Ultimate Guide To Home Gym Flooring: Best Cheap DIY Solution

Building a home gym is its own type of reward and its own kind of freedom. While the equipment and components that make up a home gym can be crucial, optional or expensive, one aspect is often overlooked, the flooring. 

In this home gym flooring review, we will explain why the type of flooring you install in your home gym can have an impact on your workouts. We will also help you find the right type of flooring, show you what to look for when making a decision, and review some of the best gym floor types on the market. 

The flooring in your home gym has a lot of benefits, but it is important that you get the right type that is high quality and functional. Most people add flooring to their home gym to give it a nice, clean look. A finished room is much more comfortable, and it is more appealing, which means you are more likely to want to be in the room.

More importantly, though, is the safety aspect. The right high-quality flooring will offer support, padding, and a soft, even footing while you work out. You can even ensure the right flooring gives you grip and stability for specific workouts like squats and lunges.

The safety also extends to the floor the matting protects. The right flooring will keep your floor from cracks, denting, and damage when weights are dropped or from the weight of your equipment.

It also protects your equipment from the floor, drops, and other issues. On top of all that, the flooring can also add sound dampening and insulation to the room, helping you refrain from disturbing others in the home.

Because most gym flooring is rubber, it is also easy to maintain, keep clean, and won't easily absorb odors. Everything combined gives you a high-quality floor that will provide you with years of reliable use and performance.

rubber flooring in a home gym

Different Types Of Home Gym Flooring: What Is Your Best Option?

When it comes to the various types of home gym flooring, there are good options and bad options. Let's take a closer look at some of the better options for you to consider.

Horse Stall Mats

One of the most popular options is horse stall mats. These are large rubber mats that are typically larger than home gym mats, thicker, and rated for higher weight. They generally are also less expensive, per square foot, than those made specifically for gyms.

Horse stall mats come in large 4 x 6 foot rectangles (though sizes vary), and they weigh a lot. However, they are generally ¾ to 1-inch thick compared to the 1/4-inch thick home gym mats sold elsewhere. 

It is this durability and overall cost savings that make these mats popular for many home gyms, especially garage gyms where concrete is the base flooring. 

Rubber Flooring 

Rubber flooring for home gyms is sold in many places, including gym supply stores, home improvement stores, health and wellness shops, and online at sites like Amazon. They also come in many different styles and options, which we outline in more detail here. You can read our full breakdown of the pros and cons of rubber gym flooring to help you decide!

  • Rubber Square Tiles  
    The rubber tiles are simple, flat tiles that come in 1 or 2-foot squares. In most cases, these are ¼ to 1/2-inch thick rubber pads and can be bought individually or in packs of 5, 10, or by the dozen. These are an ideal solution for those on a smaller budget or who may not need to cover larger spaces.While they are easy to install by simply laying next to each other, you may find that they do slip under use. There are also interlocking edge tiles that help minimize the slippage, but the ends can still separate or come apart if you aren’t careful.
  • Rubber Rolls
    To combat the lifting and separation, you can opt for a rubber pad roll. These are similar to the squares, but instead of coming in individual tiles, they come in a long roll. In most cases, the rolls are 2 feet wide but can range from a few feet long to several yards. When installing, you just align with the wall or your starting point, unroll and cut to size. Like the tiles, they generally come with straight edges, so lifting is also possible. In most cases, you will want to use spray or brush applied adhesive to secure it to the subfloor. Rubber rolls tend to be thicker than the square tile mats, but this isn't always true. When buying your rubber rolls, make sure you get the correct width and thickness to suit your equipment's needs.
  • Rubber Mats
    Rubber mats are similar to the rolls and tiles but are much larger than the tiles and not as long as the rolls. They are designed as a single mat that will cover the floor under all of your equipment. Like a throw rug, they come in various widths and lengths, and you don't need to worry about piecing them together. However, because they are a single mat, edge lifting is common, especially if the weight of your equipment is too high for the mat. While they do offer a simpler purchase and install option, the single mats don’t tend to be as thick or last as long as the other options.

EVA Foam 

EVA foam is similar to rubber in a lot of ways. It comes in tiles that interlock to prevent edge lift and support stability. However, because it is made from a memory foam material, it isn't as durable or supportive as the rubber options. 

