Friday, June 24, 2016

Foam Floor Tiles versus Plastic Floor Tiles for Trade Shows

When designing a trade show booth, there are 3 main things to think about. First, you want to attract customers to your booth with an attractive, professional looking display. Second, you want the display to travel easily and be quick and easy to setup and teardown. Third, you want it to be a place that you or your staff and your potential customers will be comfortable.  

You want to start from the ground up with your flooring. The majority of trade show locations have concrete floors - neither attractive or comfortable. While some shows will allow you to rent carpeting, savvy trade show vendors know that by purchasing their own flooring, they increase their own and their customers’ comfort,  plus they save thousands over the cost of carpet rental.  Two of the most popular choices for trade show flooring are plastic and foam tiles. Both are relatively lightweight, affordable to ship and purchase, durable and comfortable, and easy to set up and take down. Some flooring retailers also sell cases so you can easily ship your flooring across the country. But there are some differences between foam and plastic that you should be aware of.  

If you want bright colors, EVA foam mats are the best choice.  Whether plain foam, or carpet tiles, or with a hardwood look, these cushy tiles provide comfort and durability.

Premium 5/8 inch foam floor tiles from Greatmats.com, a major speciality flooring retailer,  come in 15 different colors. You can mix and match colors to coordinate with the rest of your booth, and create an eye catching display. These tiles are waterproof and stain resistant and feature a thatch mark surface finish. The puzzle style universal interlock design offers the fastest and easiest interlock design available. Each tile weighs just over a pound and comes with 2 border strips to create a finished edge. These mats are thicker and more durable than most mats found at major retailers, so they will stand up to foot traffic in your booth, and make standing on your feet all day much easier.  

If you prefer the look of carpet, a popular trade show carpet is Royal Interlocking Carpet Tile which features 12 mm (.47 inch) foam under a durable, long-lasting short hair carpet. Available in 5 colors, it is designed for years of use. Waterproof and stain resistant, the carpeted surface is tough enough to last under chairs and tables, and stands up to foot traffic at conventions and trade shows. The tiles are 2X2 foot and weigh just 1.4 pounds a piece. One Trade show professional who used this tile says it ‘made the trade show less tiring”  while another said it “kept us energized.”  

Comfort Carpet tiles are 2X2 foot, 5/8 inch (.625 inch) thick and weigh just 1.2 pounds per tile.  A  beveled edge option is available.  Available in 6 colors, they are also waterproof and odor proof.

Another 5/8 thick option is Greatmats’ SoftCarpet tiles, which are available in 13 color options. The 2X2 foot tiles are 5/8” thick and weigh 1.75 pounds per tile. The tiles come with border strips on 2 sides. These tiles combine closed cell EVA foam rubber which is bonded to commercial grade short hair carpeting. These long lasting tiles are waterproof and shock absorbing. They are dense enough to stand up to high heels, foot traffic and furniture at trade shows and conventions.  

If you prefer a more natural look and want to go with a hard wood style, check out the woodgrain reversible foam floor with a choice of 3 woodgrain finishes on one side and a thatch design on the reverse. Choose from standard, light, or dark wood grain looks. Each tile includes two border strips.  Each tile is 2X2 foot by ½ inch thick and weighs just 1.2 pounds. Trade show professionals like the comfort provided when they stand all day for several days in a row, the easy assembly and take down, and the option of adding tiles as they expand their their display.  hey have received compliments from customers, and noted that other vendors had “floor envy.”  

In a nutshell, foam tiles win for comfort and light weight, and quality brands will stand up to foot traffic. One down side of EVA foam is that it can indent under heavy objects and equipment and can get scuffed from moving furniture, for example chairs and tables. If your booth includes heavy items or chairs, you should consider plastic tiles.  

