Whether it’s the gym closure during the pandemic or you prefer to train at home, basement gyms have become very popular in 2021. Preparing the concrete floor of your basement is the first step to creating the perfect weight room that you’ll love.
There are many options available for concrete basement gym flooring. The flooring in your basement gym should be resistant to moisture, provide cushioning against the hard concrete floor, and protect the existing floor. Rubber, foam, carpet, vinyl, engineered wood are ideal for laying over concrete flooring in your basement gym.
The ideal flooring option for your basement gym depends on your training style, budget, space size and many other variables. Let’s review some of the best options available for a concrete basement gym.
Why You Should Not Workout On A Concrete Floor
You might be wondering, well, my basement already has flooring. Why do I need another one? Can’t I just work out on the concrete?
The answer is, you can. But it will cost you.
Concrete is a hard surface that does not provide any shock absorption to reduce the strain and stress on your joints while exercising. You can develop joint pain from doing high-intensity exercises on a concrete floor.
Additionally, concrete gets very slippery when wet. Meaning you can easily trip on your sweat or spills. Even when dry, it does not provide a good grip, especially if you wear running shoes or socks while working out. The extremely high probability of tripping and falling makes it a safety hazard.
Furthermore, concrete does not provide any insulation against the cold. Basements tend to be colder and damper than the rest of the house. It can become very uncomfortable to train on concrete during the winter, even more so if you are doing a lot of floor exercises. If you train with heavyweights, you can damage your weight and the floor from dropping it on the concrete. It is also hard to clean and prone to mold. All things considered, concrete is not the best option for your home gym.
Best Home Gym Flooring Over Concrete
If you have a concrete basement, you can easily cover it up with different gym flooring materials. The best gym flooring concrete should meet the following criteria-
- Provide insulation against the cold
- Provide cushioning against the hard floor
- Withstand the high moisture level of the basement
- Protect the concrete from different pieces of equipment and heavyweight
- Dampen the noise up to a certain level
Let’s look into the best flooring options for your basement gym.
Rubber gym flooring rolls are the most popular gym flooring option available in the market. They are versatile and offer plenty of options. They are durable, water-resistant, and easy to install, which makes them ideal for basement gyms. Rolled rubbers come in different thickness levels that support different types of exercises.
Rolled Rubber Size Options
- Custom cut rolls: As the name suggests, the size of these are customizable. They are usually 4 ft. wide and a minimum of 15 ft. in length. They typically take longer to produce and cost more than pre-cut rubber rolls. If you plan to cover your basement gym wall-to-wall, then custom cut rolls are the best option for you.
- Pre-cut rolls: Pre-cut rolls have the same 4 ft. width as custom rolls but go up to 25 or 50 ft. in length. Since they are ready-made, they are usually available on-demand and cost less in comparison.
Rolled Rubber Thickness Options
- ¼” Thick Rubber Flooring Rolls: ¼” provides minimal protection from light dumbbells, barbells, and kettlebells. These are ideal for placing under cardio pieces and sectorized machines with little to no impact. You can also use them for yoga, Pilates, and bodyweight exercises.
- 5/16″ Thick Rubber Flooring Rolls: Even though most people don’t know about 5/16″, it offers almost the same protection as 3/8″ but at a much more affordable price. You can use them in cardio areas as well as free weight areas with minimal impact.
- 3/8″ Rubber Flooring Rolls: 3/8″ is the most commonly found variation in commercial gyms. These are ideal for free weight training areas in the home gym. However, for very heavy lifting, we would suggest ½” or ¾” for added protection.
- ½” Rubber Flooring Rolls: ½” is the most worry-free option for basement gym flooring. The thickness is sufficient to absorb the shock of dropping heavy weights and protect the subfloor from any damage. You can place them under power cages, weight benches and any other pieces of heavy equipment — ideal for powerlifting, Olympic lifting and strongman training.
Rolled Rubber Installation Options
- Loose lay: To loose lay your rubber flooring rolls, you simply lay out the rolls without using any adhesive or other instruments to hold them down. Rolled rubber is usually heavy enough to stay in place naturally. You can easily remove the flooring anytime you want.
- Double-sided tape: If you are looking for a semi-permanent way to install your rubber flooring, you can use a double-sided carpet around the edges of your floor. It prevents the flooring from making any movement while still being easy to remove when necessary.
- Full glue down: Most home gym owners usually do not use this installation option. It ensures absolutely no movement or curling up around the edges. It is not possible to move the rubber rolls once glued down.
Pros & Cons of Rolled Rubber
|Easy to install Water-resistant.||Heavy to move.|
|Customizable to your size requirement.||Costlier than foam|
|Easy to maintain.||Poor insulator.|
|Sound and shock absorbent.|
Rubber tiles are the most popular among home gym owners because they are easy to install and move around. They fit basements of any size and shape. Similar to rubber rolls, they also offer different thicknesses to suit your requirement. There are also variations available in interlocking systems and materials.