The foam tiles, though, are extremely affordable, and for just starting out, they are much better than lifting and standing on concrete. For those on tight budgets or that have limited space, EVA foam is an affordable option that will do its job until something better can be acquired. 

Vinyl 

Vinyl tiles are used when the home gym space needs a more aesthetically pleasing look. These interlocking tiles come with a hard vinyl core and a rubber padding underlayment. The vinyl top comes in wood grain and stone tile patterns to appease your more aesthetic needs.

The trade-off, though, is that the vinyl tiles are harder, offer less give, and don't hold up as well under dropped weights or extreme weights (such as a gym rack). If you want to protect your floors, these are a great option. If, however, you are looking for cushion underfoot, the other choices offer more.

Carpet Turf 

Finally, carpet squares and artificial turf are another highly affordable option. You can get patterns, colors, and styles to match your décor, equipment, or preferences. Installation doesn't require more than placement and maybe adhesive, making them a viable option for the DIYer.

While they don't offer as much padding underfoot as rubber options, they are more secure and won't crack, dent, or damage like some rubber and vinyl options can.  

carpet turf in a home gym

What To Look For When Choosing Home Gym Flooring

When looking for the best home gym flooring, there are several factors to consider. Below we outline these factors and explain why they are essential to your purchase decision. 

Size Of The Space You Need To Cover 

Coverage area is important to know for many reasons. Knowing the square foot of the gym space will tell you how much material you need to buy, if any accessories are needed, and even which type is best for your space. 

Larger spaces may need transition molding, adhesives, or other anchor measures. Smaller spaces may need less or can just be placed and forgotten. It is also important to know the coverage size for professional installation needs when it comes to costs and estimates. 

Related Article - Guide To Home Gym Size

Type Of Exercises You Will Be Doing 

The types of exercises will also play a role in the type of flooring you need. If you primarily work from a bench, for example, hard vinyl tiles may be a better fit. Likewise, if you do a lot of free weights, standing, or squat style lifts, you will want a little more padding underfoot. 

You also need to account for how much weight you plan to push. Higher weight workouts will require more grip and stability underfoot. With bench and chair workouts, though, you may need less grip and more support. 

Protecting The Subfloor 

Another aspect to consider is the subflooring under your workout area. Not only does this help decide which flooring is best, but it also needs to be protected. Dropping weights, slips and trips, and other impacts can cause expensive damage. 

The right home gym flooring will not only look great and offer a better workout foundation, but it will also add a layer of protection to the subfloor. This can help minimize cracking, denting, breaking, or warping. It will also help maintain the appearance of the space and save you money in the long run. 

Thickness Of The Mats/Rubber 

For those that decide to go the rubber mat route, thickness matters. While it is easy to say that thicker mats are better, this isn't always the case. If a rubber mat is too thick for the size of the equipment, it can sink under the weight and cause warping, bowing, and uneven surfaces. 

Thinner mats may not produce the noise dampening you want but can offer more support overall. Finding the right balance will depend on many factors that are unique to each home gym build. Make sure you understand the limitations of rubber mat flooring and select a thickness that meets your specific needs. 

Texture Of Flooring 

One thing that is often overlooked is the overall texture of the flooring. Each floor type will have a different texture which can be a blessing or disaster to your overall performance and abilities. Wood flooring, for example, is fairly sturdy and durable, but can be slippery when changing footing. 

Rubber mats are softer and have more grip, but can sag or dent over time. Foam is great for noise reduction and softness but doesn't hold up well under extreme weight or prolonged use. Every flooring type will have pros and cons to consider before you buy; even carpet and vinyl can be a hindrance under the right circumstances. 

Upper-Level Vs Basement Floors 

Another consideration factor is the physical location inside the home where your gym is constructed. Basement and garage gyms are the most common but pose a few concerns to the flooring issue. Because basements and garages are usually floored with concrete, extra padding is almost always required. However, concrete has its own risks, including cracks and damage, but more so moisture. 

Moisture and humidity can seep into the concrete and rise to the top, causing water damage to any flooring covering it. Moisture barriers are generally advised when covering concrete floors. 