For plastic woodgrain, Max Tile Raised Floor tiles offer a plastic base with durable vinyl surfaces that work well for multi purpose flooring including trade shows. Max Tiles offer 6 different wood grain designs in addition to black, white and stone. The scratch resistant top holds up to foot traffic, moving chairs, and more. Max Tiles come in 1’ X 1’ foot tiles, are 5/8” thick and weigh just over 2 pounds. Ramped border edges make your booth safe, with a finished look. The tile connector pieces are designed for repeat installations, so your floor should last for years to come.

Polypropylene and PVC trade show flooring options include raised and flat bottomed tiles. They offer multiple surface textures or patterns as well, including coin, slate, orange peel, flat, bump, leather or diamond tops. Some are rated for loads of more than 20,000 pounds.  

For trade show booths that require a look of nature, consider artificial grass turf tiles or outdoor deck turf tiles. Both provide a lush grass-like surface and easy installation. The artificial grass turf tiles feature a raised plastic base and snap together installation, while the outdoor deck turf tiles rest on a flexible wood slat base of 25-year treated lumber and are significantly heavier.

But perhaps your show is outside - a fair or art show or other outdoor event? For outdoor event floors, Greatmats offers a durable, modular, hard plastic, snap-together tiles that can be installed over any outdoor surface including asphalt, gravel or grass. These outdoor event tiles will allow grass to grow underneath for limited periods of time because of this tile's unique drainage holes. Their Portable Outdoor Floor Tiles are 6x24 inches in size and easily snap together for large scale installations. Installation of event flooring is easy with these interlocking tiles and their modular snap together flooring surfaces. Simply interlock or snap the tiles together and, after the show, easily pull the tiles apart for storage.

Depending on the type of outdoor event flooring you choose, it can be stacked on pallets or rolled up for easy transport and storage. Many of our trade show flooring options also serve as strong flooring possibilities for dance, gym and playroom flooring. Surface appearances range from a classic wood flooring to soft, low-profile carpeting to colorful foam or even anti-glare vinyl stage flooring looks to create the perfect fit for your decor.

Regardless of your preference for foam or plastic, indoor or outdoor, it pays to check out a specialty flooring retailer like Greatmats.com to get long last quality and knowledgable customer service that will you get the product best suited to your individual needs.  

Top 4 Mats for Gymnastics Training

The term ''gymnastics mats'' is a general term, referring to mats broad set of uses, including tumbling, artistic gymnastics, vaulting and more. With that being said, one mat obviously cannot universally be the best option for every gymnastics activity as the function of the mats vary as much as the activities.

Folding Mats
Folding mats, otherwise known as panel mats, provide a firm cushion covered with a durable vinyl cover. These mats are one of the most versatile as they are easy to install, store, transport and connect together to cover larger areas.

Folding gymnastics mats are excellent for somersaulting or doing cartwheels. They even make a great aid in different conditioning drills that involve hopping, balancing on an edge, or even assisting in learning to standing up from a seated or reclined position, as you can fold them into varying heights of 1-2 inch increments.

Octagon Mats
When working on techniques that involve torso bending and arching, another vinyl-covered mat works best - octagon mats. These mats come in several different sizes to accommodate the height of the gymnasts. These mats are also used as harmless obstacles for leaping, and tools for rolling.

Incline Wedge Mats
For progressive skill building, wedge mats, or cheese mats, are useful for transitions as wells as tumbling and conditioning. These mats combine the stability of folding mats with seamless, gradual height variation necessary for skill building. The unique incline quality of the mats make them an extremely versatile skill training tool for gymnasts of all levels.

Skill Cushion Mats
All three of the previously mentioned mats are relatively firm. If you are looking for protection from hard falls, a thicker and softer skill cushion mat is the way to go. In most cases you'll want a ''fluffy'' mat that is around 1 foot or thicker and will disperse the majority of impact of a fall, preventing injuries while learning to fall or land properly. These mats are often used for dismounts off of bars or vaults.

