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  1. #1
    Registered User USER876's Avatar
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    Home gym flooring thread (foam, rubber, horse stall mats,etc)

    I am converting a section of my garage 12'x20' into a workout area and read just about every thread on here about home gym flooring. I still am unsure of what to use. My workout area will consist of a body solid multipress rack, 300# olympic barbell set, an FID bench, a dumbell rack that holds 5-60 lb dumbells and a lat pull down station. The flooring I select will be covering the raw concrete floor in the garage.

    Here are my options:

    #1 inexpensive EVA foam flooring that is sold everywhere (sports authority, Dicks, Costco, Walmart, Ebay,etc) in 1x1 or 2x2 interlocking tiles.

    Pros: inexpensive (0.50 - 1.00 / SF), provides the most cushion for doing floor work

    Cons: Might compress too much under heavy equipment; leaving dumbells, weights and benches on it will indent it; seams may pull apart easily; surface seems slippery; top skin looks like it can be easily scratched.

    #2 Horse Stall Mats http://www.tractorsupply.com/detail....=07440&x=0&y=0

    http://www.stallmats.com/products-ra...otectorlok.htm

    Pros: Come in interlocking or flat sided; Extremely tough; underside is ribbed to promote airflow, moderate price (4x6 mat is 40-50 bucks)

    Cons: Heavy, if local pickup is not an option shipping kills the deal; strong rubber smell (which dissipates over time); flat sided version has ugly seems when placed next to each other (sides are tapered - SOMEONE PLEASE CONFIRM THIS FOR I AM GOING BY PICTURES ONLY); Interlocking version costs more

    #3 Gorilla Mats (Same as an interlocking horse stall mat but marketed towards weight rooms - same price too)

    http://www.stallmats.com/products-ra...gorillalok.htm

    #4 Muscle Mats http://www.floorscore.com/muscles.html

    Pros: Very similar to a horse stall mat, but made for weight rooms.....they are ODORLESS! Also, they have a studded bottom to promote airflow underneath so no moisture is entrapped to form mildew or mold.

    Cons: Cost is higher than horse stall mats (4x6 mat is $60.00) They don't come in interlocking, have to live with seams.

    #5 Generic Recycled Rubber Tiles http://www.greatmats.com/products/ru...erlocking.html

    Pros: Attractive, interlocking seamless design; 2x2 tiles makes installation easier than cutting large mats = less waste; Can add color chips to tile to match decor; Low odor product

    Cons: cost is approaching $3.00 / sf; bottom may be flat = no air flow. Can't think of any other cons...?

    I am leaning towards the interlocking horse stall mats unless I can find mats with straight edges that will line up next to each other with minimal seams. My concerns with this product is the smell, and the top surface texture (can someone describe it?) I am also tempted to try those EVA foam tiles for the low price, but would hate to waste the money if they don't hold up under heavy weight equipment. Suggestions???

    Please share your experiences / pictures and let's make this the ultimate home gym flooring thread!
    Last edited by USER876; 09-14-2007 at 12:27 PM.
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  2. #2
    Registered User MarWar80's Avatar
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    I purchased some interlocking black 2x2 pads from Target for my home gym. I have been using my gym on almost a daily basis for the past 10 months and the pads are still in really good shape. It was super cheap, easy to install and I get compliments on them all the time.
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    Registered User USER876's Avatar
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    Marwar.....what type of equipment / weights are routinely on your mats? Can you post a picture? Thanks!!
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    I would go with horse stall mats.


    Check out here

    www.therubberman.com
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    One small issue with generic horse stall mats is thickness. I got a couple (from Agway, delivered) that work great, but are slightly 'off' thickness-wise. If you are worried about seams, this could be a problem. Personally, I don't care much because they do what they are supposed to.

    Also, my two cents on "smell" is that its not a problem. I did wash them thoroughly after delivery, however.
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    I have interlocking foam tiles and I don't like them. As you mentioned you can dent them quite easily and they offer only so much protection, so you always have to put your weights down gently.
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    get 1/2" plywood underboarding and put the horse mats on top.

    that's what I have. Works like a charm.
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    Originally Posted by USER876 View Post
    I am converting a section of my garage 12'x20' into a workout area and read just about every thread on here about home gym flooring. I still am unsure of what to use. My workout area will consist of a body solid multipress rack, 300# olympic barbell set, an FID bench, a dumbell rack that holds 5-60 lb dumbells and a lat pull down station. The flooring I select will be covering the raw concrete floor in the garage.

