If your gym floor has exposed floorboards or there are concerns regarding its load-bearing capability, there are a few things we can do to reinforce it.
It is common practice to reinforce a gym floor with ‘boarding’. Boarding is ¾” plywood installed over the existing floorboards.
Boarding has the effect of spreading the equal load across the floor and providing impact protection to the floor. Boarding can be used to reinforce gyms on lower and upper levels and the plywood can be thicker in certain areas to provide extra protection (for example, in deadlifting areas and beneath power racks).
Bridging is only suitable when there is access to the underside of the floor. With bridging, braces are arranged between the floor to prevent movement and distribute the load over more than one joist. This strengthens the floor at specific points.
Bridging is not common practice with gym floors because the majority of gyms are at ground level and therefore have a more solid foundation. You would only consider bridging where a floor is above ground level or on a raised platform.
All gyms should have some form of rubber matting or rubber underlay underneath the main floor. Rubber matting helps to spread load across the floor, and it makes it near impossible for a dropped weight to smash the floor.
It is common practice to install underlay even when you have 40mm rubber tiles installed and thicker impact protection slabs. We recommend complete coverage so that the whole floor is sufficiently protected from impact.
The bottom line
Concrete gym floors shouldn’t need reinforcement, but exposed floorboards will need reinforcement to protect them.
With floorboards, the simplest way to protect the floor is with boarding, which can be installed directly to the floorboards or on joists. The latter option raises the floor (which may not be an option) but helps protect the floorboards even more. Either way, boarding with ¾” plywood is the way to reinforce a gym floor.
Are you surfacing your gym floor?
If you are considering a new floor for your gym, we are the people to call. We can reinforce the floor and install your new floor on the same day. We offer a wide range of surfaces from rubber tiles to sled lane turf. Get in touch for a quote today.