Building a Floor: The Instructional


There are many ways to build a sprung floor, and there are many designs to use. This is the one I used to build a sprung floor and mat in my basement. If you’re considering any kind of throws or takedowns you should really consider the sprung floor for your mat area. It helps tremendously.

  1. Measure out your area. My area was a bit under 13 feet (less than 4 meters) wide, but could be as long as I wanted. I decided a 12’x12′ mat would work for me. When considering how wide your area is, you should also account for any framing you may want to do or any wall mats.
  2. Gather your supplies.
    1. Foam– Wisconsin Foam Inc. is the company I went through. They have a minimum of $100 for an order. For my order that meant 168 blocks. The company also cuts +/- 10%, but can note your order to be as close as possible. I suggest ordering a bit more blocks than you need just in case fewer blocks than were ordered get cut. I’m going to recommend 0.84375 blocks per square foot for the design (rounded up), but order for at least 1 block per square foot and remember the minimum. It doesn’t hurt to have extra foam if you’re doing a small floor (10’x10′ or 12’x12′) that you’ll just want the maximum number for the $100 minimum. You want 3″ cube (3″x3″x3″), 2.2pcf ethafoam blocks.
    2. OSB– OSB comes in 4’x8′ sheets which are a pain to transport unless you have the correct truck. You should figure out how many you need with the understanding that you’ll need two layers for your mat space. Since this design uses an external frame (instead of a frame on top of the OSB) you can just get the exact area. If you’re doing a 12’x12′ mat area this is 9 sheets of OSB. If you’re doing a 10’x10′ area this is 7 sheets. It’s important to draw out what you’re two OSB layers will look like before buying so you know how much to get and where you can save costs by getting smaller sheets. You want 7/16″ thick OSB. The 4’x8′ sheets are the cheapest option, but you could pay the extra for the easier to transport 4’x4′ sheets which also may mean less waste if you don’t have dimensions which are a clean multiple of 4. The 4’x4′ sheets also make for a much easier/cleaner layout, but again, you’re looking at almost twice the cost to use them instead. The cheapest way to make a non-overlapping joints is going to be to get all 4’x8′ sheets, cut everything to 4’x4′ sheets yourself, and then cut the boarder to 2’x4′ and 2x’2′ sections as needed to create non-overlapping joints. I chose to go with minimum cuts instead. Use your algorithm of choice.
    3. Lumber– To frame it all in I used 2×6’s. If you don’t usually do DIY projects you probably don’t know that a 2×6 is actually 1.5″x5.5″. Keep that in mind. That means the frame is the size of your mats plus 3″ on both width and depth. You’ll also need enough linear feet to completely surround the mats so for my 12’x12′ design I needed two 12′ boards and two 12’3″ boards. This is again a pain to transport without a proper vehicle. You want enough 2×6’s to surround the mat. I recommend trying to use one piece per side if possible. You can get really long 2×6’s so this shouldn’t be a problem unless you’re matting a school. In that case, I recommend framing in the mats with 2×2’s on top of the OSB instead.
    4. Hardware– you’re going to need screws. I got 1 pound of drywall screws (for the OSB) and 1 pound of constructions screws (for the frame) and had way more than necessary. 1/2 pound of each will probably suffice for any reasonable home mat size. You want #8 screws for each. The drywall screws should be at least 7/8″ (go for over an inch). The construction screws should be at least 2″ (go a bit over 2, since they’ll go directly into the frame or OSB).
    5. Mats – Since you’re doing throws and takedowns you’re going to want 2″ thick mats. If you go with something that comes in set sizes make sure you know how to cut it yourself. Go with the company/style of your choice. There are a lot of options. Make sure the company recommends the mat for your purposes.
    6. Glue – you’re going to need contact cement. A little goes a long way. Ask the guy at your local hardware store for help picking the right kind.
  3. Make any necessary cuts for the first layer of OSB.
  4. Mark your boards. When measuring out the boards for gluing foam my brother-in-law had a great idea which we proceeded to use – we stacked all the boards which were to have the foam cemented to them and after I marked out one, we just drilled the center lines through all the boards. This meant we didn’t need measuring for any of the other boards and just had to approximately center a foam block onto the small drill hole. We went over with a Sharpie to mark all the holes so we could see them when gluing – much easier than measuring each board. The pattern to use is here.
  5. Use the contact cement to adhere the foam to the first layer of OSB and let it dry. This is time consuming, but the instructions are on the can. Just do what it says. We stacked the boards as they were glued to use each board as a weight source, then put one of the top layer boards on the last one with some weight.
  6. Put in three walls of the frame leaving the last wall exposed to get the first layer of boards in.
  7. Put the first layer of boards in the three-walled area FOAM DOWN. Make sure your pattern matches what you drew. Since you want non-overlapping joints between the first and second layer you should make sure however you lay out the first layer the second layer can overlay the correct way.
  8. Attach the last wall. This makes sure the first layer is snugly together.
  9. Screw the second of OSB layer directly onto your first layer of OSB with the drywall screws. It may be a tight fit due to the frame already being in place.
  10. Roll out the mat. Cut it if need be. The mat may come a bit larger or smaller than your area. Larger can be cut down. Smaller is a problem. If you need to you can tape the mats (and seal the tape).
  11. Enjoy.
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