What to Put Under a Treadmill

It’s no doubt that treadmills are dreadful to some, or a necessity for others. Some people have asthma and would only use it for walking. Others, however, are cardio fanatics and need to get a daily run in when the weather just isn’t suitable for one.

What to Put Under a Treadmill

Studies show that people who love physical fitness credit their positive addiction to endorphins. Or what is called the runners high. Runner’s levels of euphoria were observed to increase after long-distance running, with a dramatic decrease of stress levels in the brain.

A treadmill is an investment of time, money, and most importantly, the outcome of how you feel after use. Walking the slightest distance can even lift your mood, so it’s a win-win for most people.

But what if you don’t know where to place it in your home? Or, if you just got your floors redone and are worried the heavyweight of a treadmill may damage it?

Keep reading to know what floors are suitable for treadmills, or how to protect them from potential damage. The placement and size of the surface protector is important to safeguard your flooring.

Best Surfaces to Be Under a Treadmill

Below is a list of the best surfaces to put under a treadmill to protect the indentation of the floor, motor deficiency, and for runner’s best ability. These include:

  • An equipment mat (under all flooring)
  • Hardwood floor
  • Carpet
  • Concrete

Surfaces to Avoid

  • Carpet
  • Laminate hardwood floor
  • Vinyl hardwood floor
  • Yoga mat or runner rug

Types of Treadmills and Durability

Human flexibility requires the ability to walk or run at high speeds due to ligament and muscle lengthening. Treadmills are a simulation tool, that proves this ability.

Types of Treadmills and Durability

It’s important to know how the weight of a treadmill can impact your floor and stability negatively or positively. To aid your selection process.

Below are some different types of treadmills and how light or heavy each one is, including:

  • Manual Treadmill is small and lightweight. It doesn’t have any electrical components, so it can easily fold up and be placed into storage to reduce wreckage on your floor. Place a mat to avoid slipping since lightweight is prone to slipping.
  • Motorized Treadmill is larger and heavier. It is electronically powered by its motor and needs a stable and thick mat to be placed on permanently.
  • Commercial treadmills are high-quality treadmills designed for gyms using commercial gym equipment. They are heavy-duty and needs a thick mat underneath.
  • Force-sensing treadmills (TMs) are heavy and durable. It provides an alternative to the standard overground treadmill, as it includes two handlebars to maintain stability and gait control.

Studies showed that the motorized properties of treadmill surfaces have a direct link to sports performance and injury risk.

The study looked at different mechanical properties of treadmills that may affect treadmill running performance, injury risk, and general research of treadmills overground locomotion.

By placing a mat under a treadmill that is equipped for holding heavy objects, it will lessen the risk of injury as lighter treadmills can slip on any surface.

Place an Equipment Mat

Putting a matt down can prevent indents in the surface of the floor, particularly dense wood or carpet. It’s especially advised that if you have carpet, you should lay a mat down so that the carpet’s particles, such as fluff or dust won’t get into the treadmill’s motor.

This can lead the treadmill’s motor to weaken and become insufficient in providing enough motion for use or even break down – further impeding people’s cardio workout to meet their fitness goals.

Cardio equipment that is well working is especially needed for people with a poststroke condition as walking can improve their condition.

However, having a mat to protect the breakage of the motor is not the only precaution. Make sure that the mat is large enough to be placed under the entire treadmill. This will protect your floors from oil or grime that can sometimes be left from the use of the equipment.

This is also to ensure the surface under the mat is even, and at the same time acts as a cushion protector for your floor. For example, if your floor’s mat doesn’t fit the treadmill and one side is elevated, it can impact your gait control and strain muscles.

Studies showed that a peak force reduction of up to 25% can be achieved with a floor-protective rubber underlay.

Amazon has a rubber-based mat for any treadmill. Check out Amazon’s bestseller High-Density Treadmill Exercise Mat that absorbs vibration, with an in-grained pattern designed to prevent the material from moving around underneath the equipment.

Will a Treadmill Damage a Hardwood Floor?

Treadmills are made of out heavy, durable materials, including steel. So, it’s important that you place a designated equipment mat underneath the fitness machine.

