Feature Article - July 2007
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Special Supplement: Complete Guide to Sports & Recreation Surfaces

By Dana Carman


Right now, in weight and cardio rooms in health clubs and fitness centers all around the country, men and women are sweating on the floor. According to DiNatale, that's something managers should be thinking about.

Generally, rubber flooring systems are the popular option for these areas of health clubs, whether in one sheet or cut as interlocking tiles. However, recycled rubber is porous and thus can hold in sweat and odor, whereas a virgin, natural rubber product is nonporous.

"Anything that's porous can hold in odor," DiNatale said.

While a nonrecycled rubber product is more expensive, there are techniques and ways to reduce costs while still implementing the virgin rubber to avoid odor and bacteria buildup in your high-traffic areas. Some may refer to this as a vulcanized rubber surface. However, synthetic vulcanized rubber also exists. DiNatale also likes virgin rubber surfaces because they're available in a variety of colors.

Robert Cohen, indoor division president for the American Sports Builders Association, also prefers vulcanized rubber because it's a natural substance that does not give off any VOCs (volatile organic compounds) or contain harmful components.

Again, how much use your facility, and therefore the floor, will see is something to be considered at the start. Cardio rooms and weight rooms are popular places and eventually surfaces will wear out regardless, so it's worth weighing the capital expenditures against the lifetime costs of keeping up your surfaces and your facility.