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Guest Column - November 2018
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Indoor Sports Flooring

Be More Versatile
The Benefits of Modular Sports Flooring

By Jeff Vance


Talk about challenges. A community social Friday night, basketball Saturday morning, rehearsals Saturday afternoon, Sunday volleyball leagues—and that's just the weekend! We've all seen how the big arenas handle changing their setup from event to event, but how are organizations with reasonable budgets and limited staffing supposed to cope with these disparate demands? Having a versatile and dependable flooring system that can perform well across this wide range of needs is a critical piece for smoother facility operations.

Modular floors were developed in the 1970s as portable sports floors, but have evolved into beautiful, permanent flooring which fills many of the gaps in the traditional flooring market. Modular flooring systems are incredibly durable and versatile and fit the needs of facilities that cater to a wide variety of unique functions. Since these floors originated in the sports environment, they are perfect for basketball, volleyball, walking areas, aerobics, yoga, Awana, general play areas, etc. Some are constructed of recycled polypropylene copolymer, and the better-quality products are 100 percent recyclable as well. This flooring is chemical-resistant and is not adversely affected by changes in temperature or humidity, so it is perfect for buildings that have limited or no HVAC coverage. Modular flooring is particularly appealing to facilities with old floors that are no longer viable, or for buildings with moisture issues in the concrete slab.

Modular floors are free-floating, which means they install without glues or adhesives. This speeds the installation process, which keeps costs low. Most installations take one or two days and can be completed by factory crews from the manufacturer. Many organizations choose to "self-install" to keep the costs down and to keep up the community involvement and commitment to the project.

Adhesives-free installations also provide versatility and make self-maintenance a breeze. Any floor can be damaged, but what make modular flooring so exceptional is that individual tiles can be quickly and easily removed and replaced, without the need of expensive flooring specialists. A damaged module anywhere in the floor can be easily fixed by in-house staff, in less than two minutes. Higher-quality systems have a substantial warranty and can withstand unlimited amounts of foot traffic. Additionally, they can also accommodate considerable rolling loads of wheeled traffic. If the need arises for a scissor lift to repair a light or work on the ceiling, just drive it across the floor, as the modules can easily handle the load.

The resilient qualities of polypropylene also add to the versatility of the flooring. These systems can handle tables and chairs during a social and will not dent from high-heeled shoes or heavy loads. They are naturally stain-, mold- and mildew-resistant so they are sanitary and easy to clean. A good dust mop is perfect for most of the day-to-day cleaning, but a really dirty floor can be cleaned with a mop or an auto scrubber if needed.

From an athletic perspective, modular floors are one of the safest choices you can make for your facility. The modules are designed to have some "give" to them, which provides protection from slip/fall injuries. Modular floors are designed to have the same grip as hardwood floors—enough to provide good play, but not so much as to unnaturally grab the athletes' feet while playing. These floors also provide a much better level of impact protection than concrete, VCT or carpeted floors. With the focus in our society on the long-term effects of concussions, modular flooring with shock suspension provide outstanding safety and an affordable price. Some of the better modular flooring systems have an optional high-performance suspension system integrated into the base of the modules. These provide great comfort and the best performance available, while allowing the flooring system to "breathe."

There have been major developments in both the look and size of the flooring modules. Producing a flooring system that looks and performs like a true maple hardwood floor has been the holy grail of the modular flooring industry. Options are now available that look like NBA hardwood, but with all the benefits of modular flooring.

This article is about value—and how an investment in modular flooring can provide great value to numerous groups inside your organization. Robust modular flooring is versatile enough to accommodate nearly any activity and ensures a safe, fun environment for your athletes. Its low cost, ease of installation, low maintenance and great durability make it a sound fiscal choice, while its vast color and style options make it appealing to users.

It's easy to see why modular flooring is routinely the best all-around flooring choice for multi-use facilities.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeff Vance is global business manager for SnapSports, which has been manufacturing and distributing leading indoor and outdoor multi-courts, basketball courts, futsal surfaces and more for nearly four decades. For more information, visit www.snapsports.com.