While all of these mats are great for gymnastics, make sure you know how you'll be using them before you choose. Using the wrong mat can not only make training harder, but could actually cause injury when used for the wrong purpose.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Choosing Indoor Playground Surfaces - Comparing Plastic vs. Foam vs. Rubber

Greatmats Home Sport and Play Mats 
Slide, climb, jump and crawl! Outdoor playgrounds are a blast for kids. Having fun, playing with friends, burning off excess energy, and developing large and fine motor skills are just some of the benefits of a playground. All types of learning - emotional, social, motor, and cognitive - are increased and enhanced by play, particularly free play in playgrounds.

But if you live in a climate with frigid, long winters, an endless rainy season, or a sultry, hot summer, outdoor playground are off limits for long periods of the year.

This has led to a rise in indoor playgrounds. From home and corporate daycare centers, churches and community centers, airports and shopping malls to private homes, indoor playgrounds are growing in popularity. These days, you can find indoor playgrounds in child care centers, fast food restaurants, children's museums, health and fitness centers and theme parks. With the rise of community and commercial indoor playgrounds, parents have discovered an indoor playground can be a great place to host a child's birthday party.

But just as it is important to make sure playground equipment is safe, the flooring surface of your indoor playground is equally as important. Obviously, a concrete surface offers no protection when a child slips or falls. Carpet is not much better. Fortunately there are many new products from rolled rubber to plastic tiles that can make an indoor playground a safe, inviting and colorful place to play.

Fall Height Protection
Whenever you are creating a playground, you need to be concerned that the surfaces you choose meet the recommended fall heights for the equipment you will be installing. Fall height is the distance between the ground and the highest step or platform that a child might climb to. A surface with a proper fall height will lessen the severity of injuries, particularly life threatening head injuries, for the little ones that use your indoor playground.

The American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) is the primary organization that rates playground surfaces. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has created safety standards for playgrounds, both indoors and out, and has a PDF specifically about indoor playground surfaces.

Rubber is the top choice for outdoor playground surfaces. It can withstand the weather, is very durable and can have very high fall height ratings. There are plenty of rubber flooring options, but let's start with some indoor products that may be more comfortable and soft than outdoor rubber tiles.

Plastic Indoor Playground Surfaces
StayLock Orange Peel Tiles
One option is StayLock flooring tiles from Greatmats. These PVC plastic tiles will hold up to exercise or playground equipment and provide cushion as well. The typical lifespan of this tile - offered with perforated, orange peel and bump top surfaces - is 20 years, and it is waterproof and resistant to many oils and acids. StayLock PVC tiles give you the durability of rubber with the cushion of of foam.

Tiles can be installed on any indoor surface including concrete and carpet, without an underlayment. You can cut to fit around obstructions. The unique active locking design means that tiles won't separate over time and they provide a 20 inch fall height, so they are best for preschool sized playgrounds.

Ergo Matta Solid CushionTred Tiles
These tiles are made from 100% recycled plastic, and will contribute LEED points to your building project. At the end of their lifecycle, some distributors like Greatmats will accept StayLock tiles for recycling. Tiles come in a range of designer colors including terra cotta, forest green, tan and brown, as well as custom colors - to make your indoor playground a showcase. The orange peel surface provides traction so little feet won't slip.

Another brand to look at is Ergo Matta. Its Solid CushionTred tiles are manufactured from durable 100% recycled rubber and flexible PVC plastic to be soft and supportive as well as long lasting. The tiles are available in a range of colors including blue, yellow, green, red, gray, black, white and beige and cost between $6 and $7 per square foot. The diamond shield tread increases traction and reduces falls.

Foam Indoor Playground Surfaces
Greatmats Indoor Playground Foam Tiles
For higher ASTM Fall Height protection, take a look at Greatmats Indoor Playground Foam Tiles, which are 1 5/8 inch thick with a ASTM Fall Height Rating of 4 feet. Starting under $3 a square foot, these foam tiles are waterproof and non-absorbent and their tatami top texture means no rug burns if a child slides or wipes out. The puzzle edges are simple to install, reversible and easily portable. The foam puzzle tiles are available in a 40 inch square with border strips. Since these tiles are soft and will indent under extended heavy weight, Greatmats recommends installing heavy playground equipment first, and then installing the foam mats around the equipment.