If, however, your home gym is inside and on an upper level, you will have other concerns. While you may not need the moisture barrier, you do need to consider the strength and construction of the space, weight limits, and of course, noise production. Additional sound dampening on the floor may be essential to maintain the peace and quiet of working out indoors. 

Putting a home gym on the second floor? Review our detailed guide to help you understand the important factors to consider.


Best Home Gym Flooring Products Reviewed

Now that you know what to consider and what to look for, let’s review some of the most common and popular home gym flooring options. The following products are among the best at what they are for, and you won't be disappointed with any of these options. 

1. Best Value Flooring – Tractor Supply Horse Stall Mats 

Tractor Supply is one of the off-beat sources for home gym equipment. Especially since they specialize in farm and ranch materials, you may not consider they have what you need for your home gym build. However, when it comes to rubber mats for flooring, they may be your best option. 

Not only is the 4x6 foot mat generally large enough for your workout space, but it is also heavy-duty, anti-fatigue, and made from vulcanized, recycled rubber. It also has dual sides with a smooth surface for support and durability and a dotted side for traction.

With this rubber mat, you don't need to worry about equipment weight as it is rated for horse and cattle under constant use. The edges won't lift or warp, and you can get years of trouble-free use from a single purchase.

The best part is that it is naturally antibacterial and waterproof, allowing for easy clean-up and low maintenance with a simple wipe down or mop. 

If the size or cost is a concern, you can also opt for a thinner and smaller mat. There is a utility stall mat available that costs less than $30 and is about half the size. These mats are ideal for those with a home gym on concrete flooring, basement, or garage location and will hold up to weather, moisture, and heavy lifting. 

Pros

  • Dual-sided mat for comfort or grip 
  • Superior noise reduction 
  • Antibacterial  
  • Low maintenance 

Cons

  • Extremely heavy 
  • Doesn’t store easily 

2. Best Home Gym Flooring On Amazon - IncStores Thick 

IncStores 3/8 Inch Thick Premium Rubber Floor...
  • ADVANCED ACTIVITY ANYWHERE: Take on tough...
  • BUILT TO LAST: From workbench to treadmill,...
  • FLOOR COVERING WITHOUT LIMITS: Made for...
  • READY FOR ROUGH STUFF: While the material...

Another style of rubber mat is brought to you by IncStores. The brand has made flooring and mats for home gyms for over a decade and knows a thing or two about what your home gym needs. 

These rubber mats come in black or speckled with color to add a nice ambiance to your space. The half-inch thick mats are also 200% recycled tire material, so they are strong, durable, and will last a long time. 

When you buy these mats, you do pay a little more than other options, but you have less maintenance to worry about. They will last as long as your equipment under the right care routines, and you can get years of worry-free use from these mats. 

Pros

  • Made from recycled tires 
  • Multiple color and style options 
  • Highly durable, premium construction 
  • Doesn’t require adhesive  

Cons

  • Can be more expensive than other options 
  • No thickness options 

3. Best Heavy Duty Mat - Rubber-Cal Shark Tooth 

Rubber-Cal 03_109_W_23 Shark Tooth Heavy Duty...
782 Reviews
Rubber-Cal 03_109_W_23 Shark Tooth Heavy Duty...
  • Heavy duty mats with high contents of EPDM...
  • Thick floor mats can be used as protector...
  • Made domestically from 100% tire crumb, this...
  • Thick cushion provides excellent anti-slip...

If you are on a tighter budget but still want a durable and reliable mat, consider the Shark Tooth heavy-duty mats from Rubber-Cal. Each mat is constructed from recycled tire crumb to give you a durability and weather resistance that is unsurpassed.

Ideal for garage gyms where water, liquids, and weather can be a factor, these are designed for home gyms and extreme machinery use. You will find them under gym racks and support frames for loading trucks.

In your home gym they will support your weights, your workout routine, and your body without slipping or causing fatigue. The downside is that, unlike the other mats on this list, there is usually a rubber odor that doesn't dissipate all the way. Therefore, using them indoors is not recommended without proper ventilation. 

