Many of us have fond memories of watching our reflection in gleaming wood gym floor. As the use of gymnasiums have changed, so have the flooring options available. Today’s gymnasiums are more multipurpose facilities, hosting everything from basketball games to concerts to tradeshows. While hardwood is the traditional choice for gym flooring, synthetic surfaces are proving to be a more versatile, durable, and affordable solution for multi-use gymnasium facilities.
Vinyl flooring can mimic the appearance of real wood, yet provides a higher degree of shock absorption, uniformity, and comfort for athletes. Backed by a thin layer of felt or foam, vinyl has a softer feel, more flexibility, more comfort when standing on it for long periods of time. Not only is vinyl ideal for basketball and volleyball due to its shock absorption, it also excels in multipurpose gymnasiums. When properly installed, the floor is virtually impervious to water, making it the perfect choice for a multipurpose gym that regularly hosts conferences, assemblies, and events in addition to sports. It is also less expensive than many other flooring choices, with simple installation and maintenance. Vinyl is easy to clean, extremely resistant to mold and mildew and with proper maintenance, will likely last a minimum of 25 years.
Rubber is perhaps the most durable, shock-absorbing flooring material currently available. Though it offers commercial-grade durability, rubber flooring is actually quite soft to the touch. It creates a seamless anti-slip surface perfect for gym floors. Rubber is easy to clean, since it only needs to be vacuumed or damp mopped, and it is naturally resistant to mold, fungi, and mildew growth. It is also an excellent sound insulator, minimizing noise during sporting events and concerts. Rubber has a nonporous surface impervious to liquids and can be manufactured with raised dimples, studs, and other complex textures to increase traction and slip resistance if necessary. A properly maintained rubber floor should last twenty years, if not longer.
Urethanes are popular high-performance floor coatings with many desirable properties – including fast cure times, high abrasion resistance, and good chemical resistance. At roughly two-thirds the cost of a wood floor, and more versatile, it provides a worry-free multipurpose surface. Unlike wood, urethane isn’t easily damaged by water or the wrong type of foot traffic, making it ideal for non-sports related events such as meetings and dances. The floors are easy to maintain, and simply need routine damp mopping. Poured urethane floors last about 38 years, and with resurfacing every 10 years.
Investing in any type of athletic or recreational surface is a big decision for any municipality or corporation, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Being informed of all your options and asking your installer the proper questions will ensure your community has a venue that will stand the test of time.