The interlocking foam tiles are available in black and grey, red and blue, or green and grey, and since they are reversible, you can change patterns and colors.

Rubber Indoor Playground Surfaces
For higher fall heights, like 8 or 10 feet, you'll want to look at a rubber surface. Make sure any rubber product you choose is low odor and designed for indoor use.

Specialty flooring retailer Greatmats.com has a large selection of rubber tiles, and its expert customer service reps can help you make the right choice for your equipment and budget.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Greatmats joins forces with South USA Grappling Association and Gracie United

April 28, 2016 -- Greatmats is a proud new sponsor of the South U.S.A. Grappling Association (SUGA) and Gracie United Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. 

SUGA, organized by Gracie United BJJ Professor and Black Belt World Champion Rafael Ellwanger, has been using Greatmats martial arts flooring at its events for the past 10 years, noting that Greatmats provides a great product at a great price.

The South U.S.A. Grappling Association currently has four remaining events scheduled for the 2016 tournament season. Next up is the Alabama State Championship in Orange Beach, Alabama, on May 14. Other upcoming events include:
July 23, 2016 – Jucao Cup, Hammond, Louisiana
Oct. 1, 2016 – Southestern Championships, Orange Beach, Alabama
Nov. 19, 2016 – Southern Nationals, Hammond, Louisiana


Welcome aboard Professor Ellwanger, Gracie United and the South USA Grappling Association!

Note: Anyone attending a South U.S.A Grappling Association event during the 2016 competitive season is eligible to participate in Greatmats Photobomb contest for a chance to win  one of many great prizes. To learn more about the contest, prizes, and how to enter, visit the Greatmats Photobomb Contest Page.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

When to use a PVC plastic playground surface

National Playground Safety Week is April 25-29. Playground equipment has undergone a lot of innovations in the past 35 years. Gone are the 10-foot high-metal slides that got scorching hot on sunny summer days. No more scary (but fun) merry-go-rounds that sent kids flying off into the dirt. In their place are climbing walls, wobbly rope bridges, wheelchair accessible swings, and more. Today’s playgrounds offer more variety and greater safety than ever.
Just as playground equipment has evolved and improved, so have playground surfaces. In 1981, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued its first safety standards for playgrounds which revolutionized playground equipment and surface standards. But even today, the majority of the 200,000 annual reported playground accidents come from children falling.
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, “The type of surface on the playground is the most important factor in the number and severity of injuries due to falls.”

Old School Playground Surfaces
Back in the “olden days,” equipment was set up on black top, or grass, which could become muddy and hard.
Later, wood chips came into favor, and are still used in many locations. Wood chips, when used properly are considered safe. It is important to use engineered wood chips, and not scrap chips from your local tree service, and they must be installed to a proper depth, and topped off every year or so. But chips, while inexpensive, have certain drawbacks. Splinters, mold, and constant compaction are just of a few of the problems. Wood chips can be thrown or swallowed, and can hide insects, and dangerous, unsanitary or sharp objects. Plus, wood chips need to be topped off every year, and it can difficult for wheelchairs to maneuver on wood chips if they are not the proper type and depth - which is why new surfaces, from rubber chip, to rubber mats and tiles are now found in many newer playgrounds.

