Basement Remodeling Weblog

September 1, 2010

Basement Flooring for Exercise Areas/ Children’s Play Areas

For most homeowners, particularly those with gyms in their basements, there is little advantage to glue down rubber flooring- typically available in rolls or non-interlocking tiles.  Moisture in the concrete and water from incidental flooring plays havoc with adhesives, and will often cause tiles to de-laminate from the floors 

Interlocking rubber and vinyl tiles install loose lay with no tapes or adhesives and are unaffected by moisture.  Most rubber and vinyl gym flooring is pretty substantial- weighing on average 2# to 4# / SF- and stays in place securely even during high impact weight lifting and workouts.  Interlocking tiles do not require that small cracks in the concrete be filled, or that the floor be perfectly level.  Most tiles may be cut with a straight edge and utility knife, and the skill level required for installation is well within the range of most do-it-yourselfers. 

Home Gyms

For most home as well as commercial gyms, rubber provides the widest range of benefits for use as a gym floor. Rubber has a high coefficient of friction in both dry and wet conditions, meaning it stays slip resistant even when users are sweating heavily during their workouts.  Rubber’s natural density provides much better sound absorption than vinyl, tile, and similar hard surfaces, helping to minimize sound in the gym itself, as well as in adjacent rooms.  Rubber’s natural resiliency increases users’ comfort during floor exercises, cushioning knees and ankles from impact and allowing users to work out longer, harder- and safer.  Finally, rubber’s durability provides outstanding protection to damage from free weights and heavy strength equipment to concrete basement floors as well as to expensive hardwood floors.

 

Recycled Rubber.  If you are seeking to maximize your value, recycled rubber- made from recycled tires- is about half the cost ($3.00 – $5.00/SF) of virgin rubber tiles.  Recycled rubber offers many of the same characteristics as virgin rubber- resiliency underfoot, slip resistance, sound deadening, durability- at a much lower price.  Because it is manufactured from used tires, it has an inherent  “used tire” smell, which some homeowners may find objectionable.  Color selection is limited, as recycled rubber tiles are available in black or black with color flecks, only.  For non- free weight areas that have strength and cardio equipment – 3/8″ thickness is a good choice.  If you will be doing heavy free weights, then 1/2″ to ¾” thick interlocking tiles are recommended.

Virgin RubberIf you are seeking a higher aesthetic, virgin rubber tiles ($7.00 – $12.00+/SF) provide none of the odor associated with recycled rubber, and are available in a wide range of colors and interlocking styles.  1/4″ to 3/8” tiles are perfect for non-free weight areas, or use heavier 3/8″ to 9/16”  tiles if you will be routinely dropping heavy free weight on the flooring.  Virgin rubber tiles provide superior shock absorption,  “rebound,” and durability – making it excellent choice for multi- use areas including floor exercises, aerobics, and equipment training. Virgin rubber also provides easier cleanability than recycled rubber due to its closed cell construction, and is easily cleaned with a damp mop.   Recycled rubber- by contrast- has a rougher, more open cell texture, and may require some occasional scrubbing to keep clean.

 Virgin rubber tiles are available in a broad range of colors, patterns, interlock options- including some with hidden tongue-in-groove style interlocks- and are an excellent choice for mid to high-end home gyms, or homeowners who simply find the smell of recycled rubber objectionable.  For creating the ultimate “real gym” in your home, virgin rubber is unmatched in performance, safety, and style.   

Dance and Aerobic Areas

For homeowners seeking to do exercise routines that will include dance style movements- particularly side-to-side foot slide- the lower slip resistance of modular Vinyl Tiles  ($4.00 to $7.00/ sf) is an excellent choice.  While vinyl tiles are typically less resilient than rubber tiles, a rubber underlayment may be used to provide increased sound deadening and additional cushioning.  Interlocking vinyl tiles come in a wide of colors, patterns, and interlocking options and are installed over concrete or wood floors without glue, tapes, or adhesive. 

If you are looking to do a checkerboard or other multi-color design, select a tile that has hidden interlocks to provide clean, straight seams which is preferable to traditional jig saw-style interlocks in these types of applications.   If you put fitness equipment directly on vinyl tiles, your tiles may dent.  To spread the weight load and to reduce indentations and limit scratches, provide smooth, non-staining, rustproof, flat metal or plastic support cups two inches or greater in width beneath legs of heavy furniture or equipment. 

Exercise Areas/  Children’s Play Areas

EVA Foam Tiles ($1.00 to $3.00/ sf) provide another lightweight, low cost alternative to rubber and vinyl flooring and work well in exercise rooms, family rooms and children’s playrooms.   Foam Mats are recommended for exercise routines such as aerobics, sit-ups, and jump roping that require increased impact absorption and protection for your joints.  Interlocking foam tiles install easily with no tapes or adhesives over any hard flooring including concrete and wood.  Foam tiles provide similar insulation value as carpet, and help to create a warmer and softer workout area over cold, hard subfloors at a relatively low price.

Special Note on EVA Foam Tiles: Heavy or pointed items that are wheeled or placed on tiles can cause marks and indentations that cannot be removed. High-heeled shoes and heavy equipment are not recommended for use on foam tiles.  Color shading within EVA foam tiles is an inherent part of the product and is not considered a manufacturing defect.   Installation Tip:  Use a checkerboard pattern to minimize shading differences between tiles. Foam tiles will dent on impact and are not recommended for free weight areas or areas requiring a high level of durability.   But for homeowners to seeking to add color and warmth to a basement floor with a limited budget, foam is a soft and comfortable flooring option.

Rich Meyer

Sales Manager

My Gym Floor

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