Feature Article - July/August 2004
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Special Supplement:
Recreation Management’s Complete Guide to Sports Surfaces and Flooring

By Margaret Ahrweiler


Even the best floors and surfaces are only as good as the proper attention and care they're given. Designers, manufacturers and facility managers alike recommend constant, vigilant maintenance to keep both wood and synthetic floors at their best. Below are tips on wood and synthetic care.

  • Use floor mats at entrances to gym to keep dirt and grit away and vacuum mats daily.
  • Pick up any garbage.
  • Remove chewing gum.
  • Dust mop floor with a clean, treated mop.
  • Wipe floor with bare hand to test if dust remains on the floor. If dust remains, mop again.
  • To remove soil, use a waterless cleaner designed for wood surfaces.
  • Remove rubber burns and floor marks with a solvent-dampened cloth.
  • Tack or damp-mop floor with a solvent-based cleaner.
  • Keep people off floor until dry.
  • For lightly worn floors, a light "screening" may be required and one coat of floor finish.
  • For badly worn or damaged floors, consider heavy screening or sanding.
  • Encourage users to only wear gym shoes to avoid scuffing.
  • Keep a constant indoor environment, ideally between 35 percent and 50 percent humidity.
  • Never use a floor scrubber.
  • Don't let water or other liquids remain on floor.
  • Dust mop as needed to remove dry dirt and debris using an untreated mop head.
  • Wet mop any spills and remove any large amounts of dirt or dust.
  • Damp mop daily, using a white cotton (damp with water, but not too wet with water) towel. Rinse the towel every few passes. For dirtier surfaces use a neutral floor cleaner.
  • A low-speed floor scrubber may be used with a neutral or citrus-based cleaner diluted according to the manufacturer.
  • Remove scuff marks with a clean towel dampened with a ready-to-use citrus- or butyl-based cleaner. Rinse the floor with clean water after removing scuff marks.
  • Do not allow patrons to wear spikes.
  • Do not use abrasive brushes, pads or steel wool.
  • Do not use high-speed floor equipment.
  • Do not use floor wax.

  • To remove those pesky scuff marks from black-soled shoes on both wood and synthetic floors, attach a tennis ball on the end of a stick and rub. TMP architect Dave Larson promises it works.
  • Make sure your maintenance team understands care instructions. The Maple Floor Manufacturers Association offers floor-care posters and training videos in English and Spanish.