Rubber Tiles Thickness Options
- 8mm Thick Rubber Tiles: 8mm is an excellent option for bodyweight exercises and lightweight workouts. You can also place them under machines to avoid friction with the concrete.
- 3/8″ Thick Rubber Tiles: 3/8″ rubber tiles are the most commonly used in commercial gyms to add an extra layer of protection in the free weight area. For a home gym, you can use them for lifting areas as long as you’re lifting under 120 lb. and putting the weight down gently.
- ½” Thick Rubber Tiles: For lifting over 120 lb., ½” is the best option for any home gym. However, they do not support intentional weight dropping or noise cancellation.
- ¾” Thick Rubber Tiles: ¾” is an excellent addition to the home gym if you intend to drop heavy weights. These are ideal for CrossFit and Olympic lifting as well. The weight capacity of ¾” is similar to ½”, however. ¾” has improved durability and shock absorption.
- 1″ Thick Rubber Tiles: 1″ rubber tiles are also a good option for the free weight section that can cover very high protection to the concrete floor even against a heavyweight. You can either place them on your entire gym floor or only in areas that receive higher strain.
- 2″+ Thick Rubber Tiles: If you require noise cancellation and vibration reduction, you can choose rubber tiles with 2″ or higher thickness. Home gym owners typically use a few blocks of 2″ in parts of the floor that receive the maximum strain. They provide excellent protection to the subfloor and the concrete floor underneath.
Rubber Tiles Size Options
The most commonly found rubber tiles size options are –
- 23″ x 23″
- 2′ x 2′
- 3′ x 3′
- 4′ x 4′
Rubber Tiles Materials Options
- Vulcanized Rubber Tiles
- Non-Vulcanized Rubber Tiles
- Virgin Rubber Tiles
- Responsibly Made Rubber Floor Tiles
Rubber Tiles Interlocking System Options
- Waterjet: Waterjet-cut rubber tiles give a seamless finished look as they are cut more precisely using waterjet technology. These are usually more expensive than stamped rubber tiles.
- Stamped: Stamped rubber tiles are cut using a rolled stamp. The cut is usually less perfect than a waterjet, making the interlocking areas more visible.
Pros & Cons of Rubber Tiles
|Easy DIY, glue-free installation.||The installation process is tedious for larger spaces.|
|Water-resistant, Easy to clean.||Noticeable seams.|
|Sound and shock absorbent (for thicker options).|
|Durable Lightweight compared to rubber rolls.|
Rubber mats are another variation of rubber flooring that you can use in your basement gym. Rubber mats come in different pre-cut sizes that you can use in various parts of the gym. To cover the entire floor with mats, you might need to cut them in your required shape around the edges of the space. Similar to other rubber floors, they also offer different thickness and material options. However, rubber mats are not suitable for larger areas as they can be unnecessarily time-consuming and costly.
Rubber Mats Size Options
Rubber Mats Thickness Options
- ¼” Thick Rubber Mats: ¼” thick rubber mats are ideal for bodyweight exercises and yoga. These are ideal for placing under cardio pieces and sectorized machines with little to no impact on the floor.
- 3/8″ Thick Rubber Mats: 3/8″ is the most commonly found variation in commercial gyms, especially in the free weight section. However, they are not sturdy enough to handle weights over 120 lb.
- ½” Thick Rubber Mats: ½” rubber mats are popular for deadlift areas if you don’t have a custom-built deadlift platform in your home gym. The thickness is sufficient to absorb the shock of dropping heavy weights and protect the subfloor from any damage.
- 1″ Thick Rubber Mats: If you’re looking for even higher protection, 1″ might be a good option for your basement gym. However, keep in mind that 1″ thick rubber mats are usually very heavy to move around, and they can also be expensive.
Pros & Cons of Rubber Mats
|Aesthetically pleasing.||Can be expensive.|
|Water-resistant.||Not suitable for larger spaces.|
|Sound insulation Protects the subfloor.|
EVA foam mats are an excellent option for a basement gym if you are not aiming to lift weights. Foam mats are lightweight, portable and more affordable. You can place them over concrete to provide cushioning and reduce the stress on your joints. However, they do not offer sufficient stability for lifting heavyweights.
Foam Gym Mats Types
- Interlocking foam mat tiles: The interlocking foam mat tiles look like puzzle pieces and are commonly used in children’s playgrounds. They usually come in 24″ ×24″ sizes and are available in many different colors.
- One-piece foam mats: These mats come in different sizes and colors with smooth edges. They typically start from 6’×4′ and can go up to 6’×10′. They are usually similar to yoga mats.
