Gym Flooring Guide: Rubber Mats and Rolls

By |2019-11-09T20:14:51-07:00November 2nd, 2017|Categories: Equipment Guides|Tags: , |15 Comments

Quick-Pick by Gym Type

Home Gym

The best deal online for 4′ x 6′ x 1/2″ rubber mats is XMark’s mats on Amazon. 

For a power rack setup, 2 of those mats will nicely cover the floor under your rack and enough in front for your bench.

If you’ll be doing cleans or snatches in front of your rack, get one additional mat to give yourself enough room to drop the bar.

Commercial Gym, Health Club, or Training Studio

3/8″ or 1/2″ rubber mats or rolls are fine for most applications. See the rubber rolls on Amazon.

If your gym has no freeweights that could be dropped, such as a gym that is entirely selectorized weight machines, your floor will be ok without mats. 

For cardio equipment, 1/8″ vinyl mats work well to protect the floor and dampen vibration. See the 3′ x 8.5′ mat from Rogue, or the 2.5′ x 5′ mat from Amazon.

Crossfit Box

3/4″ thick rubber mats are needed to give maximum protection for your concrete subfloor against constantly dropped weights. Available in a 25-pack deal from Rogue Fitness or Fringe Sport.

Olympic Lifting Gym

A line of several lifting platforms is the standard, either the professional-looking York platforms or the budget-friendly Rogue platforms. It protects the floor really well, and rubber flooring might not be needed throughout the rest of the area.

4ft x 6ft Rubber Mats

4′ x 6′ happens to be a common size that these come in. There are larger and smaller ones. Larger ones are almost impossible for one person to handle (this size is already 96 lbs). For smaller sizes, on the other hand, you might as well go with interlocking mats, detailed in the next section below.

These mats can work in a 3/8″, 1/2″, or 3/4″ thickness. Get the 3/4″ if you can. It protects your floor underneath the best against dropped weights. Anything thinner than 3/8″ is more like a cardio equipment mat that’s just meant to protect the floor against a treadmill or bike sitting on it and not much else.

A concrete floor underneath is ideal, and it’s the only subfloor you should have if you plan on dropping weights at all when doing olympic lifts.

For carpet, you’re going to either need to pull up the carpet (ideal) or lay sheets of 3/4″ (or 23/32″) plywood over the carpet, and the mats on top of that. A thick carpet will be too squishy and not give you the kind of stability you need when you’re lifting a lot of weight. Squats in particular will make you notice that your rubber and plywood setup on top of thick carpet doesn’t give you the firmest footing. Either way, drill screws through the mats into the plywood to keep everything from shifting around. 

Rubber mat screwed into plywood, laid on top of carpet.

For thin, firm carpet, you can lay mats directly on them and you’ll be fine.

For tile or hardwood floors, to prevent scuffing first put down some canvas dropcloths (foam underlay also works but can add squishiness, which is bad), then 3/4″ plywood, then rubber mats. This will protect your nice flooring sufficiently from dropped weights and the direct abrasion of the plywood… and reduce noise. Finally, drill some wood screws through the rubber and plywood to keep everything nicely in place. You will be recessing the screw into the rubber a bit so you don’t trip on the screw head, so be extra careful taht your screws aren’t so long that you go through to your nice floor underneath.

Plywood note: Get high quality plywood sheets that are nice and flat, not curled. It can still eventually curl up on you, but at least starting with flat plywood is critical. Be careful when you mop the floor later (you do mop your gym floor, right?), keeping any moisture from seeping down to the plywood to prevent curling over time.

“Stall mats”, or any mats made with recycled rubber, will stink. If you have time, and you’re just installing a few, drape each one on something outside to air them out for a while. Possibly up to a month. Otherwise just keep the room ventilated and they’ll eventually stop off-gassing.

These rubber mats can be cut to size with a few passes of a utility knife or good serrated knife. I’ve cut 3/4″ stall mats with a utility knife and straight edge, and it cuts fine. Just cut the edge that will go against the wall.

Where to Buy 4’x6′ Rubber Mats

If you are filling a big area, get the 25-piece case from Rogue Fitness or Fringe Sport. Even if you don’t need all 25, it’s a great deal. Sell your extras on an app like Offerup or Letgo for the same as what you paid, $50 a pop, and you’ll get rid of them in one day flat and make a friend. There are tons of people out there looking for 2 or 3 good gym mats for that price.

For smaller quantities, XMark’s 4′ x 6′ x 1/2″ mats on Amazon are the best deal online right now because of free shipping.

25ft or 50ft Rubber Rolls

If you buy a few rolls, these are the best deal per square foot.

These are all 4ft wide and come up to 1/2″ thick but most commonly are 3/8″ and thinner, because thicker ones won’t roll up very tightly.

One big advantage of these is they minimize seams between mats that are unsightly or can lead to slipping. Basically, the fewer mats, the fewer seams. These are made specifically for commercial applications so are precision-cut so that you can barely notice the seams. This 

Be warned, these rolls are really heavy, more than you can handle on your own. You may need professional help to get them installed right, or at least a couple friends.

See these 8mm (about 3/8″) thick rolls on Amazon. Pick the 3 or 5 rolls options on the Amazon product page and you’ll see it’s quite a bit less per square foot than for just 1 roll.

EVA Puzzle-Piece Tiles

I have to mention these because they’re all over Amazon. 

