The Ultimate Buying Guide to Gym Flooring

Choosing the right gym flooring for your home or commercial gym may be more complex than you initially thought. This is because several factors come into play when making the best choice for your set-up. You need to pick the right material, thickness, and flooring system to support users and provide a safe foundation for exercise. From self-locking rubber mats to gym flooring rolls, you have many options to consider. In this ultimate guide to gym flooring, learn all the options you have available so you can make the best choice for your gym flooring. 

In this guide: 

  • Choosing the Best Gym Flooring 
  • Home Gym or Commercial Gym 
  • 5 Important Things to Consider Before Buying Gym Flooring 
  • How Thick Should Gym Flooring Be?
  • 8 Types of Gym Flooring 
  • How to Install Your Gym Flooring System 
  • Conclusion: The Best Gym Flooring 

Choosing the Best Gym Flooring 

Before you delve into the world of gym flooring, it’s essential to understand the qualities that your flooring needs. In general, your gym matting should possess the following properties for gym purposes:

  • Durable and resistant - flooring for gyms should be durable and resistant to heavy gym equipment and weights; it shouldn’t mark easily. On top of this, gym flooring should protect the subfloor.  
  • Shock absorbent - the flooring needs to provide cushioning to users to absorb the shock that would otherwise hit muscles, joints, and tendons. This is an essential part of creating a safe space for exercise and fitness. 
  • Non-slip - flooring with non-slip properties reduces the risk of slips and falls. There should be enough traction to exercise without movement feeling restricted. 
  • Easy to maintain - ideally, any gym flooring should be easy to clean, maintain, and last for years to come. 
  • Noise and vibration reduction - if you’re dealing with large weight and heavy equipment, you will need to consider noise and vibration reduction properties as this can make a massive difference to the sound in a gym. 
  • Visual impact - how your flooring looks can have a big impact on the overall feel of the space. It can make a strong first impression and pull together the whole look of the facility. 

Home Gym or Commercial Gym 


It’s important to understand that the way you plan on using your gym helps determine the best flooring for you. Firstly, gym flooring for garages tends to be different from what you would find in a commercial gym. Some gym flooring is designed with a commercial setting in mind, while others are more suited to a garage or outdoor garden gym. Although there is a lot of crossover, naturally, there are more attractive properties for home gyms and vice versa. 

5 Important Things to Consider Before Buying Gym Flooring 

Before you buy your gym flooring, here are five crucial things you need to consider. All of these will help narrow down your choice so that you invest in a high-quality and suitable option. By doing the research beforehand and speaking to gym flooring experts, you can avoid a costly mistake. 

Traffic 


How many people will be using your gym? A home gym has considerably less traffic than a commercial gym. If you are creating a high-traffic gym with a lot of members and foot traffic, you need to find flooring that is super durable and can withstand high use. 

Moisture 


 

Although one person in a garage gym isn’t going to produce a ton of sweat in one session, you need to factor in the moisture in the environment when you have over fifty members sweating it out. If you have a sauna or swimming pool, there’s also a higher risk of water damage. It’s a good idea to consider water-resistant gym flooring tiles or rolls. 

Equipment 


 

What type of equipment will be on the gym floor? If you plan on installing a free weights area for Olympic lifters as well as treadmills and rowing machines, the flooring needs to be thick enough to withstand this type of use. Also, noise and vibration-reducing qualities are a must when dealing with weights and heavy equipment. 

Use


 

Do you plan on using equipment, bodyweight exercises, HIIT workouts, or a combination of all three? How you plan on using the space should be at the top of your priority list when choosing gym flooring. Match your flooring to your needs and purpose so that you can support users and create a safe exercise space to hit fitness goals. 

Space 


 

Finally, how much space do you have to cover? A large commercial gym may benefit from gym flooring rolls, while a small home gym may only need a few gym flooring mats to cover the surface. The amount of space you have and the size you need to cover will help you make a few decisions down the line by narrowing down your choice to the most suitable option. 

How Thick Should Gym Flooring Be?

To determine the right thickness for your gym flooring, you need to figure out how you want to use the space. Gym flooring comes in a range of thicknesses and should always be chosen depending on the application. In general, thicker flooring is tougher and stronger. 


Here is an overview of how thick gym flooring should be for certain uses:

  • Cardio - at least 6mm 
  • Functional fitness - at least 10mm
  • Dumbbell area - at least 15mm
  • Cross-training - at least 15mm 
  • Weightlifting and rack areas - 40mm
  • Olympic weightlifting - 60mm 

8 Types of Gym Flooring

Rubber Rolls 

Pros 


Rubber rolls offer affordability and durability. These are especially good for larger commercial gyms and work out at a super affordable rate per square foot. Gym rolls are multipurpose and can still accommodate heavy equipment and free weights. 

Cons 


It’s important to know that rubber rolls are heavy, making the installation tricky if you don’t have some help.  

Verdict


If you like a uniformed sheet-like look to your gym, rubber gym rolls are a fantastic choice. With a gym, you often find you need flooring to suit multiple applications. Rubber fitness rolls cater to a ton of different uses, from free weights to cardio. A shock-absorbent gym flooring option is ideal for larger spaces and commercial gyms. 