    Here are my options:

    #1 inexpensive EVA foam flooring that is sold everywhere (sports authority, Dicks, Costco, Walmart, Ebay,etc) in 1x1 or 2x2 interlocking tiles.

    Pros: inexpensive (0.50 - 1.00 / SF), provides the most cushion for doing floor work

    Cons: Might compress too much under heavy equipment; leaving dumbells, weights and benches on it will indent it; seams may pull apart easily; surface seems slippery; top skin looks like it can be easily scratched.

    #2 Horse Stall Mats http://www.tractorsupply.com/detail....=07440&x=0&y=0

    http://www.stallmats.com/products-ra...otectorlok.htm

    Pros: Come in interlocking or flat sided; Extremely tough; underside is ribbed to promote airflow, moderate price (4x6 mat is 40-50 bucks)

    Cons: Heavy, if local pickup is not an option shipping kills the deal; strong rubber smell (which dissipates over time); flat sided version has ugly seems when placed next to each other (sides are tapered - SOMEONE PLEASE CONFIRM THIS FOR I AM GOING BY PICTURES ONLY); Interlocking version costs more

    #3 Gorilla Mats (Same as an interlocking horse stall mat but marketed towards weight rooms - same price too)

    http://www.stallmats.com/products-ra...gorillalok.htm

    #4 Muscle Mats http://www.floorscore.com/muscles.html

    Pros: Very similar to a horse stall mat, but made for weight rooms.....they are ODORLESS! Also, they have a studded bottom to promote airflow underneath so no moisture is entrapped to form mildew or mold.

    Cons: Cost is higher than horse stall mats (4x6 mat is $60.00) They don't come in interlocking, have to live with seams.

    #5 Generic Recycled Rubber Tiles http://www.greatmats.com/products/ru...erlocking.html

    Pros: Attractive, interlocking seamless design; 2x2 tiles makes installation easier than cutting large mats = less waste; Can add color chips to tile to match decor; Low odor product

    Cons: cost is approaching $3.00 / sf; bottom may be flat = no air flow. Can't think of any other cons...?

    I am leaning towards the interlocking horse stall mats unless I can find mats with straight edges that will line up next to each other with minimal seams. My concerns with this product is the smell, and the top surface texture (can someone describe it?) I am also tempted to try those EVA foam tiles for the low price, but would hate to waste the money if they don't hold up under heavy weight equipment. Suggestions???

    Please share your experiences / pictures and let's make this the ultimate home gym flooring thread!
    I have stall mats with straight edges. They actually line up pretty well. I have two different kinds. One kind with a smoother texture and one that has a rougher texture. The smoother mat had a much stronger smell to it. However that has gone away completely over time. The rougher textured mat never had a significant smeel to speak of. The only down side with the textured mat is that it collects dirt at a record pace.
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  9. #9
    Registered User USER876's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by 1devil View Post
    I have stall mats with straight edges. They actually line up pretty well. I have two different kinds. One kind with a smoother texture and one that has a rougher texture. The smoother mat had a much stronger smell to it. However that has gone away completely over time. The rougher textured mat never had a significant smeel to speak of. The only down side with the textured mat is that it collects dirt at a record pace.
    Where did you purchase the ones with the "smoother" texture? I think I am going to go with the interlocking ones or the gorilla mat (which is basically the same thing).
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    Registered User cubbybear's Avatar
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    For benching and squatting I prefer having carpet under my feet. It has better grip than rubber if it happens to get a little chalk or moisture on it. I rolled out some carpet which covers most of the room, and have a couple rubber mats in an area that I use for deadlifts and such, which is plenty for me since that's the only place I'm worried about weights touching the floor.
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  11. #11
    Banned 1devil's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by USER876 View Post
    Where did you purchase the ones with the "smoother" texture? I think I am going to go with the interlocking ones or the gorilla mat (which is basically the same thing).
    I purchased mine at the Wilco store up the road.
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    Originally Posted by USER876 View Post
    Where did you purchase the ones with the "smoother" texture? I think I am going to go with the interlocking ones or the gorilla mat (which is basically the same thing).
    I purchased mine at the Wilco store up the road.
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    What is the advantage of having plywood under the rubber mats?
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    It distributes the weight better to protect the concrete floor if you are going to do heavy dead lifts or drop weights,etc.
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    Decide yet?

