home gym flooring

Ultimate Home Gym Flooring Guide

Home gym flooring is an excellent way to improve the look and feel of your workout area. If you are looking to outfit your home gym with flooring, you have come to the right place. I put this guide together to help you select the best home gym floor for your needs. And by the end you will know what flooring type to choose for to suit your budget, exercise goals, and aesthetics. Installation is a snap too.

You should build your home gym from the ground-up starting the floor. Outside of equipment, your floor is the most important part of your gym. To be honest, I never thought much about it until I installed a rubber tile square floor in my home gym. It was night and day. The room felt better than having plain old carpet as my home gym floor.

6 Awesome benefits of a home gym floor

Dropping weights or setting heavy gym equipment on an unprotected surface can ruin it by scratching or creating dents. The most important benefit you will get through is a surface the absorbs the impact of exercise and saves your joints from taking a pounding.

  1. Less Noise: Gym flooring can help reduce noise when working out. Rubber tile floors are best at this, but carpet and foam have some level of sound dampening that reduces noise. Reduced noise can keep family members from being disturbed.
  2. Joint Protection: The cushion provided by gym floor surfaces, rubber, and foam in particular, provide ample softness to keep your joints feeling good.
  3. Sub-floor protection: Heavy gym equipment, dropped weights and high traffic movement from working out can all wear or damage your sub-floor. Proper gym flooring helped to keep scratches, dents, and cracks at bay.
  4. Style: Your gym should be equipped right and look right. Depending on the look you are going for, foam, rubber and carpet varieties promise to keep you in style.
  5. Slip resistance: The textured surface of home gym flooring is slip resistant to ensure maximum performance of your exercises.
  6. Easy to clean: Rubber, carpet, and foam gym flooring tiles are easy to clean. Low pile carpet squares are thin enough to dry quickly or wash away stains. Rubber and foam are water resistance and clean-up with just a wipe of your favorite cleaning agent. I use Clorox wipes

Ultimate Home Gym Flooring Guide

I’ve compiled pretty much everything I could find about gym flooring into one place to save you time and help guide you to the best choice. At the end of this guide, you will know exactly what you need, how much it should cost, where to get the products, how you can benefit from them and how you can avoid potential pitfalls when putting your gym together and selecting your floor.

This guide is broken into a couple of parts. Part 1 gets more into the details about home gym floors and is more like an FAQ than anything else.

If you want to skip the informative part go ahead and jump forward to the reviews section where I give brief reviews of top rated foam, rubber and carpet gym flooring options.

Home Gym Flooring Essentials

Installing a proper gym floor can make all the difference in the world. Your gym will look and feel like a gym and will be functional. Gone are the days of tossing a bench in your spare room over carpet or setting-up your power rack on bare concrete in your garage.

This is not limited to those who prefer lifting weights. Proper flooring selection is critical to overall performance and results for yoga gurus and high-intensity interval workout junkies too.

Think about it this way. Streets are paved because vehicles travel better on them. Sidewalks are made so that walking is more efficient and carpet is laid for comfort. Gym floors exist to make the most out of your time in the gym.

Learning from mistakes – Getting it right from the start

The first version of my home gym was carved from a spare bedroom. It measured 14×14 and was carpeted with generic builders carpet with an upgraded „level 2 pad (what a joke). I started basic, like many of us and installed the essentials: A power rack, dip station, and storage for an assortment of dumbbells.

I had a large wall mirror installed from a local company that covered the entirety of one wall across from my power rack. It helped me with form and made the space feel more open than it was. 

There was not much to it. I just don’t have enough room to allow more, but I was overjoyed with the realization that I had a home gym. The freedom I felt from not having to spend cash on a monthly gym membership combined with the time saving and convenience was fantastic.

frustrated with my gym floor
No this isn’t me. But it is how I felt when I had to redo my gym floor.

That feeling lasted about 90 days…

I realized that my floor sucked. It sucked bad and it was my fault for not pulling out the carpet and installing a proper floor right from the start.

The carpet (and pad underneath) was unsuitable for the weight and stability of my equipment and doing any HIIT type workouts was a no go. It just ruined the carpet and keeping it clean was hard to do.

After tearing down all of my equipment, ripping out the carpet and installing a rubber inter-locking tile floor, the space transformed into a home gym.

Not just a room that I worked out in. If you are in a spot where you have to redo things, then I am sorry and a feel ya!

However, if you are thinking about building a home gym. Install a floor first (it’s not that hard) it will save you time and money in the long run.

