Rubber Tiles for Shop Flooring?

Out of all the decisions to make and details to research, nothing has caused me to walk in mental circles more than the floor. One of the great advantages of having this blog is the fact that I can ask for opinions, and receive hundreds of responses. One the great disadvantages of this blog is the fact that I can ask for opinions, and I receive hundreds of responses! With so many varied opinions, each reflecting the individual’s preferences and needs, I often find myself more confused than I was before. So I decided that titling this article, “Shop Flooring Options” would probably be a bad idea. Instead, I’m going to focus on the one flooring solution that I am leaning heavily toward, in hopes that your responses will push me one way or the other.

And before anyone even asks the question, “Why not go for xyz type flooring solution?”, let me say that I am not 100% decided on anything at this point. But what I really want to focus on right now are the advantages and disadvantages of a dense rubber shop floor.


I am currently waiting on samples to arrive so I can inspect this stuff first hand. The fact that it is made from recycled tires and each tile weighs in a 12 lbs is a pretty good indication that this is some seriously dense rubber. This is pretty much the same stuff you might find in a gym, getting smashed by dumbbells and experience lots of foot traffic. If it can hold up in a gym environment, I feel confident it will hold up in my shop. My only reservation is how well a heavy tool will roll across this surface. I don’t move my tools often, but if I need to scoot my planer or jointer one way or another, will this rubber have too much give? Hopefully the samples will give me some additional insight on this.


There’s really no way around the shop floor costing me quite a bundle. At 1800 sq ft., anything other than raw concrete is going to be expensive. But these rubber tiles are pretty darn cheap, comparatively, at $2.44 per square foot. Compared to engineered hardwood that usually starts around $4 per square foot. And that doesn’t include the cost of underlayment and professional installation if one were to require it.

Ease of Installation

Installation appears to be dead easy. The tiles are like big puzzle pieces that interlock. At 12 lbs per tile, I’m sure my arms and back will be aching by the end of the day, but there’s certainly nothing complicated about the process. Maybe I’ll bribe some local buddies to help out with BBQ and beer (talking to you Greg, Paul and Ron!).

Another cool feature of the tiles is that if one were to become damaged somehow, it can easily be replaced in seconds.


Being made of rubber, the floor would have permanent anti-fatigue qualities. Since the rubber is rather firm, it won’t be quite like walking on the soft interlocking tiles I used to use in my shop, but it is going to be 1000x better than concrete. And the firmness should make it easier to move things around. Again, need to see the stuff for myself before I make that call.


Frankly, appearance is one of my biggest concerns. Since I make woodworking videos for a living, an ugly floor could be an issue. I have to think about things like light reflection (or a lack thereof) and whether or not it would simply look ugly. But most of my video shots are waist up and never even show the floor. The only time the floor shows up is when filming downward at the bench where the focus is on joinery. And I usually have an anti-fatigue mat in the shot so having black or gray in the background is nothing new.

I should note that this company does make lighter-colored tiles. But the lighter color comes from virgin rubber (teehee) and that results in more than double the cost.

Thinking long-term, a wall to wall rubber floor seems like a gift that keeps on giving. As someone who already suffers from the occasional back issue, I’m thinking anti-fatigue needs to be a major priority in my shop. So thanks to those that urged me to think about this back when I first started discussing the shop.

While I would certainly prefer the look of a wood floor, I am beginning to think a rubber floor trumps all in terms of comfort, ease of installation, and in most cases, cost.

Would you ever consider a rubber floor for your shop? Ridiculous or genius? Curious to hear your thoughts. A good suggestion I received on Facebook is to consider using this stuff in each work area, as opposed to wall to wall. Definitely would save money that way!

In case you’re interested, here’s a link to the specific product I am considering. Strong Rubber Tiles

Category: The Shop


  1. Cory August 28, 2012

    My only complaint about those tiles is the smell. Think tire store showroom. They’re dense enough to move heavy objects over without an issue but boy do they stink for quite a while. I’m not sure if the odor goes away or you just get used to it.

  2. Jeremy August 28, 2012

    I’ve considered rubber tiles in the past, but been concerned about cleanup. Seems like it’d be difficult to sweep up sawdust off the textured tiles.

    • Anson Williams August 28, 2012

      I wonder if because these are fit together like puzzle pieces that fine dust would settle in the cracks? Something to consider as far as clean up is concerned and yeah textured rubber would be hard to sweep but vacuuming should be no problem.

  3. Marianne August 28, 2012

    I don’t have a workshop really, just about half of a double car garage, but I do have the anti-fatigue squares in my work area. I’d be lost without them really as I have RA and Osteo-arthritis in my legs, knees, ankles and hips. I can move my tools around fairly easily on them, so far they have been a bonus for me. My only problem is the cleanup, I don’t have a vacuum system so dust does tend to get everywhere, but the shop vac can clean them up fairly easily. And yes I do have the tools connected to the vac but some always tends to escape! LOL. I will be interested to know how the Strong Rubber Tiles work for you as we intend to build a house and a workshop in the near future. Love your blog, learning so much! I’m 63, recently retired, have always loved working with wood since I was a child, now I hope to be able to build furniture pieces for friends and family. Good luck with your decision!!

