If you can make the space, building an at-home gym is a great investment, not only for your home, but for your health. Once you have that space, the right equipment and your music ready to go, the only thing missing that helps lay the groundwork for any successful sweat session – is the floor. Poor traction and lack of shock absorption that comes from concrete floors in basements and garages can lead to injuries. Concrete can be just as unforgiving on your equipment too, especially if you tend to drop your weights. The right home gym flooring can increase stability, reduce body impact and boost plyometric power. It also helps keep your subfloor protected from scuffs, scratches and cracks. When choosing a surface, consider the space, type of equipment you’ll need and what exercises you will be doing. From rubber to cork, to foam, here are the most popular flooring options for your at home workouts.
This can be a pricier choice, but one of the best options, rubber is perfect for home gyms, or any type of gym for that matter. This is what is used in most commercial gyms. The material is strong, resilient and sturdy, making it ideal for any type of exercise. It’s the ultimate gym flooring because it is great at covering any existing surface, including concrete. It can support the heaviest equipment, has max durability and shock absorbency. It comes in mats, rolls and even interlocking tile so there is sure to cover any type of room with all different thickness options and price points.
- Easy to install and maintain
- Durable, shock absorbent & long lasting
- Water resistant
- Soundproof (helps keep your workouts quiet while you’re at home, especially if you have a baby and want to workout during their nap time)
- Expensive (especially if you want bright colors)
- Poor insulator (if you install rubber on cold concrete floors, the rubber will feel cold too)
Foam is one of the most comfortable options for floor-based workouts (like yoga and pilates). It is like having exercise mats laid out all over the floor, interlocking for easy installation and even portable! It is cheaper than rubber but much less durable. It has excellent shock resistance, making it great for HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts, but lacks support for heavy weights or equipment and can leave dents over time. But, for cheap and easy-to-install flooring that can double as a play area in-between workouts, it doesn’t get any better, especially for new parents.
- Comes in a variety of colors and styles
- Cushioned for comfort
- Low cost
- Good shock absorption
- Short lifespan
- Less durable compared to other options
- Not suitable for heavy equipment (too easy to slice or cut this type of foam)
This can be a practical choice for flooring because it can stand up to the abuse of a home gym, yet still be comfortable and chic for a living space. It is mold, mildew and moisture resistant, making it perfect for basements. Vinyl can even handle harsh cleaning chemicals to wipe up all that sweat. Vinyl material can be easily punctured and torn, so being careful is a must with this flooring. VOC emissions from the vinyl can pose as a health risk, which is a big factor to consider before purchasing. These tiles also come in a variety of colors and patterns that can help blend into any living space.
- Long lasting
- Easy to install and maintain
- Mold, mildew, moisture resistant
- Extensive selection of styles and patterns
- Easily punctured by sharp objects
- Low shock absorbency
- Can give off VOCs
Believe it or not, carpet is probably the most popular flooring option for most home gyms. It’s soft on the joints, easy to maintain and already comes installed in most homes. But not just any carpet will do. Shag should be left in the bedroom. Opt for a low commercial-grade pile instead for good traction and stability. Anti-fatigue carpet tiles have a higher shock absorbency too if you need an upgrade. You can even get interlocking carpet tiles for a DIY route. They will hold up against weight training, HIIT and even yoga. Regular cleaning is recommended to prevent bacteria and odors.
- Home friendly
- Versatile and durable
- Soft and comfortable
- Easy to install (especially the interlocking tiles)
- Low shock absorber
- Can trap sweat and moisture causing odors (may require a touch up cleaning by a professional every couple of years)
- Stretches over time (possibly needing to be restretched by a professional)
Wood can give your home gym a professional look and can be suitable for almost any type of exercise. Thanks for innovative foam-backing, wood is now more shock absorbent and fitness friendly. But it can scratch, splinter and dent if heavy equipment is dropped. Wood can also become slippery from excessive sweat but will be a stunning addition to any workout space.
- Great for aerobics and kickboxing
- Attractive design
- Can splinter from heavy weights dropped
- Poor traction – slippery when wet
This is a green-friendly flooring made of renewable, fully biodegradable material, perfect for eco-exercisers. The flex design is ideal for HIIT and weight training and is resistant to shock, fire, mold, mildew and mites. Cork glue-down tiles are recommended over a floating cork floor for supporting heavy loads – however dragging equipment on either type can tear the surface. Since cork can fade in the sun, it is a great option for the basement or garage. If you need to support heavy machinery (elliptical or treadmill) or weights, try doubling up with glue-down cork tiles on top of a floating cork floor.
- Environmental friendly
- Naturally insulating
- Water resistant
- Easily torn or scratched
- Heavy equipment can leave dents
- Prone to fading from direct sunlight