Getting Floored

flooring

A guide to all your flooring needs.

With the square-footage of your rec center reaching five — maybe even six digits — you have a lot of floor space to cover. So, where do you start when trying to determine the flooring you want your students to walk, run and play on? Here are five flooring types, along with the key factors to consider when making flooring decisions:

Wood Courts

Dan Heney, the executive director of the Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association

Questions to ask when making a wood court flooring choice:

  • What will the floor be used for? Sports? Events?
  • What do you want your floor’s aesthetics to be? This is determined by flooring type, grade, paints and color schemes, and the floor’s finish.
  • What is your installation cost, and what is your life-cycle cost?
  • What are your floor’s elevation requirements?
  • What performance characteristics do you want your flooring to have?

Common mistakes you see recreation facilities making in their flooring choices:

  • “Not providing mats in the entrances and exits to the gym. These mats help collect snow, water and debris from being brought out onto the gym floor.”
  • “Failure to follow proper maintenance, not only on the floor system, but also any equipment used on the floor system.”

Multipurpose Flooring

Rich Gray, the vice president of sales at PLAE USA

Questions to ask when making a multi-purpose flooring choice:

  • What product gives the most long-term value for your facility’s needs, present and future?
  • Is sound a concern?
  • Does the floor need to be a certain color or need to be branded?
  • Are there any moisture concerns with the subfloor?
  • Is it for indoor or outdoor use?
  • How easy is the floor to clean?

Common mistakes you see recreation facilities making in their flooring choices:

  • “Not doing research on flooring.”
  • “Not understanding the fitness trends and how to utilize their space.”
  • “Buying the least expensive flooring.”
  • “Buying a floor that is too thin or too hard.”
  • “Not understanding who or how a floor is being installed.”
  • “Choosing color versus function.”
  • “Not considering the service side, as in dealing with warranties and future maintenance.”

Turf

Jim Froslid–, the director of business development at GreenFields USA

Questions to ask when making a turf-choice:

  • What type of sports will be played on the surface?
  • How much use will the surface see?
  • What type of budget is in place for turf?

Common mistakes you see recreation facilities making in their flooring choices:

  • “Assuming that all turf is the same, and thus letting money dictate the turf decision. There are a number of factors that go into a turf performing well over a long period of time. Make sure you have a high quality fiber — one made by a company with significant experience — is one of the most important decisions.”
  • “Another mistake is going with a company that does not manufacture its own product. There are a variety of things that can go wrong in this process — all of which can impact the playability and durability of a system.”

Rubber Flooring

Brennan Prins, the sales manager at Sof Surfaces

Questions to ask when making a rubber-flooring choice:

  • Will this floor stand up to the rigors of your facility?
  • What will repair look like and how much will it cost?
  • Is the product versatile in different fitness applications?
  • Does the product absorb sound?
  • How easy is the floor to clean?

Common mistakes you see recreation facilities making in their flooring choices:

  • “Of late, we have found that many agencies are installing elevated story fitness facilities, and after the fact having significant sound challenges. When working with a second story, or a facility with neighbors, be sure to consider sound attenuation. The consequences of not working through this can be significant.”

Track

John Aten, the vice president of sales of Regupol

Questions to ask when making a track-flooring choice:

  • Is this for track competition, training or recreational use?
  • What are the long-term maintenance costs?
  • What is your flooring’s length of warranty?
  • What is the company’s reputation?
  • Are you evaluating the products to suit your project’s budget?

Common mistakes you see recreation facilities making in their flooring choices:

  • “Buyers not setting the proper budget for the ‘right’ floor for the long-term intended use of the facility. Then the buyer will fit a floor into their low budget. The old saying of getting what you pay for is true, and buyers should set a proper budget and specify flooring products that have stood the test of time.”

Heather Hartmann is the editor for Campus Rec Magazine. She can be reached at heather@peakemedia.com.

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