Within the last 25 years, there has been a trend to quantify performance characteristics that best define “a good sports floor.” As a result, there are hundreds of different sports flooring systems, each with varying levels of performance.
The PUR Standards focus on shock absorption, vertical deflection, area of deflection, ball bounce and surface friction. Standards have been developed for permanent basketball floors, portable basketball floors, volleyball floors, aerobics floors, dance floors, and squash, racquetball and handball floors. The goal is to balance technical standards with practical flooring system design in order to create uniform standards of performance for a particular activity on a sports floors. Like all performance standards, there are tradeoffs between individual standards depending on the intended use.
Carefully selected criteria will help you choose the characteristics that are most appropriate for the activities being performed:
Measures the flooring system’s ability to absorb impact forces generated by the athlete. As an athlete impacts a sports surface, the impacting force is translated into two resultant forces: one absorbed by the floor and the other absorbed by the athlete. While hard surfaces such as concrete and asphalt provide no force reduction for the athlete upon impact due to running, jumping or falling, sports floor systems absorb these impact forces and are rated by the percentage of force reduction they provide as compared to hard surfaces. In general, a sports floor with a force reduction value of 60 percent will absorb 60 percent of the impact force and the remaining 40 percent is absorbed by the athlete.
Measures the floor system’s downward movement during the impact of an athlete landing on the surface. This characteristic is the measure of the floor system’s ability to provide vertical displacement at the point of impact. For example, a person jumping on a concrete floor would result in zero vertical deflection, while that same person jumping on a trampoline would create a vertical deflection of many inches.
Measures the floor system’s ability to contain the deflected area under an athlete’s impact, measured at 20 inches from the point of impact. The area of deflection is a measurement of the surface of the floor that is deflected during impact. Area of deflection is based on the relationship between vertical deflection at the point of impact and the deflection at 20 inches. A person jumping on a trampoline, for example, creates a very wide area of deflection. Someone jumping on sand creates a very limited area of deflection.
Measures the basketball’s rebound response off the sports floor system as compared to the ball’s rebound response off concrete. At 100 percent rebound, the basketball returns to a height equal to its rebound off concrete. Obviously, ball bounce may not apply to all sport activities.
Measures an athletic flooring finish’s ability to control the sliding of athletes on a sports surface. The surface friction must be low enough to permit sliding when a large amount of horizontal force is applied to the floor surface and high enough to prevent uncontrollable sliding. Surface friction is a function of the specified floor finish.
Daniel Heney is the executive director of the Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association. He can be contacted at 888.480.9138 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.