Many people create places in their home to serve as a gym. While a good set of free weights and exercise equipment such as a stationary bike and rowing machine are often critical components in a home gym, a solid foundation is also important. Suitable flooring helps cushion the stress of high-impact workouts while also preventing damage from heavy exercise machines and dropped weights. Flooring in home gyms comes in a wide range of materials, ranging from sleek hardwood to dense foam to thick rubber.
This guide will detail the crucial factors to consider when shopping for the best gym flooring and review some of the top flooring products on the market.
- BEST OVERALL: ProsourceFit Puzzle Exercise Mat
- RUNNER UP: We Sell Mats Multipurpose Exercise Floor Mat
- BEST UPGRADE: American Floor Mats Heavy Duty Rubber Flooring
- BEST RUBBER: Rubber-Cal Shark Tooth Heavy Duty Mat
- BEST CARPET: House, Home and More Indoor Outdoor Carpet
- ALSO CONSIDER: Gorilla Mats Premium Extra Large Exercise Mat
- ALSO CONSIDER: Goasis Lawn Artificial Turf Grass Lawn
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Gym Flooring
Understanding which flooring options are best suited to specific workouts is important when choosing the best flooring for a home gym. Other factors to consider include material and type, flooring thickness, size, and texture.
Material and Type
Numerous options exist in floor materials for a home gym, including rubber, foam, hardwood, vinyl, and carpet. A clean, professional-looking floor can encourage users to pump iron or practice yoga. Flooring material can also impact noise, a crucial factor for second-floor home gyms or those living in an upper-level apartment. Safety is also essential; adequate cushioning helps protect knees and other joints while also preventing damage from dropped weights.
- Rubber: Rubber is the flooring of choice at most gyms, so it may be the best option for a home gym. It can prevent slips and falls while also absorbing impact, ideal for high-impact cardio workouts or working out with free weights. Rubber flooring won’t dent, scratch, or gouge as foam or hardwood flooring might. It’s available in mats for smaller areas and interlocking tile squares for larger spaces or entire studios. However, it’s one of the more expensive flooring options.
- Foam: Foam flooring also offers excellent impact absorption, traction, and different sizes and formats. While not quite as durable as rubber flooring, it’s significantly less expensive. Plus, it’s easy to swap worn-out old tiles for new ones.
- Carpet: For home gyms that double as living areas, carpet endures impact well and provides cushioning for the joints. Low pile (shorter fibers) is ideal, as it provides traction and shock absorption without creating a tripping hazard. In addition to traditional wall-to-wall carpeting, it also comes in easy-to-install carpet tiles, which are often less expensive.
- Vinyl: Susceptible to dents and scratches, genuine hardwood flooring isn’t an ideal surface for a gym floor. However, vinyl flooring offers the look of hardwood with more durability. Vinyl flooring uses a denser core, which won’t dent as easily from free weights or heavy machines. It’s also waterproof and does a better job of resisting scratches. Some vinyl flooring has a built-in underlayment that adds cushioning, features that make it useful for yoga, exercise ball workouts, resistance band exercises, and other low-impact routines.
Thickness and Dimensions
When selecting the right flooring for a home gym, consider its thickness and dimensions. Floors that don’t offer much shock absorption can be hard on the joints, so thicker flooring is ideal for high-impact workouts.
Thickness is also crucial for protecting your equipment. Dropping a dumbbell on a hard concrete floor can damage the weight and potentially chip or crack the floor. Foam and rubber flooring is typically ⅜-inch thick, while low-pile carpeting is generally about ⅛-inch thick.
Consider the range of movement required for a full workout. The flooring should, at minimum, cover the entire workout area.
Whether it’s lifting weights, practicing yoga, or doing a Zumba routine, many exercises require secure footing to be effective and safe. If the flooring is too slippery, it can lead to slips and falls that result in injury.
Rubber and foam flooring have surfaces that provide ample grip for athletic shoes. Low-pile carpeting typically has a subtle ribbed pattern to promote good traction. While hardwood and vinyl have smoother surfaces, these floors provide excellent traction for rubber-soled athletic shoes.
Our Top Picks
The following list uses these considerations to trim the field of flooring options to some of the best flooring products on the market by type. Any of these options should provide a sturdy base for various kinds of workouts.
