Supplement Feature - September 2014
Find a printable version here

The Big Bounce

Innovations in Sports Flooring Abound

By Rick Dandes

Innovations in Flooring

The sports surfacing industry is a constantly evolving marketplace where demand is focused on providing an environmentally friendly product that allows for multipurpose activities, requires minimal maintenance, can be customized by hardness (durometer) and color, and is provided by a financially strong manufacturer and installer that will stand behind a 5- to 10-year warranty.

On the performance side, current trends in the sports flooring manufacturing industry are systems that provide uniformity of performance in terms of ball bounce and shock absorption throughout the entire floor area. In an effort to assist this trend, the MFMA (Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association) has developed a new performance testing criteria called PUR (Performance Uniformity Ratings). This test standard ensures that the floor meets a very high standard, but that it also must achieve this standard with very little variance with the test data.

Meanwhile, safety, along with growing concern about concussions, is a trend as well among both manufacturers and buyers of flooring, whose clients (or students, if we're talking about schools) use it. Optimal energy absorption and surface friction are two of the key factors that are commonly believed to prevent injuries to athletes.

As you begin your decision-making process, Proffitt said, "The one thing you are going to find is that all manufacturers are looking to innovate products."

At one time, for example, the only time you could have a floor that performed like a wood floor was by installing a wood floor. But now you have rolled synthetics that have the look of wood. You will always find companies looking to improve a floor's cushion aspect, shock absorption.