  4. MuddleheadedWW August 28, 2012

    I like the idea of these & am thinking of looking at them for my shop.
    One issue is whether the black will absorb too much light and make it difficult to tell what a project will look like out of the shop

  5. I love the idea of bouncing tools instead of denting tools. I have rubber mats and, like Jeremy, keeping the rubber clean requires dragging the mats out out the shop and beating them like a mad Babushka!

  6. DALE S August 28, 2012

    Gym Membership , Will that come with The Guild Membership?
    or as an add on?
    Do they have any floors in the Phoenix area that you can visit?
    Do the tiles off gas? Other than that they look like a good option.

  7. Lamar Bailey August 28, 2012

    Interesting idea I like the idea if they allows you to move tools and aren’t velcro for dust. I used vinyl wood planks on my concrete floor. It added just enough cushion to make it easier on dropped items but didn’t add much as far as anti-fatigue. I like the look a lot, tools roll on them and they clean up easy. They are cheap so that might be a good idea if you want to go pretty cheap and use the big rubber tiles inlayed at the machines.

  8. Definitely test out how difficult it is to remove sawdust from and how much stuff gets caught in the seams between tiles. Im curious how that goes. Hope you’ll update when it comes in.

  9. The rubber tiles seem like a great solution and I’d like to see how they hold up to the abuse of a workshop. Unfortunately, I think a black rubber floor would just suck the light out of the room and make your video’s look a little off. Go to Google and do an image search for ‘gym’ and look at how dart the photographs look. Maybe you can find rubber tiles that come in a lighter shade.

  10. Mike P August 28, 2012

    Lamar’s idea seems a good compromise. Our weight room at school has a rubber floor, and it seems difficult to clean from simply walking and exercise.

    What about a painted wood floor?

  11. Texfire August 28, 2012

    I used the epoxy garage floor paint when redoing my garage, mostly for price reasons. I’m interested in what you decide as far as being able to roll machinery over the surface, that’s my major concern with a tiled floor.

  12. Dave B. August 28, 2012


    These floor tiles are fantastic, and where I work, we have entire rooms covered with a similar type mat and they are great. I’ve also seen them sold as horse-stall mats, though the ones you are purchasing seem thinner than what we have used. I do know that the different mats vary in density, so as you mentioned, moving the tools on them could be an issue (on the one’s we purchased it would be extremely difficult). With some of the one’s we purchased, we also had to allow for spacing at the edges of the walls, ironically to allow for expansion. (When we didn’t, we eventually got a big bubble in the middle.) Again these look a little denser, so you may not have any of these problems.

    I think everything I mentioned is minor, and you will have an awesome floor.


  13. Lamar Bailey August 28, 2012

    Lumber Liquidators carries “Utility Oak” solid wood flooring for less than a dollar a sqft. I really wanted this but my workshop is below grade.

  14. Patrick Schupbach August 28, 2012

    Maybe just key areas could have rubber tiles… Leave room for machinery etc. looks like great stuff!!!

  15. Mitch Wilson August 28, 2012

    I have a few horse stall mats on my concrete floor. They are great, but, they do not wear as well as one might expect. This is a minor consideration for two-footed animals. I suspect, however, that you will find that your heavy weighted tools, like the planer and jointer, will indent into the rubber and be extremely problematic. Difficulty in maintaining level and extreme difficulty in moving from A to B. I wouldn’t go without them (can you say “dropsies”?) but you might want to consider just putting them around the big items and be prepared to move a few squares whenever you feel the urge to move one of these cast iron beauties.

  16. steve p August 28, 2012


    I installed these tiles in a home gym:

    -4’x4′ tiles each weighing 30 lbs
    -super easy install, over ply subfloor
    -price for shipping on my project costed more than the tiles themseleves!!
    -it does have a tire shop smell (i’ve had them in for 8 months now)
    -sawdust def will get in the joints/seams (easy to clean spills though)

    see pic of flooring:

  17. I have a rubber mat like this in front of my bench and love it. My only concern is moisture. Although I haven’t had any issues yet, but whenever I move my mat for cleaning, the concrete under the mat is always “damp”. I haven’t had a mold issue yet, but it concerns me that it might happen someday. It’s been maybe 5+ years with no issues. Maybe mold doesn’t like rubber and concrete, and I’m being worried for no reason.


  18. Mark Loughran August 28, 2012

    Hi Marc

    Good luck with the decision, and I hope the shop works out well. I have no experience of these type of tiles, but was thinking the same as Mitch above. Would the casters or feet on heavy tools create a hole in the tile, which would make moving it later a problem? I guess you could try putting one of the sample tiles underneath one of your heavy tools and leaving for a few days to see if this is a problem. Best of luck with your new shop! Looks like it will be amazing!!!


      I’m not sure if I would put them under the tools or not. But one thing I keep thinking about is gyms. They have equipment that is significantly heavier than my tools sitting on the floor with no ill effects. But yeah, the samples should help me decide.