With ample thickness and an easy-to-install design, these high-density foam exercise tiles from ProsourceFit are ½-inch thick, providing plenty of impact absorption for saving joints during high-impact workouts and providing a soft place for dumbbells or free weights to land. A relief pattern on each tile’s surface creates a nonskid surface for a solid base for working out.
The interlocking pattern on all four sides of each square tile makes installing this floor fairly easy. Strips that create smooth ends on the tile provide a finished look on the workout area’s outer edges. Each tile is 24 inches by 24 inches, and they come in sets of 24, 48, and 144 square feet.
A home gym can get expensive quickly, but these versatile foam mats by We Sell Mats offer an inexpensive flooring solution. Each 24-inch by 24-inch tile is ⅜-inch thick, providing padding for workouts ranging from Zumba to weight lifting. The tiles feature interlocking ends on all four sides, allowing them to be connected to suit different-size workout spaces while making installation easy.
Each piece comes with finished ends that create a clean look for the workout space. Post-workout cleanup is easy: Simply wipe down with soap and water to clean away sweat.
Although rubber flooring usually costs significantly more than other options, its durability and shock absorption can’t be beaten. These 24-inch by 24-inch rubber floor mats are ⅜-inch thick, providing excellent shock absorption. The rubber is thick enough to absorb the impact of falling dumbells and can endure the weight of exercise machines.
Each square uses an interlocking system that’s easy to install without adhesive. Center, border, and corner tiles create a finished look. Each set contains four tiles that can cover 16 square feet.
With ample thickness and rugged rubber material, this mat from Rubber-Cal is exceptionally durable. It consists of recycled ¾-inch-thick tire rubber, making it suitable for absorbing a high-impact workout or cushioning a heavy kettlebell landing. The rubber creates a nonslip surface over hardwood, concrete, or any other smooth flooring while also protecting it.
The mat’s coarse surface provides traction, making it a safe spot to do Zumba, barre, or any other workout that requires a lot of movement. Note that at 4 pounds per square foot, it’s a bit heavy for portable use.
Carpeting provides cushioning for joints, offers good traction with athletic shoes, is relatively easy to maintain, and looks good in rooms that double as living areas. But not all carpet types are suitable for home gyms. With a ¼-inch shag height, this carpet from House, Home and More absorbs impact in a low-pile carpet that shouldn’t present a tripping hazard.
It also has an indoor/outdoor rating and polyester construction, which means it resists stains, mold, and mildew. A ribbed texture on the top of the carpet provides traction.
At 8 feet long and 4 feet wide, this mat provides plenty of space for a full workout for one or two people. And, at ¼ inch thick, it’s cushiony enough to provide shock absorption.
The nonslip top and bottom provide traction for any workout routine from aerobics to weight lifting. Circle grips on the underside ensure the mat doesn’t slip on the smooth surface below, whether it’s hardwood, tile, or even concrete. It comes with a handy carrying case with a strap and a microfiber towel.
Those working out indoors and craving a more natural feel for their workouts might consider this realistic-looking artificial grass mat from Goasis Lawn. Made of polyethylene, the turf is soft to the touch as well as water resistant. Its lush thickness offers excellent cushioning for high-impact training or weight lifting, and a rubber bottom prevents it from shifting during even the most vigorous workout. Because it’s designed for outdoor use, this artificial turf is durable enough to withstand wear and tear.
FAQs About Gym Flooring
If you still have questions regarding how to choose a gym mat or flooring, then keep reading for answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.
Q. How do I choose the right size gym mat?
Choose a gym mat that’s large enough to accommodate the size of your body. For intense workouts, select a mat about a foot longer than your height to ensure it can provide a good base for your workout.
Q. What is the best thickness for my gym flooring?
For sufficient cushioning for high-impact aerobics or weight lifting, choose rubber or foam flooring with a thickness of at least ⅜ inch. For serious weight lifting, go with ½-inch-thick flooring to protect the weights and floor from damage.
Q. Is epoxy flooring good for my gym?
Extremely durable and water resistant, epoxy comes in a wide variety of colors, making it a good gym floor option. It will resist dents and chips from free weights. Just keep in mind that it won’t add any cushioning, which means you may still need a mat for certain types of workouts.
Q. Can I put gym mats on carpet?
You can place a gym mat over carpeting; however, it may reduce the mat’s stability by causing too much “give” when exercising on it. The lower the pile on the carpet, the better.