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

"There are tremendous products on the market, and each provides very high performance characteristics for a specific activity," he added. "Generally, the more activities served, the less effective the product is at serving each activity to the level of performance desired. Compromises begin to occur with regard to performance. These newer hybrid systems provide improved performance for a greater range of diverse activities, thus more creative programming within the MAC."

Furthermore, for weight fitness areas, 3/8-inch rubber tiles or rolled material made of vulcanized rubber can be used.

"These materials can be extremely durable, easy to maintain, slip resistant and attractive. Recycled rubber floor systems are available in a wide range of thickness ranging from 3/8 inch thick to 1Ľ inch," Voorhees said, adding that carpet—rubber backed, solution dyed carpet—also is acceptable in weight/fitness areas in which there may be cardio equipment.

"While the carpet requires more cleaning and will not last as long as many rubber products," he said, "it can provide a quieter, more relaxed setting in certain areas."

Cover Up!

Once you've made your flooring decision and have finished your installation, you might think your work is done. But in fact, ongoing maintenance is crucial to ensure your surface—whether it's hardwood, synthetic or something else—performs well over time.

In addition to the regular maintenance tasks recommended by your floor's manufacturer, you also should invest in a floor cover. Why? It will give you the ability to protect your floor when it's used for a purpose other than the one it was designed for. This helps reduce your long-term maintenance costs, and gives you the ability to stretch your programming beyond the sports the floor was designed for.

For example, while basketball, volleyball and other indoor sports may represent the bulk of your floor's use, what happens when you use your gym for a graduation, a dance or other event? The floor can be damaged by street shoes and chairs, which will necessitate refinishing, resurfacing or other costly repairs.