Fitness Class on Rubber Flooring

What is the best type of Gym flooring for me?


No matter what you are building, it’s always important to have the right foundation. Whether that’s concrete outside, the foundation of a home, or the flooring in a gym, the foundation is essential. 


Unfortunately, when furnishing a gym, the flooring often ends up being one of the least considered parts. However, it’s actually the most utilised part of any gym. It’s walked on, exercised on, takes a beating from high-intensity workouts and weight lifting, and holds the exercise and storage equipment. When you think about it, it’s absolutely essential for the floor of a gym to be carefully and intentionally chosen. 


When deciding on the right flooring for your gym, you’ll want to choose something that is comfortable for workouts and safe, while also providing durability, and affordability, and is extremely low-maintenance. This often comes down to rubber and foam. 

 

Rubber and foam are commonly used for gym floors. They check most of the important boxes people need when choosing the floors for their gym. While it may be easy to narrow down your options to rubber or foam, it can be harder to choose between the two. If you need help deciding between rubber and foam, read on. 

 


Rubber Gym Flooring


Rubber is often used in gyms due to its various sizes and thicknesses. These components are perfect for both low-impact and high-impact activities, including HIIT, weight training, and heavy equipment workouts. 

 


As the most common type of gym flooring, rubber flooring is often the go-to choice. It looks good and is typically pretty affordable. However, many people wonder how it compares to another top option, foam flooring.

 

Here’s what you need to know: 

 

Advantages


Rubber has multiple advantages to keep in mind when you are deciding what type of material to use for your gym floor. It is very durable, easy to install, simple to maintain and care for, and more. With all of the advantages of rubber flooring, it’s no wonder that people commonly choose it for their gym. 

 

  • Durability - Rubber flooring is very strong and durable. It can withstand extensively being travelled over, high-intensity workouts, heavy exercise machinery, and . It will last for an extended period of time without wear or damage. Its durability gives it the perfect balance between strength, compression, and comfort. 

  • Shock Absorption - Rubber is highly protective and provides excellent shock absorbtion when performing high impact gym activities.  It prevents users from injury while shielding your underflooring from damage. Another fantastic benefit is the sound-reducing qualities of rubber flooring.

  • Easy Installation - Rubber mats are a bit heavier than foam mats, yet they are still very fast and easy to install DIY without a specialist fitter. Their versatility and design make them simple to install in any gym space. Tiles can be butted together without glue using a compression method (please see Gym Flooring Installation Guidelines here).

  • Simple Maintenance - Fluid-resistant rubber makes these mats easy to clean and care for. Sweat, spills, and other fluids can simply be wiped up without the worry of moulds and smells. Caring for rubber mats often involves just sweeping or vacuuming dust and debris as well as wiping fluids with a neutral cleaner.

  • Eco-Friendly - Most rubber mats are made from recycled rubber, often from old tires. This makes them a very environmentally-friendly option for flooring. 

Disadvantages


While there are many reasons to use rubber mats for your gym floors, there are some disadvantages that cause people to choose foam instead. Take a look at the potential downside of rubber: 

  • Cost - The initial costs of rubber matting tend to be higher than the initial cost of foam. You’ll be making a larger upfront investment by choosing rubber. 

  • Less Soft - Rubber flooring although available in smooth surface designs is not as soft to the surface.  For some activities such as Martial Arts where there is a high level of floor work, friction burn can occur unless the surface is ultra soft.


Types of Rubber Flooring


There are a few different rubber flooring options for gyms:-


Rubber Tiles - The most common type, tile format comes in various sizes, shapes and thicknesses to suit different uses.  The good thing about rubber is that it is easily cut to size making it simple to install for most people.


Rubber Rolls - Rolls are widely used in larger, open-plan spaces such as Spin Studios or Fitness Rooms as it is cost-effective to use with less waste. Rubber rolls tend to come in different thicknesses but are not usually available in very thick options.