      • Byrdie August 28, 2012

        As I read the replies and consider what I do I keep coming up with the same answer as Mitch and Mark – Put a layout in the areas where you’re going to stand or work for long periods of time, put the large tools directly on the concrete and assemble a mat around them and choose an area as an assembly or construction area that you floor in some other manner or leave bare. If you have to move tools, pick up a few tiles or create a bare path in the direction you want to go and reassemble your puzzle when you’re done.

      • Andy September 1, 2012

        how about this stuff it is indoor skate board ply.
        if you have plenty of height it may be worth building up the floor and having your dust collection underneath with floor sweeps.
        this indoor skate park ply comes in a light color and is 5×12′ sheetgoods 30 pieces and your home free no finish necessary. I still think you could lay in a t&g 5/8” advantech just on fan board insulation no sleepers with the skatelite perpendicular on top the shop would be comfortable, easy to clean and easy on the legs.

      • Eric Francis September 2, 2012

        Marc, if you don’t put them under the tools, then you will have a significant “speed bump” to overcome whenever you want to move a tool. Unless, of course, you place a same-thickness hard floor underneath the tools to keep the floor level.
        I prefer the idea of using movable anti fatigue mats in front of the tools and leaving the rest of the floor bare. I think that will give you the best compromise (and let’s face it, life is always a compromise) of cleanability, mobility and comfort.

      • Sean September 3, 2012

        If it were my shop I would not put them under the machines. I think the weight and vibration from the machine will create a machine that is not 100% level (if that is important) and if you wish to move your machines all you would need to do is remove a few tiles.

      • RC Ward September 3, 2012

        I would say put them under the tools too. If you can’t do that then maybe use some other type of flooring. Smell will be a small issue but will give your shop that “new shop” smell for a while. Not a bad thing. Put it everywhere even under the tools Mark. It would look much cleaner.

  19. There are several good points brought up so far, such as the dropped chisel would probably appreciate the rubber mats (or am I the only one who does that?). The anti fatigue would also be a plus. On the other hand, the black may suck all of the light out of the room. As for the texture making it possibly hard to clean, the flip side of that is that it would make you less likely to slip as well in that case. Having a poured concrete floor at the moment, I’ve slid a couple of times that I really didn’t want to. I also wonder if the rubber flooring would impart any anti-vibration qualities, which could be a plus.

    Mike Lingenfelter, you might consider painting the floor with something like Ugly’s Drylock. It will take care of that damp under your mats. If you get it in white, it can also reflect more light than the grey concrete. I put it on my walls and the difference was noticeable.

  20. Jean August 28, 2012


    The biggest regret that I have when I setup my shop was that I did not do anything to the concrete floor other than paint it.

    From someone that loves spending time in the wood shop but that has bad knees this was a huge mistake. If i had to do it again I would go for the type of flooring that you are looking at for the whole space. Mind you I only have about 260 square feet compared to your 1800 so the cost would not be as much of a factor as it is for you.

    Since it is always fun to spend other people’s money I would say do the whole space. if you only do certain area you might regret it if/when you move things around in the shop.

    P.S. Very jealous of the shop you are building. You are one lucky man. Have fun.

  21. Pete Perrello August 28, 2012

    If they are prone to out-gassing they will affect your air quality.
    Just a thought.


  22. Chris Farmer August 28, 2012

    I have back issues also & decided to try the (cheap) interlocking playroom mats in my concrete floored shop. I was concerned about being able to move equipment (drill press, jointer, planer and router table are all on mobile bases) so I only laid 1 row of mats around my table saw & 1 row in front of my workbench since these are the areas that I spend the vast majority of my workshop time. It has worked out great for me, my back & my shop. Clean-up is still fairly easy as I can move the mats if I feel the need to get crazy & clean under the.

  23. BA August 28, 2012

    While the rubber floor may be easy on the feet, I agree the wall to wall rubber floor may not be so easy on the eyes for a woodworking shop anyway.

  24. Chris August 28, 2012

    Have you considered a cork floor? It provides a little give (probably not quite as much as a rubber mat) but what you sacrifice in comfort, you gain in aesthetics. I’m guessing the cost would be slightly higher.


      Yeah it would be significantly more expensive.

      • Chris H August 29, 2012

        I have cork in a bathroom and the rubber mats in the kids playroom. I can tell you the mats are far more forgiving to stand on. Cork is soft compared to traditional flooring options, like tile, but not compared to these mats. Also, cork is the “green” thing right now, so its overpriced, and quite honestly, not that durable.

        The mats are cheap, and pretty durable, also super easy to patch if needed. (Mateo will enjoy them, I promise!)

        As for the smell, it gets better over time. Also, in a wood shop, I think the aroma of the wood lying around will help combat the rubbery smell. You can use a vinegar/ammonia solution to remove the smell if you don’t want to wait for time to do it for you.

        • Chris H August 29, 2012

          As for the clean up of saw dust:

          Our mat floor is in a playroom, so no saw dust experience. But, I have had several run ins with cracker (goldfish) that have been spilled and smashed to fine particals. My shop vac sucks it right up without a problem. (So does the regular vac, but don’t tell the misses).