PVC Playground Surfaces

One material you may not be familiar with are PVC plastic tiles for use in playgrounds. These tiles are an affordable alternative to rubber, both in cost per square foot and in shipping costs. Plastic tiles are wheelchair accessible, stay in place and clean up easily. Unlike wood chips, tiles stay in place and they can't get kicked out at the bottom of slide exits or underneath swings. In fact, the ConsumerProduct Safety Commission does not recommend loose fill forplaygrounds intended for toddlers.
While rubber playground surfaces are the gold standard and necessary to maintain a safe “fall height,” not every play area needs this much protection. All playground surfaces are rated by the ASTM with a height that a child can fall from without sustaining a serious injury like a life threatening head injury. Daycare centers, and preschools with simple, low-to-the ground equipment can find a safe, and affordable surface option with PVC plastic tiles. No special surface preparation is necessary - PVC tiles can be placed on grass, sand, or dirt. Let’s look at a couple of the popular models:


StayLock Perforated PVC Playground Tiles
One model is StayLock Perforated Tile, which comes in 5 colors and has a 7 year UV stability warranty. Most importantly, they carry an American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) F-1292 Fall Height rating of 20 inches. These Made-in-the-USA tiles are waterproof, and non slip. Water drains right through, and the surface is comfortable for bare feet. The 1x1 foot tiles are also available in any custom color you choose, in addition to the stock colors of light blue, dark green light grey, terra cotta, and tan - and they are guaranteed for 5 years. StayLock Perforated Tiles can transform a concrete pad into a safe, cushioned play area, and can be used safely on rubber roof membranes as the rounded rubber feet on the underside of the tile will not damage the membrane.
In short, these tiles can be used on any outdoor surface, but it is recommended that you lay down landscape fabric on top of dirt or sand areas. You and your children will appreciate a much cleaner play space once the tiles are installed. Installation is easy - just snap the tiles together and use a utility knife to cut the tiles to fit your space. Tiles cost approximately $3 to $5 per square foot.


Ergo Matta Perforated PVC Playground Tiles
Ergo Matta is a another perforated tile that works great for homes, daycare businesses and preschool playgrounds. The tiles come in bright, brilliant colors including blue, yellow, green, red, gray, white, black and beige and cost around $6 per square foot.
They are UV treated and feature a 5 year warranty. They are made from recycled materials and the attractive diamond design offers excellent drainage. Water does not pool on the surface, and children can resume playing once the rain stops. To top it off, these tiles are less slippery than some other brands and models.
Ergo Matta’s perforated design results in a cooler surface than a solid surface in hot sunny areas. You can also order optional border ramps for these tiles. These tiles feature a 20-inch fall height rating to keep your little ones safe during years of playtime. Ergo Matta PVC playground tiles are excellent in high traffic areas where stability underfoot is required.

While rubber tiles and poured-in-place rubber playground surfaces are the top choice for safe playgrounds, often times a playground or play space designed for younger children does not need such a high end system. In these cases, plastic tiles are the way to go. Kids and adults will enjoy the surface; children and indoor spaces will stay cleaner; and children will be protected from everyday mishaps.

Greatmats.com carries both of these PVC Playground Tiles and offers free samples to help you choose which product is best for you. Its knowledgeable customer service reps will be able to help you choose the product that best meets your needs and budget.

Monday, April 11, 2016

What makes flooring fit for rooftop patios?

As the weather warms, homeowners and apartment dwellers are looking for ways to maximize their outdoor entertaining spaces, and create inviting open air living environments. Similarly, the trend in restaurants is to add seasonal seating areas for their guests to dine al fresco.

In urban areas where space is at a premium, these folks are looking up - to their roofs. A flat roof can make a great patio or deck, but you can’t just put out a bistro set and sit back and enjoy the view. No one wants to hang out on ‘Tar Beach.’ An unfinished roof surface can be dirty, sticky and dangerous. Waterproof membranes on some roofs are easily punctured, and you don't want your roof damaged by moving furniture or high heels. To avoid these problems, make sure to start your rooftop patio design with a solid flooring choice.


Conversely, maybe you already have a nice space like a condo balcony, but you don’t like the look of a drab concrete floor, or your patio surface is damaged or deteriorating.


The solution to these problems is a floor tile system designed specifically for roofs. The number one concern is that the outdoor tile must be UV and weather resistant. Lots of beautiful plastic indoor/outdoor rugs are available, and while durable, they are lightweight and not suitable for all installations.


