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Flexible Flooring Can Save Time & Money
By: W.B. Bill Austin

Churches require a flooring solution that can withstand the daily rigors of heavy foot traffic, as well as sporting events when necessary. It is incumbent upon facility managers to select a floor that performs well in multipurpose areas and gymnasiums, as there is often overlap of activities in these spaces.

To ensure optimum levels of safety and playability, a flooring solution should adhere to new American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) F2772 standard.

Combine this with other "must-have" qualities such as versatility and maintenance, and one good choice becomes vinyl flooring.

What Is ASTM?
The new ASTM floor regulations set benchmarks for good sports floors based on shock absorption and ball bounce. The ASTM F2772 standard classifies floors into five performance level classification from C1 to C5 where C1 is the minimum with 10 percent in force reduction. 

The higher the shock absorption a floor provides, the better an athlete is protected from risk of injuries. The better the ball bounce, the better the floor, since the ASTM F2772 standard requires a minimum of 90 percent ball rebound across the entire sports flooring surface. 

The new guideline provides the following benefits:

* Protects athletes of all levels to minimize stress on the body and injury prevention
* Instills confidence in architects, facility managers, sports facility owners that floor is safe
* Enables floor specifiers with right tools to make intelligent flooring choices

Floor Versatility
Once a list of ASTM certified flooring is made, it is now time to decide what flooring solution provides the best comfort, durability, recyclability, and design.

Some flooring options have dual purpose, in that they can accommodate leisurely activity associated with multipurpose rooms or meet the demands of elite level athleticism in gymnasiums. A flooring solution that provides versatility and flexibility for light recreation or heavy sports play is what separates a good vinyl flooring solution from a great one.

It's important for a floor to have excellent vertical deformation properties, sometimes called how much the floor "gives" when athletes are playing. As mentioned, a church may have to accommodate other recreation activities, besides sports, in one area, and vinyl flooring can provide a great option. When basketball goals, chairs, bleachers, and tables have to be moved constantly, a floor must be able to literally bounce back.

Coefficient of friction is also important in a flooring solution and can be achieved via a specialized floor treatment to offer the correct amount of grip and slide for optimum sports play. Players who fall or dive on the floor can "beat the heat" since the heat generated between them and the floor will be extremely low so friction burns will not occur. 

As stated earlier, superior shock absorption and ball bounce are crucial for a great performing floor and is associated with how much energy return the floor provides.

Other Qualities to Look For
The expected maintenance of the floor should also play a role in choosing the right solution for a church facility. The vinyl flooring should contain a surface treatment to allow maintenance crews to easily clean the flooring with water, so as not to require polishing or waxing.

Since vinyl is impervious to liquid, the flooring in these areas will be highly resistant to stains for an added benefit. In addition, an antimicrobial floor treatment, which deters the growth of fungi and bacteria, can be vitally important in a school environment where young children and adults are in close contact.

Careful consideration must be taken to determine the right look and feel for a space or if an existing floor must coordinate with the new. Flooring comes in numerous colors, designs, and wood patterns to allow designers and architects maximum freedom when planning a space. It is always ideal when a flooring solution can provide great functionality and aesthetic appeal to those who will be using the area for recreation or sport. 

Today, churches are being called upon to provide users a safe, comfortable, and high-quality environment for an array of sports and recreational activities. A flooring solution must be flexible enough to provide protection when needed and comfort when appropriate.

By following the new ASTM F2772 standard and ensuring a flooring solution is well-constructed, churches can save time and money by choosing a great performing vinyl sports flooring.

W.B. Bill Austin is vice president of sales and marketing for Vector Concepts, the exclusive distributor of Gerflor Taraflex products in New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas, www.vectorconcepts.com.









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