  25. Dave August 28, 2012

    I’d look into reclaimed wood flooring. Here in Blatimore there are some huge places selling really old flooring that could easily look great again for only $1-$2 sq ft. You could even do different sections of your shop in different woods as long as they’re the same thickness. The sawdust seems to be an issue with the rubber squares i’ve tried.

  26. David August 28, 2012

    Check out this supplier. Comes in rolls.


  27. leftistelf August 28, 2012

    I wouldn’t put heavy gym tiles in my workshop for flooring.

    If it was such a brilliant idea, why aren’t there any industrial shops doing it? Whether woodworking, metal work, machining, etc. I’ve not seen it. Everyone uses concrete and puts anti-fatigue mats in key places. Its just simpler to clean and mop.

    To answer your question on equipment weight, a treadmill weighs 500lbs and individual machines weigh 600 pounds plus another 300 or so for weight stacks. Your table saw is 650-700 pounds, a 20″ planer runs 800 pounds, and a 16″ jointer runs 1300 pounds. I think rolling these on gym tiles could be a challenge, but you don’t put wheels under your machines anyway, so you’re likely just to put them down and move them with a pallet jack or hoist. You could cut exact spaces into the tiles to put the machines into, like some people cut custom foam slots in tool drawers :) A few sheets of plywood would give you fine rolling capabilities when you need to move something heavy.

    I would offer to two options:

    1) Oak flooring with a light finish. Durable, looks great, you can repair it, wont hurt your tools if they fall off the table (maybe a little, but not as bad as concrete). Easy to clean. Probably a bit expensive (1800′ * $5-$8 installed). You can repair it if there are problems. Flat and easy to use during assembly of larger items. Would be great for your show – Like Tommy’s floor.

    2) Keep your concrete and get the coatings for it. I had a professional company come do it in SoCal in my garage. No problems at all, looks great and avoids all the negatives of concrete soaking up anything that falls on it. Easy to clean, bright to add light in the space (unlike the black tiles). Your space is essentially a 3 car garage and I remember the installer charging me $2400 for my 3 car space, so its pretty reasonably priced. Easy to roll equipment around. Has good traction. Fills the cracks in cement, including the ones you have cut into the surface (if any). Add some great antifatigue mats in the right spots and you’re fine. Definitely will outlast gym tiles and will standup to any chemical spill. If you’re worried about dropping a chisel on a place where you don’t have a mat, you’re using your bench wrong anyway. Everyone knows that you should have the roubo away from the wall so you can work on all four sides (or film from any side :)…so you should have mats surrounding your bench and no place for the chisel to fall onto hard concrete!

    Lastly, in AZ, I would want zero insulation on the ground. I want the earth to suck the heat out of my space and I think heavy rubber tiles wouldn’t help you achieve that objective.

  28. Jesse August 28, 2012

    But where’s the pretty princess pink flake tile option??

    On a serious note, I love the cork floor suggestion.

  29. Shag Carpet?!?

    You have my wheels turning on this one… I like the idea of rubber tiles… the biggest concern would be how well/easy it cleans up.

  30. Chris Holm August 28, 2012

    Hi Marc,
    I’ve wondered about a rubber floor in my small basement shop but never did anything about it. I roll a lot of my tools and benches around and don’t know that would work or how the rubber would hold up. I ended up with anti fatigue mats that I move to where I need them and seem to work for me. I am very, very jealous of your new shop. It looks awesome!


    You guys are awesome. Giving me lots to think about here. I should put up another post to discuss the benefits/drawbacks of engineered hardwood later this week.

  32. MuddleheadedWW August 28, 2012

    This product looks interesting (especially as it comes in many colours)

  33. Richard August 28, 2012

    The company I work at has a Gym operated by an outside Fitness compamy and they have just about the same stuff made from recyled tires and it did smell like a Tire Shop for about 2 or 3 months after it was installed. They just rearranged the equipment and added some new stuff after about a year and evrywhere a machine was installed they had to replace the tiles because it was dented and did not rebound to normal level after a week. They also had to remove tiles in the path they wanted to move things to and then reinstall after the machine was moved.They just would not move with the tiles in place
    I would just use the epoxy floor paint on the whole floor and add the mats in the major work areas around the tools , this would make it easy to rearrange them and to pick up to clean as well (What happens if you spill water , stain , coffee or something ekse on them). And to get rid of the puzzle edge most places also sell edging strips that take care of that.

  34. james August 28, 2012

    I would be worried about the cleanup with the rubber. We had them in a panel shop and sweeping them was difficult but vacuuming would be fine.
    I remember an article on Finewoodworking where the guy put down pink insulation with pressure treated 2×4’s covered by plywood finished with poly and it looked great and was easy on the legs ..

    Thats my two cents

    • Frank (http://deleted) August 28, 2012

      Something Pekavich. He’s their ……something editor. That’s my dream shop inspiration, and where I first heard about spray foam insulation. I’m (eventually) renovating my garage mainly following what he did, as much as is possible with my construction. On the subject of flooring, I can’t think of anything that you or anybody else didn’t already mention. My personal opinion would be to use it where it’s needed. Don’t cover the entire 1800 sq ft floor with that one option. You cut yourself out of future options. Maybe at some point in the future you may want a few different flooring types, maybe design something for pure aesthetic reasons in a particular space. I’m in the “use them strategically” crowd.

