Now more than ever it’s important to get the home gym perfect.
You’re probably going to be spending a lot of time in there, running, rowing, or repping your way through lockdowns and restrictions!
One of the most overlooked aspects of the home gym is the flooring.
We tend to focus on getting the right equipment and tracking apps rather than the physical aspects of the room. However, overlooking your flooring is a mistake.
Depending on your workout routines, you might find that you’re spending a fair amount of time on the floor.
Whether it’s doing yoga, push-ups, or planks, you need to have something safe, supportive, and stable underneath you.
Slippery flooring, hard flooring, or rough flooring will not only make your workout unbearably uncomfortable, but it can also do you and your equipment damage.
To help you perfect your home gym, we’ve pulled together 5 of the best solutions for home gym flooring.
So, without further ado, let’s warm up and dive into home gym flooring!
OUR TOP PICK
The things we love about these foam mats is the generous ⅖ inch thickness, the simple click together construction, and the waterproofing.
The thickness gives you a soft, comfortable, and supportive place to work out on. Your joints will thank you for buying this flooring.
The waterproof coating is excellent as it means that you can wipe it down to clean up any blood, sweat, and tears that may happen to fall on the mats. You do need to avoid any harsh chemicals when cleaning the foam mats. They can take the coating off the tiles and ruin them.
Available in black, gray, or a mix of both, you can create whatever pattern you want. The click-together design and removable edges make laying this flooring simple.
According to the reviews, these tiles stay in place throughout your workout so you may not need tape. This is going to save you some extra cash which is always appreciated.
As expected from foam tiles, you’ll want to avoid heavy weights or equipment. This is because the foam will rip or dent.
If you do want to put gym machines on foam tiles, you will need to use a rubber mat to protect your floor.
- Great shock absorbency.
- Easy installation.
- Simple maintenance.
- Stays in place.
- Available in a range of colors.
- Not great for heavy equipment.
- Sharp edges will cause rips.
This is some serious, heavy-duty flooring. If you want to turn your basement or garage into a weight lifter’s paradise, this is the flooring you need.
At ⅜ inch thick and made from high-density rubber, these will take a lot of use and abuse from heavy equipment and high-intensity training. The rubber is excellent at absorbing shock and impacts which will save your joints.
This stuff is heavy so you’ll get a workout just putting it in place. The upside to this is that you don’t need to worry about using tape to keep it down. Once it’s in place it doesn’t shift about.
The major issue with these tiles is that they have quite a strong smell when first put down. You’ll want to keep the room well ventilated for about a week before using it. You might also try a fan in the room to get rid of the odor.
The surface provided is nice and grippy. You won’t be slipping about on this floor. The surface is strong enough to hold heavy equipment without denting. It also provides a solid and sturdy base for your machines.
- Excellent shock absorption.
- A range of colors.
- Easy installation and maintenance.
- Fits together seamlessly.
- Provides plenty of traction.
- Strong smell initially.
Now for something completely different! These artificial grass flooring tiles will definitely liven up your gym.
They’re not just about looks though. Foam-backed and 1 inch thick, these tiles will give you a decent amount of shock absorption and provide a soft spot for your knees and elbows doing ground workouts.
The major appeal of these tiles is that they are perfect for Crossfit and plyometric workouts. They allow equipment to slide along the surface while also providing a fair bit of resistance. For sled pulls and similar activities, this flooring is ideal.
The click-together, jigsaw design makes installation easy. They are waterproof so you can rinse them off for easy maintenance. Also, if you want to move your gym outside in the summer months you can do so without worry.
One thing that is mentioned by several reviews is the loose bits of ‘grass.’ When you first lay these tiles you’ll want to give them a good brush with a stiff-bristled broom. This will dislodge all the bits that fall out during shipping.
- Eye-catching look.
- Easy maintenance.
- Simple installation.
- Foam-backed for shock absorption.
- ‘Grass’ is made from plastic and can be a bit rough on the skin.
- Some molting will happen from the packaging.
This is foam flooring in disguise! These foam tiles have a printed surface which makes them look like wooden flooring.
They are great if you want the functionality of foam flooring but the sleeker look of wooden floors.
Available in a range of wood designs from Porch Wood White to Raven’s Wing Black, there is an option to fit every gym.
The wood design is pretty convincing from a distance. Close up you can tell that it’s a printed image but if you’re that close to the floor you’re probably planking and have other things to worry about, like your screaming abdominal muscles!