Puzzle Tiles - These are interconnecting tiles with a jigsaw profile which slot together.  Puzzle Tiles are a great option for DIY installers.  There is also interlocking tiles which differ from Puzzle tiles.  These interlocking rubber tiles connect using hidden inserts which lock the tiles together for extra stability.


Poured Rubber - This rubber floor solution is mainly used for outdoor sports venues and play spaces where the area is extensive. Rubber is poured and dried similar to how a concrete surface is created.  Very costly and time consuming, poured rubber is not the best option for indoor sports and gym facilities due to more cost efficient options being available to hand.


Foam Gym Flooring


Foam is typically used as flooring in gyms or studios that are used for gymnastics, boxing, or martial arts, as it is more resilient than other options for these types of discipline. 


Foam flooring allows for greater movement, which is important for those types of sports. Foam floors come in large mats or tiles, which are chosen based on their intended use. 

Advantages


Foam flooring has a number of advantages to consider when you are choosing the type of mat for your gym. They are easy to install and care for, and they are also very absorbent for certain types of exercises.

 

  • Easy Installation - While both rubber and foam mats provide easy installation, foam flooring is much easier. In puzzle tile form, you only need to remove them from their packaging and connect them by interlocking edges. This is the easiest way to install any type of gym flooring. 

  • Simple Maintenance - Cleaning foam mats is just as easy as cleaning rubber mats. Similar to rubber mats, they are waterproof so spills and fluids can easily be wiped off. They can be cleaned regularly using a mild solution.

  • Impact Absorbent - Foam floors are used for sports such as gymnastics, martial arts, and boxing. These types of sports need flooring that absorbs impact well to provide comfort, support, and protection for the participant. Foam mats contain small pockets of air that make them flexible and able to carry the weight of users and equipment. 

  • Soft Surface - For sports which require a soft surface, foam mats are the best choice.  They prevent friction burn from consistent contact with the surface as they have a very soft surface.

Disadvantages


Foam mats are a great option for gyms that are typically used for certain sports. However, there are some disadvantages that you’ll want to consider when deciding on the type of floor for your gym. 

  • Less Durability - Foam mats are less durable than rubber mats. In a regular gym with weight training, heavy equipment, and high-intensity training, foam mats won’t last as long as rubber. 

  • Less Protection - For regular workouts, foam mats provide less protection for athletes, subfloors, and equipment. Too much intensity can cause damage to the mats. 

Types of Foam Flooring


Foam flooring is available in different styles:-


Foam Tiles - Foam tiles come in a variety of designs and thicknesses and are used in Boxing Gyms, Martial Arts Studios and Gymnastic Centres.  They are installed together permanently or are sometimes laid loose.


Roll-Out Foam Mats - Many Gymnastic Studios and some dance facilities use foam roll-out mats which allow for easy mobility and long, wide surfaces for specific moves.


Puzzle Foam Tiles - Shaped like a puzzle to the edges, these interlocking tiles are commonly used in MMA and children’s play spaces.  The easy design means the tiles can be joined and glued together permanently or loose-laid for mobile use.


Foam Crash Mats - These are a specialist type of mat used for tumbling, Gymnastics and Parkour.

Conclusion


Both rubber and foam mats are popular types of flooring for gyms. They both have many advantages that make them a good choice, depending on your needs. Many Sports Facilities will opt for a combination of the two types of surface to use for different activities.


Rubber mats are best for traditional gyms where HIIT, heavy equipment training, and weight lifting take place. They are strong and durable and will provide the protection and comfort needed for workouts. 


Foam mats are the right choice for gyms where martial arts, boxing, and gymnastics are the norm. They have the right impact absorbency for those sports and are simple to install and clean. 


You may also be interested in:

The Advantages of Rubber Matting for Your Gym Floor

Benefits of Foam Flooring for Gaming & Play Rooms



January 09, 2023 — Richard McKay