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

By Margaret Ahrweiler


What's most important in a sport surface? Ask five different people involved with the facility, and you'll get five different answers. What matters most to the people playing on the floor may matter least to the people cleaning it.

Planners must consider the sometimes-conflicting needs of everyone involved: the owner, the facility manager, the architect, the contractor, the maintenance staff, the athletic director, the coaches, the community representative for a publicly funded space and, of course, the athletes. They all need to decide what's most important for their surface. While this step may seem equally obvious, it's frequently overlooked as planners try to move the process along quickly.

One flooring specialist, Sally Cottingham of Chicago-based Moose Sports Inc., created a ranking system to hash through these issues. She gives clients a sheet of flooring attributes, asking that the group number them in order of importance. Results from these rankings can be eye-openers, she says. Many clients have totally changed their flooring plans after seeing the results.

The ranking list (alphabetically):
  • Ball bounce/roll/performance
  • Cleanability
  • Coefficient to friction (slip vs. slide vs. nonslip)
  • Color
  • Cost
  • Durability
  • Installation time
  • Permanence/portability
  • Resiliency/shock absorbency
  • Smell during/after installation
  • Sound deadening
  • Spike resistance
  • Warranty