Heavy-Duty Rubber Tiles

Pros 


Rubber tiles offer extreme durability and shock-absorbing properties. From 15mm to 60mm, you can get rubber tiles in a range of thicknesses to suit a variety of activities. The heavy-duty rubber tiles deliver sound insulation and non-slip capabilities to support all training types. 

Cons 


Typically, rubber tiles are more expensive than rubber rolls and foam tiles, but the durability is unparalleled.  

Verdict


If you want value, durability, and something that will handle whatever you throw at it, including Olympic weightlifting, the 60mm heavy-duty rubber tiles are a no-brainer. 

EVA Foam Tiles 

Pros 


Foam tiles are light, easy to install and can double up as a play zone for children. The 40mm EVA dual colour reversible foam tiles are suitable for multipurpose fitness facilities and home use. The closed-cell foam makes them perfect for activities like gymnastics, yoga, and general fitness. 

Cons 


These tiles are less durable than other options and not suitable for heavy equipment and weightlifting. If you plan on doing more floor-based workouts like bodyweight exercises and yoga, these are a good choice. 

Verdict


Foam tiles are affordable, look fantastic, and have multipurpose benefits. These tiles are perfect for creating a floor-based exercise space within a wider gym environment or for home fitness use. If you’re looking to do weightlifting and use heavy machines, rubber tiles or rolls are much more suitable. 

Self-Locking Rubber Tiles 

Pros 


Interlocking gym flooring brings the benefits of rubber tiles with an innovative installation process. If you love to use rubber gym tiles but are looking for something straightforward to install, these self-interlocking rubber tiles are ideal. They use a simple interlocking system to speed up installation. 

Cons 


Self-locking tiles are more expensive per square foot than, say rubber fitness rolls. However, the premium HD rubber and simple assembly are a significant draw for those looking for simple installation. 

Verdict


The self-locking tiles are available in a Fleckz finish or smooth one block colour, depending on your preference. For complete support during high impact activity, these tiles work for garage, home, and commercial gyms. 

Colour Gym Tiles 

Pros 


If you’re looking to add a splash of colour and vibrancy to a facility without compromising on quality, the 20mm Colour Gym Tiles are a great choice. Available in six bright colours, the gym tiles can support high impact activity and free weights.  

Cons 


For extreme weightlifting and Olympic lifting, you would need a thicker tile. 

Verdict


Use colour gym tiles to create zones in a commercial gym or your home gym. You don’t need any adhesive for these tiles; they slot together easily and seamlessly. The final look is smooth, colourful and durable. With a high-grade TPE ultra-resistant top layer, the tiles shouldn't discolour over time. 

Sports Vinyl Flooring 

Pros 


Sports vinyl flooring is available in 5mm, 6mm, 8mm, and 10mm thicknesses. This type of flooring is more suited to commercial gyms with large amounts of space, such as a leisure centre with a sports hall. The Sprung Sports Vinyl is durable and simple to install. With a point elastic sprung floor system, it’s suitable for a range of sports as well as dance, yoga, and fitness. 

Cons 


You need ample space for vinyl flooring, as it’s more suited toward large multipurpose areas such as sports halls, gyms, and community halls. 

Verdict


If you want to create a multi-functional space at your gym for sports and other fitness activities, vinyl can create a safe and resistant layer for exercise. 

Artificial Turf 

Pros 


Artificial gym turf can add another level to your gym. Create a functional space for plyometrics, sled pulls, and more. This can be hugely attractive for members and personal trainers looking to work at your gym. 

Cons 


This type of flooring is a more expensive option, and you would need to use it alongside another surface like rubber rolls or tiles. It’s really for creating a specific type of training space within your facility. 

Verdict


Artificial turf looks great in your gym and can add more versatility to your training space. It’s not as easy to install and maintain as rubber rolls or tiles, but it allows you to offer more function to your members. 

Carpet 

Pros 


Carpet tiles are cheap and versatile. They can double up as a multipurpose space in the house. 

Cons 


Carpet tiles don’t offer the same shock absorption or supportive qualities as any of the other gym flooring options. 

Verdict


The tiles are cheap but don’t offer the properties that gym flooring needs to support exercise and movement. 

How to Install Your Gym Flooring System 

When buying gym flooring, you will find that often you have some choices when it comes to shape and installation. Although your options change if you choose rolls over tiles, here is a general overview of different types of flooring and installation: 

  • Interlocking puzzle edge or straight edge tiles - the tiles will either look like a jigsaw or have straight edges. 
  • Self-locking - the flooring is designed to slot together easily. 
  • Loose laid or adhesive - this means that you can either lay the flooring loose or glue it down with an adhesive. Some tiles don’t need any adhesive and are heavy enough to slot together while remaining sturdy. 

Conclusion: The Best Gym Flooring 

As you can see, there’s a lot to think about when choosing the best gym flooring for your facility. Whether you’re installing gym flooring in the garage or creating a large commercial gym, non-slip properties and durability are non-negotiable. By finding the most suitable flooring for your gym, you can invest in high-quality flooring once and minimise the risk of slips, falls, and injuries. 






March 24, 2021 — Katie McKay