However, barring that one aspect, these mats are highly affordable, thick, and durable to give you everything you need at all times. Cleaning and maintenance are a bit higher than the other options covered here, but nothing a weekly sweep and mop can't handle. 

Pros

  • Affordable for most budgets 
  • Weatherproof construction 
  • Made from recycled tire crumb 
  • Slip-resistant finish 

Cons

  • Higher than average maintenance needed 
  • May have a strong rubber odor 

4. Best Folding Gym Mats – Best Choice 

Best Choice Products 10ftx4ftx2in Folding Gym...
  • STURDY BUILD: Use your mat for years to come...
  • 2" THICK FOAM: Practice leaps and jumps with...
  • MAT COMPATABILITY: Touch fasteners allow you...
  • EASY TRANSPORTATION: Built-in side handles...

For those on the go or that need a portable solution, the folding mats from Best Choice Products may be your answer. 

Each mat folds into four sections that can be stored out of the way when not in use. It also makes transportation a lot easier. Installation is a simple unzip and laying flat, and if you need more space, all sides include a heavy-duty Velcro strip so you can piece together the number of mats you need for the coverage area required. 

Individually, these mats are 2-inches thick with foam and offer superior support and comfort for gymnastics, aerobic workouts, and yoga. Lifting and squats are also ideal, but you shouldn't use them under your racks or heavy equipment. 

The foam is supportive but can become flattened over time with repeated heavy item use. However, for those on a tight budget that need some support and comfort underfoot, there are not a lot of options out there that are better. 

The ideal use is in a home gym that needs sound dampening from the floor in a gym space that is more temporary. The padding can be moved and stored when not in use to give you the freedom to make the gym space a secondary office or living area as you see fit. 

Pros

  • Easy to clean removable cover 
  • Folds for out of the way storage 
  • Thick enough for exercise and aerobic workouts 
  • Highly portable with built-in handle 

Cons

  • Not made for equipment racks 
  • Multiple mats may be needed 

How Thick Should A Home Gym Floor Be? 

When dealing with flooring thickness, you almost always are referring to rubber floors. Carpet, wood, and even vinyl don't have quite the thickness options that rubber mats do. This is where we will focus our attention. 

However, it is wise to know if your flooring choice (if not rubber) has other thickness options and decide which is best for you from that list. 

For rubber, the thickness will depend on several factors such as noise dampening, type of workouts, and equipment used. 

There are four main ranges in thickness, those between 5/16 and 3/8-inches, 1/4-inch, ½-inch and ¾ to 1-inch thick. For home gyms, these are the most common sizes, and each will have a different set of advantages and disadvantages. 

For example, the smallest sizes offer no noise dampening and little in the way of subfloor protection. However, they are highly affordable and come in rolls and tiles for easier installation. 

Selecting the Right Thickness for Specific Needs 

For heavy equipment, anything below ¼-inch is not recommended. The rubber mats are not thick enough to support the weight of machinery and won’t protect the subfloor if you are the type to drop your weights after each rep. 

Most home gyms with treadmills and stationary equipment will find that the best option for affordability, protection, and some slight noise dampening comes in the 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch range. While they aren't the most supportive, they are highly affordable, easy to install, and last a long time. 

Because they aren’t too thick, they are also easily managed by a single person, so you can place them where needed without much extra effort.  

The ¾ to 1-inch range offers the most noise dampening and subfloor protection. In most cases, this is the range for home gyms with a concrete subfloor and where horse stall mats are usually found. 

The trade-off is that these mats are heavy, hard to maneuver and install. On top of that, you will also find that these are the most expensive of the thicknesses. But, of course, for the longevity, ease of cleaning, and stability, the price is almost secondary. 

See Also - How Thick Should Rubber Gym Flooring Be?


How To Install Home Gym Flooring (DIY Step by Step Guide)

Installing home gym flooring will depend on several factors, including the type of flooring and if you plan to install it yourself or hire it out to a professional. 

With rubber mats, you have the option of tiles, squares, or rolls. With the larger squares, there isn't much of an install process. You simply lay the mat where needed and ensure it is in the right position. 

For tiles, you will need to piece them together should they have interlocking edges or place them with a bit of spray adhesive to keep them in place if they do not. 

