How To Choose Garage Gym Flooring: A Practical Guide

An often-overlooked aspect of creating a home gym, especially when it comes to budgeting and planning, is the floor itself. It’s common for people to get everything together, only to realize the cold concrete of their garage isn’t ideal, and that it’s time to look into getting some proper garage gym flooring.

But it’s not just about protecting you from the concrete, it’s about protecting the concrete from you.

Between weights dropping and other wear and tear, having something to protect your floors is essential, and having something in between yourself and the concrete doesn’t hurt, either.

Let’s go over some of the different flooring options out there. From amazing to good enough, along with a few hacks along the way…

The bottom line is that flooring is one of the garage gym setup essentials.

Garage Gym Flooring Options

The Cheap Garage Gym Flooring Option: Foam Interlocking Tiles

Pros:

Inexpensive, easy to create the right size within a foot or two.

Cons​​:

Not very stable and can be dangerous for certain intense workouts, not good for dropping weights onto, not very durable – especially when rubbing up against a rough concrete garage floor.

You can get these just about anywhere, and they come in a variety of thicknesses and qualities, but generally speaking, they’re a lower-end option.

Some of them are designed to look like textured metal, others can look like wood flooring. These give you some more versatility in terms of look, but they aren’t going to be as durable or effective as some of the other options.

They aren’t good if you’re going to be dropping weights on them, and they have been known to shift a bit if you’re moving around a lot on them, not to mention coming undone.

They’re good when you aren’t looking to cover a very big space, or just need something that’ll do in a pinch. You’ll also find them in bright colors for children’s playrooms and nurseries, which is a pretty good indication of how much they can handle. Hint: Not a lot.

All in all, they’re far from perfect, but they’re still better than a bare concrete garage floor. Just be careful if you’re doing aerobics on them and make sure that they don’t move at all.

There are rubber tiles out there that also interlock and look similar to the foam ones, and those are a big step up from foam in some cases, but still a bit less than ideal.

Cheap Gym Floor Hack:

Stall Mats Pros​​:

Affordable, very durable, low maintenance. Cons​​: Expensive to ship if you can’t pick them up locally, heavy to move, large pieces so you may need to cut some down to fit.

A great way to cover your garage gym floor without spending a lot is to use stall mats, like you’d find in a horse’s stable. You’ll often find them in pieces of 4 feet by 6 feet, and they can weigh upwards of 90 pounds or more. This is some heavy duty stuff. It’s meant to have horses on it, unlike the interlocking foam tiles that are more or less meant to have children on them.

Check around locally if there’s a farm/tractor supply store, that’s a good place to get these. You can find some online, and even some options that have been rebranded for gyms, but the shipping prices can get out of hand.

These smell pretty brutal when they’re first made, so it’s a good idea to let them sit outside for a while, or to air out your gym for a while after setting them in place. You don’t want to be breathing in those chemicals while you’re working out, or any time for that matter, so give it some time to rest and air out.

Premium Options:

Platforms and Resin Pros​​:

Durable, reliable, tons of styles that look great, very professional.

Cons​​:

Price, labor.

A higher-end option is to install a platform for various Olympic lifts, and whatever else you may be doing. There are tiled mats, that don’t interlock the same way as the cheap ones, but are held in place with a frame instead.

Perhaps the best overall option is a resin floor. You would have a professional come in and pour the resin, wait for it to cure, and then you’ll have a perfect gym floor – but it’s definitely not cheap, and at that point you’re starting to outgrow the whole garage theme altogether.

Other Options:

Recycled rubber flooring is another option. This is what you’ll find in the weight areas of many commercial gyms because it’s super durable. You’ll often find carpet tiles used around the cardio machines, since those floors aren’t going to be having weights tossed around on them, and any extra padding or comfort doesn’t matter when you’re on a machine.

Bamboo flooring is popular for things like yoga or pilates, but definitely doesn’t offer that somewhat scuffed “garage gym” feeling.

Both of these other options are starting to get more into the higher-end than what most people are looking for. A few other free or nearly free options is to lay down some plywood with an old piece of carpet or rug on top, or even a few layers of cardboard, in a pinch. When you want a gym floor for under $100, practically free, or money is no object – hopefully, this quick guide to gym floors for the garage has helped point you in the right direction.

The Last Rep

At the end of the day, the overall best garage gym flooring option for most people is going to be something made from rubber, whether it’s a full on stall mat, or a simpler interlocking rubber gym mat.

Rubber gym mats hit the sweet spot between price, durability, safety, and function.

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