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Installing Rubber Mats

Rubber mats are highly versatile flooring solutions. All you need is a flat, even surface, and you can place the mats down. Vulcanised rubber is nonporous, so it can be installed outdoors. Concrete floors are well suited for the installation of rubber flooring, taking glue especially well, providing a permanent flooring solution to a shed, garage, or outdoor gym. With the proper adhesives, you can create a watertight seal around the mats, which will prevent warping and other distortions.

Can you install rubber mats over carpet?

A portable, non-permanent flooring solution, when you install rubber mats over carpets, you can instantly turn a living area into a weightlifting gym. Having a layer of carpet between the subfloor and the rubber mats can help to dampen the sounds created when putting a fully loaded barbell down. Placing rubber mats over carpet may be your only option if you rent because you don’t have the same ability to tear up carpet.

Avoid placing rubber mats on plush, high-pile carpet.

If you have thick, lush carpet—the kind that is more than a centimeter thick—you shouldn’t place rubber mats over top of it. If you have the ability, rip the carpet up and place the rubber mats over top of the subfloor. Low-pile carpet–tightly packed and not easy to compress–will do just fine with rubber mats on top of it.

Can you install rubber mats over dirt?

Rubber mats are relatively durable and can last in harsh outdoor conditions. It should be noted, however, that just like laying brick or cobblestone outdoors, there are some steps to take to prepare the area before placing rubber mats over dirt. It’s not advised to place rubber mats over loose dirt, clay, or sand, as they do not provide a solid, unmoving base to place the mats on.

1.Clean the area thoroughly, and then dig the area out at least 10 centimetres down.

2.Even out any divots or holes, filling with the earth that you dug up.

3.Fill the hole with 10 centimetres of 20mm chipped gravel. The chipped gravel locks together so that there’s less shifting, whilst also providing drainage.

4.Tamp the gravel down. You can rent a vibrating plate-style compactor1 for the best results and the most uniform surface to place the mats.

5.Wet the gravel and lightly dust the area with a pre-mixed, ready to use concrete mix2. The concrete will weather to expose the compressed gravel below, creating a tight, immoveable surface.

6.Unload the mats and allow them to acclimatise outside for at least one day. Then cut and fit to size.

What’s the best thickness for rubber mats?

If you’re performing any Olympic lifts, a minimum mat thickness of 20mm is required to dampen the effects of dropping weight. However, rubber mats may not be enough to mitigate the effects of the kinetic force from heavy lifts. With deadlifts you’re lifting hundreds of kilograms up to your waist, and by releasing that weight and letting it hit the ground you may cause damage to the subfloor.

All it takes is a quick perusal of the posts on Reddit to learn the effects of poor gym flooring on concrete. A redditor with the name ZannX posted that, even with 3/4inch (20mm) rubber mats, he caused a crack to form in his concrete by dropping his 300 pound deadlift3.

Consider building a deadlift platform to distribute the force of your weights in the designated area for heavy lifts. There’s an article on our sister site, Martial Arts Mats Ireland, which lays out the steps to make your own deadlift platform at home. With some rubber stall mats, a couple sheets of plywood, and some adhesive, you’ll have exactly what you’ll need to protect the subfloor at your gym.

Should you glue rubber mats to the floor or not?

This is a great question, and one that entirely depends on your situation. There’s a tradeoff: If you glue your rubber mats down, you’ll have a permanent rubber floor which will never shift or be disturbed; however, by gluing your rubber mats down, you’ll never be able to move your mats. If you’re okay with having permanent rubber flooring in your home, then gluing the mats down makes sense.

However, if you’re considering moving the mats to another room in your house, then don’t glue the mats down. Once you’ve put the glue down, you don’t have a lot of options to move the mats, and pulling the mats up will lead to ruining the mats.




-Utility knife

-Measuring tape

-Chalk Line

-Carpet Roller

-Toothed Spatula

Polyurethane Glue

The best glue to use should be a two component PU adhesive. A good ratio is that 700g of material will cover one square metre. PU glue is the perfect glue because it easily bonds rubber to wood, and can be used both inside and outdoors. One benefit of using two parts PU glue is that it is incredibly resistant to impacts and vibrations because of its high elasticity5.

There are several places to pick up the PU glue, including The Glue People in Dorset. Their website has a wide selection of adhesives, and they should be able to point you in the right direction on the best adhesive to glue rubber to wood or concrete.

Step One: Acclimatise the Mats

Take the mats out of the packaging and off the pallet, and store the mats for 1-2 days in the place where they’re going to be laid. This step will allow the mats to either contract or expand, and will help prevent gaps in the mats.

Step Two: Clean the Subfloor

Make sure that the surface layer is dry and free from any debris. Moisture and dust can ruin the bond between the rubber mats and the subfloor underneath, so be diligent with cleaning.

Step Three: Layout the Rubber Mats

Next, lay out all the mats in the way you’d like them to look after they’re glued down. There’s an excellent YouTube video by the “GymAndFitness” channel which explains the different rubber flooring layouts. There are two types of patterns to layout rubber mats: The Crisscross Pattern and the Brick Pattern. The Crisscross pattern is where the corners of the mats line up in all directions. This is not advisable for rooms over 20m because some rubber mats differ in size by 2mm, and that difference can add up over long rows. Eventually, your mats won’t line up.

Another method is the Brick Pattern, and it involves staggering the rows of mats so that the first row will start with a full mat and the next row will start with half a mat. This allows for a stress-free application as you are not trying to find mats that will line up perfectly, which gives you wiggle room to lay out the mats.

Start laying the mats by working from a corner of the room and layout the mats in rows. Push the mats together to get the tightest fit.

Cut the mats to fit the wall, making them as snug as possible to the baseboards. Using a chalk line, make lines on the rubber mats and cut them with a utility knife. Another alternative to a utility knife is a jigsaw, which can make quick work of the rubber mats.

After making all the cuts, number the mats to remember which mats go where. This will make for a stress-free installation. Then stack all the mats in one corner and move onto the glue phase.

Step Four: Apply the Glue

Since each type of glue is different, be sure to follow the directions on the packaging of the glue that you purchased. If you purchased a glue with two parts, be sure to follow the directions for how much of each part needs to be mixed.

As soon as you finish mixing, pour the glue over the subfloor. Use a toothed spatula to spread the glue, and be sure to monitor the clock as the adhesive will start to set.

Step 5: Install the Rubber

Remember to only cover a small amount of floor with the adhesive at one time, enough to place five 1mX1m rubber tiles. Remove any glue leaks from the surface as soon as possible to avoid ruining the top of the rubber mats.

Step 6: Hand Roller

Last, after installing the rubber mats, but before the glue sets, apply downward pressure with a 45kg carpet roller. This helps to get rid of any air bubbles trapped underneath the mats and makes sure that the rubber is properly adhered to the subfloor.

After this step, do not walk on the rubber mats until they are fully set.


Rubber mats are some of the most versatile flooring material on the planet. Rubber easily absorbs the force from heavy weights retaining its shape after many uses. However, you may need to take precautions to prevent your floor from being damaged, like building a deadlift platform. After you consider the mat layout, you need to decide whether you will glue the mats down. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re looking for a permanent flooring solution for your gym which will never slip, shift, or move, then using a glue to bond the rubber and floor is exactly what you need.

Author: David Van Kooten







6.How to Lay / Install Rubber Gym Flooring

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