Supplement Feature - September 2011
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Take It Inside

Cost, Maintenance, Performance Are Top Issues in Sports, Fitness Flooring

By Deborah L. Vence

Proper installation of a wood floor system is critical for the performance and the life of the floor.

For multi-use activity courts, identifying the uses desired for a MAC will have the greatest impact on the system chosen.

"The wood floor systems mentioned can be used in a MAC if the primary purpose is still basketball and volleyball, but an occasional use of other activities such as indoor soccer or lacrosse," Voorhees said.

"However, there are continual strides in the evolution of flooring systems that can accommodate a multitude of activities while maintaining a reasonable level of performance, which a MAC demands. We continually talk to flooring manufacturers to find better systems that can accommodate more activities."

Historically, he added, the majority of older multipurpose floor systems were poured surfaces, directly applied to the concrete substrate. Today, these systems have advanced, but so have many other products. These systems are referred to as "point elastic" because the shock is absorbed at the point of impact only.

Meanwhile, newer multipurpose floors include the pad and pour system that consists of a rubber shock pad anchored to the subfloor, and covered with a multilayer polyurethane structural top coat. In addition to providing good shock absorption, this system is "seamless and comes in varying degrees of durability, depending on use. Depending on the amount of reinforcing applied in the structural surface, these floors can provide reasonable quality for a wide variety of activities—from basketball, volleyball and badminton to soccer, inline hockey, banquets, etc.

"What has been the latest evolution of multipurpose flooring is a hybrid of the systems mentioned. By combining the strength and durability of the point elastic flooring systems noted, with the resilient, cushioned subfloor systems of the area elastic floor systems, the combined product allows a floor that can accommodate a wider range of activities, meeting the unique performance characteristics of each activity," Voorhees said.