A new gym floor is a significant investment, of both time and money—which means that you want to be absolutely certain that you’re getting the right floor for your needs. If you’re in the planning or design stages of the process, you’re probably considering the type of material you would like to use in your flooring system.
There are a variety of excellent materials out there, but the two most common types are hardwood and synthetic gym flooring. Both of these options offer essential qualities, such as resilience and absorption, but they do differ in makeup, maintenance needs, and other areas. Let’s take a look at the unique characteristics of hardwood and synthetic gym flooring.
Hardwood gym floors are the typical choice for competition gymnasiums that will see plenty of games, whether it be basketball, volleyball, or another sport. This type of flooring offers resilience, excellent shock absorption, high ball bounce, and solid foot slide characteristics. When put together, those characteristics create the ideal surface for fast play while protecting the joints of your athletes.
It’s not enough to just choose hardwood gym flooring—you’ll also need to pick between anchored or floating floors. Both types of gym flooring systems generally consist of a rubber pad, layers of subfloor, and a layer of maple or other wood. Here’s how they differ.
This flooring system is used most often in recreation spaces and elementary schools. Because this type of flooring is not pinned down, it is able to sit on top of a concrete slab and “float” with changes in humidity. One of the main benefits of a floating floor system is that it can be adjusted for the needs of athletes or other users. Depending on what the floor will be used for, its shock absorption and resilience can be adjusted to maximize comfort and performance. However, it’s worth noting that floating floors may not be as uniform as anchored flooring systems, and they tend to vibrate.
You can probably guess the main difference from the name here—in an anchored flooring system, the subfloor is pinned down to the concrete slab. This anchoring feature produces a uniform gym floor that is much quieter and less prone to vibration. If you’re on the hunt for a gym flooring system that offers peak performance for sports like basketball and volleyball, you can’t go wrong with an anchored hardwood floor. You’ll typically find anchored floors in high-end and professional sports facilities.
When taken care of, hardwood gym floors can last for decades. That means preventative maintenance is essential. This type of floor should be swept multiple times each day and recoated at least once a year. Heavy equipment like bleachers can damage a wood floor, so your sporting equipment will also need to be well maintained and monitored.
Additionally, food or liquid spills need to be cleaned up immediately to avoid the risk of extensive water damage. Excessive wet mopping and cleaning chemicals can also damage a wood gym floor, so be sure to use only recommended cleaning products.
Synthetic gym flooring is a solid alternative to hardwood gym floors, as it provides a durable surface suitable for sporting and event uses at a lower cost. These types of materials are seen in a wide variety of venues, from field houses to cafeterias. But make no mistake—competitive sports like basketball and volleyball are still played on synthetic floors. Multi-use facilities find synthetic flooring particularly appropriate for hosting games, community meetings, and a variety of other events.
Synthetic flooring comes in a variety of materials, but the following are the main types that you’ll typically find in a gym.
Synthetic floors are incredibly durable and require significantly less time and attention to maintain when compared to hardwood gym floors. However, continual use will still wear them down, and they’ll need to be completely resurfaced at some point. The length of time you can go without a resurfacing will depend on the exact type of material used in your floor. Pad and pour polyurethane floors typically only need to be refinished every 15 to 20 years.
As you can see, you have plenty of choices to make when designing your ideal gym floor. The right decision on materials will come down to a few factors, including:
Both hardwood and synthetic gym floors offer excellent performance characteristics, but you may find that one can create a better surface for your unique needs. Synthetic floors, for example, are a strong choice for a multi-purpose area—such as a gymnasium that also hosts community events. If you know that your gym floor will be used exclusively for sporting events, you may favor a hardwood gym flooring system for its classic look and play.
Still not sure which material is best suited for your needs? The flooring experts at Anderson Ladd, now known as H2I Group, can assist. We’ll see you through every step of the flooring design and installation process, ensuring that you come away with a new synthetic or hardwood gym floor that will serve you well for years to come. Contact us today to discuss your project or learn more about our gym floor installation and maintenance services.