What is the best home gym flooring?

We will focus on interlocking rubber and foam tiles along carpet squares here. They are generally more budget-friendly and easier to install than other options like vynil, rubber rolls, and artificial turf.

  1. What will it cost?
  2. How durable is it?
  3. Does it work for my purposes?
  4. Is it easy to clean?
  5. Is it easy to install?

Choosing the best flooring comes down to what you want kind of exercise you plan on doing and your budget. Once you have that in front of you, choosing the best option is straight forward, but there are some considerations you should work through.

Let’s take a look at foam, rubber and carpet gym floor tiles below to choose one that fills your needs.

Foam Home Gym Puzzle Mats

foam tiles and puzzle mats for a home gym
Foam tiles are a quick and easy installation.

Foam gym flooring tiles, sometimes called puzzle mats, are versatile and wallet-friendly. They come in a huge assortment of colors that can give your gym a stylish look. Checkerboard anyone?

They are soft and therefore nice to your joints because they absorb impact well. This makes them ideal for rooms that need to double as a play space for the kiddos too!

Foam gym floor puzzle mats are best for:

foam gym floor puzzle mats
  • Yoga
  • Light Cardio
  • Light Equipment
  • Body weight exercises
  • Stretching
  • Areas that can double as a playroom

Pros of foam home gym puzzle mats

  • Lowest cost gym flooring. You can find foam floor tiles between $2 to $4 per square foot
  • Lightweight. Their weight keeps delivery costs low, storage and portability easier too
  • Flexible and shock absorbent. Reduces pressure on joints from exercise and protects your floor
  • Easy to maintain. Waterproof. Spills and soiled sections clean-up easily.

Cons of foam home gym puzzle mats

  • Softness means that they will indent under heavy weights
  • Less durable than rubber or carpet and can be punctured or scratched

Get these if:

Go with foam if you are on a budget or just need something that is lightweight and will stand-up to all but the most demanding workouts and exercise equipment.

Foam tiles are suitable for most of us, but If your fitness life is more demanding, consider a rubber tile gym floor.

Rubber Home Gym Flooring Tiles

rubber interlocking gym florr tiles
Interlocking rubber gym floor tiles offer more impact absorption to protect your joints and floor

Rubber flooring is the most popular choice when it comes to home gyms floors. Rubber flooring tiles are ideal for almost all exercises from, yoga, CrossFit, high-intensity interval training to (HIIT) heavy weight lifting.

They won’t move around when doing plyometric exercises. These floor tiles will stand the test of time and are strong enough to easily support heavy equipment such as ellipticals and cages.

Rubber gym floor tiles are best for:

rubber gym floor puzzle mats
  • All workouts
  • Heavy weight lifting
  • Under heavy equipment as support
  • Intense workouts (plyometrics, HIIT and Crossfit)

Pros of rubber gym floor tiles

  • Durability. Rubber tiles are significantly more durable than foam.
  • Heavy Equipment. They are strong enough to support any gym equipment you might have.
  • Easy to clean. Like foam, they are easy to clean. They won’t stain.
  • Still easy to install. Rubber gym floor tiles are only slightly more difficult to install than foam only because they are tougher to cut and trim. It won’t hold you back though.

Cons of rubber gym floor tiles

  • Cost. They can cost more than foam or carpet tiles. Colored tiles can have an up-charge to them as well. But boy do they look good!
  • Heavy. Rubber floor tiles are heavy and can cost more to ship.

Get this if

A rubber home gym floor is ideal if you want something that will stand up over time and you will be working with heavy weights or intense exercise. Need to go soft sometimes? Just throw an exercise mat on top for yoga or whatever else you desire.

Do you want something that looks posh but has the near versatility of rubber and foam combined? Take a look at carpet squares for your gym floor.

Interlocking Carpet Home Gym Flooring Tiles

gym with carpet tile floor
carpet square gym floors look great and are functional

I mentioned earlier that shag type carpets are not a good choice for a gym floor and the same applies here when selecting carpet tiles. So be sure to select a thin low pile carpet. Not a Berber or shag.

It’s also a good idea to go with interlocking (puzzle) carpet tiles instead of standard carpet squares. The squares can be trickier to install since they have to be cut and lined-up straight. Installation is easier to do with the puzzle interlocking type since they connect to each other just like foam or rubber tiles.

Carpet is not as forgiving as foam or rubber when it comes to shock absorption, but it is durable and easy enough to maintain. The assortment of colors and available styles is far greater than both foam and rubber though. Also since it is so common in homes and shopping areas, it makes for a more inviting space.

