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

By Margaret Ahrweiler


If you laid flooring samples from every color, style and performance level from every sport surface manufacturer, your path probably would run from New York to Los Angeles. Just kidding. While the choices seem limitless, surfacing must satisfy seven factors:


What kind of look are you trying to convey for your facility? Traditional? Contemporary? How does the flooring look under different lighting conditions? How does it hide or show soiling? Is glare an issue for users?


Don't just look at upfront costs, look at lifetime costs. How much does installation cost? What are the maintenance costs? How much do the cleaning products cost? How easy are they to obtain? What does maintenance cost in employee hours?


How long does this surface last? How long do you want it to last? (Do you really want to go 40 years before replacing the product?) How does the floor show wear and how can it be fixed? Does the type of usage you plan affect durability?


How difficult is it to install the system? Who will install it? Does the manufacturer offer its own installation teams or can your staff do it? How soon can the surface be used after installation? Does it emit any toxic outgases or noxious smells?


How much and what type of maintenance is required? Are some substances hazardous to the surface, especially substances commonly found at your site? Will your facility honestly be able to handle the maintenance schedule? Can your staff repair it or must you call the manufacturer?


What is this floor designed to do best? Does that match your planned uses?


Does this floor meet the biomechanical needs of its intended uses? Is there proper cushioning? Is it too slippery? Not slippery enough? Does it accommodate a range of users? Are there any protrusions that can cause a hazard?