Guide to Choosing the Best Home Gym Flooring & Garage Flooring

So training at home has been the unexpected bonus that has worked for you during lockdown, so it’s time to upgrade and create your own training space at home.  You have spent hours mulling over fitness equipment, but you have no idea where to start with flooring? 

Flooring can make or break an exercise room, and understanding the different options is critical.

The appeal of building a home gym space has been gaining traction over the last years.  Planning and designing a home gym is one of the best decisions people can make for their health and wellness and adherence to a regular fitness routine.  The benefits of building a personal gym are numerous: 

  • Time savings
  • Cost-effective
  • Personalized space for your training needs
  • A space for all the family

When it comes to home Gym Flooring, there's plenty to consider.  Training type, price, ease of installation, durability, shock absorption, foot traffic, and cleaning convenience are essential when deciding on a single flooring type.  Learning about each flooring option's properties, performance advantages/disadvantages, thickness, and aesthetics is also necessary. 

This guide was created to help you choose the best floor for your new home or garage gym space. 

 

Home Gym Flooring

Buying Tips

  • Budget: Choose a floor surface that offers features you need with your budget. Rubber flooring being the most popular and adaptable for most workouts. 
  • Waterproof: Sweat, water spills, and humidity are guaranteed with exercise flooring.  Choosing a waterproof option will safeguard your investment and make it easier to clean and maintain.
  • Underlays: Free-weight training might involve dropping or mishandling heavier weight, and an underlay can help protect your subfloor and add acoustic value.
  • Avoid cheap materials. these may release toxic compounds, which can be health and safety hazards.
  • Room size and shape. Small and odd-shaped rooms can benefit from modular tiles, while people might cover bigger rooms with predictable lines with rolls. 
  • Activities and foot traffic. The wear and tear of your exercise routine and foot traffic exercises will help you decide on floor material and thickness.
  • Acoustics and insulation: If the floor is well adapted to your type of training, it will be able to absorb part of the noise and reverberations that take place during your workouts. In addition, depending on the material, it may also promote a good thermal insulation when required.

Home Gym Floor and Weights

More Important Floor Considerations

Seams and Edges

A well installed floor as well as the necessary edges, ramps and door thresholds are the small details that make a home gym floor look great. 

Moisture and Hygiene

The best gym floor for any space will resist water spills, moisture and sweat.  I think we can all agree there is nothing more unpleasant working out in areas that smell of old sweat. Choosing a waterproof floor is also easier to clean/maintain while mitigating mold and mildew.

Design and colour

The color of the floor is the owner's preference, but coordinating with the décor of your space is ideal for an optimum workout experience.  Neutral and dark tones will hide dirt and stains better, making cleaning easier. It doesn’t have to be black!

Quality

The quality of product you choose will depend on a few factors, budget of course but others too.  Will there be lots of floor work?  What colour would you prefer?  Is there an acoustic consideration? What equipment will be used?

Generally, low-quality surfaces will wear more quickly and fade in color.

Expansion and Contraction

Hotter weather can cause the flooring to expand, while cold can cause it to contract.  It’s important to consider light and temperature in the room as well as underfloor heating, which we now see installed in many home gym projects.

Thickness

The thickness of any floor surface directly influences the amount of impact and protection it can offer.  Dropping heavy weights (barbells, dumbbells, etc.) can damage the original subfloor and the ground underneath if your flooring isn't thick enough.  The floor surface thickness will depend on the activities you’re planning to do and also the make up of the sub floor.

Here's a quick overview of some standard flooring thickness.

The thickness of the flooring directly influences the amount of impact and protection it can offer.  Dropping heavy weights (barbells, dumbbells, etc.) can damage the original subfloor and the ground underneath if your flooring isn't thick enough.  The floor surface thickness will depend on the activities you’re planning to do and also the make up of the sub floor.

Here's a quick overview of some standard flooring thickness.

  1. 5mm: This is the thinnest option available and works well for cardio machines and activities like yoga.  5mm will provide excellent traction and impact resistance against dropping lightweight dumbbells and walking foot traffic.
  2. 7-10mm This is the most popular thickness for home gym projects.  These tend to offer the best all round solution without significantly increasing the existing floor levels and reducing ceiling height.
  3. 10-15mm These will accommodate high-intensity interval training (HIIT), jumping, and protection against heavier weights of around 20kg (sub floor dependent).  
  4. 20-40mm More home gyms are now focused on strength training and even olympic lifting.  These will require thicker tiles to protect the sub floor and equipment.  Generally, the ground floor is more suited to home gyms featuring heavy lifting.  Drop pads can also be a useful addition.

Home Gym Floor and Design

Surface - Material Options

There are many gym flooring options to choose from, but rubber is certainly the most appropriate and popular.  Here we'll overview three of the most common flooring materials used in home gyms:

  • Rubber (rolls, tiles, and mats)
  • Turf
  • Vinyl

Rubber Flooring

Rubber is the leading choice for flooring material in exercise rooms.  Rubber is popular due partly to its versatility in accommodating a broad spectrum of workout styles.  Another significant advantage is its shock-absorbing effect, acoustics and protecting the existing floor underneath from damage.

You can use rubber flooring in the form of tiles, mats, or rolls.

Rubber Rolls

Rubber Roll flooring offers a seamless finish that ensures the junctions between the rolls aren't visible.  Minimizing interlocking joints between each section gives rubber rolls a smooth workout surface while reducing the likelihood of gap formation or loosening over time.

High-impact exercises like plyometrics can cause wear and tear on the body's joints. 

