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

By Dana Carman



Talk the Talk

A little bit of research can go a long way. Knowing some of the terms that may be thrown at you by manufacturers and consultants can help you speak surface:

POINT ELASTIC SURFACE
A surface that bends at the point of pressure and absorbs energy. Most synthetic surfaces belong to this category.

AREA ELASTIC SURFACE
A rigid, non-bending surface that yields gradually to pressure and can return energy, such as wood floors.

COMPOSITE SURFACE
A surface with characteristics of both point and area elasticity, often a synthetic surface over wood.

RESILIENCE
A floor's ability to bend or give. Synthetic surfaces often have greater resiliency than wood.

SLEEPER SYSTEM
Wood flooring system where the wood strips are installed atop strips of wood studs.

PANEL SYSTEM
Wood flooring system where the wood strips are installed atop sheets of other material, often plywood.

ANCHORED SYSTEM
Wood flooring system where the wood strips are installed atop sheets of other materials, often plywood, with "sleepers" under the plywood, then mechanically attached to the subsurface.

ANCHOR RESILIENT SYSTEM
Similar to the anchored system except that between the concrete subsurface and the plywood subfloor, there's a resilient layer.

STANDARD DEFORMATION
The depth to which a floor indents under a load of weight.

DEFORMATION CONTROL
The spread of a deformation, or the area it covers, when a floor indents under a load of weight.

EPDM
Ethylene propylene diene monomer, a type of synthetic rubber flooring that comes in granule form.

SBR
Styrene butadiene rubber, another granulized form of synthetic rubber.

PVC
Polyvinyl chloride, a common form of synthetic plastic flooring.

POLYPROPYLENE
Another form of plastic, often used for flooring squares or tiles.

PREFABRICATED SHEET GOODS
Synthetic flooring manufactured off-site and delivered in rolls or sheets.

POURED-IN-PLACE SYSTEMS
Also known as cast-in-place or full-pour systems, these are synthetic flooring systems created on site by covering the floor in a liquid that hardens into a seam-free surface.

VULCANIZED RUBBER
This can be the real thing: natural rubber used for point-elastic surfaces. Technically, rubber is not a synthetic, but this type of flooring falls under the synthetic category since it's not wood. Synthetic vulcanized rubber also exists.