  35. Joe August 28, 2012

    If entertaining rubber flooring you could consider cow mats. They typically are 4ftx6ft and weigh about 100lbs. No fun to move but once in place sit nice and flat and hold up to cows and skidsteers, your tools should not be a problem.


  36. Kuhlenberg August 28, 2012

    I looked into those gym floors but couldn’t justify spending that kind of money for something I really didn’t like the look of. After remodeling my basement shop I wanted something that looked good and functional. Ended up just using water based epoxy and purchased a Sawstop ICS instead of a nice floor. But I looked at Tuff Seal Tiles for a long time, this flooring is great. Its firm for support, can roll tools around and it looks great. You might want to check it out Marc, they will send you a free sample. I just couldn’t pull the trigger and need a table saw.

  37. daniel drabek August 28, 2012

    For years I did advertising literature for a company that made such tiles for covering park playgrounds. A child can fall off a piece of equipment without fracturing their skull. I’ve walked on the stuff, and it feels pretty firm. I don’t think it would be a problem for moving machinery. And it would certainly be kind to dropped tools.
    But clean-up might be a different story. It has a strong texture and I would guess it would be about as resistant to sweeping as rough asphalt. So it somewhat depends on your tolerance for surface dust. Now a friend of mine has covered his cement floor with epoxy paint. It’s hard as a rock, but almost sweeps itself. And you can always lay rubber mats where you spend a lot of time standing.
    If it were me, I think I would go for slick, rather than soft.


  38. Chuck Mielkie August 28, 2012


    Any thought to installing such a non-breathable floor over concrete prior to it fully curing? I’m no expert in how long it takes concrete to “fully cure” or if there may be any moisture that will still be slowly drying from your slab, but would there be an issue with preventing any further moisture from escaping?

    • Bob Michaels August 29, 2012

      Takes 28 days for concrete to cure and reach it’s full compressive strength.

  39. Greg F August 28, 2012

    Is flammability a concern with a product made from recycled tires?

    • Brock Friedman August 28, 2012

      Have you ever seen a tire fire? They can burn for weeks. But in all fairness I don’t know what the flashpoint of rubber flooring is, as compared to plywood or oak. Some shop chemicals could act as a catalyst and bring down the T/flashpoint.

  40. bigred August 28, 2012

    I read in a magazine (i forget which one) about a guy who, instead of doing his hole shop just cut out two pieces rubber mat, and glued them to the bottom of his shop shoes. Now this might not be a good long term solution, but it might be a good way to test out some flooring for a few hours or days, before you go and spend your money on some floor that makes your back hurt like crazy. Nothing is worse that doing something all the way, then finding out that you can’t stand it at all. (mind the pun)

  41. Brock Friedman August 28, 2012

    Reading these comments made me think of a few considerations. Chemical spills on those rubber mats might be a real concern. As we are talking about a bunch of solvents, you would have to know how the most common chemicals you use would react on these rubber tiles. Most people think of rubber being inert but as you eluded too, these would likely not be pure rubber. If they are basicly some petroleum derived material, spills could be scary. Gyms are not workshops. No risk of chemical interaction. In your shop though, you have to worry about dust control and containment. Right off the bat, I would think you have two fuel sources. As a 54Bravo in the army, I remmeber our field manuals warned about compounds that would cause rubber and neopreme masks to just dissolve from vapor contact. Anything that can dissolve when spilled on can be volitile chemicaly. And even if it were not, it would be a shame to spend all that money, time and effort just to see stuff dissolve when you do a finishing project from a little overspray.
    Speaking of workshop dust, do rubber floor tiles generate static under very dry conditions? Not that I think you would spend all kinds of time stalking around your workshop in wool socks, but hey, to each his own. Anyway, you don’t want to turn your workshop into a giant tesla coil, or something like that. Concrete does not generate static. Dust collecting rubber mats does not sound so great. One way to approach this is from the standpoint of your home insurance provider. Do they think a rubber floor in a wood shop is a deal braker? If so, your chocice is made for you.
    I don’t like the smell of rubber mats. It is not a bad smell, but it is not a good smell. If it was, they would make an air freshener called “rubber gym floor.” Call me old fashioned, but the smell of a wood floor to me is like magic. Give me pine, give me plywood or oak, and skirt the bottom 2 feet of the walls in aromatic cedar, and I will just put a pillow down and go to sleep. But rubber? That would be a hard sell for me, even with the anti-fatigue benifits that my crappy lower back demands.

  42. ron howes August 28, 2012


    Just bite the bullet and install wood floors. I think you’ll regret anything less.



      You’re probably right Ron!

      • In Canada we can get OSB subflooring tiles. Mainly used for basements. They come in 2×2′ panels with either 1″ of styrofoam insulation or plastic grate for water and moisture with 3/4″ OSB on top. They would Definately handle the weight of the machines and give you a wood feel on the floor. Plus. You can always put hardwood on top. Since you can’t put hardwood over concrete. They run about $5 each in the home store. But may be less at a wholesaler. Since you have 1800 sq ft to do.

