Four top flooring materials for a home gym – is rubber flooring best?

Okay so you have made room for – or perhaps were lucky not to have to – your very own home gym. But before you move in that elliptical trainer or treadmill, you need to have a good look at flooring options. Here are four of the best self-install gym floors, depending on which type of exercise you will be doing.

Rubber Horse Box Mat

No, we’re not kidding. These heavy rubber flooring mats, normally used in horse stalls because they ease the animals’ knee joints, regularly appear in gyms and exercise rooms.

These heavy duty mats come in large sheets, and weigh more (about 100 pounds) than you can lift by yourself, unless you’re Chuck Norris, so get prepared.

Although it doesn’t have jigsaw-like interlocking edges, many who bought it have said that it makes no difference anyway. This is because these mats are so heavy that the edges will not curl or lift up , no matter what.

Then again, others report that horse box mats have prominent edges. This may not be much of a problem for, say, Pilates or yoga, where you don’t move around much, but it could trip you up during exercises where you do.

Virgin Rubber Floor Tiles

A lot of gym flooring tiles claim to be made of “rubber” when they contain none at all. However, these ones are made of nothing but. Yes, these are the ones you’d expect to find in your local gym. So goes without saying that if price is no object, these what you’ll want.

It is completely virgin, non-recycled, rubber. It comes in 24″ x 24″ squares, that are 3/8″ thick, with a cool pebbled finish that the industry refers to as “hammered.”

It does not absorb moisture because the cells it’s constructed from are closed, plus the shiny surface makes it a doddle to clean.

Yet another (yes) great upside of virgin rubber is that it does not have the unpleasant odours that recycled rubber comes with – heady, heavy chemical scents that do nothing to enhance hard exercise.

Interlocking EVA Foam Tiles

EVA (Ethylene vinyl acetate) foam is typically the very first gym-friendly flooring you find at DIY stores. It’s the siren of the home depot world: even when you’ve walked to the next aisle, you it pleading with you to take it home. And even though it’s lightweight and comes in a myriad of eye-cathing colours, you should resist its call, because it dents super easily and will not decompress.

Think about it. Dropped weights always to bounce back, which creates a hazard. The surface of EVA foam is mushy and unstable, even more so when you are working with heavy weights.

These tiles are best suited to children’s playrooms, not gyms. But if you want to take advantage of their portability in a gym, do so as individual exercise mats, used on top of gym flooring.

Laminate flooring

If you’re going to lift free weights or use heavy multi-purpose machines, you should steer clear of

installing laminate flooring in your home gym.

Laminate will scratch and dent, and when it does, you’re pretty much stuck with it, because it cannot be sanded down. To top it all, laminate is slippery too, even when it’s dry.

But if your only aim is light exercise, and you won’t be using free weights, or installing any machines, laminate flooring gives you a flat, seamless, smooth, and easily-to-clean gym floor.