If you’re looking for a new treadmill for home use, you probably encountered accessories that go with the machine. One example is a treadmill mat. But do I need a mat under my treadmill?
A mat is a PVC or rubber liner you put under your treadmill. Its purpose is to protect your gym floor, keep your machine in place and reduce noise.
But then, we all have different floor types. There are various kinds of treadmill mats, too.
We need to understand these more to decide whether you need a mat or not.
Read on to learn more about what a mat can do and when it is (and is not) necessary.
Why Do I Need a Mat Under My Treadmill?
Let’s start by identifying flooring problems that a treadmill can cause and how a mat can help prevent them.
Treadmills can damage your floor.
Depending on your fitness equipment model, treadmill weight can be from 27kg to 113kg. Most types of flooring can support this load.
However, your body weight, machine vibration and continuous impact of your feet hitting the deck can rub against the floor. Over time, these can wear out the flooring.
A high-quality treadmill mat underneath can reduce this friction by absorbing the vibration and impact.
It can also distribute the machine’s weight over a larger area, reducing the risks of creating deep indentations.
Treadmills can be noisy and disruptive.
Treadmills produce a humming sound from the motor and belt. This sound can become an audible noise once you start running on the deck.
The impact of your feet while running will increase the vibration and transfer to the floor.
If you have your treadmill on the upper floor, the noise can cause problems for people staying downstairs.
Apartment treadmill users will also encounter the same issue with their neighbours. In this case, you might ask, do I need a mat under my treadmill?
A mat will not eliminate the vibration and sound within your gym space. However, it can significantly reduce the noise transferred to neighbouring areas.
The dense rubber material used for making treadmill mats is excellent in vibration absorption.
Note that poorly maintained exercise equipment can be noisier, too. So, make sure that you do your treadmill maintenance regularly.
Dust and dirt can get inside your treadmill.
Dust and dirt can build up over time in any area. But remember that a treadmill vibrates. It also has a lot of moving parts like rollers and bearings.
All these can disrupt the accumulated particles within your treadmill spot. Dust will then fly around and can potentially get into your machine.
Dust and dirt are more likely if you have your treadmill on the carpet. The risk is also high with your exercise machine in the garage or basement.
When this happens, dust particles can build up inside, causing treadmill parts to deteriorate faster.
A dusty treadmill motor will also overheat quicker as it exerts more effort to make your machine work.
A treadmill mat can prevent this by blocking dust from getting into your machine. It can minimise the amount of excess dust that flies around, too.
The treadmill area can be hard to clean.
It’s natural for us to sweat during our treadmill workout. It may end up on the exercise machine itself or the floor.
But some types of flooring can quickly degrade with moisture.
Sweat can turn your carpeted floor dirty. And washing the carpet is even more laborious. Buying a new one is costly, too.
Do I need a mat under my treadmill to solve this problem? Absolutely! A rubber mat is non-absorbent and easy to clean.
Having the right-sized treadmill mat can shield your floor from sweat droplets.
Treadmills can move around.
When running fast on the treadmill or performing high-intensity interval training (HIIT), your machine tends to slide or shift.
Aside from being dangerous, it can also damage your flooring. A non-slip mat under your treadmill should keep it steady and stable.
What Factors Do I Consider When Buying a Treadmill Mat?
Before shopping for a treadmill mat, take the time to understand the following features first.
Treadmill mats come in PVC or rubber. PVC is an excellent option if you don’t like the heavy odour that newly purchased mats often have.
On the other hand, rubber mats are more expensive but look better and last longer. These are also more effective in reducing vibrations.
Whichever mat material you choose, make sure it’s water and sweat-resistant to protect your floor from damage.
Typical treadmill mats are about 0.6cm (or ¼ inch) thick. But mats at 1.27 to 1.9cm (or ½ to ¾ inch) thick are also available.