At ⅜ inch thick, these mats provide a lot of support for your joints. Doing ground workouts will be super comfortable on this flooring. Some users say that they are ideal for yoga workouts even without a yoga mat. The surface provides enough grip to prevent slipping and sliding.
Installation is as easy as putting the tiles together and trimming the edges to fit your room. You do need to be mindful of the pattern as you lay this floor.
Otherwise, you might end up with a few odd horizontal tiles. This isn’t a major problem but a hassle to rectify.
Some users report that the tiles can lift when heavier things or people step on them. To prevent this, you might want to put some double-sided floor tape on the bottom of the tiles.
- Easy to install.
- Wooden flooring design.
- Decent shock absorption.
- Soft and comfortable.
- Provides decent traction.
- Will dent with heavier equipment.
- Seams may show at the joins.
- You need to pay attention to the pattern when laying.
The first thing to love about this flooring is that it comes in a wide range of lengths. You can get a huge role to cover your entire gym, or you can purchase smaller lengths to use as mats under equipment.
The next best thing is the easy installation. You can fit the rubber flooring using double-sided adhesive tape.
We don’t recommend just laying it down unless you’re using a small cut for a mat. If you’re covering the floor, use some tape.
One thing to make clear here is that this is not rubber tile flooring. It is a roll of rubber flooring. If you’re looking for a jigsaw style floor, check out the other products on our list.
At ⅛ inch thick, this flooring is heavy-duty. It can withstand a lot of hard punishment and gives you a really good level of shock absorbency. It can cope with heavy weights and intense workouts.
The textured diamond pattern on the top provides an excellent level of traction for your workouts. It does make it more difficult to place equipment as it’s an uneven surface.
If you want treadmills and the like in your gym, we recommend using mats in addition to this flooring.
- Lots of traction.
- Available in a range of lengths.
- Easy installation.
- Great shock absorption.
- Easy to maintain.
- Smells quite bad for the first few days.
- Uneven texture.
- Quite expensive.
Best Flooring For Home Gyms
Choosing flooring for your home gym isn’t just an aesthetics choice. You need to think about the physics behind it all.
Broadly speaking, we can split flooring concerns into two categories; how the flooring will cope with the use and abuse of the gym and how the flooring can support you and your equipment.
For example, there’s no point choosing a strong and durable material like concrete for your gym floor.
Sure, it will be able to withstand a lot of use but it will not support you or your equipment. It’ll do the opposite.
Similarly, choosing wonderfully soft and cushy flooring might make your joints happy, but it won’t last much longer than your first workout.
We have to strike a balance and find a compromise.
To help you find the flooring that’s best for you, we’ve put together a buyer’s guide which takes you through material choices, fitting, and maintenance.
You have quite a lot of choices when it comes to the material of your gym flooring.
You’ll need to think about the kind of training you do before settling on a choice.
Take a look at the following table for an idea of the pros and cons of each kind of flooring as well as the type of workouts they are good for.
Easy to install.
Absorbs heavy shocks.
Rubbery smell after installation.
Suitable for any workout.
Particularly good for weight training as it absorbs the shock of dropped weights preventing damage to the weights and floor.
$2 - $150/sq ft
Cushioned and comfortable.
Basic shock absorbency.
Will be dented by heavy equipment.
Can be too squishy for balance.
Particularly suitable for pilates, yoga, groundwork, or HIIT workouts.
Can cope with light weights and equipment.
Not suitable for heavy weights, machines, or equipment.
$1- $4/sq ft
Soft and comfortable.
Gives good stability.
Versatile around the house.
Requires frequent cleaning to prevent bacteria and odor.
Poor shock absorbency.
Can cause friction burns.
Great for cardio workouts thanks to the traction.
Floor workouts are pretty comfortable on most carpets.
Not ideal for high-intensity workouts due to poor shock absorbency.
$1.50 - $10/sq ft
Easy to maintain.
Not susceptible to damp or mold.
Can handle heavy equipment.
Can tear on sharp edges.
Poor shock absorbency.
Can give off VOCs which can be harmful in enclosed spaces.
A fairly decent all-rounder.
Especially good for sweat-inducing workouts thanks to its moisture-resistant nature.
Not ideal for heavy weights or high-intensity workouts due to poor shock absorbency,
50¢ - $5/sq ft
Some shock absorbency.
Great traction for certain sports.
Can become slippery when wet.
Will shatter or splinter with heavy impacts.
