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Feature Article - March 2018

Surface Area

Options Abound for Indoor Sports Flooring & Fitness Surfaces

By Deborah L. Vence


Bert Kosters, managing director, Europe, for a Petrolia, Ontario, Canada-based company that designs, manufactures and installs interior and exterior rubber surface tiles, noted some different types of flooring and how to maintain each. For example, with wooden floors, [it is] "… easy to apply floor graphics; suitable for cardio equipment, dancing and group cardio/fitness lessons, but not suitable, however, for dropping weights directly onto the surface." He added that maintenance is simple, involving vacuum cleaning and mopping.

PVC flooring, also easy to clean, is available in many colors and designs. Also, floor graphics are easy to apply, and the surface is suitable for cardio equipment, dancing and cardio group/fitness lessons; but, not suitable for dropping weights directly onto the surface. Maintenance involves vacuum cleaning and mopping.

Rolled rubber flooring needs a bit of sound attenuation. "When weights are not too heavy it will protect the screed and equipment. [It's] suitable for fixed cardio and weight equipment," he said. Maintenance involves vacuum cleaning and a scrubbing machine.

Last, rubber fitness tiles have good sound attenuation. They protect screed and equipment also at heavy weights; suitable for cardio and weight equipment and free weight areas and for group lessons. And, maintenance involves vacuum cleaning and a scrubbing machine.

Required Maintenance

Speaking of maintenance, such requirements for indoor sports flooring should include daily upkeep, weekly upkeep and any annual refurbishments or cleanings.

For example, both modular and wood surfaces can be swept and cleaned weekly with an autoscrubber. "Modular surfaces require no annual coatings or restoration in contrast to wood floors, which require both," Moller said. "Maintenance repairs are also something to consider—modular floors allow for single tiles anywhere in the floor to be replaced in case of damage, whereas wood and synthetic flooring are a bit more laborious and may require replacing entire sections. Modular and synthetic floors are resistant to water and liquids as well."

Hayes said all floors will require periodic cleaning.

"The type of cleaning and products used to clean the floor should always be approved by the manufacturer of the floor. Water can be used to clean all of the floors, however, it is highly recommended to avoid using water when cleaning wood floors," Hayes said. "Also, be sure to check with your floor manufacturer before driving an auto-scrubbing machine on your floors or using any type of scissor lift on your floor to repair/replace overhead items (i.e., light bulbs)."

Proud added that maintenance for floors depends on what surface you are cleaning. "For the indoor sport courts, cleaning and maintenance depends on how much the surface is being used. If there are noticeable scuff marks and large amounts of dust, the floor should be cleaned," she said, adding that her company recommends cleaning synthetic floors with cleaning solutions that have a neutral pH. If a synthetic floor is cleaned with a high or low pH, it could negatively affect the flooring.

As long as the floor is cleaned properly, there is no need for resurfacing or reapplying of the top layers; synthetic floors last years when they are taken care of properly.

"Maintenance to a hardwood sports floor requires more effort and expense. Routine maintenance is required when it comes to owning a hardwood floor," she said. "Daily sweeping with a dust mop is highly recommended, as well as a monthly cleaning of the floor. When cleaning the floor, it is important to use 100 percent virgin mineral spirits. They are able to remove dirt and stains, while at the same time preserving the hardwood.

"When recycled mineral spirits are used, it can cause comprehensive damage. At least once a year we recommend the floor to be screened and re-coated with a new finish. This refreshes the hardwood floor giving it more grip integrity and a sleek finish," she added.

Certain types of fitness flooring should be cleaned as often as possible to prevent bacteria.

Barber noted that many times, a surface is selected based upon the way it looks. "Little thought is given to how it will support the person using it, or its maintenance requirements," he said. "Some surfaces call for expensive cleaners or specialized machines, such as buffers, to keep the surface clean. These criteria should be considered before selecting a surface.

"A floor with minimal maintenance requirements," he added, "will make it easier for the staff to care for, in addition to saving the facility money in the long run."

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