What Is The Best Flooring For A Home Gym? Ultimate Guide

By Steve Hall

July 4, 2021

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If you have a home gym or are looking to set one up, you will want flooring that protects you, your floor and your equipment. There are a lot of option available but what is the best flooring for a home gym?

The best and most versatile flooring for a home gym is rubber. It is easily cleaned, and it is the most suitable material for the widest range of exercises. Other flooring choices depending on the type of your workout can include foam, cork, vinyl, carpets, artificial turf, and even wood.

The type of flooring that you decide to lay down in your home gym space will depend on several factors that pertain to where the space is, whether the flooring will be permanent, and what type of workout you intend to do in the space. The type of equipment you use as part of your workout will also affect your decision of the type of floor covering that will be best for you.

Types Of Flooring For A Home Gym

home gym flooring

Depending on the equipment you use and the type of workout you enjoy doing at home, your need for a quality, gym-friendly floor surface may vary from a yoga mat to something a little more substantial.

Choosing the correct flooring material for your home gym does not only produce benefits for your floor and your gym equipment but can also benefit you. The right floor can increase your stability while working out, protect joints from impact injuries and provide shock resistance for a wide range of exercise types.

Essentially, there are 7 main types of floor coverings that are suitable for a home gym, each of which has benefits and downsides depending on the type of exercise that you do.

  • Rubber exercise mats.
  • High-density foam mats.
  • Vinyl flooring.
  • Heavy-duty carpets.
  • Astroturf. 
  • Wooden floors.
  • Cork flooring.

With all these options as potential flooring types for your home gym, how do you go about selecting the best surface?

How To Choose A Floor For Your Home Gym

To choose the best surface for your home gym, you need to consider several aspects of the type of workout that you do at home.

You will need to bear in mind the following about your daily workout.

  • The type of exercise. If your exercises are performed at ground level on the floor, you would need a different floor type from someone who primarily works out on machines.
  • The equipment that you will be using. Free weights will have a different effect on gym flooring compared to skipping with a rope or using weights on machines, or running on a treadmill.
  • The intensity of the workout. If you perform high-intensity workouts such as aerobics or pilates, you need to work out on a surface that will protect your joints from impact.
  • The cleanability of the surface. If you perform high-intensity workouts, you will be sweating a lot in your workout area, so the cleanability of the surface is an important attribute to consider when selecting the ideal flooring surface.

What Is The Best Flooring To Use In A Home Gym?

Each of the flooring types has characteristics that make them good for certain types of workouts but not good for others.

Rubber Flooring For A Home Gym

Rubber flooring is the top choice for a surface in your home gym. The versatility of this material covers a wide range of exercise types, from handling free weights very well to being a suitable cushion for heave machines.

The high shock-resistance of rubber also makes it a great material for high-impact exercises that could potentially be damaging to joints. Rubber is also a durable material that will handle the rigors of home exercise routines. Another pro for this material is that it is easy to install since it does not have to be installed as a permanent fixture, and it cleans extremely easily.

The major downside of rubber flooring is that it is expensive, which might be a deterrent if you have a fairly large room fitted out as your home gym space.

The rubber flooring can come in large rubber strips that you roll out or in interlocking tiles that you can customize for your space, such as the Rubber King Interlocking Tiles, which come in 10 piece packs that will cover roughly 23 square feet.

High-Density Foam Mats For A Home Gym

High-density foam mats are the next best thing to rubber flooring for a home gym. They are lightweight, easy to clean, and they provide great shock absorbing qualities for high-impact exercises and provide great cushioning for floor-based exercises. 

High-density foam is great for yoga, pilates, and similar types of workouts, and it can support some lighter free weights as well. This material is also substantially cheaper than rubber flooring.

However, foam is not as durable as rubber in that it cannot carry the weight of heavy machines or heavy free weights with could leave deep impressions in the foam material. It is also each to gauge chunks out of the material with sharp-edged equipment.

The high-density foam also comes in sheets that you can lay out, but interlocking tiles such as the ProsourceFit high-density foam tiles are much neater and easy to lay down.

Cork Flooring For A Home Gym

Cork, by its very nature, is a springy material that offers a good level of impact absorption, and it is also very comfortable to perform floor-based exercises on this surface. It also handles free weights very well and is resistant to mold and moisture.

