Can You Install Martial Arts Mats Over Carpet?

The ideal subsurface for martial arts mats installation is concrete, but you can also install them on top of wood or tile subfloors. However, not every training space has this type of flooring available. If, for some reason, your home or gym has carpeting installed, you can install martial arts mats on top of them. 

It Can be Done, but it’s Not Recommended

We suggest removing carpet whenever possible. This is because martial arts mats, when placed on top of carpet, can shift in the direction that the carpet fibers fall. The longer the carpet fibers are, the more the mats may shift when in use. This is not unserviceable, but it can decrease performance and create a small annoyance while training.  

However, if carpet removable is not an option, for any reason, the mats can be installed on top of them. 

How to Install Martial Arts Mats Over Carpet

If you absolutely must install your mats on top of a carpeted surface, the first thing you should do is lay down a layer of moisture-blocking plastic. This not only prevents moisture from seeping into the carpet sub-flooring, it also allows the martial arts mats to grip the plastic and stay in place more securely. You will need enough plastic to cover the entire training area. We recommend using 4 milliliter plastic vapor barriers, which are available at most hardware stores and online. 

To install the plastic, first roll it out over the training area and trim off the excess. A single roll will not likely cover the entire training area, so multiple rolls will be necessary. Multiple rolls laid down alongside one another can be taped together using duct tape or Zebra Mat Tape. You should also use double-sided mat tape to adhere the plastic to the carpet itself. 

After the Surface Is Covered in Plastic

Once you have the plastic vapor barrier secured together and attached to the carpet, you can continue to install your martial arts mats according to these instructions. 

If you have any questions or issues installing your Zebra Mats, get in touch with our team at