Thursday, October 29, 2015

What flooring should I use in my basement gym?

When creating a home gym in your basement, the flooring you choose should not be taken lightly. Home gyms present plenty of challenges in the flooring department, as do basements. So you'll want to pick a flooring that provides a solution to each of those challenges while meeting the needs of your own personal style.

Economical approach
If your primary concern with a basement home gym is creating a space to get fit at the lowest cost possible, you'll want to to consider either rolled rubber flooring or interlocking foam tiles. Both options provide excellent thermal and sound insulation.

Foam tiles will offer the most cushion and are great for general aerobic type fitness activities. Puzzle foam tiles generally range from $1-4 per square foot. The interlocking design makes for easy installation that can be accomplished by a single person. Minimal tools are necessary for wall-to-wall installation and island installations require no additional tools or equipment. The tiles fit together like a puzzle and can be cut to fit around obstacles such as poles, furnaces and water heaters. EVA foam tiles will not absorb moisture, but can trap existing moisture and should be lifted periodically to check for such an occurrence.

Foam tile floors are easy to clean with a broom, vacuum or damp mop. They are also easy to remove and re-lay in the case of damage or trapped moisture. Many athletic foam tiles are also reversible.

Thicknesses of foam tiles typically range from 3/8 inch to 1 5/8 inch. The greater the thickness, the better the protection from falls. These tiles also provide a variety of surface textures, some of which will not cause floor burns. Others are scuff resistant and are designed to handle shoes and boots.

Foam tiles can provide you a large range of design options as well. They are often offered in a wide array of colors, and tiles can be mixed and matched to create patterns and designs.

The down side to foam flooring is that it can, and will, indent under heavy equipment. Fortunately, it indents can heal themselves, provided the heavy objects are removed in a reasonable period of time. It generally takes about the same amount of time for the indents to disappear as it took for them to form. In cases where heavy furniture left on the foam for extended periods of time, indents may become permanent.

Note: If you plan to use your home gym for martial arts or wrestling, you may want to consider using folding gym mats for wall padding as well as pole pads or post padding.

Rolled rubber flooring will provide the greatest durability for the price. Also fitting in the $1-4 per
square foot price range, rubber flooring rolls range from 1/4 to 3/8 inch in thickness, but are significantly heavier and more bulky, making installation a bit more of a challenge. However, if you plan to use weight lifting equipment, it is well worth the extra work involved in the installation process. Rubber floors do a great job of absorbing impact, protecting the flooring beneath the rubber. Most rubber is quite dense and hard, but some, such as plyometric rubber, do an excellent job of absorbing impact and reducing leg injuries. Another major advantage of rolled rubber flooring is that is greatly limits the number of seams in your home gym floor.

Rubber is partially non-absorbent, meaning it won't absorb moisture from damp mopping, but power washing or soaking of rubber flooring can result in the water permeating through the material. Like foam, this material can trap existing moisture beneath your exercise surface and should be checked periodically to make sure mold and mildew growth does not occur. While cleaning the surface of rolled rubber flooring is simple, cleaning under this flooring can be difficult due to the weight and size of the sheets.

Rolled rubber is primarily black in color, but can have color flecks. It is also an environmentally friendly choice, as it is made from recycled materials.

High end home gyms
If you like the modular benefits of interlocking foam tiles, but want the durability of rubber, interlocking rubber tiles may be the direction you'll want to go. These tiles provide you a significantly larger range of design options than rolled rubber, as they are offered in more colors and thicknesses. Rubber gym tiles range from 1/4 inch to 1.25 inches in thickness. The price on these tiles do, however, reflect that increased versatility and convenience as they range from around $1.50 per square foot to more than $10 per square foot.

Another option is PVC plastic tiles. These tiles offer more cushion than most rubber flooring and more durability than foam. There are also significantly lighter weight than rubber.

Some PVC gym tiles even offer raised bases that are especially useful in damp basements. The raised base on those tiles allows air to flow underneath the floor, reducing the risk of mold and mildew growth. PVC gym floor tiles utilize various forms of connectors including locking clips and puzzle style connectors. PVC is resistant to water, chemicals and oils. Like foam flooring, PVC tiles also offer a large range of colors to choose from.

Although less frequently used, carpet tiles and vinyl top tiles are also available for home gyms.

Vinyl Topped Gym Tiles
Vinyl topped tiles are usually on a raised plastic base and offer wood grain or stone patterns. These tiles are commonly used in multipurpose areas where a more traditional flooring look is desired. The price range for vinyl topped plastic gym tiles is typically between $4 and $6 per square foot.

Carpet gym tiles
There are also carpet tiles specifically designed for gyms that use a bitumen backing and permanently anti-static surface. Unlock the rest of the options provided here, these tiles do require adhesives during installation. Carpet gym tiles are typically in the $3-4 per square foot price range.

Gym Mats
For temporary gym flooring, you may want to consider folding or roll out mats. These mats provide great cushioning and shock absorption and can be quickly folded or rolled up for storage. These mats range from $3-5 per square foot and are often used for specific forms of training.