It is easy to fit, as it comes in square tiles that are easy to glue to the floor and easy to trim to the size that you need. It can support medium to lightweight gym equipment but can tear quite easily if heavy equipment is dragged across its surface.

The main downside to cork as gym flooring is that heavy equipment can leave indentations in the cork, and ittears quite easily if heavy gear is dragged across it.

If cork flooring sounds like a good fit for the type of workouts that you do in your indoor gym, you can try this Premium Cork Roll, which is made from 100% natural cork.

Vinyl Flooring For A Home Gym

Vinyl is a great flooring choice if you are not using heavy machines, and if you want to lay flooring that you can leave as permanent flooring in your gym room. It is very easy to clean and is resistant to mold and dampness, which are great qualities in a room where you could be sweating a lot!

It works well for exercises where you will stay on your feet, such as practicing martial arts kata’s and can provide a good surface for exercises in bare feet.

The disadvantage of vinyl is that it has no shock-absorbing qualities, and the feet of heavy gym equipment can easily cut the material.

One of the advantages of vinyl flooring s that it can look really good and even add value to your home. This grey oak vinyl flooring from Achim Home Furnishings comes in strips that clip together with a mechanism similar to tongue-and-groove flooring.

Heavy-Duty Carpets For A Home Gym

Carpet is probably the most popular choice for a home gym floor covering, and even some public gyms opt for this type of coverage in certain areas. The carpet must be a commercial-style carpet that is resistant to wear.

It provides a surface where you can get great traction for cardio-type workouts, and it also handles heavy free weights very well. Most gym machines will also do very well on this type of carpet, and it is easy to clean with a vacuum and will benefit from the occasional carpet shampoo.

It is also easy to install, particularly if you select the peel-and-stick squares, which makes laying the carpet a breeze.

The downside to carpets is that it only provides limited shock absorbing qualities and it can be susceptible to moisture, and mold if the room does not have good ventilation.

It is best to use heavy-duty office or commercial style carpeting which is harder wearing. A good example of this is these non-slip Carpet Tiles which come in 20-piece packs and can cover an area of 53.8 square feet.

Astroturf Flooring For A Home Gym

Astroturf is a form of artificial turf that is manufactured as an alternative sports surface to real grass. It is highly durable and provides a lot of traction for cardio-type workouts. It is also very easy to keep clean, and you can lay it down as a permanent fixture or buy it in rolls and only lay it out in the areas in your indoor gym where you need it.

Artificial turf has the disadvantage of offering very little in the way of shock absorption, and it is very uncomfortable to perform any floor-based exercises on this surface or do any exercises barefoot.

If you are interested in a supplier of artificial grass or Astroturf, you can try out this product from LITA Artificial Grass Turf, which is supplied in a 3-feet by 10-feet roll.

Wooden Floors For A Home Gym

Wood is a surprisingly springy and shock-absorbing floor material for a gym, especially if it is underlaid with a foam backing. This makes it suitable for most exercises, even high-impact exercises.

It is great to work out barefoot on wood flooring, making it ideal for martial arts training, and even practicing your ballet if that is what you are into! Wood also looks great and can enhance the visual appeal of the room.

The downside of wood is that it is not good for free weights since it can be badly damaged if heavy weights are dropped on the floor. Wood also becomes slippery when it is wet, which could be a problem if your exercise routine makes you sweat heavily.

Another deterrent is that wood can be an expensive floor covering, which may make you want to cover it with foam or rubber anyway if you have a wooden floor.

If you would like to take a look at a stylish wood floor for your indoor gym, we can recommend the Acacia wood Outdoor Flooring Tile, which comes in a tile format rather than long strips of wood. The tiles are easier to fit the floor than long strips, and the look of the final product is stunning!

Conclusion

Rubber is certainly the best and most versatile option for flooring for a home gym, but in reality, it is probably best to mix and match different materials in different locations in your home gym.

Most of the flooring options can be laid down in sections which will give you options of having the most appropriate type of flooring in an area of the space dedicated to a certain type of exercise.

The added benefit is that you can preserve your budget by only putting the expensive material down in the room where it is needed. This is also the approach that most public gyms adopt as a flooring strategy.

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Steve Hall

Steve is a strength training fanatic who geeks out over the best, most efficient workouts, nutrition and gear to help get you stronger and healthier!

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