Rubber vs Foam: Which One Is Better for Gym Flooring?
In any construction or development project, laying a good foundation is always the most important step. This is no different when it comes to designing a gym, only that in this case you don’t lay a stone foundation. Rather, you lay a solid, reliable gym floor.
The gym floor is an often overlooked component , even though it is by far the most used part of the gym. From people walking in and out, high-intensity workouts, and carrying tons of equipment, gym floors take a serious beating.
This is why it is essential to choose the right material for your gym floor. A material that is not only durable, cost-effective, and easy to maintain, but one that also provides a safe and comfortable surface for users to exercise on.
Foam and rubber are two of the most popular gym flooring options. In order to decide which one is the best for you, you need to determine what your needs are, then determine which of the two best meets these needs.
In this article we will look at the pros and cons of both foam and rubber flooring, to enable you to make an informed decision.
First Things First – What Are the Characteristics of a Good Gym Floor?
Before we dive into the properties of rubber and foam as flooring options, let’s first take a look at the general qualities that a proper gym floor should have.
A good gym floor needs to be:
Given the large number of people and high cost of equipment in a gym, fire safety is of incredible importance. A gym floor, aside from the ceiling, is the part of the gym that stretches from end to end. Therefore, if it is made of a highly flammable material and the gym catches fire, the establishment will be burnt to ashes in record time. When purchasing gym flooring, make sure it has achieved the ISO9239-1 standard, which is the fire- test for flooring. The good news is that most high quality flooring products exceed these quality standards.
This is another property of gym floors that is critical for the safety of both gym-goers and gym equipment. A person slipping and falling while carrying heavy weights can easily lead to serious injury, and gym equipment can be permanently damaged if it falls over. A perfect gym floor is one that provides adequate grip, without being too rough.
A gym is a place that hosts lots of intense activity, day after day. Installing a durable floor is therefore important for two main reasons. One, it helps the gym owner to avoid endless repair and maintenance costs. And secondly, because maintenance is minimal, it ensures the gym remains open all the time for its users.
4. Shock and vibration absorbent
Let’s remember that a gym is the place where people drop 350-pound barbells from shoulder-height. Without a shock-absorbent floor material, the floor beneath would probably get damaged. Also, with all the vibration, working out would not be very enjoyable.
5. Easy to clean
People bring all kinds of food and drink to the gym. Not to mention the people who produce sweat like it’s their job. A floor for this kind of environment needs to be easily cleaned. Otherwise, it becomes unsanitary pretty quickly.
6. Inexpensive and easy to install and maintain
Note that we use the word ‘inexpensive’ not cheap. A cheap flooring material will cost you for a lifetime. An inexpensive solution on the other hand is the sweet spot where quality and price match up perfectly.
Is Foam a Good Gym Flooring Solution?
Foam flooring is a type of soft flooring that is made from a synthetic material known as EVA foam. Foam flooring typically comes in the form of interlocking tiles. These tiles come in a variety of bright colors, which is why they are widely used for children’s play areas. For gyms however, it offers more than just eye-catching colors.
Pros and Cons of Using Foam As Gym Flooring
- Absorbs impact well – The small pockets of air within the foam give it great flexibility, and the ability to gently carry the weight of gym-goers and heavy equipment.
- Easy to install and maintain – Foam tiles do not require special equipment or expertise to install. All you need to do is take them out of the box and connect them using the interlocking edges. The occasional cleaning only requires a mild soap solution.
- Liquid-proof – Foam tiles, like many other synthetic materials, are water-resistant. This means that any sweat or accidental spills on the flooring won’t be a bother to clean.
- Foam is a good insulator of heat, and therefore a floor made of foam won’t leave gym-goers freezing when they come into contact with it on cold days.
- Foam mats are available in almost every color, making it easy for anyone to create a color theme that suits them.
- Foam flooring is less durable than rubber flooring – If you have a home gym, then you will likely not need to replace a foam floor often. However, the foam flooring of a high-traffic gym will be scuffed, dented or even torn over time. Much less time than it would take for a rubber floor to wear.
- Too much compression. Gym floors need to have some give in order to absorb the pressure of a person working out. It is possible, though, for a gym floor, such as one made out of foam, to have too much compression. When this happens, it makes the person exercising on the floor feel unstable.
- Little protection for both the floor and your equipment – The immense weight of gym equipment coupled with the over-compression of foam can cause damage to the hard floor underneath. Also, gym equipment requires a very sturdy surface, which foam mats are not best suited to provide.
Is Rubber Better Than Foam As Gym Flooring?
Rubber flooring is the most common flooring found in gyms. And for good reason. It gives your workout space a professional look and feel without breaking the bank. But do the pros outweigh the cons?
Pros and Cons of Using Rubber As Gym Flooring
- Eco-friendly options – Many rubber mats today are made from recycled rubber, making it the more environmentally-conscious flooring choice.
- Perfect shock-absorbency – Rubber flooring provides just the right amount of compression, helping to prevent joint injury, and also protecting the hard floors when heavy equipment is dropped,
- Fluid-resistant – No need to worry about moldy floors and odor.
- Very very durable – Rubber flooring is extremely hardy. It’s likely you’ll change your gym shoes countless times before needing to replace the rubber flooring of your gym.
- Quick and easy installation – Albeit heavier than foam mats, rubber mats are still easy to install.
- Rubber flooring does not insulate heat as well as foam mats.
- Rubber flooring carries a higher initial cost than foam mats.
- Rubber mats are bulkier than foam mats, posing a challenge during installation or removal.
Now that you know what both foam and rubber flooring offer, you can make the right choice for your needs. If you just need something quick, easy or temporary, foam mats may be the way to go.
However, if a hardy, professional, gym floor is what you’re looking for, rubber flooring is your best bet. Check out our range of rubber flooring products that are sure to serve you well for years to come.