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Ten Guidelines for the Right Multi-Purpose Floor
By: Robin Traum

Are you looking for a floor for your church’s gymnasium/multi-purpose room? Here are some suggestions to make the task less daunting.

These 10 guidelines will help you learn about the most important aspects of a new multi-purpose floor and give you a solid foundation for selecting the right flooring for all of your church’s athletic and recreational programs.

The 10 guiding principles are: comfort, shock absorption, simplified maintenance, life cycle costs, no vibration, coefficient of friction, consistency, versatility, acoustics and environmental considerations.

1. Comfort
The desire to have a comfortable surface is easily understood, but there is more to it. You need a floor that is comfortable for standing, running, jumping and falling. Your facility requires a floor that lets participants recover quickly and completely from an unexpected tumble or dive. Make sure you fully understand the types of programs and activities and the age groups that will use the designated space.

2. Shock Absorption
Shock absorption refers to how much of an impact a person feels while playing on the floor. It is critical that the floor absorb much of the force with which a person jumps, runs or falls. This allows the athlete to compete or practice longer with less chance of injury.

3. Simplified Maintenance
Simplified maintenance means less staff time and lower cleaning costs. Floor product treatments can ease maintenance requirements, plus provide antibacterial and fungicidal protection and prevent stains from food spills. Find out exactly what maintenance is required daily, quarterly and after over a period of five to 10 years.

4. Life-Cycle Costs
To get a true understanding of the cost of the flooring over 15 or 20 years, you need to conduct a life-cycle cost analysis. Life-cycle costs include the purchase and installation price, annual maintenance expense, and periodic major maintenance procedures, including equipment, labor and supplies. The formula to determine the overall price tag of flooring is: cost to install plus maintenance cost for the expected life of the floor divided by life expectancy of the floor equals life-cycle costs.

5. No Vibration
It is important that a child standing several feet away from another child who falls should not feel the floor vibrate. He should be able to continue playing without being distracted by vibration and the risk of shin splints and stress fractures.

6. Coefficient of Friction
An athlete will be able to control her movements on a floor with the correct coefficient of friction. Without it, the player might slide while trying to turn or stop or may find he or she can’t turn as quickly as necessary. If the floor has the right COF, a player who falls should not get a friction burn. If the floor has the wrong COF for the sport, it can result in injuries or negatively affect the level of play.

7. Consistency
The surface of the floor has to be exactly the same all across the room. The entire floor has to be the same thickness, and players should experience the same ball bounce (no dead spots), comfort, shock absorption and coefficient of friction wherever they are in the room.

8. Versatility
The flooring selected should not limit the events you want to schedule. Its design should provide the support necessary for active sports programs. Its surface should be able to withstand tables and chairs and people walking across in all different types of footwear without damage. 

9. Acoustics
The right floor can help minimize sound so that it doesn’t travel to other areas. Bouncing balls or running feet should not be heard all along the hallway. Check the number of decibels the floor can absorb. If you choose the wrong flooring, you could be dealing with an acoustical challenge. The longer it takes for sound to be absorbed, the more difficult it is for those in the room to hear and understand spoken words or music.

10. Environmental Considerations
Find out what the floor’s environmental impact is and whether it has recycled material content or is composed of sustainable materials. Consider the benefits of low volatile organic compounds on the church’s air quality. Insist upon low VOC installation accessories such as adhesives, game line paint and cleaning products. Find out how much natural resources, water and energy are required for cleaning. Ask if the manufacturer has received ISO 14001 environmental certification.

Follow all these steps, and you’ll play an active role in determining the specifications so that your facility winds up with the best possible floor for the scope of programs using it.

Robin Traum is a public relations consultant for Taraflex Sports Flooring by Gerflor.

Gym Floor Covers
A Buyer’s Checklist

To help you make an intelligent decision in the purchase of a protective gym floor cover and handling system, here is a checklist of dos and don’ts. Remember, it helps to be informed.

Make sure that cover rollers do not bend on weight.
If you can bend an empty roller at the center, even slightly, it will sag when the cover is added. In turn, the roller will not rotate easily causing extra wear and tension on the system.

Make sure casters do not leave scuffs on hardwood floor.
Less costly systems often feature cheaper, generic casters that can leave marks on a gymnasium floor that are hard or impossible to remove. Worse, they could even leave impression marks in the floor surface. If the caster has less than 3/4-inch tread thickness, damage could occur.

Avoid systems with just four casters.
Racks that roll on just four casters have poor weight distribution, which makes it harder to maneuver around the gym and may increase the risk of indentations on the floor.

Check if system features an offset caster.
This reduces the effective load by more than 30 percent on any one individual slat and, instead, spreads the overall load more evenly on the floor.

Avoid pro-rated warranties.
While many companies promise long warranties, the true test is how long they’ve been specializing in gym floor covers. Companies that specifically manufacture and sell gym floor covers have the most at stake in producing quality systems and standing behind them. Make sure that the company will be in business long enough to honor any warranties provided.

