Determining the Best Rubber Flooring for Weight Rooms
Rubber Weight Room Flooring, Rubber Weight Training Floors
Rubber has been widely accepted as the go-to material for commercial gym and home weight room flooring for many years. But
who knew there would be so many options for rubber flooring? And how do you know which to choose?
One of the first things to consider when choosing flooring for a weight room is how much traffic/abuse it will need to take. If your weight training facility will be used for competitive athletic teams, such as a college or pro football team, it will need to be thicker and much more durable that those used in most home gyms or senior centers.
Rubber has built a reputation for protecting the subfloor, reducing vibration and cutting noise from machines and free weights. It can handle heavy equipment and foot traffic. Rubber floors are extremely durable, easy to clean, often made from recycled tires and is recyclable again at the end of its life.
The thickness of your rubber flooring is where you are going to find the biggest differences in durability, generally speaking. A 1/4 to 3/8 inch rubber floor will suffice for light to moderate use while heavily-used areas will require a thicker rubber surface match that lifespan. In areas where weights will be dropped, 1/2 to 1.5 inch rubber flooring may be required to handle the impact without damaging the subfloor. Although many thicker rubber floors can greatly outlast a 15-year warranty, kettlebells, hex head dumbbells and heavily-loaded barbells are especially punishing to any flooring surface when dropped and will take its toll on even the best rubber floors eventually.
Rolled rubber is the cheapest rubber weight room flooring option for large areas and it leaves the fewest seams. However, due to the nature of its size and weight (often coming in 25-50 foot long rolls), installation can be cumbersome without help, and thickness is limited - generally to 1/2 inch.
Rubber Floor Mats
Rubber floor mats, often sold in 4x6 foot sizes, offer another economical option with the capability of a slightly thicker surface. Rubber floor mats often range for 3/8 to 3/4 inch thicknesses. While heavy and generally stable, these straight edge mats can separate from each other over time, especially when covering a large surface area. They are often used as supplemental padding in areas where weights will be dropped.
Interlocking Puzzle Mats
Interlocking, puzzle-style tiles offer convenient installation and a tight, durable fit without shifting. They are often for smaller rooms due to the much higher cost per square foot. The smaller 2 to 4 foot tiles (1/4 to 3/4 inch thick) are easier to manage, especially if installed by a single person.
For cardio areas, where shock absorption is less of an issue, thinner rubber flooring will suffice just fine. Some gym-goers prefer the feel and warmth of carpeting in cardio areas, but be careful as cleaning can become an issue as stains and bacteria are hard to remove from most carpeted surfaces.
Foam and plastic materials can also be used for weight room flooring. Like carpeting, however, great care should be taken when or if you decide to use these materials. Foam will indent under heavy objects, so proper weight dispersement is a necessity. Plastic flooring such as StayLock tiles are rugged enough to handle heavy weight equipment and offers cushioning similar to foam, but typically carries shorter-term warranties than rubber weight room flooring.
Whether you are a gym rat, fitness buff or someone just looking drop a few pounds, there is weight room flooring out there to fit your needs. Most likely, it will be some form of rubber.