Supplement Feature - September 2008
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Choices in Indoor Sports Surfaces

By Sue Marquette Poremba


Almost at the opposite end of the spectrum is the flooring used in the weight room or in rooms with cardio-fitness machines. Instead of providing a good bounce for a basketball, these floors need to withstand 200-pound free weights being dropped repeatedly.

This is why, when Leigh LaFargue was charged with replacing the floors for the Baton Rouge Recreation Centers—Webb Park and North Sherwood Forest Fitness Centers—she turned to a rubber flooring manufacturer for the weight and cardio areas. She had to cover 2,200 square feet of space.

The flooring is black rubber, 0.375 inches thick. LaFargue said she chose this type of sports flooring because it was the most economical and because the floor stands up well to heavy equipment.

"We have a lot of people who lift weights in these centers, and this floor doesn't leave indentations," she said. "Even when you have something on the floor for a long period of time, the floor just pops back into place. It's also easy to clean."

She knows the value of a good quality floor, too, having had to deal with floors in the past that ripped easily or left marks from the equipment.

"The thickness and the bounce of these floors provide support for standing," she said. "It's more appropriate than having a wood floor or a carpeted floor. After all, people tend to drop weights, and this floor has a good bounce for that."

LaFargue added that the ease of cleaning the surface is a plus, as well. "We're a public parks department, and we serve a lot of people in our facilities and see all types of behavior." The surface's resistance to dirt and overall low-maintenance is a definite plus in that environment.

Similar material can be used around indoor pool decks, as well. Rubber pool decking is ideal for use in water play applications as it provides a permeable, porous, non-slip surface that is functional as an application that provides cushion-like comfort to walk on, while providing an unconventional pallet of color combination possibilities.