There are many good options for home gym flooring in basements. Be sure you keep in mind not just the price but the condition and environment of your basement gym space and what type of activities will take place in your gym.  

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Greatmats seeking nominations for 5 national contests in aerobics, dance, dog, horse and trade show industries

 MILLTOWN, WI – Wisconsin-based national specialty flooring industry leader Greatmats will be naming a series of national awards for aerobic and dance instructors as well as dog and horse trainers and trade show participants. The national awards are designed to honor those instructors, trainers and participants in the USA that have made a difference in the lives of their students and community by utilizing Greatmats' top three virtues – service, integrity and quality. 

National Aerobics Instructor of the Year

National Dance Instructor of the Year
National Dog Trainer of the Year
National Horse Trainer of the Year
National Trade Show Participant of the Year

This series of national awards is the first of its kind to recognize such a diverse group of individuals for both their positive professional and community influence.

Greatmats is currently accepting nominations for for all five awards. The deadline for submissions is Nov. 1 for the National Aerobics Instructor of the Year Award and Nov. 7, 2015 for each of the other four awards.

To nominate a person for any of these awards, email the following information to before Nov. 1, 2015:

1. Nominee's Name
2. Name and location of the nominee's business (Must be located in the USA.)
3. A brief description of why you are nominating this person

For contest details, visit where voting will also take place from Nov. 16 through Nov. 30, 2015.

Winners will be named on January 4, 2016.

Greatmats is a national specialty flooring industry leader based in Milltown, Wisconsin, since 1999. Identified as one of the top 3,000 fastest growing companies in the USA three times since 2008, Greatmats has earned an A+ Better Business Bureau rating and 9.5 TrustPilot rating through its Golden Rule customer service practices. Greatmats gives back to its local community by donating 5% of its annual profits to local non-profit organizations. It also supports green initiatives through the use of solar energy at its Wisconsin headquarters and by offering a large variety of products made from recycled and renewable resources. Find out more about Greatmats at or by visiting Greatmats on Facebook.

Friday, October 16, 2015

What's the best soft flooring for basement kids play areas?

When designing a play area for children, safety is of the utmost concern. You also can't forget about color and design. 

In many cases, families will choose to put the children's play rooms in the basement. Basement's are generally off the beaten path of your living space, which keeps randomly strewn toys, glue sticks and art projects out from underfoot in most circumstances. It also serves as a way to buffer the noise as running and jumping on upper levels of the home can shake, rattle and roll the whole house. Kids' music, movies and television, while helpful to their learning development and entertainment can be too much for some family members to handle on a consistent basis. So keeping this youthful paradise in less used areas makes complete sense for the safety and sanity of your family.

The problem with basements is they can be dark, dingy, cold and generally uninviting. That's where foam interlocking mats come into play. They can add color and life to your basement play area.

Soft protection
Foam puzzle mats soften the hard basement floors and in many cases, add protection against slips, trips and falls. Generally, the thicker the foam, the more fall protection it will offer. EVA foam tiles typically are offered in thicknesses ranging from 1/2 inch to 1 5/8 inch. Some are even ASTM rated for fall heights of up to 4 feet. For extra protection, some people have been known to run the foam tiles up the walls of their play rooms to create a “soft room.” This is a common practice in areas where kids tend to do a lot of wrestling and roughhousing.

Surface textures
This form of basement playroom flooring can come with various forms of surface textures, including thatch, tatami-style, smooth and leather. Some surfaces are designed for barefoot use while others are built to resist scuffing from shoes or boots. Greatmats offers products such as Indoor Playground Foam tiles and Home MMA BJJ Mats that offer a no-burn tatami-style surface which will prevent floor burns, and at 1 5/8 inch thick, feature a 4 foot fall height rating. These tiles are constructed of the same materials and in the same manner as professional martial arts mats.

Thermal and Sound Insulation
The foam material also offers thermal insulation, meaning those cold concrete floors will be converted into a warm, temperature-steady foundation for learning and skill development. This style of flooring will also serve to absorb much of the sound, helping prevent the noise from radiating throughout your home.

Colors and Patterns
The bright color options serve to stimulate the brain and create a more inviting space for creative minds. Parents and children alike can create color patterns or designs in their flooring as the puzzle style mats can be easily installed, removed and re-laid. The tiles are lightweight and there is no need for adhesives during the installation process. Some tiles such as Foam Floor Mats 5/8 Premium tiles are offered in up to 15 colors and most EVA foam tiles are reversible. Should you desire a more traditional home flooring look, you can find options like Greatmats' Wood Grain Reversible Foam tiles that will give you the look of wood, but the feel of foam. You can find nearly any color desired to fit you desired home decor.

Most home interlocking foam puzzle mats are offered in 2x2-foot squares, but you can also find options that are as large as 3.3 x 3.3 foot tiles or as small as 1.64 x 1.64 foot mats.