    • David Haniquet August 29, 2012

      I’m with Ron on this one……..I rent a commercial space so I will not be putting in hardwood floors, but when we buy a space for my shop, you’d better believe hardwood floors it is. For now epoxied my floors and use anti fatigue mats where needed……Ask Chris Schwarz how much he likes his hardwood floors. Added to all of that……….think of the inspiration of having wood floors and how much better you will feel in this space that you are already investing alot of money into. It much like we all say about our tools…………….buy the best you can afford, of course, unless you can afford to buy tools twice. If you don’t have money to do it right the first time………… do you find the money to fix it?

  43. Brock Friedman August 28, 2012

    As a follow up, some rubber flooring made from recycled tires contains chlorine based chemicals and urethane. You need to speak to someone with professional chemical experience to know if this is safe when in contact with mineral spirits, paint thinnner, naptha, etc. A mistake could create poison gas in your shop, toxic and explosive.

    • Eric Francis September 5, 2012

      Brock makes an excellent point. Even if we don’t worry about chemical reactions, there is still some concern over durability after contact with some of the chemicals we use. No matter how careful and skillful we are, accidents and spills still happen.

  44. Ray August 28, 2012

    $1.76 per sq. ft. for 8″ wide pine plank flooring from Lumber Liquidators. It’s a bit softer on the feet/tools than hardwood, cheaper, and would look phenomenal. I recently bought enough to put into the kitchen at my house.


      Is that laminate?

      • Ray August 29, 2012

        It is solid 3/4″ southern yellow pine tongue and groove stock. At the time I was ordering, I wanted to get the 10″ wide boards (because it would be even faster to install) but they were a bit short on their supply at my local store.

  45. Peter Durand August 28, 2012

    Mark, if you are concerned with rolling resistance, then you should stick to smooth concrete. I cannot imagine trying to move a heavy tool on a surface that has “give”. The area of contact that a wheel has is really really small. Multiply that that by the weight of the tool and…

    Perhaps take a mobile base to the showroom of the rubber flooring and load it with some concrete blocks. Like the weight of a stationary tool, 200 to 500 pounds. I will bet it won’t even move.

    Think of trains. The steel on steel contact is very small and the rolling resistance depends on the hardness of the track (and of course the wheels).



  46. Clint August 28, 2012

    I have rubber mat on concrete in a garage shop. It gathers condensation. I use it as anti=fatigue, but find myself looking forward to the day when I can put in a floated wood floor. The rubber padding -under- the wood is the best of anti-fatigue floors for my back.

    Clean floors are also one of my compulsions, so the rubber does not make me happy.

    Lastly, if you want to resell the floor, attached to whatever building it is in, presumably, it would be easier to sell a wood floor. Use the mats under your work station(s) but set the floor up with some of that lower dollar flooring from someplace like Lumber Liquidators. I’ve installed wood in 2 houses. It isn’t hard and you’re already tooled up to do anything you might need to do.

  47. How about a group buy through the guild, I’ll take 500sqft.

  48. Richard in St. Pete August 28, 2012


    Why not save a fortune and go with a pair of Redwing boots? My scenic shop has a concrete floor, and I recently picked up a pair of the low-end Redwings (about $80), and it’s made a huge difference in my foot and leg fatigue. Nice and comfy, and with a sturdy rubber sole that has just enough give to act as a cushion. Plus, they’re very lightweight, despite having safety toe caps. Between that and the mats you already have, it sounds like a winner to me.

  49. Marc — I say coat the entire floor in epoxy and then use the rubber mats in strategic areas. This solves the light absorption issue and saves your back and tools. It will also make the garage more attractive to car guys like me should you ever sell.

  50. mhitim August 28, 2012


    I saw an amazing shop in Northern California and the guy used sanded and finished sheets of OSB for flooring. I looked amazing, was very nice to stand on, it was relatively cheap material and relatively easy to install. It seems to me it gives all of the benefits of the rubber floor without any of the drawbacks mentioned here so far.

    You could also get creative with moisture barriers, paint it to optimize your lighting, and if you used furring strips you could even use insulation (thermal and sound), run sub floor utilities, etc.

    Good luck!


      The reason I’m shying away from something like this is two-fold: the extra work involved in laying the sleepers, and damaging the concrete. But for folks who these things aren’t a problem for, I totally agree that an OSB or ply floor is a great solution. It isn’t totally off the table yet, but it’s low in the list of options.

  51. Taylor August 29, 2012

    What happens when you drop a black screw!?? i opted to spend a little extra on engineered hardwood so i could see things a little easier!

  52. Rubber flooring might prevent tools from breaking or blunting when they roll off the bench. Any tiny screws dropping on the floor can still be found with a magnet if they are steel. The brass ones will have to stay lost for archaeologists to find in 5000 years time.

  53. Andre August 29, 2012

    Hi Marc, There were so many responses by the time I saw this post so maybe someone has already mentioned my concern. Is this rubber tacky at all? What’s it going to be like to sweep or vacuum?? Obviously, a nice hardwood floor would be the best. But how about laying down some 2x cribs on the floor (on top of sil gasket) and them using some G1S plywood? Easy to roll things around, easy to clean and much less expensive than hardwood. That’s just my cent and a half (conversion from Canadian!!)