Read the fine print when shopping online.
Also, remember it is very hard to make a decision based on a small photo. At a minimum, you receive a sample of the material being proposed and a list of references who can verify the quality of both the material and company. Better yet, inspect a system in person. You deserve the best for your facility and your students.

Beware of false advertising claims.
In order to properly protect your floor, gym floor covers need to be custom manufactured. Standard sizes will not adequately protect your floor. Beware of claims of discounts that seem too good to be true on overstocked items. How can you have overstock on custom manufactured items? Remember, insist on seeing samples and beware of false claims.

Check the manufacturing process.
There are three main processes available to manufacture gym floor covers. As with anything, the more expensive process results in a superior product with a longer lifespan and, therefore, lower annual costs over the life of the cover. Remember, a true knife-coated process is always superior to a three-ply product and will provide better protection for many more years. Think value and annualized cost, not selling price. The opportunity to buy a gym floor cover does not present itself very often to a facility, so make sure that you do it right the first time. You won’t have a second chance.

Source: Covermaster

Product Roundup

Action Floor Systems
Action Floor Systems offers the industry’s only water-based, solvent-free, synthetic polyurethane top coat. The environmentally friendly Action Herculan top coat requires no masks or building evacuation during application. Herculan:
* Is a high-performance, monolithic, nonporous floor
* Features polyurethane top coat and dual
* Has coats of seamless, self-leveling polyurethane over a sealed rubber base mat
It’s a surface that has the performance characteristics you want in a quality athletic floor and the durability to handle non-sports uses.

Multi-Play Sports Floors
Churches across the country have realized that Multi-Play Sports floors provide all the properties of play that you’re looking for, without the high price. Features include:
* Ideal ball response
* Resilience
* Traction
* Durability
Even good looks are not sacrificed, as Multi-Play comes in a multitude of colors in both the gridded and solid top tiles.

Electra Tarp
Valuable floor space in churches sometimes needs to serve various functions. Electra Tarp products allow churches to create multi-purpose facilities out of gymnasium space, increasing flexibility in where functions and activities can be held. Products include:
* Gymnasium floor covers
* Divider curtains
* AWANA game floors
* Performance floors
Choose from numerous colors and weights as well as several double-sided colors. Whether the space is large or small, Electra Tarp can construct a floor cover or divider curtain to fit customer needs.

PADENPOR by Abacus Sports Installations
Padenpor resilient flooring by Abacus Sports Installations is designed for multi-purpose use. Two products are combined to introduce two different degrees of hardness to the floor.
* The rubber underlayment (Leed and Green certified) is soft, offering resilience, ergonomics and safety
* The urethane is hard, offering not only performance but also durability to sustain multipurpose applications (tables and chairs). 
* This combination results in Padenpor being a high-quality"dual durometer" multi-purpose floor.

Boflex by Centaur Floor Systems
Boflex Sport Floor is an ultimate pre-finished, high-performance hardwood gymnasium floor system. Utilizing a patented resilient foam channel understructure, Boflex exceeds all the requirements of DIN standards, making it a leader in:
* Shock absorption
* Resilience
* Performance
* Safety
The shock absorption channels allow even small children or lightweight athletes to gain immediate resilience.

Basketball-Goals.com offers a wide array of floor coverings and sports flooring, including:
* Gym Floor Guard
* Event Deck carpet tiles
* GYM Deck (PVC plastic puzzle tile)
* Traditional poly-vinyl roll solutions
The company offers an array of NCAA-approved sport flooring, including flex court all-weather basketball, tennis and multi-game court tile, and AERO FLEX modular indoor multi-purpose sports tile.

Taraflex Sport M Plus by Gerflor
Taraflex Sport M Plus by Gerflor is an ideal flooring choice for religious facilities. For athletics, Sport M Plus:
* Provides superior shock absorption
* Delivers consistent ball bounce
* Ensures accurate pivoting
For recreation, it reduces the chance of friction burns, helps fight fatigue and minimizes indentations. For social or play programs, Sport M Plus resists scuff marks, dirt, and food stains, prevents bacteria and fungus growth and cleans easily

Pro Line SPF
Pro Line SPF flooring systems are designed for high-speed, high-impact sports, such as basketball, volleyball, soccer, tennis and aerobic activities. The premium floors feature suspension bars and fitting interlocks for tighter seams that promote:
* Uniform ball bounce
* Safer footing
* Smooth puck glide
Pro Line SPF offers a full line of multi-purpose sports flooring products. These products provide interlocking suspended modular tile flooring systems suitable for indoor, outdoor and wet area use. 

Action Flex from Flex Court
Flex Court Athletics has introduced its new Action Flex Gymnasium Sport Flooring for basketball, volleyball and multi-play. It features:
* Heavier gauge top surface structure
* Off-set precise tight connectors
* Continued Aero Flex technology with open air flow suspension
The result is a tile sports floor designed to have the same rigid feel as a wooden floor, with less noise and no moisture problems.

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