Foam Gym Mats Thickness
- ¼” Thick EVA Mats
- 3/8″ Thick EVA Mats
- ½” Thick EVA Mats
- 1″ Thick EVA Mats
Pros & Cons of Foam Gym Mats
|Cheaper than most other flooring options.||Not durable.|
|Protects joints during high impact. exercises.||Not suitable for lifting heavy.|
|Lightweight and portable.||Hard to clean.|
| Offers variations Easy to install.|
Carpet is another affordable option for basement gym flooring. Many people prefer carpet for their basement gym because it can easily match the look and feel of the rest of the house. Additionally, the coziness of carpet makes it a better choice as a basement flooring option.
However, choose low piles and tight weaves for your home gym to sustain the everyday stress from the heavy machines and the weights. To avoid fraying the carpet flooring, you can place a foam gym mat or interlocking rubber mats under heavy machines. Since basements are usually high in moisture, you might want to consider waterproofing your carpet or opt for water-resistant materials to prevent damage and bacterial growth.
- Carpet Tile: As the name suggests, carpet tiles are small pieces of tile-like carpet. They are easy to install, and the most common methods of installing them are interlocking, self-adhesive, or glue-free.
- Carpet Roll: Carpet rolls or broadloom carpets are wall-to-wall carpets that are commonly used around the household. They are usually cheaper than any other type of carpet. However, it isn’t easy to install, and it requires special machines and expertise.
Carpet Material Options
- Nylon: Nylon is durable, static-free, and often has stain blocking properties. It is ideal for indoor usage.
- Polyester: Polyester is mainly made of recycled material. It is almost as durable as nylon but much more affordable. It is highly stain-resistant and fade-resistant.
- Polypropylene: In this material, the color runs through the fibre rather than just dying its outer layer — making it resistible to stain and fade. It is soft and durable. But polypropylene can absorb oils that can make it look sticky if not taken care of properly.
Pros and Cons of Carpet
|Blends well into the house.||Low shock absorber.|
|Offers variations.||Stretches over time.|
|Carpet tiles are easy to install.||Can trap moisture and sweat.|
|Comfortable and soft.|
Vinyl is another great option for basement gyms as it can withstand moisture and water and blends well with the rest of the house. Vinyl is highly durable to handle the heavyweight of your exercise machines and free weights. It also prevents the growth of mold and mildew.
However, it has comparatively low shock-absorbing properties, meaning you might still need to use foam or rubber over it. Also, vinyl is a more permanent option to lay over concrete than other options like rubber, foam or carpet.
Vinyl Flooring Types for Basement
- Vinyl sheet flooring: Vinyl sheet flooring is installed as one big sheet that can be cut to fit the space. They can be placed directly over the concrete if the concrete is in good condition.
- Vinyl plank: Vinyl plank, also known as “luxury vinyl”, are wide strips of flooring that floor over the concrete to create a continuous layer of flooring. They are easier to install compared to sheet vinyl.
Pros and Cons of Vinyl Flooring
|Durable.||Prone to damages from sharp edges.|
|Mold, mildew, chemical, and moisture resistant.||Poor shock absorbance.|
|Wide range of variety.||Does not dampen noise.|
|Easy to maintain and clean.||Can give off VOCs.|
Flooring Materials to Avoid for Basement Gym
Cork: Even though cork flooring is popular as home gym flooring, it is not ideal for basement gyms. Basements are typically humid, which can cause the cork flooring to expand and contract — eventually ending up in an unlevel flooring.
Wood: Due to innovative foam backing, wood has become high shock absorbent and fitness-friendly. However, wood is not resistant to moisture. The high moisture level of the basement can damage the wood. Another con of wood is, it can get slippery when wet. Engineered hardwood, which is more water-resistant than natural wood, can also get some moisture damage. The top layer of engineered wood is made of real wood that can still get damaged from moisture and sweat.
Linoleum: Generally, linoleum is not hard to install. However, if you already have a concrete floor, linoleum cannot be installed directly over the concrete subfloor. Additionally, linoleum is not resistant to moisture, making it a poor choice for a basement gym.
Do you have any questions regarding concrete basement gym flooring? Comment below and let us know!
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I love that you talked about gym floorings and which materials are best for them. The other day, I decided to turn my basement into a gym area. I’d like to work out without wasting time on getting to the gym, so I believe your article will help with my project. Thank you for the advice on how I should look for floorings that stand heavy gym equipment.
Thank you so much for the comment.
I will immediately grab your rss as I can’t find your email subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Kindly let me know so that I could subscribe. Thanks.
I’ve never had any water issues with my basement, but I’ve heard on Reddit about the concrete not being able to breathe if I put down rubber horse stall mats. Is this really an issue? If so, how can I mitigate it? Would I need an underlayment?