If you want to cheap out on flooring, EVA mats are what you’ll get. It’s the Cheez Wiz of flooring. Don’t even think about using it in a commercial setting, or your whole gym will feel cheap.

Sometimes these are advertised as “rubber foam” flooring or “soft rubber” flooring. They’re not rubber. Don’t be fooled.

They’re extremely lightweight and easy to install. Each tile weighs maybe 1/2 pound? 

They have several major issues:

  • The floor protection isn’t that great if you drop weights, because it’s too soft to disperse the load like rubber does
  • Pieces can stretch from enough lateral force and move out of alignment
  • The surface texture wears away quickly
  • Heavy equipment will cause it to compress a lot and leave marks permanently
  • Your footing won’t be firm for any standing heavy lifts. Squats and cleans, beware!

If you insist on using them, don’t put them directly on carpet, unless it’s super thin carpet. They’ll squish and separate all over the place and be totally unusable. Major bummer. You could lay some 3/4″ plywood sheets down first, as described above for the rubber mats, to at least help keep the tabs from lifting up.

Lifting Platforms

For ultimate protection in dropping barbells when doing the olympic lifts. You still need to use bumper plates, but if you’re careful and not lifting a ton of weight you can do deadlifts with iron plates on it.

It’s two layers of plywood underneath, and on top is a another layer of hardwood in the center strip, and a layer of thick rubber on the sides. The whole thing is enclosed by a steel frame to keep it together. It’s awesome.

The width is always 8ft, to accommodate a fully-loaded 7ft barbell with room for slop. As far as the length front to back, get 8ft if you’re going to be doing olympic lifts. That will give you room to drop the barbell in front of or behind you. 6ft depth can work. For deadlifts you only need 4ft.

Putting it directly on a concrete subfloor is fine. Most commonly a lifting platform is on top of the rubber flooring that’s everywhere else in the gym. 

The hardwood has just the right amount of traction if you’re using olympic lifting shoes.

If you have anything but a concrete subfloor, don’t try a platform. This won’t go well. Light to moderately heavy deadlifts are ok, but a wood floor underneath isn’t going to like it when you drop olympic lifts, even with the platform.

We sell York’s oak platforms at Adamant Barbell, which look great and perform well in any environment. 

For a cheaper price you can get Rogue’s modular “build-your-own” platform kit in the 8’x6′ size or 8’x8′ size. I love things that you can take apart and actually move, and good luck ever moving a regular platform on your own. Basically with Rogue’s solution you buy the frame and a set of 1.5″ thick rubber tiles to stick in it. Done! 

Another advantage of Rogue’s is you don’t have to ever worry about wood curling over time or everything staying glued together. The frame keeps it all together, and that’s that. There’s not much to it. If you really want to, you could stick two layers of 3/4″ plywood in the center for your standing area.

Brandon Campbell Diamond did a nice video on Rogue’s platform frame:

What did you do for flooring in your gym? Send us a pic!

About the Author:

David Kiesling
David founded Adamant Barbell in 2007 and Two Rep Cave in 2018. Lately he spends his free time practicing archery and hang gliding.

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Shaun Hlad
Shaun Hlad

I bought a stall mat at Tractor Supply. 4×6 for $40. I would argue it’s the same exact thing as these other guys sell for $94. The only drawback is it stinks like rubber hardcore. So much, my wife asked me to put it in the garage to air out. lol. It’s bad.


I have a gym with rubber tiles that need to be replaced as they are all scuffed but still functional. I have ordered rubber mats. Should I install the rubber mats over the existing rubber tiles or remove them and start fresh?


Thanks David for your reply, I’ll give that a go and happy new year! 🙂


Hi David,

I have purchased 4x6ft 18mm or 0.7 inch thickness rubber horse mats:

I plan on putting it in my garage over a cement floor. Would you recommend an underlay or will the cement be well enough protected? Also thinking about sound reduction as well and if you had any suggestions for underlay for that?

I would be cleaning and dropping the weights 2-3 times a week.

Thank you very much,



Hi David,

Thank you for your quick reply!

These were the ones I was thinking of I think they are the similar (I am based in the UK):

I may well have off cuts as the mats do not fit exactly into the space and use them as extra support when lifting heavier!

Thank you very much for your help!



Hi David,

I have something similar to the EVA mats that I purchased here (New Zealand) over the concrete floor in my garage/home gym. These work reasonably well for my plyometric training/circuit training however after 4 years of use, this flooring is starting to lose its cushioning.

I would like to put a second layer of these mats on top but need to somehow affix them together so that when I’m doing burpees, box jumps etc they are not going to slide.

Because I need to also park my car in the garage in between workouts, I am wanting to affix the rubber mat layers together, not fix the mat to the floor as I lean the mats against the garage walls when not in use.

Can you recommend an adhesive or glue that would be strong enough?

Thanks so much!


Ok, thanks! I have tile floor above concrete subfloor, my plan is to build a standard 8×8 lifting platform out plywood and horse stall mats. Since firmer is better, would laying down four 4×6 horse stall mats and building the platform ensure better protection tile floor? A few of the tiles are uneven. Could the mats themselves damage the tiles in some way, or lead to water pooling underneath them? Perhaps I should lay the canvas drop cloth beneath the horse stall mats as the first layer? No dropped weights, just deadlifts (~300-400lb at the moment) lowered quickly to the platform.

Justin Hill
Justin Hill

What type of thin foam underlay would you recommend to put between tile floor and plywood? How thick should it be?

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