  54. Mark Denovich August 29, 2012

    I bought 600sqft of used rubber flooring from a local gym ($100!) They got a good scrubbing with Simple Green before going in my shop. The smell is not a problem. I was worn out after installing them. Nearly squashed my truck getting them home… At 8mm thick they are damn heavy. Installation was straight forward.

    (nice Festool green flecks :) )

    Obviously, it is very nice to work on. My machines are parked on it too with no problem. Those with wheels roll much more smoothly than they did on plywood. It clearly dampens the vibration of the machines. The result is a much more quiet shop. I have found them very easy to clean (I installed mine smooth side up). With a shot of compressed air I can clear almost the entire floor into my floor sweep. Tools can be dropped almost without consequence. Small parts don’t even roll as far when the fall. I don’t have to worry about wet shoes or even glue. I like that I can pull them up when needed (to access a drain under the subfloor). I get great traction on it, even covered with saw dust. This floor is a vast improvement over the wooden subfloor. I was worried about the dark floor (my previous floor was painted white) but it has not been an issue (although I do have 1000W of light in a 300sqft shop). Also it looks acceptably clean even when it isn’t. Zero regrets, the decision to use rubber for the floor has been one of the best I’ve made for my shop.

  55. Chris H August 29, 2012


    Can you clarify how much mobility you will need with your tools?

    I would invision moving them a few time early on, but with 1800 sqft, I would think most will find a permanent home shortly. That may change some opinions on options.

  56. Scott August 29, 2012

    Mark, not all gym mats are the same. The ones at my gun get a lot of wear and the equipment is moved at least twice a year with no visible machine impressions. However, you would need to vacuum and mop to really clean saw dust.

    If you decide to use a dark colored flooring you may need to rethink the amount of overhead lighting in the shop.

    Coated concrete with plenty of mats (of course with The Wood Whisperer inprinted in them) would be very functional and cool looking with the advantage that you could also sell them in your store.

  57. Mike Rambo August 29, 2012

    A quick search and I found these tiles at about $ 2.20 sq ft. Looks like you could have color choices as well.

  58. Anders August 29, 2012

    I think you should put personal health, long and short term, first.

    These rubber tiles are they so soft that it will be difficult to keep the heavy machines level? That’s the first question that pops up for me. You could of course put rubber around the machines which would rest on the concrete. Moving the machines could be problematic but then again if the tiles are that easy to connect and dissconnect maybe it isn’t such a big deal even if it would feel like a giant 15-puzzle. The tiles are probably easy to sell if you decide to go hardwood at a later stage.

    As for the visual aspect, never ever have I thought: Gee I wish Marc had shot his videos against a wooden floor instead of his concrete/rubber tiles. And you’re the best one out there.


  59. Jeff August 29, 2012

    Looks like an amazing option! Any woodworker would be excited not to be fatigued at the end of the day after starting off so energized. But how do you talk the other half into such a pricey expense? Now that would be some good advice :)

  60. MikeS August 29, 2012

    I went with a similar rubber floor product designed for garages floors from Lowe’s: 20-1/2″W x 20-1/2″L Black Raised Coin Garage Vinyl Tile. Think of the coins as a grid of quarters on the floor. Doesn’t effect movement of equipment unless it has really small diameter casters. The biggest bonus is that since the floor surface isn’t dead flat, vacuuming up sawdust is a lot easier. List price comes in slightly higher – find a sale…

  61. Jack in TN August 29, 2012

    The rubber tiles, like cork, or anything soft will dent under load. Even with something to distribute the load, it still dents.

    If you do decide to go the rubber floor cover route wall to wall, don’t let your heavy wheeled equipment stay on the wheels. If that happens, they compress a ‘divot’ in the flooring and are very hard to get out of it. A few options are, (1) cut holes where the big equipment sits, and let it sit on the concrete or on a plywood pad. If you decide to move it, the plywood can be removed and the rubber ‘plug’ put back in place. (2) use some metal ‘feet’ that have ‘spikes’ that penetrate the flooring so the weight of the equipment will be borne by the concrete floor and not the rubber. (3) put down a larger plywood pad than the equipment and just let the equipment sit on the plywood, distributing the weight over a larger area. (3) use rubber mat ‘squares’ like you did in your old shop, and move them out of the way when you need to move equipment. If you do the last one, get several spare ‘squares’ so you can not feel bad about trimming some and when some get ‘spoiled’ over time. Yes it is ‘just a shop’ but you still want it to look pretty good for the cameras!

  62. Jack in TN August 29, 2012

    Actually I like stained concrete that is sealed – I could see a big WW logo stained or painted on the concrete floor! (or even an epoxy coating colored or not on the concrete), and use fatigue mats where needed. But that is me.

  63. Carl Olsen August 29, 2012

    Wouldn’t be the rubber rolls better for clean-up, installation and movement after ? I was thinking, if you call them they might actually give you good reference/ideas ? :)

  64. paul August 29, 2012


    I use recycled rubber mats and it’s near impossible to keep them clean only way I have found to get the dust off is a garden hose……

  65. Derek Lyons August 29, 2012

    I would use this tile in my shop, but I would *not* put it under my tools.