For the rubber rolls, you will need to start on a straight edge, usually against a wall, unroll to length, and slice. Using a utility knife and a straight edge will ensure an even cut that keeps the mat where you place it. Each subsequent roll needs to be placed alongside the first until the entire area is covered. 

Carpet & Vinyl Applications 

Most carpeting and vinyl will be a DIY project that you can complete in a day or two. However, for full carpeting, you will need padding, tack strips, stretching tools, and more. Generally, carpet is considered a professional-only install choice. For carpet squares, though, you can usually do it yourself. 

Vinyl tiles and planks are simple enough to install. As long as there is an underlayment, it won't pose much of a problem. For the average DIYer, vinyl tiles can be completely installed in less than 4 hours with a resting time before the furniture and equipment can be returned to the space. 


How To Clean & Maintain Home Gym Flooring (Guide For Different Types)

Cleaning the gym flooring will also greatly depend on the type of flooring you have installed.

Larger rubber mats and rubber tiles, for example, will have different cleaning and maintenance regimens than carpet and vinyl, and even wood will have. 

For most flooring, even the hardwoods and rubber tiles, you can use a vacuum.

person cleaning a rubber gym floor

This will pick up larger debris, dirt from shoes, and dust. However, it will not disinfect, which may be required for your home gym space.

Disinfecting the area can be accomplished with a homemade spray of rubbing alcohol and water and can be sprayed on almost any surface. If your rubber or vinyl specifically states not to use alcohol, you can usually use hydrogen peroxide instead.

Spraying down the mats or tiles and wiping with a clean, dry towel will kill most bacteria and help prevent mold and odor build-up.

For wood, though, mopping and wet sprays may not be encouraged. Moisture can cause damage to wood, of course, so you will need to be extra careful. In these cases, dry mops, vacuums, and regular sweeping will be enough for most situations. 

The critical aspect is that the flooring is cleaned regularly. With rubber specifically, you want to clean it after every use. This is because the rubber will absorb the moisture and odors from your sweat when working out. 

Without proper cleaning, your home gym will begin to smell like a high school gym and can even get to the point where you need to remove and replace the flooring. It is much quicker and easier (let alone cheaper) to be diligent in cleaning your flooring daily or at least weekly. 

Keeping your home gym clean can be a hassle. Don't forget to review our detailed guide to cleaning rubber gym floors.


Frequently Asked Home Gym Flooring Questions

What flooring should I get If I park in my garage gym? 

If you have your gym in the garage and need to use the garage for parking, storage, or other things, the best type of flooring is one that can be removed. Temporary or folding mats are ideal for these cases since they are heavy-duty enough to stay in place but can be folded and stored out of the way when not in use.

Is it better to work out on carpet or hard floor? 

In most cases, it is better to work out on hard flooring rather than carpet for the health and safety aspect. Working out will have you sweating, and it is much easier to get sweat and odor off of wood flooring than out of carpet. However, carpet is ideal for some equipment workouts, such as treadmills and elliptical machines, as it adds sound dampening and shock absorption that wood doesn't have.

Can you exercise on laminate flooring? 

You can exercise anywhere you like though some flooring types and areas may be more comfortable than others. The problem with laminate is that it can become slick and doesn't have much in the way of comfort or support. If you do work out on a hard flooring like laminate or vinyl, a pad or mat of some kind for cushion, shock absorption, and comfort is recommended. 

How much does home gym flooring cost? 

The actual cost of the home gym flooring will vary based on several conditions. The flooring type, coverage area, material used, accessories, additional features, and installation method will all play a part. Typically you can expect to pay between $3 and $8 per square foot for mid-range flooring, but high-quality rubber mats or other items can reach $15 or more per square foot, installed. 


Conclusion

Finding the right home gym flooring doesn't have to be a difficult task. In almost all cases, some type of rubber mat is preferred. But you aren't limited to only rubber. 

There are plenty of options in all price ranges, installation configurations, and thicknesses to meet anyone's needs. Hopefully this article has helped you identify the type of flooring your gym needs and how best to go about getting the best deal and options for you. 

Last Updated on February 21, 2022