Another major consideration is drainage. Standing water and water runoff on a flat roof is a challenge as it is - but you don't want pooling water where your family and guests are hanging out. Wet areas can be slippery, and standing water can encourage mosquito growth and damage furniture. Here’s a rundown of some of the choices in flooring specifically designed for use on roofs, patios and balconies.


Rubber Rooftop Patio Flooring
Rubber is one option. Lighter weight than concrete, rubber is durable but won't require roof reinforcement.

Sterling Brand Roof Top tiles, which come in 2X2 foot tiles, in black, terra cotta, green, blue, grey, and brown as well as more than eight different multicolor blends. The tiles interlock, and borders and corner ramps are available to increase safety and give your space a finished look. This attractive and professional quality product also comes with a 10 year limited warranty, and just hoses off with water. At almost 20 pounds a tile, these tiles are heavy enough to avoid lifting in strong winds and won’t fade or curl in extreme temperatures.


Blue Sky Brand Interlocking rubber tiles allow water to flow underneath the tile and protect fragile underlayments like waterproof membranes. The surface is non slip and will not mold or mildew. This brand of tile is suitable for use with rubber roof membranes, and ships from the east coast. With 6 standard and more than 10 mixed colors, you are sure to find a coordinating color that suits your outdoor space.


If you want the durability of rubber, but are on a tight budget, MX Outdoor Rubber Tile 1” tiles might be your option. Available in black, green, grey or red standard colors and nine other premium colors, these tiles run about $6 to $10 a square foot. Made of recycled rubber, these tiles offer LEED points, and are made in the USA. MX tiles are manufactured in the south east. Shipping to nearby areas will be most affordable. They have a superior UV fade resistance and a 15 year warranty.

Plastic Rooftop Patio Flooring
If weight is an issue, PVC outdoor tiles weight around 1 pound per tile and can start at less than $3 per square foot. Interlocking design makes installation a snap. The perforations allow for drainage and the tile itself will not absorb water or get slippery. It's a great option for patios and rooftop in rainy climates., however they are not recommended for rubber membrane roofs.

Greatmats.com, a leader in specialty flooring, carries its own brand of PVC tiles, which are UV treated and come with a 1 year limited warranty. These tiles are available in light grey, blue, and terra cotta.

StayLock Brand PVC interlocking tiles allow water to drain through their perforated surfaces, making it a great choice for locations with heavy rainfall. The soft PVC plastic feels good to the touch and is comfortable to play or stand on. The tiles are available in 5 colors that are UV stable for 7 years. This brand features a 5 year warranty and is suitable for roofs with rubber membranes.


Treated Wood Patio Flooring
If you like the look of wood without the maintenance, a new product called GreatDeck Outdoor Hardwood Deck tiles are made of thermo treated wood which resists rotting, decay and fungal growth. The process also prevents the wood from warping, chipping, shrinking or expanding. Made from North American White Ash from well managed forests, this product comes in several wood tones and will withstand the harshest climate, with an expected lifespan of 25 years or more. These 2X2 foot wood tiles are installed without adhesives or fasteners, which makes them easy to move. The PVC connectors allow the wood to flex and contour to surface irregularities which make these tiles a great solution for transforming your roof or patio.


Synthetic Turf Patio Flooring
If you are looking to create an outdoor oasis without the mowing, consider Outdoor Deck Turf Tile. The artificial grass top is soft on bare feet, but the treated lumber surface underneath conforms to uneven surfaces, and is safe for rubber roofing membranes. Water can drain through the 2X2 foot tiles. The grass itself is made from recycled plastic, and is suitable for use with tables. The wood base is warrantied for 25 years.


Whether you chose rubber, perforated PVC, wood tiles or simulated grass, your new roof or patio floor will give your outdoor space project a solid footing. Make sure to get some free samples from an online retailer to really get a feel for what surface you like.

Do some more research on the pros and cons of each material to make sure it works for your specific project, or save yourself some time and talk to the experts at Greatmats.com, or check out the product lines at a home improvement store.