Advantages:

  • Super-durable. Easily lasting for up to a decade, newly installed rubber roll gym flooring won't need a replacement soon.
  • Easy to clean. Waterproof and doesn't allow seepage, prevents mold and mildew buildup, and can be cleaned effectively using a vacuum or mop. 
  • Shock absorbing. Absorbs impact of higher-impact exercises and dropping of free weights.
  • Germ resistant. Keeps things sanitary.
  • Noise-reducing. Rubber absorbs sound well to reduce disturbing others in the home.

Disadvantages:

  • Challenging installation. Installation is likely a multi-person job.
  • Poor insulator. It doesn’t resist temperature transmission, which can be a factor if the ground underneath is cold.
  • Rubbery smell. Rubber roll flooring can have a rubbery smell in the beginning.
  • Sensitive to sunlight. UV rays can impact the surface color and fading. 

Home Gym Design

Interlocking Rubber Tiles

Rubber Foor Tiles are another popular home gym and garage flooring option, since they are durable and cost-effective.  Smaller gyms are ideal for rubber tiles.  The tiles are shaped like puzzle pieces that interlock and create a puzzle-like pattern.  Rubber tiles offer many of the same features as rubber rolls, including shock-absorbing, easy to clean, noise-reducing, and antibacterial.  

Rubber tiles have a few additional advantages:

Advantages:

  • Easy-installation. One person will be able to piece the tiles together and often no need for adhesive
  • Lighter weight. Easier to lift and move
  • Colour options. There are usually more colour options available in interlocking tiles.
  • Reduced odour. Higher quality rubber tiles do not have the strong smell of other products.

Disadvantages:

  • More pieces equal more seams.  Choose a high quality interlocking tile for the best result
  • These materials can cost more per unit than rubber rolls.

HEAVY WEIGHT - Gym Flooring Mats

Rubber Mats

Rubber Floor Mats are great for small areas or isolated spaces where you’ll perform heavier weight training exercises.  Extra-thick gym floor mats work wonderfully for barbell training (deadlifts, cleans, etc.) or in a specific area where more serious resistance training exercises are going to be performed (dumbbells, kettlebells, etc.). 

Advantages:

  • Thicker gym floor mats are made to withstand heavy weights and intense exercise.
  • Cost-effective for small spaces. A budget-friendly option for small spaces.
  • Minimal installation. Throw it on the floor, and you're ready to go.
  • Noise-reducing. Exercise hard while minimizing the noise.
  • Shock absorbent. Protects the ground during heavier weight training.
  • Waterproof and antibacterial. Keep water and germs away from the floor underneath.
  • Light enough to move to a new location if needed.  

Disadvantages:

  • Better options exist for larger spaces. Using rubber rolls for a larger home gym space, you'll save time and money.
  • Rubbery smell. Rubber odor might be present when installing.  

Turf Flooring

Turf Flooring

Turf Fooring has traditionally been found in sports performance training facilities but has emerged as a viable flooring option with the popularity of home-based gyms.  Turf has long been preferred for its safety characteristics, resilience, and shock-absorption during faster-paced workouts. 

Installing part turf and part rubber is becoming popular for home gyms.  The width and length of the turf strip will depend on your space, but combining the two materials is worth considering. 

If you’re planning to take advantage of pushing or dragging weighted sleds, you’ll want to consider turf.

Turf Rolls

Gym Turf Rolls can support high-intensity strength training exercises, from CrossFit workouts to sled pushing.  The noise-reducing properties of turf can be a considerable benefit in home gyms where you frequently use intense training and heavy weights.  Turf is synthetic grass that's soft enough to accommodate yoga workouts and flexibility training.

Advantages:

  • Turf has a professional look while being extremely durable. 
  • Low-maintenance. Can save on the cost and hassle of maintenance.
  • Dynamic surface for a variety of workouts. Holds up against running, sled training, jumping, yoga, etc. 
  • Shock absorbing. Safe, padded, and protective for the joints by dampening impact during exercise.
  • Turf has a professional and classy look in any space.

Disadvantages:

  • Difficult hygiene maintenance. Turf, like any other flooring, must be cleaned and maintained regularly.
  • Uncomfortable for floor exercises. Turf flooring has a carpet-like texture that can feel abrasive while performing floor movements such as burpees.
  • Sub floor protection. If dropping heavy weights, you'll need to add an underlying protective layer for the ground underneath. 

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl can be an excellent option for gym owners who want to add color to the gym space.  Vinyl gym flooring is simple to install, durable and offers creative aesthetics.

Advantages:

  • It can withstand heavy impact and exercise and is manufactured to resist stains and damage from chemicals and oil.
  • Easy to clean. Regular soap and water will clean up vinyl flooring.
  • DIY installation. Both vinyl tiles and rolls are simple to install by yourself.
  • Fun color choices. Add some energy to the space by customizing vinyl gym flooring to form checkered patterns or other designs.

Disadvantages:

  • Vulnerable to damage. Sharp, heavy items in your gym can easily cause tearing and holes in vinyl flooring.
  • Less shock absorbency. Vinyl flooring doesn't offer joint-protecting shock absorption during high-impact exercises.
  • Vinyl flooring is generally priced higher than other flooring types.

 

Wrapping It Up

Exercising in a home gym is extremely rewarding and worth the investment.  The convenience, time savings, and long-term cost-effectiveness of designing a home gym are undeniable.  Besides acquiring the right fitness equipment, choosing the right flooring option is critical from a performance, safety, and aesthetics standpoint.  The type of floor chosen will also influence the ongoing maintenance and cleaning requirements of your workout space. 

Bookmark this guide for future review, and don't hesitate to contact the Stronger Wellness team for more information about which floor is best for your home and garage gym!  

 

 

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