Home Gym Flooring Options

By Sam Ferris
Photo courtesy of Finton Construction
Your body isn?t the only thing getting a work out in your home gym. Your floors, too, take quite the toll as you?re jumping up and down during plyometrics, plodding your feet as you lunge, and moving heavy equipment in and out of the room. The flooring solution isn?t as simple as hydration and stretches, though. Flooring is built a certain way: it either won?t last in your home gym, or it will. There?s not much wiggle room in between. Here we weigh in on what floors you should and shouldn?t install in your home gym, as well as our favorite home gym flooring options.

What floors to install in your home gym:
Photo courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction
Rubber Fitness Floors

Strengths: Want to recreate the floors at your local gym? Rubber floors are the real deal, and they?re geared toward fitness centers. They?ve got both the industrial look and rigid, padded feel you find at gym chains around the U.S. This isn?t the only advantage, though.

1) Some are built with a mix of rubber and vulcanized post-consumer recycled tire material, so you know they?ll last for ages.
Durability is a huge factor to consider when buying flooring for your home gym. There?s going to be a significant amount of foot traffic associated with your workouts and equipment. Your floors need to withstand that foot traffic, as well as the wear-and-tear associated with movement-intensive workouts.

2) They?re easy on the feet.
Feel free to walk all over rubber floors. They?re comfortable. Their rigid, padded feel comes especially in handy when you?re jumping around during a workout.? It won?t hurt when you land during jumping jacks. Rubber floors can also improve your jumping ability. That means a better beach body, baby.

3) They?re high-traction floors.
Think about it. Some rubber floors use recycled tire materials. Your tires have to have good traction to survive on the road. That?s how much traction rubber floors provide your home gym. The slip resistance is superior to other types of flooring.

Weaknesses: The drawback? Rubber floors aren?t cheap. They?re more expensive than vinyl and tile, mostly because of the materials used to make them. Rubber floors are perfectly suitable for residential applications, but are produced with commercial applications in mind. Commercial floors are almost always more expensive than residential floors.

Ceramic or Porcelain Tile
Photo courtesy of Mohawk
Strengths: Ceramic or porcelain tile is a solid choice for home gym flooring for one (kind of big) reason.

Porcelain tile is among the most durable residential flooring available.

When you?re exercising at home, there?s a good chance you?ll scratch the floors as you shuffle your feet during cardio or move heavy weight machines over the floors. Scuff marks are likely as well. The way porcelain tile is constructed ? out of a mix of glass and silicon ? enables it to be scratch-resistant. Color body porcelain in particular is more scratch resistant because the color of the glaze goes throughout the tile?s body. In other words, it?s going to hide scratches.

Weaknesses: There are three notable downsides to tile, however.

1) The major downside to tile is that it can get slick with sweat during a good workout.
The last thing you need is a setback to your fitness due to an injury caused by slipping. Be mindful, cardio junkies. Look for a tile that has a high slip resistance rating.

2) It?s hard on the feet.
And if it?s hard on the feet, it?s hard on the knees. It could exacerbate existing foot and knee issues or cause new ones.

3) Tile has a hard surface, meaning you?re more likely to damage it with weight-lifting equipment.
Do you drop weights to the floor after a hard set? We all do. You?re not always going to place weights to ground like a baby to a crib. Tile floors are more likely to crack from that type of impact. If you?re a little (understandably) lazy with your weights, tile isn?t the best insurance policy you can buy.

Vinyl Composition Tile (VCT)

Strengths: VCT stands for vinyl composition tile, a type of flooring manufactured with colored PVC chips (the same material used for plumbing pipes). Some VCT, such as that manufactured by Armstrong, contains crushed limestone. Needless to say, it?s durable, and that?s always an advantage with home gym flooring. It?ll last, it won?t get scratched, and it won?t get scuffed.

But the real advantages to VCT are its style and its cost.

Style-wise, VCT is available in eclectic colors that you won?t find in tile and vinyl planks. For those wanting a home gym with a bit of spunk, VCT may be your best option with its bright blues, ruby reds, not-so-mellow yellows, and so on.

As for the price, VCT is extremely affordable. When your budget is already burned out from buying gym equipment, VCT is a good pick-me-up, and you?re almost always guaranteed to save money with it.

Weaknesses: Here an old adage rings true: you get what you pay for. VCT doesn?t cost much because it?s not the fanciest floor in the world. Don?t expect a luxury gym.

Vinyl Plank
Photo courtesy of Mannington Residential
Strengths: The next-of-kin to VCT, vinyl plank flooring isn?t a bad home gym alternative either. ?Like VCT, vinyl planks are durable (and probably better able to handle the workouts than you).

However, wood look vinyl planks are a functional flooring choice for a room that doubles as a home gym and a living space.

Wood look vinyl planks combine durability and fashion. If you?re also using your home gym as a living area, it?s the way to go: a practical choice to handle all the foot traffic and heavy equipment, but a stylish one.

Weaknesses: Vinyl planks cost more than VCT, and sometimes as much or more than tile, depending on the brand. It?s not necessarily best for money-savers.

What floors not to install in your home gym:

Hardwood Floors
Installing hardwood floors in your home gym is like building a boat out of tissue paper. It?s just not built to withstand the elements. You can probably imagine all the scratches and scuffs hardwood floors would absorb with heavy gym equipment and shuffling feet. It?s the least durable type of flooring in that sense. Hardwood also doesn?t mix with water ? too much sweat over time, or water bottle spills by shaky arms, and you?ll certainly notice the damage.

It?s the same tale with laminate floors as it is with hardwood. Scratches and scuffles will offset the investment.

Residential Carpet
Can you install carpet in a home gym? Sure. We?ll be honest: this one?s our preference. The reason is because of the heavy weight equipment you?ll have in your gym. When it?s been on your carpet for years, it?s going to leave a heavy indention in your carpet. And no matter how strong the fiber is, there?s no guarantee you?ll be able to restore it. Food for thought.

*Bonus tip: Always use protectors when placing heavy equipment on top of any type of flooring. Be proactive!

Our Top Picks
Photo courtesy of Congoleum Commercial
Congoleum Commercial and Z?N?

Congoleum?s Commercial selection has any color you may want at a price you definitely want. The Z?N line does too, but it adds neat geometric textures (pictured above). There isn?t a more appropriate place for it than in a home gym.

Roppe Recoil Fitness Flooring

Chances are you?ve seen Roppe?s fitness flooring, or one like it, at the gym. It?s that black rubber with colored speckles that almost begs you to sweat. Keep your jumps spry, lunges comfy and floors long-lasting.

Earthwerks Rapid Clic

The wood look vinyl planks come easy to install and uninstall, should any unanticipated damage occur, with a lock-in click method. A lifetime residential warranty and gorgeous grains are thrown in for good measure.?