Q: We are building a new home and will have a 16′ x 16′ area over a concrete floor in the basement for a workout room to include free weights, a treadmill and work station.
What do you suggest for flooring and where can I get information on the product?
A: Hardwood comes to mind as a traditional workout flooring because it “gives,” but I would not install any kind of wood floor(or plywood subfloor) over concrete, especially in a basement, due to the unpredictability of vapor emission coming from
Rather, I would recommend a high quality product engineered floor. A well-engineered floor has a plywood center core, which helps control the expansion and contraction and may be refinished several times.
For a high quality floor, look for one that has the same wood on the backside as it has on the top. I think you would receive the best results with a floating engineered floor such as Harris-Tarkett Longstrip. This product sits upon foam and a moisture barrier, which permits
the subfloor to “breathe.”
Another option to consider would be laminate flooring products such as Decades by Shaw, or those manufactured by Wilsonart and Formica, just to name a few. Laminate floors take vapor emission into consideration when they are manufactured. Most manufacturers offer a very dense and thin cushion that insulates and quiets down
the laminate sound of an engineered product. Some manufacturers make foam pads for laminates too.
I suggest you research several different products and have a few flooring contractors who offer several different products come to your home to make recommendations and give you competitive bids. This is usually the best way to determine the most appropriate product, a fair price, and decide which professional you prefer to hire.
John Fuchs, Senior Carpet Inspector and Flooring Consultant
Rancho Cordova, CA