Carpet gym floor tiles are best for

Carpet tiles make a very nice and comfortable (cozy) space to workout in. However, you would want to get rubber exercise mats in areas where you are actually exercising. Carpet does not have the absorption property of foam or rubber. Exercising directly on the surface can lead to joint damage over time.

Lay rubber exercise mats in the areas you plan to do your cardio workouts. Gym equipment, such as a treadmill or smith machine can be set on top of the carpet in most cases. Use your best judgement here.

Carpet gym floor tiles are best for:

carpet gym floor puzzle mats
  • All workouts
  • Heavy weight lifting
  • Under equipment for support
  • Making a gym look like it belongs inside your home

Carpet squares Pros

  • Durability. Gym floor carpet tiles are very durable and can stand up to a lot of punishment and abuse.
  • Color options can make your gym look professional and inviting

Carpet squares Cons

  • Tougher to install than foam or rubber.
  • Carpet can stretch over time
  • Carpet stains easier than foam or rubber
  • Does not protect your subfloor from dropping weights
  • Does not provide ample shock absorption to the reduce joint injury

Get this if:

It seems that the Cons outweigh the Pros when looking at carpet tiles. But if you want to make your space look nice and crisp, then carpet is a solid choice. Adding rubber exercise mats over the top is ample for most exercises anyway.

How do I install gym floor tiles?

Home gym floor tile installation is very easy even for those of us aren’t the household handyman. Tools needed to get the job done are basic and you don’t need to be a carpenter to get it done on your own.

You don’t need to hire anyone to do the work in most cases unless you have a room with a carpet that needs to be removed. Using elbow grease on your own will keep some money in your pocket though.

You need to consider the type of surface you plan on laying tiles on. Installing tiles on top of concrete or wood is always a better idea than installing them over carpet.

Household carpets are usually thick and lay on top of padding to create a comfortable surface. This is nice for laying on and walking. However, foam or rubber tiles that sit on top of carpet won’t connect well and will come apart because they are sitting on top of squishy carpet.

Heavier rubber tiles can be installed on top of carpet but it needs to be very tight-knit with little to no padding underneath. If you already have carpet like this then it might be better to just get foam rolls or rubber exercise mats to lay over the top.

Your best bet is to just start with a fresh, clean wood or concrete floor. You will thank yourself later.

Tools needed

  • Steel straight edge
  • Double sided tape
  • Measuring tape
  • Utility knife

Putting a line of double-sided tape on the outside perimeter can reduce shifting that happens when exercising on foam or rubber. It’s not a game changer, but it doesn’t hurt.

Glue might be preferred for carpet squares if you don’t plan on moving anytime soon.

Basic home gym floor installation steps

Time needed: 3 hours and 30 minutes.

Time to install is really dependent on how elaborate you want to get. Most installations will take less time assuming you are working on a concrete surface and do not have carpet to remove.

  1. Measure your space

    Measure the length and width of your workout space (multiply length*width).

  2. Determine gym flooring type

    Select foam, rubber , or carpet squares to fit your budget and desired look.

  3. Determine how much flooring you will need

    Use the square feet measurement to determine how many tiles you will need. Get a little over the estimate for spares.

  4. Prepare your sub-floor

    Remove old carpet if needed. Thoroughly clean the floor before installing any tiles.

  5. Loose lay your tiles on top of the sub-floor

    Begin by laying tiles on one side of the room and working across to the opposite wall. Most rubber and foam tiles come in a center lock shape. A center lock shape means that any tile can connect to another on any side. The tiles look like square puzzle pieces.

  6. Connect each square of your first row

    Use your straight edge and utility knife to cut off the one side of the tile to make a straight line. Cut enough of these to create a starter row. Some tiles come with strips that fill-in the edges. Tiles with these don’t have to be cut on the starter row.

  7. Cut and trim to fill odd shapes

    Measure and cut tiles to fit odd shaped areas to fit around corners or fill in rows where full tiles would not fit.

  8. Installation complete!

    Move your equipment in and enjoy your new home gym.

What Next?

I am by no means an expert installer and the steps in this guide are largely based on my own experience from a couple of small jobs. Comments are highly welcome. I would be happy to update the guide based on your own experience and tips.

Now that you’ve decided on a home gym floor that works for you, get to it. Putting the foundation down for your home gym is the best way to turn your space into a home gym as opposed to a space that you use to workout in your home. It will be worth your time in the long run.

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