  66. Mike O'Brien August 29, 2012

    Rubber floors like the interlocking ones shown would be very good. Do not use the mats with holes in them like I see you had in your G&G Adirondack video. Can you say sawdust and small parts trap. I have some of those and while good and cheap as anti fatigue , they are a pain to clean. Black rubber , being neutral,is a good background for videos . Wood would be good too, but more expensive and fatigue inducing. The rubber would also protect better against dropped tools such as chisels etc. As for the “virgin “rubber mats, who cares what the rubber trees do at night.
    My choice is what you showed, rubber; with the one temporary inconvenience of the off- gassing of organic volatiles from the new mats.
    Mike O’Brien

  67. …do you really want us to say ‘they finally put him in the padded room, tsk, tsk’? Other than that, sounds great! Rusty

  68. Mike Taillon August 29, 2012

    I’d suggest a coat of paint on the concrete to keep the shop bright and clean. Local mats for areas where most standing occurs can help the feet and back.
    Then invest on a few bucks (from all you’ll save using paint) in some TOTAL SUPPORT™ Original 39-313 Spenco® TOTAL SUPPORT™ Original replacement insoles for those sneakers you wear to cushion the your feet and give you added arch support.
    “Recommended For: Increased shock absorption. Advanced support for the arch and heel. Improved motion control to reduce over-pronation and supination – the leading cause of many common injuries such as plantar fasciitis.” Here’s a link to learn more: No – I don’t own their stock or work for them…. Best price I’ve found for them is at and free shipping too. Tell them Mike Taillon sent you (shameless attempt to earn some store credit….) No – I don’t own their stock or work for them either….

    You can decide to enter the floor covering expense area later and all it costs is paint…
    PS – sprinkle some sand into the paint to make it non slip. Good luck – We’ll be watching.

  69. Bob August 29, 2012

    Disadvantages ; hard to clean, (not sure about the smell).

    Advantages ; easy to install, easy to replace, easy to change inside configation.

    If I would go with this product, I wouldn’t put any tiles under the heavy tools and if a configuration change is needed, I would remove the tiles that are in the way, move the tool and put back tiles in place. I would make sure to have enough spare tiles in the back store.

  70. J R Rightmire August 29, 2012

    Since I use a garage and must move my shopsmith around, I use the form rubber pads and it works well. Given your space and the proability of moving tools around (until you determine how the shop should be layed out), I go with form rubber pads around your tools and bench.

  71. Tim August 29, 2012

    Sawdust and rubber mats, don’t think they will broom as nice as concrete. Keep us posted, we all love living vicariously through you.


      I must be the only woodworker that doesn’t own a broom, lol. I use the shopvac for all dust cleaning.

      • Jacob August 29, 2012

        My personal preference for cleanup up of sawdust is the Leaf Blower, leaves my shop/garage nice and dust free, cannot say the same for the neighbors yards.

        • Dan Fox September 11, 2012

          Ditto the shop vac. I blow my shop out every spring and fall.

        • Dan Fox September 11, 2012

          I mean the leaf blower!

  72. Dustin Smith August 29, 2012


    You might look into rubber sports flooring as an option. Check out Mondo “Mondosport II” or Mats Inc “Woodflex Extreme.” These products come in rolls, and are used for indoor basketball courts for YMCAs and whatnot. They offer maple wood grain appearance as well!


  73. Sir Greggins August 29, 2012

    Epoxy some anti-fatigue material to the bottom of your woodworking shoes/boots then cut out the shape with a razor. Everywhere you go you’l be comfortable and it’ll be nearly invisible to viewers. that would only cost you $2.44 ish

    • Peter Durand August 30, 2012

      Now, that is clever!

  74. Skip August 29, 2012

    I like the idea of a mixed floor that would be a hardwood base and use the mats in areas where you stand or operate tools to ease fatigue.

  75. Adam Wachter August 29, 2012

    Here is the four hundredth opinion for you. You are correct with regards to rolling heavy equipment around. Being a physical therapist and around gyms for the better part of 20 years now, this rubber is plenty sturdy. The only thing I would ask is whether or not this rubber density is relatively close to that in gyms. As I was looking on the site, they have more expensive/more dense options, but I would think your choice would be more than sturdy enough. I have seen 1200 lb weight equipment moved around with only a slight indentation left and it went away. The also have mats installed in giant mats, kind of like wrestling mats, but I am thinking your occasional movement of machinery will not have issues with the interlocking sections of tile. This is also the est case scenario as far as your back is concerned as I have seen more than my fair share of injuries from lifting something too heavy… And if it gets too dusty between the crevices, get a robovac and once a month let it go to town through the shop after a general cleaning and those dusty creases will be no more!!! By the way, I think you could fit a Cessna into your shop…

    • Frank August 29, 2012

      “FIT!?!” If he put the right doors on it he could fly a Cessna through the shop. Bring back the barnstorming days! The HOA might finally put their foot down on that though.

Leave a reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Image Map