If one part of the exercise equipment has direct contact with the floor, scratches or indents can be easily made.

Treadmill on Hardwood floor

Laminated hardwood floors should be avoided at all costs. This is because they are usually very slippery, and dense in thickness, making it very vulnerable to damage when placed a heavy object on it.

Light treadmills are equally an issue as well as a safety matter. It’s more prone to slip on a laminated surface thus creating damaging scratches.

However, if you want to access a hardwood floor’s suitability for fitness equipment the most durable hardwood floors are oak, walnut, maple, pecan, or ebony.

Even then, it’s still advised to place a floor-cover for maximum stability and protection as the most durable hardwood floors can get musty and scuffed from the vibrations and weight.

If you have to, it’s best to buy a good rubber mat to protect your new or old embedded hardwood flooring.

Amazon carries a thick mat for protecting hardwood flooring or carpets from exercise equipment. Its equipped with water-proof material and is non slip to ensure a firm grip on the floor’s surface.

MotionTex Exercise Equipment Mat...
  • Exercise equipment mat: measuring 36 inches by 72 inches, this protective floor mat stays safely in place under most standard treadmills
  • Surface protection: protect your flat pile carpet and hard floors from damage, noise, and vibration caused by fitness or home gym equipment
  • Non-absorbent: designed with non-absorbent recycled PVC to repel water, sweat, grease, and other liquids during your workout
  • Safety features: non-directional top texture provides a slip resistant surface, and rounded corners keep the mat from curling – reducing the chance of falling or tripping on the mat
  • Easy to clean: when ready to clean, simply rinse with soap and water

Last update on 2022-07-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Can a Treadmill be Placed Under Vinyl Flooring?

Perhaps the biggest concern with vinyl flooring is its susceptibility to scratches due to its luxurious and quality construct. Or, permeant indentation when moving or placing heavy objects on it without some kind of protective underlay padding.

Worst case, the weight of the cardio machine can lead to the tearing of your vinyl flooring tiles. Vinyl flooring doesn’t have good shock absorption in its designed width.

Treadmill under Vinyl flooring

The standard size of vinyl flooring is 2mm to 8mm, although it doesn’t necessarily determine its durability.

This flooring is, however, no matter how durable it deems to be is not suited for home gym equipment like a treadmill.

If there’s no other better surface in your household, you can always buy a mat protector with a good grip to enhance the protection against this type of floor.

Amazon carries a rubber mat to ease the discomfort of the floor’s surface to the heaviness of the large treadmill. Built with the finest 1/4-inch EVA foam to stabilize the machine’s weight and pressure.

Can you Place a Treadmill on Concrete?

Concrete is suitable for any heavy workout equipment and is one of the best solutions. You don’t have to put a mat down because no damage can be done to the surface.

Even though concrete floors (like in the basement or garage) don’t typically need a mat, putting a mat down will help the treadmill stay even more in place than it is. Better yet, it’s good for stepping onto to get less dirt on your shoes.

It will create a cleaner area just by placing the mat down as concrete tends to get very dusty very quickly.

Although concrete floors are hard and durable, they lack shock absorption for heavy equipment. Just because a surface is durable, doesn’t’ mean it is excellent at absorbing shock energy from big machines. However, the bottom line is that it won’t harm the floor and is overall safe to place it on.

Amazon carries an Exercise Fitness Mat for cement flooring for extra protection and sturdiness while creating a cleaner workout space where ever you are.

CyclingDeal Exercise Fitness Mat -...
  • APPLICATION: Size: 36" x 72", 3'x6', (92 cm x 183 cm). The mat is made of thick 7mm foam soft new PVC without odor. Protects carpets and floors from treadmills, elliptical, stationary spin bikes and others. Protects your carpet or floor against dirt, vibrations, wear and tear.
  • NON SLIP: Mat stays firmly on the tiles, floors or carpets. Prevents stationary bike or trainer from slipping whilst in use. As the mat is made of new materials, it will not leave any marks on the floor after use.
  • WATER PROOF: The mat is 100% waterproof. It prevents sweat or water drops damaging the carpet and wood floors. It is very easy to clean.
  • DURABLE & QUALITY: Thick 7mm mat is great to absorb vibration during the workouts. The mat's quality hardened top layer is great for stepping on while wearing cycling shoes with cleats, compatible with Peloton or NordicTrack indoor exercise stationary bikes.
  • ORDER NOW, WORRY FREE! We're so confident about our product quality that we can provide 2-year warranty!

