Let’s be real – fitness goals can sometimes be overwhelming. Mustering up the motivation to get to the gym is something that many of us have struggled with from time to time. Building a functional gym into your garage can be one way to take out the commute, and a few of the excuses along the way. I know first-hand that having the right equipment at your fingertips (or stowed in the room where you park the cars) can spark that motivation in new ways. For one thing, there was a monetary investment involved with gathering some equipment. But also, a conscious decision to dedicate some precious garage space to the venture of being healthy.
As a part of ensuring that I had the right equipment to reach my fitness goals, also came the question of, “What to do with my concrete floors?” I knew that a proper gym floor had some durability, and shock-absorbing components, as well as traction to consider. The last thing I wanted was to skimp on the wrong material and have my joints telling me about it later. Or worse, take a tragic tumble that could be looped as a cringy workout accident on the internet somewhere. Plus, I wanted my garage gym to look professional and well put together.
So, I did some research into gym flooring materials and saw what was out there. Here is an overview of flooring types and what they are designed for to help you create the best flooring for your garage gym.
A key part of building your own garage gym is having flooring that will stand up to the exercises you plan to put yourself through – keeping in mind safety, comfort, and aesthetics. After you assess what types of equipment you plan to use, the exercises you do on the regular, and what your budget looks like, identifying the best flooring for your garage gym will be within reach! The types of flooring we outlined here for you to explore are rubber, foam, carpet, cork, and vinyl.
What is the Best Flooring for Your Garage Gym? – Assess Your Workout Equipment, Routine, Floor Space, and Budget
A good place to start with your garage gym is your own fitness goals and workout routine. Will you be doing strength training with weights and a power cage? Cardio and endurance with a stationary bike or jump rope? Stretching and core workouts with some pilates and yoga? Or are you a seasoned fitness expert and rotate between each of these as needed? Targeting the impact will narrow the durability needed for your flooring.
Another thing you will want to do is assess your space. Most people don’t choose to make their entire garage into a workout room. Which means, the flooring you choose won’t need to cover the entire square footage of the garage. Some people prefer the flexibility of durable flooring that can be quickly expanded but then stored at the end of a workout. There are mat rolls and interlocking tiles that can accomplish this, without making a permanent change to the garage floor you may need to change the oil over later.
Lastly, your budget. Improvements and goals are great, but they should never break the bank in a way that will cause buyer’s remorse. Set a reasonable amount you want to spend and then try to work within that amount. Sometimes comparing brand prices (or something as simple as colors) can make the difference in significant amounts.
These assessments are important to help determine what you ultimately need from the flooring in your garage gym. Truly the definition of “the best flooring for the garage gym” will depend entirely on your needs! After you’ve taken a good look at these things, you can see how the flooring materials stack up.
1. Rubber Mats as Flooring for Your Garage Gym
Rubber flooring is the most widely used material for many home and commercial gyms. The thickness makes it an ideal barrier against the hard concrete on your garage floor. Which means that it absorbs the shock from an intense workout, which goes easier on your body as you burn calories. It also is durable enough to support the heavier equipment, like your power cage, or free weights when they aren’t on the rack (or on the rack itself, for that matter!) As they are built to last, scuffing is also unlikely, so you can focus on your workout and not babying the floors.
Rubber floor mats can be found in large sheets, but more commonly are sold as sets of interlocking squares that can be easily put together for a seamless look. Some of these sets, like the ones listed below, also comes in a variety of sizes that let you tailor the mat to the garage space available to you. These interlocking pieces also have designated sides and edges, to give the mat a completed look and to keep you from tripping over puzzle piece edges.
Rubber flooring mats are also sold in a variety of thicknesses and colors. If you have a certain look you are going for, or if you need to be more budget-conscious, this is where you can negotiate some. This type of flooring may be an investment for you, but the durability of the material means that it can last for years without showing much wear or needing to be replaced. A high-quality dense rubber is also easy to clean with a damp mop and a gentle floor cleaner.
Rubber Floor Mats to Consider for Your Garage Gym:
2. Foam Flooring for Your Garage Gym
Less durable than the rubber, but not without purpose, is foam gym flooring. This material is better suited for people who prefer yoga, pilates, martial arts, and gymnastics instead of intensive weightlifting. This is because this material is comparatively less durable than some of the other options and may show scratches or dents under intense use or heavy equipment. However, it does provide some of the other benefits, such as shock absorption, and an easy to clean surface. Foam is also generally less expensive than some of the other flooring materials on the market.
