Home Gym Flooring – 4 popular choices but what is the best flooring solution for you?
There are a wide variety of floor covering options available for use as home gym flooring and often times picking out the right solution can seem like a difficult task. The three most popular flooring options for use in home gym and exercise rooms are carpet, rubber flooring, foam flooring, and vinyl tiles. In this article we will explain the benefits of each option so that you can be sure you select the best home gym flooring for you.
Option #1 – Carpet
Carpet is the most popular floor covering option in America and is excellent all-purpose flooring. Carpet can be relatively inexpensive, is comfortable to the touch, and is fairly easy to clean and maintain. Carpet also can be an excellent floor solution for use as home gym flooring. The best carpet options for use in areas where exercise take place in the home are low pile carpet options. Low pile carpet is usually a little more course to the touch however it is usually much more durable compared to fluffy shag or even soft Berber style carpets often found in homes. Commercial grade carpet also works very well for home gyms due to its tight knit loops. One other form of carpet that is often used as exercise flooring is carpet tiles. These tiles interlock and can be easily installed by the average person.
The benefits to using carpet in a home gym is that it is available in a wide array of colors, is durable enough to last for many years, and is soft enough for young kids to play on while Mom and Dad get their workout in. Carpet is also a favorite gym flooring option since it is a floor covering that the average home user completely understands and already knows how to take care of. The downside to using carpet as a flooring in home gyms and exercise studios is that it needs to be installed by a professional carpet installer, can stretch over time under strenuous use and require a carpet installer to re stretch the carpet, and can hold moisture and require a professional cleaning every few years. One particular tricky spot for using carpet as home gym flooring is in basements. Over the years, we have heard from numerous Midwest customers that their basement flooded and that the carpet they had installed in their basement home gym was ruined. These individuals are often looking for a solution to prevent a similar situation from happening in the future which leads to:
Option #2 – Rubber Flooring
Rubber Flooring is our specialty at RubberFlooringInc.com. Rubber flooring can be purchased in rolls or tiles and is available in a wide range of thicknesses and color options. Rubber flooring can range in price from a cheap $0.99 per square foot for recycled rubber floors up to and over $4.00 per square foot for the most designer series virgin rubber options. The benefits to using rubber as a floor covering are plentiful. Rubber can be easily installed by the home owner even with no prior floor installation experience. Rubber flooring is perhaps the most durable shock absorbing flooring option available. We have even seen rubber flooring installed in ice skating rinks where it is walked on by ice skaters with their blades on and not need replacing for 10+ years. Due to this extreme durability, rubber is often the gym flooring solution of choice for home users who lift heavy weights or have heavy cardio and weight equipment. Rubber flooring is easier to clean and care for than carpet since it only needs to be vacuumed or damp mopped. Rubber is also naturally antimicrobial and will not harbor mold, fungi or mildew growth. Since rubber does not absorb water, it makes for an excellent basement gym flooring solution since the rubber rolls and tiles can be picked up temporarily while the basement dries out. Rubber is also an excellent sound insulator and helps keep homes more quiet during workouts.
At RubberFlooringInc.com, we are obviously big fans of rubber flooring and do not like to talk bad about it but we are honest too so we do want to explain the negatives to using rubber. Rubber flooring is very heavy. Since rubber is so heavy, some users may find it difficult moving the product around. Rubber flooring can range in weight from 1-3 Lbs. per square foot so if people are worried about being able to handle the product, we often recommend that home users purchase a rubber tile flooring rather than a rolled rubber solution. Rubber also is a bad insulator against temperature transmission. When rubber is used on cold basement sub floors, the rubber will feel cold to the touch. The positive to this however is that rubber can works well over heated flooring systems. Rubber also can get to be high in cost if the home user desires a bright colored solution. Most rubber flooring sold is predominately black and this type of rubber flooring is made from recycled tires and is thus very inexpensive. Bright colored rubber products are made from virgin rubber which is a more expensive raw material and thus creates more expensive flooring. So how is a home owner supposed to get bright and fun colored flooring for their home gym for a relatively low price? Well that leads to the next two options.
Option 3 – Foam Flooring
Foam flooring is something we offer on RubberFlooringInc.com but is a specialty of our sister site, FoamTiles.com. Foam flooring is most often sold in interlocking tiles and foam mats. The tiles are most commonly referred to as soft tiles, foam tiles, or puzzle lock tiles and can be easily installed by a home owner in mere minutes. Foam is available in many thicknesses and bright and fun color options. Foam is very low in cost, is easy to clean, and offers enough comfort and cushion to provide a soft flooring solution for home gym users who do a lot of floor work such as sit-ups and stretching. Foam floor tiles also double as an excellent kid’s play area flooring solution due to their safe surface and excellent shock absorption qualities. Many home users also choose foam tiles since many colors can often be locked together to form custom designs such as checkerboard patterns or border patterns. Foam tiles are also light weight portable and can be used as an interlocking foam mat for individuals needing a temporary workout mat in a living room or family room when doing Pilates, yoga, P90X, or aerobics.
Foam Floor mats and tiles, while very popular for the home user who performs lighter workouts, is often not recommended for the home gym owner who uses heavy weight equipment. Foam tiles can be compressed under heavy weight equipment fairly easily and over time will not completely bounce back if the foam stayed compressed for an extended period of time. Foam can also be punctured, cut or sliced by sharp objects fairly easily. As such, we do not recommend walking on any type of foam flooring with high heeled shoes. Foam tiles are also only warrantied for 1 year compared to the 5 year warranty that comes with most rubber floor coverings.
Option 4 – Vinyl Tiles
Vinyl floor tiles interlock together just like foam flooring tiles and are thus very easy to install for a home owner. Vinyl tiles are also available in wide variety of bright colored flooring options and feel very much like rubber in that they flex and have similar cushioning qualities to that of rubber. Vinyl tiles are also easy to clean and can just be swept or damp mopped and vinyl naturally is extremely resistant to mold and mildew growth. Vinyl is also extremely resistant to most chemicals so these tiles often make an excellent choice for users putting a home gym into their garage where oils and solvents may be present.
Interlocking vinyl tiles were originally manufactured for use as a garage floor tile however their naturally flexibility and durability has caused them to become more of a multiuse floor tile over the years. The only thing customer’s tend to not like about them for use as home gym flooring is that they do not have the same amount of shock absorption qualities as a rubber or foam gym flooring. While these tiles have flexibility to them, once laid down, they tend to feel more like a durable vinyl floor surface you would find used as a kitchen floor covering rather than a shock absorbing gym floor covering.
Final Bits of Advice
When in doubt as to what kind of home gym flooring would be right for you, we always recommend to ask for samples of each type of flooring you are considering installing into you home gym. Most reputable retail and online flooring stores will have no problem providing free samples so that you can see and feel the product in your own hands prior to purchase. In addition, we also recommend asking your store representative a lot of questions. Many times, our customers will call asking for the thickest rubber gym flooring we offer since they want the absolute best. After asking a few questions, our customer service reps often find out that the user will only be putting a cardio machine on the floor and doing some aerobics on the flooring. We then inform these potential users that the thickest flooring solutions would probably be overkill for them and that they can probably save a few bucks or get a designer color upgrade for the same price by going to a thinner rubber floor covering or a foam gym flooring.