Feature Article - March 2015
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Court Sense

Experts Offer Tips on Choosing Indoor Sports Surfaces

By Rick Dandes


Maintenance Issues

As a general rule a wood floor and a synthetic floor are going to require you to dust mop daily. At many facilities today, Williams noted, "kids don't change clothes, they come right from the outside and what they wore into your building is what they wear for their events. So dust mop the floor daily, both wood and synthetic."

A synthetic floor you will probably clean a little bit more often, on a weekly basis, depending on use and time of year. During winter months in the north, people will track in salt, snow and water, so you have to clean a bit more often. In the summer most facilities don't have to clean as often because the use of indoor facilities is much less. You clean a synthetic floor with water and an automatic floor scrubber; for a wood floor, use a hardwood floor cleaner. You are not going to use water. You apply the cleaner to a mop and scrub.

You might need to apply a new finish to a wooden floor on a yearly basis, Williams explained, because wood tends to wear down through the year. But if you take care of them the right way, you can get many years of good use. Putting a new finish on this type of surface protects the wood. "We do a lot of gym floors, schools, parks and recreation buildings," Williams said. "A wood floor should last the life of a building. You want to re-sand the wood floor every 10 to 12 years and eventually you sand it to the nails and at that point it has reached its useful life." Synthetic floors can be rejuvenated. You can put a new surface on top of a synthetic floor every 15 years or so and then you have a brand new floor at a cheaper cost than installing a new floor.

Always review the manufacturer's maintenance instructions for daily and periodic cleaning prior to choosing a specific flooring product, Williams said. If daily dust mopping, weekly wet cleaning and biannual intensive scrubbing is indicated, determine the specific type of cleaner and cleaning equipment suggested. There is more to maintenance beyond cleaning. Touching up or repainting lines, repairing seams or mechanical damage, periodic application of maintenance coatings or resurfacing the entire floor needs to be considered in a long-term maintenance budget.

Modular flooring may be a better budget choice for smaller municipalities with their indoor facilities, McCausland explained. "It's versatile enough to be used for almost any application indoors, and you can deliver a great-looking floor that feels like a hardwood floor and yet it is done with modular flooring. It's a better price point and it gives versatility for different activities in sports. In the scenario where you have a small school district or a community center, a boys club, a YMCA, we find that modular flooring has always been a great choice because of that combination of great performance, durability and versatility at a budget price."

Remember that in budget planning, lifecycle cost considers not just initial cost, but long-term cost. Before committing to a project, be certain that you can afford the schedule of maintenance recommended by the supplier of your chosen surfacing system.