Feature Article - March 2017
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Sizing Up Your Surface

Options Abound When You Want Performance & Durability

By Rick Dandes

Cleaning Up

Maintenance is a big consideration when purchasing a new athletic surface. "Some flooring requires costly maintenance programs to be implemented, while others require minimal maintenance, greatly impacting the total life cycle cost of the flooring," Gleason said. "Also ask yourself, if there is damage to a floor for one reason or another, how easily can it be repaired?"

Most flooring manufacturers start by recommending use of walk-off mats at all entryways to reduce the amount of dirt and debris coming into the facility, Gleason said. All flooring will require daily dust mopping, and damp mopping or using an automatic scrubber as needed.

Wood floors, which have a 30- to 40-year lifespan, probably require as much care and maintenance as any sports surface. Depending upon how much they are used, you'll have to refinish them every year or two. In some cases that includes kind of roughening up the surface and putting down some more urethane on top to protect the surface. Every few years you'll probably have to sand the floor down, redo the lines and refinish from scratch.

Meanwhile, you should dry mop your wood floor regularly. When dust accumulates on the floor, it increases the slip coefficient, so you want to avoid that for the sake of the athlete and members of the organization who are using the floor. Dry mopping should happen daily, while wet mopping and scrubbing should be done as needed, but that is up to the maintenance procedures, and each facility is different. Just be sure to follow manufacturers' and installers' recommendations, and be sure your maintenance is handled correctly and regularly.

"The thing to remember about wood," McCausland said, "is it's an organic material, so generally speaking it has to be kept in a climate-controlled building. If you have a wood floor in a building that experiences wide fluctuations in temperatures and humidity, that wood will expand and contract and that could create some problems. If it cracks, either the finish or the actual wood itself, it could create gaps in the floor. So most hardwood floors are recommended in a building where you can keep humidity and temperature in a middle range without a lot of variations."

Synthetic flooring requires deep cleaning and restoration annually using the manufacturers recommended methods, Gleason explained. "Many sport tiles require annual deep cleaning while some have a protective coating that needs to be re-applied."

Modular tiles are extremely low maintenance, Prins noted. "You're basically just keeping it clean, and that is all you need to do."

In most cases, maintenance crews can use an auto scrubber, a dry mop or wet mop to clean synthetic floor systems. There is no maintenance process to follow on any regular schedule other than to keep it clean. That is also true with vinyl surfaces; as long as you take care of the layer on top, it's very durable, long lasting and doesn't require much in the way of treatment. Rubber-based flooring as well, requires little maintenance, although it depends on the kind of rubber you are using, the kind of finish you have, and the appearance you are trying to preserve.

Urethane floors have an easy maintenance regimen, Banks added, which usually starts with dry mopping and wet mopping regularly just to keep dust and grit off the floors. "Depending on the facility's maintenance procedures, it can be cost-saving to use an automatic floor scrubbing machine. We recommend neutral pH cleaning products and red pads for the scrub machine. They are effective in pulling off scruff marks and grime."

Each flooring manufacturer will recommend methods for cleaning and maintaining their flooring products, and they should be adhered to, Gleason said. "Be aware of the maintenance requirements," he advised. "Have appropriate expectations prior to purchasing a floor to ensure that your maintenance staff is properly equipped."