007 (when he became a Certified Master Trainer),” Josiah said. “We’ve had about 1,000 dogs go through the course. Dogs come from all over. This year, we’ve had dogs return to their owners in Switzerland, Brazil and Canada (as well as all over the U.S.). We get them from all over the place specifically for the boot camp.”

At the time of the move, the new property had a pole shed in disrepair, which Josiah and his staff envisioned as the location of the indoor training area.

“Clients want their dogs to have first class accommodations,” Josiah said. “We do train outside as well, but it’s nice to have an atmosphere like this where you can walk in and focus on the dog and training and not the elements.”

After several months of intense restoration and remodeling work, the final hurdle of the project was selecting a durable floor that would stay dry while also providing a safe and comfortable surface for dogs.

“We were really going back and forth on how to treat the concrete floors previous to installing any sort of flooring, because we knew it (the concrete) would sweat,” Josiah said. “We put a lot of time and effort into researching different flooring options. It was import to us to have space that is climate controlled.”

Neuman K-9 Academy uses Greatmats patio outdoor tile as subfloor underneath its foam dog agility mats to ensure no moisture will get trapped under its soft and safe training flooring.

Neuman K-9 Academy uses Greatmats patio outdoor tile as subfloor underneath its foam dog agility mats to ensure no moisture will get trapped under its soft and safe training flooring.

In July of 2012, the staff at Neuman K-9 Academy decided blaze a new trail in K-9 flooring with an alternative use for Patio Outdoor Tiles they found on a website called Greatmats.com. The Patio Outdoor Tiles, designed for use in wet areas, would serve as a subfloor underneath waterproof interlocking dog agility mats also found at Greatmats.com. Waterproof and slip resistant, the patio tiles are designed to allow water to drain through them and are elevated, permitting air to flow underneath the flooring.

“We put down the PVC as a subfloor because… we didn’t want the moisture to be trapped underneath,” Josiah said. “It just made more sense to use a product like the PVC floor that would be designed for getting wet, airflow, things like that.”

Summer Duggan, the assistant training director at Neuman K-9 Academy, added, “It’s a firm material, but I think it even adds an extra layer of support and cushioning – as opposed to just having the mats flat on concrete.”

The idea for interlocking dog agility mats as the top surface of the floating floor came upon recommendation of other friends in the professional dog training industry. One training facility in western Wisconsin used these same kind of interlocking dog agility mats, and Josiah was particularly impressed by their performance.

“They’ve had them for a long time,” Josiah said, noting that they’ve beaten up the mats and they’re still holding up really well.

“We do sport dogs,” Josiah said. “We do bite work. So we’ll literally have a dog back tied – agitation; they’re gripping; they’re clawing; they’re pulling. These go through a lot of abuse. One of the biggest considerations with the type of flooring we were going to go with was not only… Is it comfortable for the dogs? Is it safe for them? And then very importantly, what’s the longevity of the product going to be like.”

Durability

The K-9 Academy uses the facility 3-4 times per week, specifically for off-leash behavior and training with up to 15 dogs at a time. After nearly 3 years, the flooring has suffered some expected cosmetic blemishes that come along with hard use and abuse. But the mats continue to perform as well as the day they were installed.

Summer said, “We work with different working breeds in different venues in addition to the obedience and the agility, and I’m very impressed with the durability of the product. It gets a lot of mileage. There are lots of dogs running around in here – lots of toenails, and its held up phenomenally well, even in the really high traffic areas.”

“So far, we haven’t replaced a single tile,” Josiah added.

Comfort and Safety

The new flooring system hasn’t disappointed in comfort or safety either.

“When we are doing jumps, we’re having dogs clear things and land hard,” Josiah said. “When you are training a sport dog to jump, typically you won’t start until they’re 12 months of age or older – sometimes even 2 years of age or older – because of their bones developing. With how soft these (tiles) are to land on, we can actually start dogs at a younger age, because it’s low impact.”