Damaged by repeated exposure to water.
Wooden flooring is great for dance and some martial arts. It provides enough traction to prevent slips but still allows free movement.
$9- $12/sq ft
Good balance between traction and slipperiness.
Can handle heavy equipment.
Quite abrasive on the skin.
Less widely available.
Poor shock absorbency.
Great for Crossfit and plyometrics. You can push and pull a range of equipment over astroturf for these activities.
Less suitable for ground work due to the abrasive nature.
$2 - $7/sq ft
For general workouts, you’re best off choosing foam or rubber. These kinds of floors provide both stability and shock absorbency making them ideal for a wide range of workouts. The fact that they are easy to install and maintain is a wonderful bonus.
If you do more specific workouts and training, like dance or Crossfit, you might want to consider one of the other materials. Wood is particularly suited to dance while AstroTurf can be a great choice for Crossfit.
Fitting Your Flooring
Some of these flooring options are really easy to lay and can be done yourself. Others are more difficult and are better fitted by a professional.
If you choose foam, rubber, or AstroTurf, you’ll be able to buy the flooring as jigsaw tiles. These are the easiest to fit as they can go down straight onto concrete or other floors.
The only tool you’ll need is a sharp knife to trim edges to fit your room. Unless, of course, you purchase rolls or straight-edged tiles. These are more common in rubber flooring than foam. For these kinds of floors, you’ll also need a seam sealer.
Carpet, vinyl, and wooden flooring usually need an underlay before they are installed. You’ll need to purchase this separately. You can install it yourself if you’re handy, but you might be better off calling in a flooring specialist.
The same goes for fitting carpet, vinyl, or wood flooring. You can do it yourself if you want, but it’s probably easier and better to call in a pro. The exception being plank vinyl and wood laminate. These are fairly easy to install as they click together without much fuss.
You’ll need to look after your flooring if you want it to last. Some of these materials are pretty easy to maintain. Rubber, foam, and vinyl floors only need a quick once over with a damp mop to clean up sweat and dirt.
Carpet is much harder to maintain as it needs to be cleaned with a carpet cleaner regularly. Vacuuming alone will not remove bacteria from the pile. If bacteria are not removed you’ll notice that the carpet begins to smell and you’re more likely to catch something nasty.
AstroTurf can be swept or brushed to remove debris and dirt but you’ll also need to clean it with disinfectant fairly regularly to prevent bacteria from building up.
Wood floors are probably the hardest to maintain. If you have hardwood floors you’ll need to sweep or vacuum before mopping. You’ll also need to use a dedicated hardwood cleaning solution with your mop. Using harsh chemicals like bleach can ruin the finish of your floor.
Laminate wood flooring requires the same sort of care. You’ll need to use a gentle floor cleaner and a damp mop.
The main concern when cleaning laminate or hardwood floors is the amount of water. You can do a lot of damage to these surfaces by using too much water.
Once clean you’ll need to get these floors dry as quickly as possible to prevent warping. If your gym is poorly ventilated, you might need to invest in some fans.
Finally, if you’re using your gym for dance or martial arts training you may need to polish the wood slightly to get the right amount of slip and traction. Again, you’ll need to use a wooden floor polish for this.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it Bad to Work Out on Concrete?
If you’re wondering this, I’m guessing you’re using the garage or basement as your home gym.
Unfortunately, keeping the poured concrete floor is not going to give you a good workout.
The major problem with concrete flooring is that it is bloody hard! There’s no give in concrete which is going to hurt your joints over time.
When you connect with the floor after a jump or other dynamic movement, the shock of the impact is transferred to the flooring.
With rubber or foam flooring, the shock is absorbed by the floor. This happens to a lesser degree with most of the other kinds of floors we’ve mentioned.
With concrete flooring, the shock is not absorbed. Instead, it goes right back into the body via the body part touching the ground.
As this is usually your legs, your ankles and knees bare the brunt of it. Sometimes the back and hips also feel the shock.
Repeated shocks or one big shock, can damage your joints, putting you out of training for a fairly long period of time.
Should a Treadmill Be on a Mat?
This question can be asked of any gym machine whether it’s a treadmill, a rowing machine, or a weight machine.
Manufacturers often recommend setting your equipment on a mat. It’s not just a way to get a bit of extra cash out of you.
Equipment mats are designed to prevent movement, balance the machine, and protect your flooring.
If you have rubber tiled floors, you can get away without using a mat. In all other cases, you’re best off using mats.