Health Fitness

Treadmill Platform Information: Treadmill Platforms Materials and Warranty

The deck of the treadmill is the material that forms the hard surface that you run on. In other words, it is the bearing surface. This article distinguishes the deck from the tread, which is the tread that moves across the deck.


Treadmill manufacturers do not provide much information on the actual construction materials of their tires. Most treadmills these days, especially those priced over $ 1,000, are built with decently strong tread decks (usually medium density fibreboard with a duo phenolic coating, all of which are discussed in detail below).

However, force is not the only end. If strength was the most important thing, more treadmill manufacturers would use metal. Metal is used, but not extensively.

What are the terrace building objectives?

As I said earlier, if force were the only goal, metal or steel covers would rule the day. But force is not the only goal. The quality platform must:

  • Be strong
  • Be sustainable
  • Have some elasticity (that is, slightly flexible, but not bouncy).
  • Minimize noise (i.e. muffle noise if possible)
  • Have a smooth surface to minimize tread friction.

What materials are used?

You will often see references to solid wood, medium density fibreboard (MDF), and metal as materials used for treadmill covers. For coating, you will generally read about phenolic coating. The article explains these different materials.


1. Medium density fibreboard (MDF)

MDF is created by breaking down wood into fibers (sawdust) and then forming the fibers on a solid tape deck with wax and resin. Typical thickness is 3/4 “to 1”. You can read more about MDF here.

MDF is the predominant material used for treadmill decks.

2. Solid wood

The deck is made of 3/4 “to 1” solid wood. The problem with solid wood is that it is difficult to find a piece of wood that is perfect. MDF, while not perfect either, ensures a consistency difficult to find with solid wood.

Particleboard: Particleboard is not the same as MDF. Particleboard is not fiber-based. It is a solid wood composite product. The result is that particle board is much weaker than MDF. MDF is denser and stronger.

Avoid treadmills with platforms that use particle board. You’ll be lucky if you take advantage of it for a year.

3. Metal

Metal covers are not as common as solid wood or MDF. It is heavier and does not create a surface as “smooth” as wood or MDF. Running on metal or steel just isn’t as nice as it is on solid wood or MDF.

What material do I recommend?

MDF cover that has a double or triple coating with phenolic resin coating.

The coating

Some treadmills are coated on both sides (double coating, sometimes also called triple coating), while lower quality treadmills cover only one side of a treadmill deck. The best deck is coated on both sides, which helps reduce warping. It is also better at reducing friction with the tread deck along the entire surface the tread is moving over.

The best material used for cladding:

Phenolic – This is the best coating material. You will pay more for the phenolic coating, but it is worth it.

What is phenolic resin coating?

The phenolic resin coating is a plastic resin. When the deck of a treadmill is covered with phenolic resin, it is not necessary to wax the wooden deck.

Can you build your own if your original deck breaks?

Yes, but it is not advisable unless you really know what you are doing. Simply hitting a sheet of plywood or MDF is not going to do it. The platform must be properly covered and made sure that it attaches securely to the treadmill.

The last thing you want is for your platform to break when running or walking.

That is why it is important to have a lifetime warranty on your treadmill deck. Platforms often break or crack (especially with lower priced treadmills).

Platform considerations

Replacement frequency

The range in the number of hours of use of the treadmill platforms is staggering. Some low-end treadmill rigs are designed for 500 hours, while others guarantee their rigs for life. Naturally, the intensity of use and the weight of the users will affect the life of a treadmill platform.

Is it reversible?

Some treadmill manufacturers make reversible tread decks so you can get more out of them.

Is it good reversible?

It depends. Some manufacturers make treadmill platforms with a lifetime warranty without having to reverse them. Others do not come with a lifetime warranty and cannot be reversed. These can have the shortest shelf life. Then there are treadmills with reversible platforms that, in theory, double the life of the treadmill platform.

The guarantee

Ideally, the treadmill you buy will have a lifetime warranty on the platform. This is indicative that the manufacturer is behind the platform and in the event that the platform fails, you will get a replacement.

Damping technology

Damping technology is pretty cool these days. The treadmill cushioning technology includes the amount, type, and quality of the treadmill’s cushioning.