To get out of the elements at its previous location, Neuman K-9 Academy need to rent space, and the flooring systems varied greatly.

“One place had concrete pavers, which was not good,” Summer said. “There were situations sometimes where dogs would get scraped pads. Other places had a pebbly/rubbery floor – decent traction, but no shock absorption. This is the best!”

As for the water problem from sweaty concrete and foot traffic… There isn’t one.

“When people are coming in and out… if there’s snow, if it’s a rainy day… things dry up really nice,” Josiah said. “We’ve never had a problem with them.”

With this innovative flooring system, Neuman K-9 Academy is truly top dog.

View a brief video at this innovative training facility at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMevoL6mHpI

These soft and durable dog agility mats provide excellent shock absorption, making it easy on dogs' bones and joints during times of high activity levels.

These soft and durable dog agility mats provide excellent shock absorption, making it easy on dogs’ bones and joints during times of high activity levels.

Commercial Rubber Roofing Pavers Sale

The Sterling Roof Top Tile is a high-end, professional quality outdoor rubber paver.

Greatmats.com is offering an additional 5% off its already great sale price on Sterling Roof Top Tiles in any color. The offer brings our regularly-priced $32.35 terra cotta commercial rubber roofing pavers down to just $24.61 per tile and is good only through the end of May, so don’t delay! Call us toll free at 877-822-6622 for more details or to place an order. Our friendly customer service team his happy to help.

Greatmats.com is offering an additional 5% off its already great sale price on Sterling Roof Top Tiles in any color. The offer brings our regularly-priced $32.35 terra cotta commercial rubber roofing pavers down to just $24.61 per tile and is good only through the end of May, so don’t delay! Call us toll free at 877-822-6622 for more details or to place an order. Our friendly customer service team his happy to help.

The Sterling Roof Top Tile is a high-end, professional quality outdoor rubber paver. This 2×2 foot rubber floor tile is 2 inches thick and comes with interlocking edges for easy installation. Sterling patio flooring, made of durable recycled rubber, qualifies for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) points and comes with a 10-year limited warranty.

Most outdoor deck tiles interlock and can be installed on any semi-flat surface without the need for grout, adhesives or installation fees.

Choose your outdoor patios carefully. Consider versatility, beauty and price.

Installing an outdoor patio can make all the difference when it comes to enjoying or selling your home. In addition to adding curb appeal and expanding your living space, it can even have financial rewards such as reducing energy costs (cooking outdoors on hot days) and increasing property value.

There are a few things to keep in mind, however, when installing outdoor patio tiles – visual appeal, functionality, climate, surroundings, durability and cost.

Below is a breakdown of the features of the most popular outdoor patio tiles.

Outdoor deck tiles

Most outdoor deck tiles interlock and can be installed on any semi-flat surface without the need for grout, adhesives or installation fees.

Most outdoor deck tiles interlock and can be installed on any semi-flat surface without the need for grout, adhesives or installation fees.

Do-it-yourself (DIY) homeowners have great options in outdoor deck tiles which come in plastic, wood, stone and concrete. Equally as impressive as the variety of materials available for outdoor deck tiles are the array of textures and colors, giving designers options to match any style of home, community or functional purpose. Most outdoor deck tiles interlock and can be installed on any semi-flat surface without the need for grout, adhesives or installation fees. They can be laid down on top of and existing patio, deck or ground surface and most are water, heat and insect proof.

Outdoor carpet or turf tiles

Artificial turf squares allow water to drain through and provide a lush, non-slip surface that is easy to maintain.

Artificial turf squares allow water to drain through and provide a lush, non-slip surface that is easy to maintain.

Outdoor carpet squares are a convenient way to extend the comfort of your home outside. Resistant to moisture and high traffic, outdoor carpet tiles provide an excellent non-slip surface. Should a tile become worn or stained, it is easy to replace. Many come in interlocking squares that you can simply swap with no need for tools. High quality outdoor carpet tiles are odor, stain resistant and easy to clean.