EVA Foam Mats are waterproof and many are stain resistant, making them easy to clean after the inevitable spill and tracking in of dirt and mud. Simply sweep with a broom, vacuum without a power head (power bristles can damage the foam) or use a damp mop to clean. Keep in mind, you won't want to soak you floor when cleaning because water can slip between the seams and become trapped. If moisture is commonly present in your basement, you'll want to periodically pull up a tile and check for moisture that can become trapped beneath the floor. If you should find trapped moisture, simply lift the floor, clean and re-install once the subfloor and foam mats are completely dry.

EVA Foam is an inexpensive material. You can find basement play area flooring solutions for as low as about 1 dollar per square foot. High end foam puzzle mats run around 3 dollars per square foot.

Beware that sharp objects can puncture this form of flooring and heavy objects and furniture will cause indents in foam floors.
In most cases, indents will heal themselves in the same amount of time it took for them to form, but if heavy furniture is left on the foam tiles for long periods of time, indents may become permanent.

Whether your basement play area is for infants, toddlers, grade school children, high school, college, professional or recreational athletes, there are interlocking foam mats that will meet your needs.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Which carpets are best for basements and attics?

If you are like most homeowners, you want to be able to make the most of the space your home has to offer. That includes basements and attics that may require a little creativity. Rather than just using these spaces for storage, why night add a soft touch of color to create an area where family and friends can gather in comfort.

Nothing is more synonymous with home comfort than cushy carpeted floor. Carpeting basements and attic can be quite challenging and frustrating, however, and is often dictated by the climate and flooring.

In attics, the space is often quite cramped and hot. The angle of the ceilings and commonly tight staircases leading to attics create extremely deterrent obstacles to installing carpeting.

Basements have different challenges in that they often feature cold, hard concrete floors and moisture concerns.

Carpet tiles may be just the solution you've been looking floor. Not only do they provide the cushion and comfort of traditional carpeting, but they also offer solutions to the problem of cumbersome installation and maintenance associated with traditional carpeting rolls. Carpet tiles can insulate against the cold basement floors or hot attic air. They can also buffer the sound to the rest of the house when the noisy and rambunctious kids are playing upstairs, making for much more comfortable environment for family members and visitors. 

Carpet tiles are lightweight and sized for easy transportation and installation. Many of these tiles are waterproof or raised and interlock together to prevent separation. Should the tiles become damp, soiled or damaged, they are easy to remove, clean or replace in small sections if needed.

Raised Carpet Tiles
Carpet Flex Floor Tiles allow air and moisture to flow
beneath the floor.
If you are installing carpet tiles in your basement, the number one thing you'll want is for the tiles to be waterproof. Raised waterproof carpet tiles are even better because they will not trap moisture underneath them and allow airflow under the floor, preventing mold or mildew growth. 

Raised carpet tiles such as the CarpetFlex Floor Tile sold at feature a plastic base and carpeted top. The also offer anti-fatigue and nonslip benefits, which are especially useful over hard basement floors. The snap together tiles are just 1x1 feet in size and weigh one pound each.

Royal Interlocking Carpet Tiles can add comfort
and cushion to cold, hard basement floors.
Carpet Bonded Foam Tiles
For basements or attics with less concern with moisture, a carpet bonded foam tile may work just fine and offer a lower price tag. The closed cell EVA and PE foam will not absorb moisture and provides excellent cushioning, insulation and anti-fatigue benefits. 

The puzzle style carpet tiles are easy to cut to fit for wall-to-wall installation and are fun to create patterned designs for your basement or attic floor. Popular carpet bonded foam tiles such as the Royal Interlocking Carpet Tiles also come with border strips for island installations. They feature a plush carpeted surface and weigh just 1.5 pounds per 2x2 foot tile. 

Should your floor become wet or need a deep cleaning beyond standard vacuuming, this form of carpeting can be pulled up and taken outside to dry or clean the tiles and/or subfloor. Once all surfaces are dry, the tiles can be reinstalled in a flash.

There are several varieties over interlocking carpet bonded foam tiles available, giving you a large selection of colors and price ranges to choose from. Economical versions such as Greatmats Eco Interlocking Carpet Tiles can be as inexpensive as $1.88 per square foot. Others can run in excess of $5 per square foot at suggested retail price.

Home Cheer mats can make a great temporary carpeted
area in your basement or attic.
Home Athletic Carpet Mats
For temporary carpet installations where more cushioning is needed, you may want to consider home cheer mats. Available in convenient 4x6 foot or 5x10 foot needle punch carpet topped foam rolls, this option is available in thicknesses of up to 2 inches and provide excellent shock absorption for kids' play areas or athletic use. Should you desire to get them off the floor and out of the way, they easily roll back up and can store on end in a closet. Even covering a space of 50 square feet, cheer mats can weigh less than 25 pounds. Beware however, that these carpeted mats will absorb moisture.

Size, weight, convenience and ease of cleaning all play major roles when deciding on your attic or basement carpeting. Any way to look at it, carpet tiles will leave you with a comfortable, cozy, livable space that may have otherwise left you scratching your head or shaking your fist.