Summer is short in many parts of the world - so get started now to make sure you can enjoy and make the most of those lazy days of summer on your new roof deck or patio.




Friday, April 1, 2016

The Top 4 Forms of Gym Flooring for Power Lifting, Cardio and Multipurpose Facilities

So you want to take your fitness quest to the next level and outfit your own home gym? Having a dedicated space for weightlifting, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), P90X or Yoga can help you stick to your fitness goals and make your workouts more convenient.

Whether you are starting with new construction, repurposing an existing space, or renovating an area in your basement, it is best to start from the ground up by making sure you select the right gym flooring for your needs. Existing home flooring is rarely appropriate. Wood, carpet, vinyl and laminate can splinter, shred, dent, and may be slippery. Suitable flooring for home gyms includes interlocking foam and rubber floor tiles and mats, rolled rubber, plyometric rubber, plastic tiles and carpet tiles.

Start your planning by asking yourself a few questions:
1. What kind of fitness equipment will you be putting on the floor?
2. Will you be moving equipment around? Treadmills and elliptical machines can weigh several hundred pounds.
3. What kind of exercise will you be doing? Yoga… Zumba… Weightlifting? Dumb bells or deadlifts? 
4. Will you be dropping weights?
5. Do you need something portable? Are you a renter or planning to move, or is this a dedicated exercise space for the long term?

Assess your Location
6. Is it wet or dry?
7. What is the existing floor - carpet, wood, concrete, or something else?


Rubber Flooring for Weightlifting and Exercise Machines
If you are primarily interested in weightlifting or exercise machines, rubber is one of the most popular options. Unlike most foam, rubber is tough enough to protect the floor underneath from heavy equipment like treadmills and weight racks, and from dropping weights.
Rubber won’t be compressed by heavy equipment, or damaged by moving equipment. It is relatively affordable, very durable, and pretty easy to install.

The challenge with rubber floor installation is the weight. Tiles are lighter weight, but rolled rubber results in fewer seams. Because rubber is heavy, it tends to stay in place, so adhesive is generally unnecessary except for maybe some double sided carpet tape around the the perimeter of your space. Another benefit is that rubber will deaden sound, whether from a noisy elliptical machine or dropping weights. Rubber is also easy to keep clean, with regular vacuuming and a damp mop. With proper care, rubber will perform effectively for decades.

Geneva Interlocking Rubber Tile Gym Floor
One example of rubber tiles is the American-made Geneva Interlocking Rubber tile.  

The 2x2 foot tiles are popular for home gyms and easy for homeowners to install. These tiles are available in several thicknesses, with 8 mm being the most popular choice for home gyms. Tiles are made and shipped from Wisconsin. Geneva tiles are made from a combination of recycled scrap rubber and virgin rubber, keeping millions of pounds of tires out of landfills, and qualify for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) points in five different categories. These tiles have low odor and carry a 5 year manufacturer’s warranty. 

For even lower cost, go with a rolled rubber floor. Rolls come primarily in 4’ widths, with lengths from 10 to 25 feet, and up to 200 feet. Again, the 8 mm thickness is available, along with 1/4-, 3/8-, and 1/2-inch thicknesses. Using rolled rubber will result in fewer seams, giving your space a custom look, and can be laid over concrete, ceramic tile, or any smooth, hard surface.

Horse Stall Mats for Heavy Lifting
A popular flooring option amongst body builders and power lifters is horse stall mats. They are designed to protect the joints of horse weighing a thousand pounds or more, so what are a few dropped weights?

On the plus side, these are affordable, and readily available locally, which eliminates shipping costs. Since rubber is heavy, shipping can add a substantial cost to what is otherwise an affordable flooring material.

On the down side though, horse stall mats are designed for horses. Horses who aren’t too particular about odor. Stall mats can have a strong odor, somewhat akin to rotten eggs or asphalt. Some people have success with washing the mats, or airing them out in sunny locations, but there is no sure fire way to make the odor go away.

