Flooring often gets treated like an afterthought during the selection process in a fitness facility. Flooring is always needed, but there is hardly ever enough research done before making the purchase. Ultimately, there should be more importance placed on the selection of the floor to not only enhance the aesthetics but to improve the performance for the rec and the students. The most important things to consider when choosing your flooring are aesthetics, cost, safety, type of use, air quality, types of equipment, traffic and sound absorption.
When considering the aesthetics of your flooring, keep in mind that rubber has come a long way and now offers multiple colors and patterns to choose from. You even have the option of adding logos in the floor to represent your school. Recycled rubber flooring offers multiple colors as well. Think about what you want the flooring to look like and keep that in mind when choosing the right flooring for your recreational facility.
Keeping costs down is very important to most campus recreation centers. However, make sure you consider the long-term costs for each type of flooring. For instance, make sure you consider maintenance costs, installation costs, the subfloor and also warranties. Carpet, for example, can hide a variety of problems within the facility, such as perspiration that can cause mold and mildew. Carpet can also harbor staph bacteria and MRSA, which can be very harmful to students. Dirt from shoes can penetrate deep into the carpet without being detected. Although carpet can be an inexpensive purchase, it may not always be the best choice of flooring for your recreational facility.
Keeping your students safe throughout your recreational facility should be at the top of your list when choosing a floor. The use of ceramic in locker rooms can ultimately cause students to slip when water pools on the surface from the showers or sinks. Use a wet area matting or tile in wet areas instead to prevent slipping and allow water to drain easily.
Think about what each area of your facility will be used for and choose the right type of flooring for that intended use. For example, installing flooring that is intended for weight rooms in a Group X room does not provide the proper shock absorption and energy return to the participants engaged in the activities being performed. Doing the research on the different types of flooring out there will help you choose the right floor for each type of application.
Flooring may have a bigger impact on air quality than you think. The use of flooring to help enhance indoor air quality within a facility should also be highly considered. Using products that are environmentally friendly is always a good thing. Look for flooring that states it’s free of VOCs, free of chemicals, non-toxic or something similar.
Make sure all options are thought out when selecting the right flooring.
Cindy Rittenberry is the director of catalog/inside sales at Kiefer USA. For more information, call 800.322.5448 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.