    I am trying to make the same decision for my 14'x18' basement area.
    Repped for good reasearch and post!

    I never thought about horse stall mats (suburbanite!) but now that you mention it, I have worked with them. I helped line the floor of a shed for goats. The horse stall flooring was very heavy and very durable. It had the smooth and ribbed sides. I think it would be excellent for a gym floor as long as the seams were flush and not a trip hazard! I train clients at home and don't need anyone face-planting into a stray DB!
    "Suffer the pain of discipline or suffer the pain of regret."

    Training regularly but no progress?
    You need one or more of these: more food, more weight, more reps or more rest.

    Check out: www.muscleandbrawn.com
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    Registered User MarWar80's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by USER876 View Post
    Marwar.....what type of equipment / weights are routinely on your mats? Can you post a picture? Thanks!!
    I basically have a nautilus cage with a bench. Nothing big. The bench gets rolled around all over the place. The mats are pretty durable, however, I do place rather than drop or slam my weights on the ground. I will post some pics later today.
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    Registered User MarWar80's Avatar
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    Here are the pics i promised. As I stated earlier, I do use the gym quite often and my wife also does aerobics in there and as you can see, it is still in good condition.
    Attached Images
    Last edited by MarWar80; 09-18-2007 at 01:07 PM.
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    Originally Posted by MarWar80 View Post
    Here are the pics i promised. As I stated earlier, I do use the gym quite often and my wife also does aerobics in there and as you can see, it is still in good condition.
    What dumbbells are those?
    www.tworepcave.com
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    Originally Posted by Squeebo View Post
    What dumbbells are those?
    Golds Gym Switch Plate 100 Adjustable Dumbbell Set

    I got it at Sports Authority
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    I got the tractor supply stall mats. They are about 3/4" thick. I drop my heaviest dumbells on them with no probs. They rule. Sometimes they are on sale for $33 or so, I paid $42 each for mine. They will outlast me 4 sure.

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    That's goods stuff, where can I find those mats? Your gym could use a couple of mirros. I got mine from home depot for about $50 for each mirror. Installation was pretty simple too, but I recommend having a couple of extra hands to help.
    Last edited by MarWar80; 09-18-2007 at 02:16 PM.
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    thanks for the pictures.......

    I think I am going to go with rubber vs the foam mats since my area is so big (12x20). I am tempted to try foam, but I would hate to complete the whole area just to rip it up if I am not satisfied.

    The horse stall mats do look good even though they are not interlocking.

    I have decided that I do want an interlocking system though.........so I have requested samples of about 6-7 different types of mats.

    The cheapest per square foot are the interlocking horse mats (protector mats or gorilla mats)

    http://www.stallmats.com/products-ra...gorillalok.htm

    http://www.stallmats.com/products-ra...otectorlok.htm


    I am leaning towards these pending receipt of sample. I want to see the surface texture. The only disadvantage is is they only come in 4x6 size so I would have to cut them to fit my area. Also, they don't come with any finishing material for the ends so you have to cut the interlocking tabs off the ends pieces. They are even cheaper if you get them in plain 4x6 mats with no interlocking tabs. I am worried though that if I go with the plain edged horse stall mats that if they are not cut perfect I will see gaps where the SEAM together. EDIT: Another advantage of these mats is that the underside is grooved to promote airflow so dampness won't be trapped between the mat and the concrete floor below.

    So far the most impressive sample I have gotten on an affordable product was this mat.....

    http://www.greatmats.com/products/ru...erlocking.html

    Advantage is that it comes in 4x4 squares and also has 1x2 finishing pieces so the installation is more flexible and clean. It does cost a bit more. (~2.70 a square foot). I am waiting on samples from some other suppliers that are similar to these 4x4 squares, but they come in 2x2 squares

    Shipping can make or break the deal too.....but I will post more once I get few more samples to compare.

