Gym Flooring Guide: Rubber, Carpet, Foam & PVC

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Gym flooring is available in several different options including tiles, mats, and rolls.

Purchasing gym flooring for your facility is a sizable investment. Fortunately, you have multiple different materials, sizes, and price points available, giving you the ability to find one or more types of flooring that will serve your building’s needs well.

Whether you’re seeking ideas for gym flooring at a school, a private workout facility, a commercial studio setting, a rehabilitation center, or a workout space for employees at your business, we have a style of flooring to meet your needs. The material you choose for your gym floor will go a long way toward creating the ideal location for working out.

Rubber mats. A rubber mat is the perfect covering for quite a few different types of workouts. Multiple thicknesses are available to ensure just the right amount of cushioning and noise reduction, while still providing the value you desire.

A common coverage size in our rubber mats is 4x6 feet, providing space for things like workouts with free weights or plyometric exercises. Thick rubber mats protect the subfloor from the impact of dropped weights or kettlebells.

Rubber tiles. Another option are rubber mats that interlock. This style of tile has puzzle-like edges, allowing you to tightly connect the tiles. They will not pop apart, even when sitting under heavy exercise equipment, such as treadmills.

Additionally, by using interlocking tiles, you have more options for creating the exact coverage area you want.

Rubber rolls. For those who need to cover a large area with gym flooring in a commercial or studio setting, a roll of rubber is the most economical solution.

Rubber rolls are perfect for areas like CrossFit gyms, yielding the perfect mix of cushioning and traction for quick movements. Or if you will have a large number of weight machines or other heavy equipment in place, rolled rubber protects the subfloor nicely.

Rolls of rubber install quickly, and they’re easy to clean after each workout session.

PVC plastic. If you want some color in your gym flooring, PVC plastic tiles are a nice choice. These tiles are offered in many different color choices, and they interlock to simplify installation.

This material is extremely rugged, much like rubber and can support the weight of most workout machines. It doesn’t have quite the longevity of rubber, but it remains a popular choice as its lighter weight and in most cases offers more cushion.

Some PVC plastic products have raised patterns on the surface to provide just a bit of traction. Some Polypropylene plastic flooring tiles have a vinyl top layer, simulating a wood or slate floor and delivering a touch of style for your facility.

Closed cell foam. Foam gym flooring, especially closed cell foam, is a popular choice when cushioning is required, such as for cardio workouts. This type of flooring works with either bare feet or shoes. The foam indents slightly as people walk on it, but it immediately rebounds to its original shape.

Having a forgiving type of flooring will be easier on the joints of the athletes than firmer flooring, allowing them to work out for longer periods and to recover faster. Athletes can make quick movements on closed cell foam tiles or mats as well.

Foam doesn’t support the weight of large machines or of free weights as well, however, as it can permanently indent when heavy objects are left on the floor for extended periods of time or possible become damaged if a heavy or sharp object is dragged across the floor. Closed cell foam is better for aerobic or martial arts types of workouts than for working with weights.

Open cell foam. For workouts where athletes will crash to the ground quite often, open cell foam mats work nicely. This foam is extremely thick and cushioned, delivering protection against falls.

However, open cell foam is not durable on its own, so it requires a vinyl or denim cover to protect it. Open cell foam also is not ideal for workouts where athletes need to make quick movements with their feet, as you’ll sink into the foam as you stand on it.

Carpet. Some facilities will choose carpet for their primary gym flooring. Carpet has a warm, forgiving feel underfoot, and you can cover it with mats for specific workouts, like yoga.

Carpet tiles made for gym facilities have quite a bit more durability than carpet made for the home. Some of the interlocking carpet tiles from Greatmats even offer waterproof protection.

Indoor turf. Certain types of workouts require artificial turf. Using turf inside the facility allows for indoor workouts with sleds, which slide nicely across this surface when the right turf is installed correctly.

Additionally, sprint workouts for sports like track and field or football work nicely with a turf surface. Indoor turf often has a rubber or foam backing, which keeps the artificial fibers in place, while also providing a natural level of cushioning.

Some facilities may install a strip of turf 10 or 15 feet wide for specific workouts, while using other flooring in other areas of the gym.

Finding the best gym flooring. We have collected a series of testimonials, videos, blogs, and other helpful advice in our gym flooring guide. Whether you need a floor to handle a specific type of workout or a versatile style of floor for multiple functions, our guide has the information you need to pinpoint the best solution.

Which Gym Floor Is Right For You