Home Gym Floor Guide

Choosing the Best Flooring Option for Your Home Gym

Getting the best flooring for your home gym is a more complex topic than you might think. You’ll have plenty of options. These range from rubber mats to interlocking foam, cork, laminate, yoga mats or even carpet (though carpet is not recommended!). Which gym floor is best depends on the floor you are trying to protect, your use – for example free weights, exercise machines or body-weight exercise – plus noise and ‘sweat’ considerations.

This page simplifies the home gym flooring options – and points you in the right direction to get a great deal on whichever option you pick.

The information below is divided into sections.

Firstly, the options are listed for different types of exercise. This focuses on pros and cons of the main gym floor types for each category.

After that, I have turned things around, and covered the 4 main home fitness flooring types in a little more detail. Some have multiple options, others are more straightforward. The table below lists the key options, with a link to the amazon.co.uk product page for more detail and comments from previous buyers.

Table: Main Categories of Home Gym Flooring

Gym Flooring Foam Squares

Interlocking Foam Squares

Lightweight and portable, foam squares provide a cushioned surface for both equipment and floor-based exercises. You'll need 2+ packs of 4 for decent coverage. Good value, though not the most durable.

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Universal Fitness Rubber Mat

Rubber Mats

Roll-up rubber mats provide a non-slip (and often non absorbing) surface, ideal for exercise equipment and easy to clean too. Available in different sizes.

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Heavy Duty Rubber Mat

Heavy Duty Rubber Mat

For multi-gym and weights I recommend a heavier mat. These will last, handle dropped weights and wipe-clean. An investment that could last for years.

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Yoga Mat Flooring

Yoga Mats

These are not just for Yoga! Light, roll up mats cover all floor types, and are comfortable enough for floor work too. Lots of variations available in this category.

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Home Gym Flooring for Different Exercise Types

Weight Training Floor Options

York Cast Iron Weights Best FloorHowever careful we are, weights are bound to hit the floor at some point. This means that your choice of flooring not only has to be functional, you really need to consider that extra level of protection. Dropping a dumbbell or kettlebell on a thin foam mat with ceramic tiles underneath is simply asking for trouble.

Another consideration for multi-gym or weight bench owners is that certain areas of your floor covering will be high-use, while other parts will barely get a look in.

If you have the money, then a commercial quality heavy duty rubber mat is ideal. You can even have some cushioning underneath this, or extra padding on top (via that interlocking foam). A popular budget option is to buy a rubber mat that is used for horses. These are put under the horse in a box (trailer) to protect the knees… and are cheaper than many gym-specific alternatives.

Cork, laminate or even cheaper wood can be used as a base layer. Again with interlocking foam or ideally a rubber mat.

Check out this page for the main rubber gym mat options at amazon.co.uk. (more on specifics in the 2nd part of this guide below)

Exercise Machine Floor Options

Treadmill Flooring OptionsWith machines like treadmills, elliptical trainers and bikes, stability is important – as well as having a wipe-down surface. This means it is best not to go ‘too soft’, thick foam does not fit the bill. At the same time, some machines have only 4 or so points where they touch the floor. This can mean a lot of force on those points, which can easily mark your floor.

Carpet, even with a small mat or single foam square under your machine is never a good idea. Those droplets of sweat will add up over time, and you could end up with mould or simply a smelly area of your home.

If you already have laminate flooring (with its own underlay / cushioning), then a simple rubber yoga mat can do the trick. Many people prefer going a little heavier. For the heavier machines (treadmills, vibration plates and many elliptical cross trainers), then those cheap and cheerful interlocking foam mats are perfect for the job.

York Fitness have the best selling interlocking mats, check out the dedicated amazon.co.uk product page here.

You can find reasonably priced rubber mats which are strong enough to protect your floor from Universal Fitness and the popular York Fitness.

Floor Based Exercise – Floor Covering Options

The final category includes body-weight routines. This will include Yoga and Pilates as well as many abs and core routines – even good old fashioned push-ups.

Since you will be in contact with your floor, comfort is a factor.

Unlike the mostly fixed setups of the first two categories, you’ll need something portable too. If you already have a carpet, then a yoga mat is perfect here. Get a lightweight one and not the smallest, and most of your needs are covered. Many yoga mats are washable these days, great for getting rid of the sweat.

If you have laminate flooring, or want to (for example) cover the concrete floor of your garage, then those interlocking foam squares are just right. If you plan on using these alone (with no covering mat) make sure that they are wipe-clean.

If you are doing anything acrobatic (for example TRX) then it can give you some peace of mind to have an inch of foam underneath you if you fall.

You can check out the best selling York Fitness interlocking foam mats on this amazon.co.uk product page.

Yoga mats are a huge category, with many variations, this page will give you a list of the most popular choices.

Features of Home Gyms - Flooring

Part 2 – More Detail on the Types of Home Gym Flooring Available

This section looks at specific products. Keep in mind that there are premium versions (as well as ‘no brand’ knock-offs) of the same things. My tip at amazon.co.uk is to look at the ‘viewer of this item bought…’ listing for the close alternatives.