    I did receive a few samples that were not so nice....basically these are made out of recycled tires and some of them just seemed very inconsistent and of poor quality, and really smelled bad. More to come later.
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  23. #23
    Registered User jfindon's Avatar
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    I just found these foam pads on Amazon, but I'm not fond of the blue color.

    http://www.amazon.com/24-Playmats-se...213322&sr=8-10

    Seems cheap for 16 square feet, and I don't want to spend that much to put something down for when I get my rack. I don't know where else to look for them, I didn't see any at Walmart and Dick's has some for $50 which is extortion.
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    Originally Posted by jfindon View Post
    I just found these foam pads on Amazon, but I'm not fond of the blue color.

    http://www.amazon.com/24-Playmats-se...213322&sr=8-10

    Seems cheap for 16 square feet, and I don't want to spend that much to put something down for when I get my rack. I don't know where else to look for them, I didn't see any at Walmart and Dick's has some for $50 which is extortion.
    Try a local auto parts store. I saw these 24" at a Wal-Mart for $18 (Charcoal/Black, 6-pack), but decided to first check a Pepboys auto supplier since I had recalled seeing them there for what I thought was a better $. Sure enough, they had the exact same 24", black, 6-pack (just with a different name and marketing pics for garage/auto use) for only $12. They're likely all produced at the same place and then packaged (and priced accordingly) for different markets/consumers, if you get my drift...
    Last edited by HandsOn; 10-01-2007 at 02:59 AM.
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    Yes I saw the foam mats at pep boys this weekend....24 square feet (6 - 2'x2' squares) for 9.99 after rebate. They were very thin though, probably 3/8." If I used foam I would at least use 1/2" but preferably 3/4." I've done some testing with the foam mats. I guess they are ok for small areas. They tend to indent, though, when heavy weights (plates, dumbells, bench,etc) is placed on them and take a few days to come back to shape. Also, the surface tends to tear if you drop hex bells on them. I would go rubber, even if you can't do your entire room, at least put some 4x6 mats under your equipment. I've seem them for as cheap as 40 dollars each and they will really perform as intended.

    After receiving about 12 samples of different rubber interlocking flooring, I have realized that there are a ton of retailers out there but only a few manufacturers of it. Basically a lot of it is all the same stuff (called different names, and priced different). I've decided on the LockTuff flooring. I really liked the tread pattern on it and it comes in 4x4, and 2x4 with end pieces so finishing off a room will look really clean. A bunch of people sell it online for about the same price.

    http://www.greatmats.com/products/ru...erlocking.html

    My second choice would of been the gorilla mats (a better buy) but the pattern is VERY rough and I think it would be a pain to clean them. Also, no end pieces are available so the install would not be as clean.
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    I'm looking to get matting but at $3/sq foot, I can't afford it. I figure I need 20x15 for my garage, that's 300 ft, about $1000. Even half that is tough. A buddy of mine put down an epoxy floor covering, I'm thinking of doing that.
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    Would heavy rubber mats like these help for my upstairs room which is covered in carpet? Would putting these mats over carpet cause my machines to be unbalanced and wobble?
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    Originally Posted by dannyswo View Post
    I'm looking to get matting but at $3/sq foot, I can't afford it. I figure I need 20x15 for my garage, that's 300 ft, about $1000. Even half that is tough. A buddy of mine put down an epoxy floor covering, I'm thinking of doing that.
    An epoxy floor covering is more for cosmetic purposes. It will not protect the floor from dropped weights.

    One suggestion is to get 4x6 horse stall mats and only put them in the areas in which you are working out, around equipment,etc. If you must do the whole floor (is the whole area going to be a workout area???), interlocking is expensive, but if you go with 4x6 mats and just butt them up against each other, you can cover the whole area for about 1.60 a square foot. Each 4x6 mat is about 40 bucks, and they are half an inch thick or greater.

    These mats were nice too and not interlocking (I have samples) and are all under 2 bucks a square foot. you can also get 4' wide rolls of rubber cheap (~1.50 a square foot).

    http://www.tractorsupply.com/detail....=07440&x=0&y=0

    http://www.buytack.com/products-ranch/sfp/gorilla.htm

    scroll down to gymatts

    http://rubbermats.com/afm.html

    Trick is to find them locally...no shipping!
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  29. #29
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    Does anyone know of any stores that carry the 3/4" thick mats? I just tried Walmart, Lowes, and Dick's. Walmart and Lowes only have to dumb 1/2" thick stuff which seems way too thin, and Dick's has 3/4" but I'm not paying $50 for a single pack when I need two. I'd like to spend about $50-60 total. The only cheap ones I found were the ones I linked to, though I'm not fond of the electric blue color and I don't know if they'll be firm are soft as hell because they're for babies.
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    3/8" rubber mats will be much better than the 3/4" foam mats and are probably less expensive.
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