The floor is a very important piece of any room. In a home gym the floor is especially important. But what is the right choice? I’ve done some research and found out what is right for you.
For home gyms, 3/8″ rubber gym mats are great. For home gyms where heavy weights are dropped often, you’ll want to add extra foam/rubber/plywood where you drop the weight. If using foam flooring, 3/4″ or 1″ is advisable. Rubber flooring is higher quality, looks better and lasts longer than foam.
Just want to find which exact gym flooring is the best for a home gym? Click here to find my recommendations.
Why You Need Home Gym Flooring
The first question that comes to mind is probably why you would need a special floor for your home gym. Good question and one I’ll answer here. There are a few reasons why you want gym flooring in your home gym;
- Stable surface
Let’s take a more in depth look at those reasons.
The most important function of gym flooring is to protect. It protects two things;
- The surface underneath
- Your equipment
Working out in a home gym often involves lifting heavy weights. Sometimes you drop these weights. Over time, dropping heavy weights in the same place over and over again can damage the floor. If you’ve got a bare concrete floor in your home gym, it can start breaking it up over time. The concrete weakens and starts pulverizing. When that happens you’ll be left with a hole that get’s deeper over time. Not exactly something you want to happen.
If you’ve already got something on the floor of your home gym, extra flooring can protect that as well. Maybe you don’t want to take out the carpet that’s already there. Or there are tiles that will be a big job to take out.
Gym flooring can protect whatever is underneath although tiles are difficult. I’ve seen several times that people have put thick foam gym flooring over tiles but over time they still break from the impact of dropping weights. Carpet or vinyl can survive pretty well under gym flooring.
Gym flooring softens the impact and therefore the noise that’s created. A rubber of foam mat slows down the impact of weights hitting the floor which means less energy to create noise. It also creates a barrier between two hard surfaces.
Have you ever dropped or even just put down heavy metal weights on a concrete floor? If so, you’ll understand the noise this makes. It can create a big noise that bothers both you and everyone else that lives in your house and possibly even your neighbors.
That might not be a big problem if it’s only once or twice a week. But who only puts down their weights once or twice a week. It’ll be at least 10 times per workout. And since it’s a home gym, you’ll be using if quite often. Nobody wants to hear you create a loud noise tens of times every week. It’ll get irritating for everyone involved really quickly.
Gym flooring is easier to clean which is good since you’ll be sweating in your home gym. Just some water with mild soap can easily get rid of any sweat and other unwanted compounds on your gym flooring.
Gym flooring is also designed to be cleaned easily. That’s a really good thing in a home gym since you’ll be sweating a lot. That’s one of the biggest drawbacks of using normal carpet as gym flooring. The sweat from your workouts will get on to the floor somehow. Maybe not all of it but you don’t exercise in a plastic bag so some will inevitably escape and gravity will cause most of the escapees to drop to the floor.
Imagine a carpet you sweat on every day for a year. Do you want to be anywhere near it? Probably not. Gym flooring is much easier to clean than carpet or even concrete. Just some soap and warm water will suffice. If it gets really nasty, you can even take it outside and let the sun take care of some of the microorganisms that found a home there. It’s very difficult to do that with other types of flooring and impossible with a concrete floor.
Suggested: Types of gym flooring and what’s better
You want your feet to have good grip, especially when holding heavy weights in your hands. Rubber flooring provides great grip for extra safety.
Another great benefit of gym flooring is that it provides good grip. Since it’s often made of rubber or foam, it provides more grip than concrete or carpet. Some vinyl floors can be very slippery under the right circumstances.
The last thing you want to happen when you’ve got a heavy barbell in your hands or on your back is that you can’t trust your feet to stay in the right place. Slipping while holding something heavy can have devastating results.
5. Stable surface
A thick gym flooring can smooth out unevenness in the floor below it. This means you have a more predictable base to lift from. Good gym flooring doesn’t move around increasing stability even more.
Gym flooring can also give you a more even and stable surface. Sometimes the concrete floor in your basement isn’t a perfect polished surface. There might be some small bump and indentations that could give you an unstable base to lift from.
Sure, you can’t cover up a big hole with some gym flooring (although you could fill in the hole with something and put gym flooring over it so it seems even) but foam and rubber can soak up some of the smaller imperfections.
Something gym flooring SHOULDN’T do is move around under you easily. That is dangerous and will likely cause you to fall at some point.
No Gym Flooring?
What happens if you don’t get any gym flooring? Is it really a problem? Above you can already read why it’s a good idea to have gym flooring. So you can likely already see coming what will happen without. There are a few things that happen without a proper gym flooring.
Your floor or anything else that’s underneath will likely be damaged. If it gets bad enough where you have to replace or repair the concrete slab, it would have been much cheaper to just get some gym mats.
You’re more likely to damage your equipment. Dropping weights on a concrete floor will certainly scuff them and probably worse over time. Rubberized weights will shed their rubber skin pretty quickly. That will make them look ratty and actually cause them to be lighter than you think.
Metal weights will likely do more damage to the floor than to themselves but they can still get damaged. Other things like cable attachments and barbells can also get scuffed and that just doesn’t look good.
You’ll go deaf, your children won’t be able to sleep and your neighbors will hate you. Your gym will be less comfortable to use since it’s so noisy. That will lead to you using it less, and it all goes downhill from there. OK maybe not that extreme but for me, a noisy place isn’t comfortable to use and it’s worth it to put in some time and effort to keep the noise levels down.
Even dropping bumper plates can be surprisingly noisy and it will get tiring after a while. Also, heavy weights can cause the floor to vibrate. That vibration travels through the structure of your house and can be heard everywhere. Preventing those vibrations with gym flooring makes a big difference.
4. Things get dirty
Working out and sweating isn’t going to make your home gym cleaner. Gym flooring is much easier to clean than a bare concrete floor or carpet. It’s non-porous so sweat and dirt doesn’t get into it and washing the surface is enough to properly clean it.
If you can get away without gym flooring depends on what you’re willing to accept and what you’re standing on without gym flooring.
Any type of carpet, laminate or PVC floor will likely be destroyed pretty quickly if you put gym equipment on it. Carpet is also quite difficult to clean and is a perfect breeding ground for bad bugs. Laminate, PVC and tiles can also get very slippery when they get a little wet which is dangerous. Tiles can crack quite easily when heavy weights are dropped on them.
Suggested: Do You Need Gym Flooring Over Concrete?
Hard wood floors can get dented and scuffed which is probably not worth it considering the price of hard wood.
Concrete can work as gym flooring as long as it’s smooth. It’s still not optimal since concrete floors are often dustier which is not good for your equipment. They’re also harder to clean and not as grippy as rubber. It’s also very hard on your equipment, especially dumbbells and weight plates that often touch the floor.