Last update on 2022-07-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Can You Place a Treadmill on Tiles?

If you have a room made out of tiles, you would know the work that goes into the making of it. You wouldn’t want gym equipment like a treadmill to damage it, or ruin any pieces no matter how deep they’re embedded.

You can place it on tiles, but the same advice goes for vinyl or hardwood flooring: use a thick equipment mat for grip and protection.

You can use the Foam Mat Protector from Amazon for maximum stability and protection against damage that is inevitable on any floor tiles.

Marcy Fitness Equipment Mat and...
  • HIGH-IMPACT FOAM SURFACE– Constructed from premium 1/4-inch EVA foam, this gym mat boasts a sturdy construction that resist damages against high impacts caused by dropping equipment such as barbells, dumbbells, kettle bells, and wall balls during training
  • ABSORBS IMPACT – Created as a reliable gym accessory that will help enhance your training, this protective flooring has a cushioned surface that absorbs shock, making it ideal to use as a floor protector or as a fitness mat when performing exercises
  • STABILIZES MACHINES–A matte layer delivers firm placement of exercise machines and features a premium material blend that showcases a non-slip surface. The protective barrier reduces noise and vibration caused by working treadmills, climbers, and steppers
  • LIGHTWEIGHT STRUCTURE– Combining practical design and functionality, it features a lightweight yet heavy-duty structure that facilitates efficient pressure and weight distribution. The pliable nature of the mat also makes it easy to work out anywhere

Last update on 2022-07-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What Floor Protectors to Avoid?

A yoga mat is usually quite thin and won’t sustain a large, heavy object. They typically won’t reach the length of a treadmill, unless it’s very small.

A mat that isn’t long or thick enough to withstand the weight or size of the treadmill.

Reading product descriptions of the dimensions of your treadmill is a vital step in your mat searching process.

You want to buy a mat that will not only fit your treadmill but protect it against carpet fibers, dust, floor dimples, or scratches in the floors of your home gym.

Treadmill on a floor protector

A runner rug is similar to a carpet as it has the same material embedded in its construction. The rug may be long enough, but there are many undeniable factors that won’t protect your floors with it. including carpet fibers clogging the motor from the heavy and constant vibration.

Or, the thinness of the material that is basically fluff and plastic that doesn’t have adequate underlay ability for extremely heavy objects.

Plus, it’s designed so people can see it, not to hide the beautiful design.

A foam mat is acceptable and encouraged however, a foam mattress topper or any other type of foam that’s not designed for heavy equipment is not suitable.

The Bottom Line

The best way to avoid any damage to your floor, no matter the type is to place a thick, equipment designed mat under your treadmill.

Thick treadmills require more protection against your floor, so investing in a good quality mat will provide optimal cushioning.

Whether you created an at-home gym, or just put in new hardwood flooring, the surfaces to avoid are laminate or vinyl hardwood and carpet.

Laminate is too dense and slippery, where carpet can lead to breakage of your treadmill.

The last thing you want is to harm your new treadmill or floor. So, following this guide on what surfaces are suitable for heavy equipment is vital to lessen your worries of damage to your at-home workout area.

Let us know in the comments if you found this article helpful for treadmill protection against your floors. Lastly, you can share this article with anyone who also uses treadmills.


You might also like to read about: How to Get Rid of a Treadmill

About Gaurav Dhir

Gaurav Dhir, B. Tech, PGDCM is an engineer and MBA by training. A fitness aficionado, Gaurav follows a strict diet and exercise regimen to keep himself vigorously active. He loves playing sports and being outdoors. Gaurav is responsible for the health and wellness of 4 generations including his son, elderly parents and very elderly grandparents.