Most Popular Interlocking Foam Gym Floor – York Fitness Floor Guard

York Fitness Floor GuardFans of the range of strength training and exercise equipment from York Fitness can also have this brand underneath their kit.

This is a foam square, 1.3cms thick, with edging. Each square is 60cms by 60cms, and you can buy them in packs of 4. You’ll need more than one pack for most setups (the exception might be a stepper or smaller exercise bike). I’d recommend at least 2 packs for a treadmill, weights bench or elliptical. These foam squares can’t be rolled up. They are easy to setup and remove between sessions for those who do not have a permanent spot for their home gym. No adhesive is needed.

Foam will never be as tough as a rubber mat, and if you are lifting weights then I do recommend something underneath if you have tiled floors or varnished floorboards to protect. The foam will cushion minor impacts – though a dumbbell dropped from 2 meters (for example) has a lot of momentum and can crack tiles through a foam mat.

York Fitness provide a close-up look at these foam squares, and a comparison with their other products like heavy duty rubber mats, on this dedicated amazon.co.uk product page – check it out now!

 

Rubber / PVC Gym Equipment Floor Mats – Universal Fitness

Universal Fitness MatYork Fitness also offer rolling mats designed to go underneath your home fitness equipment. My preference is for the mats from Universal Fitness. You get a choice of 3 sizes, and these models are 6mm thick (many rivals are just 4mm).  The largest is 200cm by 90cm, big enough for even the largest machines and bench setups.

The universal fitness mats are non-slip and will also dampen noise. The mat will mark where the feet of your equipment put pressure on it. What you will find is that after use, these marks gradually disappear.

Comments from previous buyers indicate that this is not ‘slippy’. One person specifically stated that it stayed put on a tiled floor. This mat is not only for equipment, many people use it for floor / body weight / aerobic type exercises too.

Check out the feedback for yourself now over on the dedicated amazon.co.uk product page.

Heavy Duty Gym Matt – 12mm Thick Rubber – Commercial / Garage Floor Type

If you are kitting out a garage, or want to turn a room into a permanent gym – then the next level up is not too much more expensive. You can get a commercial quality 6ft x 4ft rubber mat setup, which is 12mm thick and will not absorb any moisture or odors.

I’m featuring mats from a rubber specialist, rather than a commercial gym equipment maker. Ark Rubber provide the real thing. While comments from previous buyers of the categories above are ‘mixed’, almost everyone is super-positive about these rubber slabs! They are non-slip too.

Most setups will require 3 or 4 for good coverage. Sure, this is more expensive than interlocking foam. When you look at it in terms of durability, then like many buyers you’ll see this type of flooring as an investment that will last you for many years.

You can check those comments, and see the full spec of these heavy-duty rubber mats on this dedicated amazon.co.uk product page.

 

Yoga Mat Flooring

Yoga Mats – Not Only for Yoga!

Yoga mats are ideal for all types of floor based exercises, these can also provide enough protection for lighter equipment – I’m thinking crunch trainers and the like. If you have a suitable floor, for example laminate, then a Yoga mat can go on top.

Keep in mind that these mats are for your own comfort, and are too thin to offer much in the way of protection for a floor should you drop a kettlebell (for example) on it! This thin design makes them portable, and you can also machine wash them in some cases.

I have a more detailed yoga mat comparison piece in the pipeline.

Until then, check out the best sellers (both branded and generic) on this amazon.co.uk listing page.

 

Summing Up: The Best Gym Flooring Options

Gym flooring does not need to be complicated… once you see the options laid out, you’ll be able to narrow down the options to 1 or 2.

If you plan on using your gym or fitness machines for the long term, decent quality flooring can be a good investment. Sure, you’ll pay a little more for the thicker, wipe-clean and durable floors. Not only will you avoid needing to replace these for many years – you will not have to think about things like flooring either. Sort your floor, and focus on getting fit!

Here is the table from the start of the page once again. If you read through the different points to get there, the options will now make a lot more sense.

Gym Flooring Foam Squares

Interlocking Foam Squares

Lightweight and portable, foam squares provide a cushioned surface for both equipment and floor-based exercises. You'll need 2+ packs of 4 for decent coverage. Good value, though not the most durable.

Product Page
Universal Fitness Rubber Mat

Rubber Mats

Roll-up rubber mats provide a non-slip (and often non absorbing) surface, ideal for exercise equipment and easy to clean too. Available in different sizes.

Product Page
Heavy Duty Rubber Mat

Heavy Duty Rubber Mat

For multi-gym and weights I recommend a heavier mat. These will last, handle dropped weights and wipe-clean. An investment that could last for years.

Product Page
Yoga Mat Flooring

Yoga Mats

These are not just for Yoga! Light, roll up mats cover all floor types, and are comfortable enough for floor work too. Lots of variations available in this category.

Category Page

More Detailed Gym Equipment Guides: