Home Gym House Shopping

I’m in the process of trying to buy my first home. In the long run I’d like to have a place to put a gym in the house. With that in mind what should I lookout for? In a perfect world I’d have a basement to put it in; but that might not happen. I’ve read that the floors on slab foundations are more stable. Would a crawl space foundation be able to handle the weight? Would it be possible to stick a gym on the second floor or do I risk breaking the floor that way?

When I do it I plan on putting down some rubber tiles and having a power rack in there. I don’t compete or anything; and I doubt I’ll ever be dead lifting more than 500lbs so it might not even be an issue. But I’ve said stuff like that before and already passed those numbers so who knows where I’ll be in 5-10 years.

Finding a basement should be your first priority, if you can’t find that why can’t you put it in a garage?

I would say a second story is out of the question. It’s not that the home couldn’t handle the load. That shouldn’t be a problem provided the home is structurally sound with proper spans between load-bearing walls. The biggest problem is that if you drop 500 lbs. on the floor, even with a good solid platform, you are very likely to crack the drywall on the ceiling below.

A crawl space is doable, but you will want to build a solid platform with a minimum of 2 sheets of 3/4" plywood. I would do this under the squat rack as well, because if you have enough weight on your back the floor will get bouncy. When you setup the deadlift platform, you will also want to take into consideration where the joists and beams are below you. If you want to deadlift directly between beams, you’ll want to run the barbell with the joists. You probably won’t want to deadlift in the middle of a 15’ span either. If you don’t have any choice but putting it in a room that wide, at least put your platform and squat rack up againt exterior walls. In this case you would want your barbell to run across the joists so that you can maximize the number of joists supporting the weight and transfer as much weight as possible to the foundation wall.

Before you do any of this you will definitely have to make sure the subfloor and the joists are in good shape. Adding some blocking, sister joists, or even a beam under the joists would also be a good idea.

I think the bottom line should be that if you really want a home gym you should look for a basement, garage, or a slab. Even with one of these you still want some plywood under your rubber to protect the concrete. Structurally, the crawl space is ok, but I honestly don’t think I’d want to do it in my own home.

If the above options don’t work, look into an outbuilding. Not sure what they go for, but my neighbor across the street has one for his mower and stuff, and you could easily fit a full squat rack and all the necessities inside. Wire it for light and heat/AC(window unit?) and you’re good to go. Funny, my wife and I were just talking about that last night(one of those money-is-no-issue what would you get convos).

Besides that, I’d put it in the garage before I put it on a crawl space build(just for my own peace of mind).

Thanks for the info, that’s exactly what I needed. I’ve been looking at garage space too and I might end up doing that. But first things first, I need to make it through the loan process without killing anyone.

Ceiling height is important for your rack and for overhead lifts.

I have most of my gym equipment on a cement slab in the back yard, but I live in Southern California where it never gets cold.

You are smart to look for a house with an adequate space for a gym. Buy a house that doesn’t have a single perfect space and you’ll be lifting in your dining room, like me or paying for a membership where you may be stuck fighting for space. Really think about everything you’re going to want in a gym space and bring a measuring tape when you house hunt.

Squat racks and barbells take up a lot more space than the eye registers. When I saw my treadmill on the showroom floor it looked… sturdy but when they brought it into my house my eyes popped out of my head. It’s a monster and very tough to move.

Basements are notorious for dampness and I know many people who’ve had issues with this when putting a gym in the basement so BE CERTAIN your space is dryer than dry. I can’t swing it but If I could I’d finish my third floor and join two of the second story bedrooms for a gym OR I’d build a double garage with the intention of using half the space.

My stuff is spread throughout the house (treadmill in the bedroom, weights in the dining room, all sorts of misc. equipment in a clothes basket in a tiny spare room…) because I just didn’t measure when I bought the place. Know if you buy one of those big multi-station gyms you’re going to need a lot of space around it for a full range of motion and it will be sharing space with a lot of other large equipment.

I’m dead serious about measuring everything. You won’t regret it.

I’ve purchased two homes in the last 6 years. Here’s my take:

-Focus on the basement for the gym, but as someone mentioned above, be wary of dampness. I would talk to the realtor and the past occupants to determine if any flooding has occurred in the past. I purchased a basement at the sewer sometimes would back up or it would flood with a heavy rain. Not good since I had weights in the basement.
-I now live in CA and there’s no basement. I now use the garage. 1/2 the garage is now a weight room. I like this better since there’s a high ceiling and there’s no worries about the floor since it’s concrete. However, be careful about water in the garage