If you want to ensure that the mat stays in place, a 1.27cm mat is ideal. Now, for heavier treadmills or better noise reduction, a thicker mat is best.
Thick treadmill mats are also perfect for a delicate flooring surface.
You’d want your mat to be at least 7.6cm wider than your treadmill on all sides.
This measurement ensures that your treadmill will not move around and its feet are within the mat.
Measure the treadmill width and length first before picking your treadmill mat.
Aside from the right size, the non-slip quality of your mat is also vital in keeping your treadmill in place.
Some treadmill mats feel rough, while others have a smooth finish.
Pick one that you prefer. But I also recommend reading customer reviews to make sure your choice works for your gym floor type.
I also suggest looking for a mat with rounded corners to prevent tripping.
When Do I Need a Mat Under My Treadmill?
A treadmill mat is necessary to minimise the noise, protect your floor or prevent dust from getting into your machine. But the need for a mat should match your type of flooring.
And so, here are the different floors that call for a treadmill mat. I’ll be indicating the ideal mat features to look for when choosing.
Use a mat on carpeted floors.
Placing your heavy treadmill on a carpet should protect your floor from dents and scratches. Ample carpet foam underlay can also dampen noise and vibration.
But why do I need a mat under my treadmill on a carpet? Adding a treadmill mat should protect your carpet from sweat and impact damage.
Also, it can block carpet dust from flying around and getting into your exercise machine.
With a mat covering your carpeted surface, your treadmill area is easier to clean.
Best mat for carpets
Go for high-density PVC foam mats to repel carpet dust. Choose a mat with a good grip, too, as some carpets or rugs can be smooth and slippery.
Also, make sure the mat material will not bleed or stain your carpet. Some treadmill mats have coloured dyes that can leave permanent residues on the fabric.
Use a mat on concrete floors.
Basements or garages are the usual places at home with bare cement flooring.
These areas are also where construction work or repairs happen. So, dust can be a problem.
Concrete floors can be slippery, too. Without a mat, the machine can move around and damage the treadmill feet or base.
A mat should help solve these problems.
Best mat for concrete
If treadmill noise is not an issue, a thin mat with a good grip will do. But for better damage and dust protection, go for a thicker mat for carpets.
Use a mat on hardwood floors.
Do I need a mat under my treadmill on hardwood? Yes, absolutely. This flooring is prone to dents, scratches and cracks due to friction.
So, a protective mat should protect the surface. It will also keep your treadmill in place.
Treadmills on hardwood floors can generate louder noises as well. Having a treadmill mat is one way to make your workout less disruptive.
Best mat for hardwood
A durable PVC mat is ideal for diffusing pressure on your hardwood flooring. Make sure it has enough grip to prevent your treadmill from sliding.
Note that PVC mats are not as effective in dampening noise as their rubber counterparts. But the antioxidants in rubber mats tend to discolour some wood types.
So, if you have to dampen the noise, consider laying a carpet on your hardwood floor with a treadmill mat on top.
Use a mat on tiled floors.
Tiles can easily break under heavy loads, constant vibrations and impact. This flooring type is also slick, making sliding a problem.
A treadmill mat is necessary in this case to distribute the weight over and protect your tiles from damage. It should also keep the treadmill steady.
Best mat for tiles
A rubber treadmill mat is the most effective for smooth tiled flooring. It comes in various thicknesses, though.
So, choose one that is dense enough to support your treadmill’s weight.
When is a Mat Unnecessary?
A mat is no longer necessary if you already have rubber gym flooring in your workout space.
This flooring type works pretty much the same as any mat. So, putting an extra layer, in this case, is non-essential.
Do I need a mat under my treadmill? Without a doubt, a mat is more than an optional accessory.
It has a lot of uses, from dampening noise to protecting floors from damage.
But we also have to keep in mind that there are several types of mats. So, before grabbing one for your home gym, check their specs.
Then match these features with your treadmill, flooring and workout needs.
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