Treadmill Mats - Home Gym Flooring
When using and storing treadmills, it is important to protect the environment and treadmills from damage and to improve the workout sessions in as many ways as possible.
Good treadmill mats dampen vibrations and noise and protect floor from the treadmill's weight, dripping lubricant, vibrations and similar.
On the other hand, good mat protect treadmill from carpet and similar fibers entering into treadmills and damaging the motor, belt and other treadmill's components.
Treadmill Mats Material
Treadmill mats are made from various materials. Mats must be strong and durable, tear resistant, it must be cleaned easily, must absorb impacts, eliminate or at least dampen vibration, must be non-toxic, and preferable, with no smell of any kind.
Most common materials used for treadmill and gym floor mats in general are EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate - EVA) foam, rubber and PVC (poly-vinyl chloride - PVC).
These materials have their pros and cons.
EVA foam mats provide excellent floor protection and vibration elimination, but they are relatively soft to touch and to achieve desired protection, must be at least 3/8" - 1/2" (8-12 mm) thick. They are waterproof, very lightweight and have non-slip surface.
PVC mats are very tough and durable, absolutely waterproof and protection from carpet fibers is excellent. However, they are sometimes hard to manage when thick and they must be thick to provide vibration elimination like EVA foam mats.
Rubber mats are often made from recycled tires and provide very good protection for both floors and treadmills.
Of course, there are other materials used for treadmill and gym mats.
Combined mats - these mats use more materials to achieve desired level of protection. For example, PVC is used to create tough and durable mat surface, while inner core is made using EVA foam or rubber.
Types of Treadmill Mats
Interlocking mats come in the form of tiles with interlocking edges (hence the name). They are usually made from EVA foam or similar materials with individual tiles ranging from 8"/20 cm (or even less) to 4'/120cm (rarely larger). Interlocking mats can be adapted to cover certain area by combining required number of tiles.
The larger the tiles, it is faster to cover larger area, but storing such large tiles can be problem. Also, if the tiles don't match the size of the room/area, some empty, uncovered area can occur on the edges - if that happen, order few more extra mats and using sharp and strong knife, trim excess material (with great care - if unsure, contact the sales representative or read the manual).
Folding mats are mostly used only during exercise. One unfolds the mat, position the treadmill or other exercise machine on the mat and after workout, stores both treadmill and the mat. Folding mats are usually made from PVC.
Rubber mats are usually stored rolled since they are too rigid and too thick to be folded like PVC mats.
Which mat to use? If you need to cover larger area, go for EVA foam or rubber interlocking mats and cover area from wall to wall.
If you use your treadmill only occasionally and you want to protect carpet or wooden floor, use strong PVC mat.
If you workout only occasionally, but you have sensitive carpets and wooden floors, or trainee weight combined with the weight of treadmill is really large (say 400 pounds - 180 kg) choose thicker rubber floor mats.
Good floor mat can extend the life of both your floor and your treadmill.
For the list of most popular treadmill mats, check this Amazon link.