For a natural look and the comfort of artificial materials, consider artificial turf tiles. Easy to install, they typically snap together on any hard flat surface. Artificial turf squares allow water to drain through and provide a lush, non-slip surface that is easy to maintain.

Outdoor rubber tiles

Outdoor rubber tiles are soft, slip resistant and inexpensive.

Outdoor rubber tiles can withstand extreme temperatures without cracking or chipping and most carry the rare benefit of being both porous and waterproof.

One of the most versatile outdoor patio tile options, outdoor rubber tiles are soft, slip resistant and inexpensive. They come in a large range of textures, colors and sizes and are extremely durable. The comfort factor of the rubber patio tile makes it ideal for areas where children will be present as it offers a soft surface with a superior grip.

Outdoor rubber tiles can withstand extreme temperatures without cracking or chipping and most carry the rare benefit of being both porous and waterproof. Water permeates through the tiles which are often also grooved to allow water to drain off the surface rather than pool. Rubber patio tiles are able to withstand heavy objects being dropped on them without breaking. DIY homeowners enjoy the benefits of easy installation, allowing them to save money both on the purchase price and installation.

Clay-based tiles

How tiles are formed and fired makes a big difference when looking at clay-based tiles. Ceramic tiles in particular are very diverse in colors, patterns, shapes and sizes. Commonly used for indoor tiles, there are limitations to ceramic tiles’ outside uses as they should have a minimum Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) rating of 4 or 5, meaning they are hard and durable. Anything rated lower than 4 is too fragile. Outdoor ceramic tiles should also be unglazed and sealed. Glazed tiles can be slippery and unsealed ceramic tiles will stain.

Porcelain tiles do not mildew or stain and are near waterproof. Their method of manufacturing allows for intricate textures that mimic stone tiles. Porcelain is also more durable and dense than ceramic tiles. Porcelain tiles are resistant to freezing and come in an unlimited number of colors and sizes, but are more expensive than ceramic tiles.

Quarry tiles are made from unglazed clay and are very tough but come in limited colors of red, brown and gray. They have a low water absorption rate, but need to be sealed to avoid staining. The unglazed material provides an effective non-slip surface.

Stone tiles

If you are looking for the beauty of nature, there are many stone tile options to fit your needs. However stone tiles can be much more expensive than the previously-mentioned options. Sandstone tiles offer a huge range of colors. A soft stone, sandstone is easier to carve than other stones without sacrificing strength and durability. However, as one of the most porous stones, they absorb a water and salt which can result in serious damage. They also need to be sealed to prevent staining.

Granite tiles are the strongest and most durable stone tiles. Naturally waterproof, granite will not stain or absorb oils. It is scratch, chip and crack resistant, easy to clean and nearly impenetrable to bacteria. Granite is also heat resistant and nearly maintenance free but is one of the most expensive options.

Like sandstone, limestone is also easy to cut while maintaining strength and durability. However, it does scratch easily and needs to be properly sealed. A somewhat porous stone, limestone is highly susceptible to damage by acidic cleaners such as bleach or vinegar. For a spongy-looking limestone tile, consider travertine tiles, which are known for their small pits.

Soapstone tiles, known for their soft texture, are heat resistant and waterproof and well as resistant to extreme climate changes. They are easy to carve, but also easily scratched.

Slate tiles are usually grey in color and offer unique uneven surfaces which provide excellent slip resistance. While good in wet conditions, slate is not tolerant of freezing temperatures. Despite being a dense material, slate is easily scratched and must be sealed to prevent staining.

As you can see, not all tiles are created equal. Take care in deciding whether you want the comfort, versatility and price of synthetic tiles or natural look and authenticity of stone. Your family, friends, neighbors, body and wallet will thank you!

