Gym Equipment on Hardwood Floors

When you walk into most professional sports arenas and gyms, you will see hardwoods floors with a glossy finish. Hardwood floors make a lot of financial sense because they are durable. However, not all hardwoods have the same properties.

In professional sports training arenas, the hardwood floors are made from maple, which is stronger than the commonly installed pine, walnut, or oak. The most common hardwood floors found in homes are made from oak. Like maple, oak is also durable, but can you put gym equipment on hardwood floors?

Generally speaking, you can put gym equipment on hardwood floors. However, there is a risk of damaging your floors, especially if they're made from a weaker type of hardwood. Additionally, some gym equipment (like the treadmill) will not be stable on a bare hardwood floor, so you risk damaging the machine.

We recommend not placing gym equipment directly on hardwood floors. Here are my top non-hardwood recommendations:

  • Lay mats or rubber tiles over your hardwoods
  • Consider different types of workouts
  • Buy equipment with a protective coating
  • Build or buy a lifting platform

More on those in a minute, but if hardwood is a "must-have" for you, go with...

If Hardwood is a Must, Go With Maple

If you are building a home gym and you are thinking of hardwood flooring, the best option to go with is maple, and here's why:

  • It has a high Janka hardness rating
  • High shock resistance
  • Aesthetics and availability

Janka Hardness Rating

A Janka hardness rating tells you the ability of a particular wood to resist denting and wear.

The Janka hardness rating for maple hardwood is 1450lbs. This means that maple hardwood floors can take a lot of frequent and heavy athletic activity or training because they don't damage as easily.

High Shock Resistance

In a gym, you need shock-absorbing floors to handle foot traffic and frequent dropping or moving of weights and other equipment. Maple hardwood has a high shock resistance, making it less susceptible to wear and tear. Maple's ability to bounce back is good for your joints because of increased mobility.

Maple is also a stable hardwood even more than Hickory which is harder. More stability means high resistance to environmental changes that might cause the wood to expand or retract, meaning fewer cracks on your gym floor.

Aesthetics and Availability

Maple is light-colored with a smooth texture, brightening up a room and making it easy to paint. These trees are America's most common hardwood species, making them easy to find locally.

4 Alternatives to Putting Gym Equipment on Hardwood Floors

As much as maple hardwood is strong, you need to put the right subflooring underneath and finish on top to add to its overall durability.

Let's say you want to build a home gym, and your home has hardwood floors. The smart move is to take preventive measures so your floor doesn't damage easily. Below are some simple steps to help protect your hardwood floors.

  • Use mats or rubber tiles to cover your floors
  • Consider different types of workouts
  • Buy equipment with a protective coating
  • Build or buy a lifting platform

1. Use Mats or Rubber Tiles to Cover Your Floors

You can use many types of gym floor mats, including treadmill mats, horse stall mats, crash mats, rolled rubber mats, and much more.

You can have a specific mat for every workout station. For example, you can use a treadmill mat under your treadmill. A treadmill mat is designed to be wider and longer than your treadmill, so a large portion of your floor will be covered.

Rubber flooring is considered the best type of flooring, especially for a home gym.


Because rubber mats:

  • Affordable
  • Non-slippery
  • Reduce noise
  • Absorbs shock

Many home gym owners worry about if the rubber flooring will also end up damaging their hardwood floors.

Rubber gym flooring will not damage your hardwood floors unless the finish used on the floor has chemicals that will react to the rubber. Fortunately, other options like high-density foam tiles provide a better cushion than rubber tiles and might be non-reactive.

Putting Gym Equipment on Hardwood Floors

2. Consider Different Types of Workouts

Dropping weights is not the only thing that can damage your floors. Anything done with too much force in the gym, like setting a bar down or moving the bench, can crack your hardwood floors.

The goal is to reduce stress or impact on your floors. For example, you can consider doing rack pulls instead of the typical deadlift. With rack pulls, the pins are set up to prevent you from dropping the barbell to the floor, reducing impact.

3. Buy Equipment with a Protective Coating

If you're a weightlifter, this tip is for you.

Instead of buying steel plates, you can go for bumper plates. Bumper plates have a thick rubber coating that will absorb some of the impacts when you drop them, so your floor will not receive the full force of the drop.

The only downside of bumper plates is that they have a larger diameter, so you will not lift as many on the bar. However, you can use both metal and bumper plates if you like to lift a lot of weight. Using both will not fully protect your floors from the impact, but it will not be as bad as using metal plates only.

4. Build or Buy a Lifting Platform

A lifting platform is used mainly for Olympic training athletes, but it can be an excellent addition to your gym if you deadlift and want to protect your hardwood floors.

A lifting platform absorbs shock and spreads the weight over a large surface area. Remember, you're not constantly dropping barbells. Your weights will be on the floor when you're not using the gym, and heavy weights can also ruin your hardwood floors over time.

To build a lifting platform, you will need:

  • ¾ inch 4'x8' pieces of plywood
  • 1.25" inch nails
  • Four tubes of liquid nails
  • ¾ inch 4'x8' rubber mat
  • ¾ inch oak or maple plywood for the center

If DIY projects are not your thing, you can get a good quality lifting platform for about $400-$1200, depending on the size and materials used to make it.

Other ways to protect your hardwood floors are regularly recoating or refinishing your hardwood floors. A fresh coat helps prevent further damage and cover-up cracks keeping your floors looking new.

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