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By Ari Ziskin
Published: February 8, 2017 | Updated: January 21, 2022
Can you install rubber gym flooring over carpet? This seems to be the million dollar question in the gym flooring world. Find out whether gym flooring will work over your carpet and how to go about the installation process.
So, you’re ready to create your own home gym? It’s super exciting, but it can also be really confusing.
If you have hard surfaces like wood, tile, vinyl, laminate, etc., it’s easy to figure out what to do with your floor. You just lay some rubber or foam gym flooring on top and, voila! you’ve got yourself a gym floor. But if you have carpet…? That’s a horse of a different color. ( <–name that movie!)
Carpet can be tricky. Especially if you’re set on keeping your carpet. It can add a whole new level to your building and installation process.
This is the type of thing you don’t normally think about until you’re ready to hit purchase and then it’s like “Oh man! What am I going to do about my carpet?!” A flurry of google searches later, you can end up even more confused than when you started.
So…can you install rubber gym flooring over carpet?
You’re going to love my answer.
I know, I know, but let me explain!
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This is the first question we need to answer. Is your carpet short and flat like a commercial carpet? Or is it soft, squishy and plush like walking on a cloud?
While plush carpet is often ideal for bedrooms because it adds that extra comfort, it is not ideal for gym flooring. Not even a little bit.
If you want to install gym flooring and have this softer, high pile carpet, you pretty much have two options.
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I know, this is probably what you were trying to avoid. The truth is, this is going to be your easiest and least expensive option.
It’s just not a good idea to put rubber tiles, rolls or even mats directly over your soft carpet. It’s not stable and you could seriously injure yourself. Imagine lifting weights on a wobbly surface, or running on a treadmill with a wobbly subfloor. That is a recipe for disaster.
Because the floor is so uneven and unstable, rubber tiles will come apart at the seams and rubber rolls will lift, move and ripple.
Not to mention, your carpet isn’t really meant for this type of activity. Laying heavy rubber on top and then adding in weights, exercise, etc. will smush and flatten your carpet unevenly. While carpet can return to its normal thickness after being flattened (it does usually come in rolls), you’re not evenly distributing the weight, you will likely end up with a lumpy carpet.
The good news is, carpet is really easy to rip out yourself. I did it in my remodel and I am the least handy person I know. Once you rip out the carpeting, you can easily install your perfect gym flooring on the nice sturdy subfloor.
If you’re living in a rental and you can’t alter the space or if you’re 100% set on keeping your plush carpet, there is still an option! You can use plywood to create a subfloor on top of your carpet.
This is basically like building a giant platform. It will work great and protect both your carpet and your body. And to be fair, it’s not that much more difficult or expensive. It’s just an extra step.
Plywood typically costs around $0.50/sqft, about $50 for a 10’x10′ home gym.
Of course, this also adds more time and energy to your project, but it can be well worth it if you want a home gym but can’t ditch your carpet.
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Good news! The answer is a big, fat YES you can! And easily.
First of all, check to make sure your carpet really is low pile. Try putting something on top and standing on it – it should feel solid and sturdy. Now, there are a few options, depending on how much you care about keeping the carpet intact.
We hear this all the time. You don’t really care about your carpet, but you don’t want to deal with ripping it up.
In that case, you can lay the gym flooring of your choice right over top. No preparation necessary. If you’d like, you can use double-sided carpet tape along the edges to make sure you keep the floor in place, but honestly, it’s not usually necessary. Additionally, you can glue down, but some of the glue will absorb into the carpet and it won’t work quite as well.
Just follow the typical installation instructions for your particular gym flooring and it will be no different than installing over a hard surface.
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If you’re renting, using a temporary gym flooring or just not sure you’re ready to give up on that carpet yet, not to worry! We can help you protect it.
If you’re not planning on using any sort of adhesive, you can easily lay the rubber directly down on the carpet with no extra precautions. The only negative here is if you have a light colored carpet, the rubber will make it look dirty. But good news! Any dirt/color from the rubber will come out easily with a traditional carpet cleaning.
If you want to use glue or tape (this is not necessary in most cases) or you don’t want to worry about cleaning your carpet, you can always just lay a big sheet of plastic between your carpet and rubber. Make sure the plastic is cut to fit the size of your room – you don’t want a bunch of extra material.
Once you lay your plastic, you can still loose lay your rubber. Or, you can use double-sided carpet tape to secure the edges.
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You can really use any gym flooring over your carpet as long as you follow the above instructions. But if you’re still not sure what to get, here are a few of our most popular home gym flooring options.