Customer Review-Patio Aqua Tiles


Spring is finally here and summer is right around the corner.  Tommy H. is preparing to enjoy his pool area to the fullest by using our Aqua Tiles for his pool surround.  He’s also installing around a screened in patio and hot tub.

Aqua tile is a PVC product made specifically for wet area flooring.  Its perforated design allows for easy water drainage so puddles are not an issue.  This soft material also feels much more comfortable on bare feet than concrete or some other pool surround materials. 

Installation of Aqua tiles is a snap.  Literally.  Just snap the tiles to each other.  You need no messy adhesives.  When you reach the edge of the pool, these plastic tiles can easily be cut to fit with a utility knife.  Tommy used a pruning shears!

“I installed myself on weekends and at night,” he says.  “The biggest challenge was to cut around the kidney shaped pool.”

“Down in south Louisiana (where Tommy lives) the ground always subsides and cracks in the concrete are common.”  Aqua tiles are a great solution for this.  Available in four colors, green, blue, terracotta, and gray, they match almost any pool décor.

Aqua patio tiles are also slip resistant.  This is important for areas around pools because kids, whether we like it or not, are apt to run around.  It’s far safer to fall on these soft tiles than it is on concrete. 
Designed for common foot traffic, they can also withstand outdoor tables and chairs.  They are manufactured with UV stabilizers in the product mix.  This gives them better resistance to sunlight and keeps them from fading as quickly as some other pool surround products on the market.
Although designed for outdoor use, they can also be used in a variety of wet areas including basement showers or in spa areas.
We asked Tommy if he’d recommend Greatmats to his friends.

“Of course.  I have shown the results thus far to many residents in the Houma area.”

Thank you, Tommy, for your review.  We encourage everyone who has purchased our products to please send in a photo and let us know what you think.  We are determined to provide the best products and the best customer service possible.

Call Greatmats at 877-822-6622.

Patio Aqua Tile

Looking for a comfortable, low maintenance, and easy-to-install flooring for your pool area?  Check out our Patio Tile Aqua.  It is perfect for outdoor use around wet areas because it is a drain through, elevated floor product. This flooring is also excellent for your hot tub or spa area.   Its drain-through design will not absorb any moisture and lets all water drain through which will insure a consistently dry surface on top of the tiles.  This will keep your surround safe from mold and mildew as well as provide a more comfortable area.  This is critical because, if water is absorbed by your outdoor patio tile and freezes, the ice can crack and destroy your flooring.  With Aqua Tile, you won’t have that problem.

As almost any parent will tell you, keeping children from running near the pool can be a full time job and sometimes they run despite your best efforts.  It is imperative that your pool surround provide extra traction to keep everyone safe.  Fortunately, these tiles provide that extra layer of security for your family and guests.  They are also designed to be comfortable for bare feet.  Aqua Patio Tiles are perfect for use in a variety of wet areas including swimming pool areas, spas, showers, decks, and saunas.
These patio tiles come in four attractive colors: blue, terracotta, gray, and green.  They are UV stable for outdoor use so you don’t have to worry about your tiles fading in the sun over time.  They are also weather resistant so you can rest assured that they will last for years. Aqua patio tile is designed to accommodate the weight of common foot traffic and residential tables and chairs for outdoor usage.
Each patio tile is 11-5/8” x 11-5/8” and 1/2” thick.  They are easy to install because they feature a unique interlocking tab and loop connecting system.  These tiles simply snap together.  You need no messy adhesives and, in most cases, you can simply design your own pool surround in a few hours.  Use our handy online floor planner to determine how many tiles you will need.  Easily cut this PVC floor tile with a utility knife for a total wall-to-wall installation and viola!  You have an attractive, safer, and more pleasant area to relax in by your pool.
But don’t take our word for it.  Check out our customer gallery to see pictures of our product in various locations around the country.  Check out our customer reviews to see that, when it comes to outdoor, wet area flooring, Greatmats has got you covered!

Contact Greatmats at http://www.greatmats.com – 877-822-6622