Stall mats are also heavy (commonly around 100 pounds each) and can be cumbersome to move, especially down narrow basement stairways.

Stall mats can also vary widely in thickness. It can be hard to find two mats that are an exactly the same, even after digging through a whole stack of mats at the farm supply store. The uneven appearance of seams can be unattractive. Thinner mats may not protect the floor or your weights completely from drops during olympic lifts, so many powerlifters and bodybuilders also use plywood underlayments in addition to stall mats.

Plyometric Rolled Rubber Gym Floor
While rubber is durable, it doesn’t add much cushion for aerobic activities like zumba, cardio activities, tumbling, grappling or floor exercises. The one exception is plyometric rolled rubber which can be a good, affordable option, offering enough cushion for a safe cardio workout, whether it is HIIT, P90X, Tae Bo or “Sweatin’ to the Oldies.”

This is highly shock absorbent material is available in 4 foot rolls starting at lengths of 25 feet. 3/8 inch, 1/2-inch, and 8 mm are standard thicknesses. While less dense than standard rubber, plyometric rubber still comes with a 5 year guarantee.

Foam Flooring for Home and Cardio Gyms
EVA Foam is an affordable option for cardio workouts. Foam is not a good choice for serious weight lifting as it will dent, may not decompress, and may cause weights to bounce back, which could be dangerous. However, foam won’t break the budget for a simple home gym with a few machines, light weights, where you want to do cardio activity or yoga.

Less expensive than rubber, it is also less durable and won’t withstand dropped weights or heavy exercise equipment. Since it weighs less, however, it is also cheaper to ship, easier to install, and is durable enough for many home applications.

Home Mixed Martial Arts Mats
Foam mats are readily available at big box retailers, mainly in black or mixed packs of bright primary colors. But for thicker, more durable mats in a wider range of single colors, check the big box stores’ websites or a specialty flooring company like Greatmats.com.

Foam flooring is available in different hardnesses. What’s available at your local retailer will probably be soft - a standard hardness best for multi use areas. High hardness foam tiles are better for karate and aerobic activities, specifically standing and kicking drills. There are softer martial arts mats for home Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), judo and grappling with a durable tatami no-burn surface that provides grip for groundwork with enough cushion for takedowns and throws.

Foam flooring can be used with specialized treadmill mats to protect the foam.

Plastic Gym Flooring for Basements and Carpeted Areas
Another option is plastic flooring which can protect flooring and offer cushioning at the same time. Unlike foam or rubber, some plastic tiles can be used on top of existing carpeting without the risk of the tiles separating or sinking into the carpet pile at the seams.

Staylock PVC Bump Top Gym Floor
StayLock Bump Top tiles are an example of plastic gym flooring that is durable like rubber, with the cushion of foam. These tiles are made from soft PVC and are flexible and pliable, yet non-absorbent. The underside of each tile has little feet that elevate the tile above the floor surface, providing cushion but also airflow beneath the tile, an important feature if you are using in a damp basement area.

For intense aerobic workouts like P90X, Crossfit and Hip Hop Dance, soft PVC gym floor tiles can provide superior cushioning and durability. They are tough enough for light and medium weight lifting and are easy to clean and disinfect.

Gym Carpeting for multi-purpose areas
Gym Carpet Tile Gym Floor

Carpet tiles can be a good compromise in a multi use room. They offer the cushion and warmth of carpeting with the convenience of modular flooring. The surface of a gym carpet tiles is more durable than residential carpeting, and damaged tiles can be replaced. Some carpet tiles, however, can be ruined in basement floods, take on odors, or become unsanitary due to absorption of sweat and other bodily fluids.

There are a lot of gym flooring options on the market. Take some time to think about how you will train. Find a reputable retailer, and ask questions. Do your own research; read product reviews; and make sure you order some free samples to get an actual feel for a product.

Once you choose and install your floor, then the real work begins!