Much like the rubber flooring, foam mats are available in interlocking pieces that can cover large or small areas of the floor with a smooth finish. And the color selection is decent as well.
Suggestions for Foam Flooring for your Garage Gym:
3. Carpet Flooring for Your Garage Gym
Another type of flooring that is popular for gyms, in general, is high-traffic carpet. This type of flooring can provide good traction and stability during a workout and it won’t get slick if the sweat starts to drip. Carpets are another material that can withstand heavy gym equipment and weights without leaving much of a trace. As it is less shock-absorbing than other materials, carpet is best used for workouts where gym shoes are a must already.
Carpet can come in rolls with a non-slip backer to keep it in place or can be put together in sections as straight-edge tiles. Commercial-grade or gym-specific carpet is best to use here, as it will get the job done as intended. A place to look if you aren’t sure where to start is indoor/outdoor carpets. These generally are designed to resist fading, stains, and mildew, as they are meant to be out in the elements.
Carpet Flooring to look into for your Garage Gym:
If carpet flooring is your ultimate choice for a garage gym, check out the following two products that we have shortlisted for you.
Permanent Flooring for Your Garage Gym
A disclaimer here, before we get into the next couple of flooring options. Most garage gyms that I have seen have flooring that is temporary. That is, if a re-arrange was necessary, or if tear-down and stow is part of the routine, the types of flooring listed above will be ideal for you.
However, I do know that it is possible that some people have a three-car garage with a stall dedicated to their workouts. (You amazing people have truly made your garage your own, so we will geek out with you for a minute.) There are options for permanent flooring for your fitness alcove if that’s what you intend to keep it as forever and ever.
4. Cork Flooring for Your Garage Gym
One of these flooring options for your garage gym, that is eco-friendly and coming back into fashion, is cork. While this type of flooring has been around for hundreds of years, more recently it has been re-introduced in commercial gyms, stand-alone or blended with rubber. Cork is shock-absorbent, wears well, and is resistant to fire, mites, and molds. It is also made from materials that are from a sustainable source if you tend to lean toward greener products. Another added plus is that it is sound dampening and can take some of the echo out of the room.
As with most flooring products, there are different levels of quality and thus different tiers of pricing. Some cork on the market comes in planks that interlock as a laminate “floating floor.” We recommend that you talk to a knowledgeable flooring retailer before venturing into this kind of product or installation, as you want to be sure the floor will hold up to your equipment and workout regimen.
These exceptional cork tiles come in as 1/4 in x 12 in x 24 in-shaped planks with beautiful cold-toned subtle colors to give an overall calm appearance to the gym that was once a garage storeroom. Its square seamlessly design keeps everything in place to make the entire flooring look like one unit rather than a bunch of cork square titles. Other than that, just the one mentioned above, these mats are also fire and sound resistant.
5. Vinyl Flooring for Your Garage Gym
A second type of permanent flooring you can look at is vinyl. This is another material that varies in price as it varies in quality or color. Vinyl flooring can come in tiles, planks, and even large sheet rolls. This type of flooring is popular with DIYers and installers alike as it can transform the look of a room at a lower cost than other flooring. The higher quality vinyl, if installed correctly, is water-resistant and fairly durable. We would, again, recommend you talk to a flooring retailer to discuss your garage gym needs before installation. The quality can affect how well it will hold up against those heavier weights or equipment. Additionally, if shock absorption is what you’re looking for, vinyl may not be the right choice.
Here are a couple of DIY options to consider:
From stowable foam to heavy-duty rubber, to more permanent vinyl and cork, there are a number of options available for garage gym flooring. Choosing the best flooring for a garage gym may initially feel difficult with so many attractive options available out there. But with a good assessment of your space and an idea of what your fitness goals are, the field can be narrowed to suit your needs.
Regardless of the type of training or intensity of exercise, you plan on doing in your home gym, your ultimate goals should be to experience comfort, convenience, and safety while you work out. The flooring types we outlined include options that are not only soft and flexible but also offer impact absorption, durability, easy set-up, and moisture-resistant. Check their features and advantages and then take your pick!