I wish to protect the floating laminate flooring of the room I am building a home gym in. Therefore, I will lay down plywood sheeting to spread the load and prevent scratching.

I am having trouble deciding on the configuration. I would like to optimize for these factors: maximize load distribution, minimize thickness, minimize cost, minimize movement, and minimize effort - in that order.

I think I should have at least 15mm of thickness - however I'm having difficulty with quantifying that. The thickness should not exceed 25mm (as I won't have enough clearance from the ceiling).

I thought of having one of the following two configurations:

More Complex

enter image description here

  • Red is the squat rack
  • 2x 12mm sheets at the bottom, vertically aligned
  • 2x 9mm sheets at the top, horizontal aligned (so nothing to get push apart when squatting etc)
  • Blue circles: holes drilled through both layers of board. Will put threaded inserts in the holes so I can screw the layers together and dismantle easily if I need to.


enter image description here

  • 2x 18mm sheets, horizontally aligned
  • Blue: some kind of fastening.


Which of these do you think is better?
Can either be improved? (e.g. can I use 9mm for both layers on the complex option?)
What would be the best fastening solution for the second option?
Is there a better way?

N.B. Plywood in my area is mainly sold in 9mm, 12mm, 18mm and 25mm thicknesses. I will be using structural plywood.

  • 1
    "Better" is mostly just opinion and would get your question closed. Beyond that, I'm not sure the board layout matters as much as having the floor and protective material really, really clean before you set everything in place. The weight of just a couple of pieces of plywood sitting on the laminate for any length of time could press any dirt/rocks/otherwise into the surface of your laminate leaving scratches. Add in the wight of the rack and weights on it and you could end up doing damage just with the install itself. – FreeMan Nov 9 '20 at 13:20
  • That said, your "more complex" method with 4 sheets and threaded inserts through actually seems to be much easier to install than the 2 sheet with a flat locking system. You'd want to investigate the type of corner clamps that are used to hold counter-top joints together. Sorry, can't think of what they're called at the moment, but "counter-top joint" should get you something close. Those may be tough to fit into only a 18mm thick sheet – FreeMan Nov 9 '20 at 13:22
  • Thanks. Ideally I would have asked "how would you do it?" but thought i'd try to narrow it down at least with a couple of options. Doing a thorough clean won't be much of an issue. It's only an 8'x8' area. Do you think it would be worth buying 1mm thick rubber sheeting to put on the underside of the plywood for extra protection? – Griffin Nov 9 '20 at 14:01
  • 4
    Why no heavy rubber mats? less noise absorb shock way better, anti slip – Rémi Nov 9 '20 at 15:25
  • 1
    I think @Rémi has a good idea. Bare plywood on your floor (regardless of how clean the surfaces are) will cause scratches on your existing floor due to movement and vibration. I’d try to isolate the plywood from the existing floor. – Lee Sam Nov 9 '20 at 15:47

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