Wow, this is a great article. I own a carpet store in the Ann Arbor MI area https://www.aacarpetandfloors.com Believe it or not, I have had a few customers ask me this same question and I really had no idea. I had one client do it themselves and they told me it worked out very well. I will definitely keep this article for the next time the subject comes up. Thanks for publishing!
We are looking to make a home gym, the room in question is carpeted, but doesnt have a solid concrete floor underneath. So it’s quite noisey if you jump on it (like you do!). This is ok for weights etc, but i’m concerned my wife’s treadmill will boom throughout the house as she stomps out the miles. Will some plywood and gym flooring be enough to dampen the sound? Or are there better methods? I guess it’d be the same scenario with most upstairs home gyms, so hopefully there’s some good suggestions?
What kind of plastic sheets would be adequate for protecting carpet from the rubber tiles? Thanks!
Hi, glad I came across this article as I’m confused with all the different opinions found across the web-YouTube etc. I have a ram Promaster 2018 with I’m in the conversion process and in the process of looking for my best flooring options. Lots of people are going the long way, applying insulation on the floor, play wood 1/2”to 1” and the another thick layer of the vinyl, carpet or rubber flooring. I’ll like to keep it simple buy well done and lol great lasting. I really love the strong rubber floor but my concern is the floor of the Van is uneven, with about 1’ gap in between all across the lines. Question, is it ok to put the carpet padding under the Rubber floor, 8mm possibly or I may even go 1/2”? Or do I need to put playwood in between? How would I secure the rubber floor whether is over the padding or the playwood? Thanks so much
we live in cold England and are building our home gym foundation up. we’ve heard that rubber alone may not always be the best solution for insulation. what would you recommend laying below the rubber, over concrete to insure insulation
Do you carry this foam underlayment? Or where can I find it/what type do I look for?
This was exactly the information I needed to start my @home gym. I’m still looking to see the different styles that are out there so I can put over my carpet. But I do love your recommendations.
Can I lay rubber flooring in part of a room, meaning will not be touching all 4 walls?
Great information, thank you! I would like to lay rubber tiles over my carpet but fear it is too plush. Can the interlocking rubber tiles be laid over the pad or should I remove the pad as well?
Michelle, my apologies, I wasn’t clear in my question. I was wondering if I can lay the rubber tiles over the carpet padding, as it is glued down. I’ve already removed the carpet. Thank you!
What about putting the tiles over just the underneath carpet padding? Not the actual carpet for a little extra cushion. Or should I take up the padding and put the tiles directly on the floor base?
I am looking to install rubber flooring in a room that has plush carpet and have been told that removing the carpet isn’t an option. Instead of plywood, I am considering using vinyl floor runner over the existing carpet and taping at the seams. It seems as if this would prevent the separation of the tiles, while protecting the carpet. Has this been tried, and if so, how did it work/not work? Thanks.
I have a large carpeted area and I’d like to put rubber flooring over part of it. What kind or reducer would be recommended for something like this?
How thick should you get the plywood ?
is there a range you can recommend? we will only need it on part of our room – under an exercise bike and a small yoga mat size area. so probably 4 ft x 6 ft and we have a thick plush carpet, so i think the plywood idea is best. any idea what thickness plywood is best?
I bought two rolls of rubber flooring to put on our basement concrete floor. We are looking to put something under it to provide a bit of “cushion” to the flooring as my wife does various aerobic type workouts. What do you suggest? We do not have to worry about thickness for doors or baseboards. It is an unfinished basement where she has her workout area.
Hello! I reviewed your article which is very helpful. We are interested in purchasing an elliptical and only have carpeted area to place it on. What do you suggest? Instead of the plywood option, would the large rubber tiles that appear at the end of the video above work? Thanks!
Great article, we are looking to install a power rack and weight equipment in one of our bedrooms. It has high pile carpet on it so, what is our best option? Can you send some samples?
We’re planning to setup a home gym in a room that has medium/high pile carpet in it. The total area is about 165 square feet but won’t cover the entire room. For the layer of plywood, what thickness plywood would you recommend, is a quarter inch sturdy enough or would you use ¾ inch?
Since the workout area won’t cover the entire room, would you recommend using mats or tiles? What thickness mats/tiles do you recommend? Do they have to be taped or glued to the plywood? It seems that 1-inch tiles will interlock better, but I am worried about a high lip with the combined height of the plywood and rubber at the border of the workout area which may be a tripping hazard.
We are looking to update our play area 23’x23 ‘ and wasn’t sure if you could send us samples or your product. We are interested in the rubber flooring by the roll.
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