I have moved home twice in the last ten years, and that meant installing home gym flooring and gym equipment in two different places as well.
This experience has taught me a few things about the process, and after making a few mistakes, I got some help from a few guys who install rubber tiles and other types of flooring in commercial gyms.
During this research, I found that there are simple tips to help you get it right and not end up with a gym floor that becomes a safety hazard.
- You have to carefully plan how to install a home gym floor as you want to avoid having to move heavy equipment again if you make a mistake.
- The best option is to install rubber gym flooring, but there are some other alternatives that you can consider for less heavy-duty use.
- It should all start with a floor plan and assessing what kind of flooring material will be underneath.
How Do You Install Gym Flooring?
You install gym flooring by laying out either tiles or rolls of different kinds of materials.
This will all depend on the layout and existing flooring in your home gym. But there are some tips that will help you make the gym flooring installation easier.
Whether you have an unfinished basement or a spare room with hardwood floors, using rubber flooring is most often the best option.
Most of the time, you’ll find these as rubber gym tiles, but commercial gyms also use rubber roll flooring.
Here I will assume you don’t have a massive home gym.
To install rubber gym flooring that comes in tiles, start in one corner of the room and align the tiles along the longest wall.
This will give you a straight line, and you then go ahead and interlock the next row.
Once you’re done with the area you want to be covered, make sure you also install the straight-edge pieces.
A slightly cheaper option for home gym flooring involves installing foam tiles.
It’s a cheaper gym flooring installation because the tiles can often be half the price of rubber floors.
Although a thick rubber surface will generally be safer, if you don’t use heavy weights all the time, then foam might work just fine.
Start in the same way as with rubber floors by placing the tiles along the longest wall first.
Then run additional rows alongside and securely interlock them.
One of the easiest ways to install home gym flooring is with foam rolls.
I’ve been to a few home gyms that have such a setup, and it’s a great way to add some shock absorption over a concrete surface.
The main difference to rolled rubber flooring is that you may need to glue down foam rolls.
This is fine if you have a dedicated exercise room that you don't expect to need for other purposes in the future.
Start this installation process by running the roll along the wall to get a perfectly straight line. Once you have it cut to size, you can then go ahead and apply the glue to the floor.
This is probably the least common type of home gym flooring for home gyms.
Some people use these commercial-grade carpets because they might blend in better with the rest of the house.
My experience with these for installation has also been mixed.
You will need to glue these tiles to the underlying floor, and you have to be very careful with aligning them properly. You have to avoid gaps between them as it can eventually lead to the tiles lifting up.
Home gym injuries have been rising a lot, and you don’t want your gym floor to be the reason for this happening to you .
“At-home exercise injuries resulting in an emergency room visit increased by more than 48% from the end of 2019 through the end of 2020.”
- Ashley Mateo, Journalist at WSJ.com
What Equipment Will You Need?
You won’t need a lot of equipment to install a home gym floor, but you need to focus on home gym essentials.
If you have foam or rubber rolls, then you’ll need a sharp knife to cut the home gym flooring to size. You would also need a measuring tape to get your layout plan right.
For rubber flooring, you probably won’t need glue. But if you have a foam or carpet home gym floor, then you’ll need to glue it down.
Head to your local hardware store and ask for proper flooring glue to ensure that it won’t start lifting after a few months.
Creating a Floor Plan
Before you just blindly start to install rubber flooring, take a look at your existing floor layout.
Then plan out where it will be best to place all the different machines and weights that you have.
This process should also consider how much room you will need to move around. Ideally, draw up your home gym flooring plan on a sheet of paper.
You should only start the installation process once you have this step done.
Considerations for Different Surfaces
Depending on where you’re setting up your personal gym, you need to consider the floor underneath.
If it’s a concrete floor, then you need a lot of cushioning and shock absorption, especially for using barbells and dumbbells.
In that case, rubber flooring is going to be your best bet. It’s thick and highly durable, and even if you drop a weight from a height, it will provide enough of a bounce .
If you have wooden flooring and don’t use very heavy weights or equipment, then rubber gym flooring might not be necessary.
You could then opt for some form of foam rolls or tiles instead.
The main concern with wood flooring is the damage from heavy exercise equipment, and foam should protect it enough.
One other thing to consider is whether you have another room or apartment below your home gym. In that case, you also want to achieve some soundproofing, and rubber can be the ideal solution.
Do You Glue Down Gym Flooring?
Yes, you have to glue down some types of home gym floor materials. This is most typical with foam rolls and carpet tiles. But if you have rubber floor tiles or foam-based interlocking tiles, then this probably won’t be necessary.
Do You Put Anything Under the Gym Flooring?
No, you don’t have to put anything under the home gym flooring. Some people do this with carpet flooring, but in that case, it could end up being cheaper and easier to install rubber gym flooring altogether.
Plan Your Gym Floor Installation
Based on all my research and personal experience having installed mats and rolls in previous home gyms, I highly recommend rubber tiles.
Whether you do intense training as a HIIT routine or regularly lift heavy barbells, it’s the kind of floor that will hold up to severe punishment. And with just a little bit of planning, you can have it set up in less than an hour.
You can find rubber flooring recommendations that we have extensively tested on our designated page. These are the most durable and affordable ones we could find.
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