How to Select a Sports Floor
By: Steve Frailey
Here are nine considerations as you evaluate and ultimately select flooring for your church's recreation facility.
1. Create an outline for selecting your sports floor.
2. Prioritize your uses.
3. Research alternatives.
For high-quality sports play, the following types of products are capable of competition-level sports play:
* Wood floors with rubber pads for comfort
Also available are multipurpose sports floors, which help you combine sports and multipurpose activities within your facility. There are a variety of alternatives available, including:
* Interlock sports courts
4. Consider total costs.
All floors will still require cleaning and dust mopping. Synthetic floors, rubber floors, poured in place floors, and interlock floors can be cleaned with auto scrubbers—one-step process clean, rinse, and wet vac. Hardwood floors should never allow auto scrubbers for cleaning; damp mopping and dust mop only.
Hardwood flooring will require a full refinish every four to seven years, depending on use, and an additional $3 to $4 per square foot should be budgeted. Hardwood should not be used for multipurpose events (sport play only), unless you budget refinishing every two years, again adding $3 to $4 per square foot).
Interlock, poured in place, and rubber sheet flooring will also require similar cost of cleaning and rinsing.
Synthetic floors without a specific commercial performance cooked in urethane will require semi-annual waxing and stripping, adding an additional $1.50 per square foot in addition to cleaning cost.
If the manufacturer doesn't have local installations or local installation crews available, you might want to consider dropping him from your list; it might be simply too risky. Why doesn't he have installations?
Remember, don't expect for you or your committee to have the background to find some new source of flooring that no one else is using. You want established products with recognizable quality references. This decision is too major to become someone's guinea pig.
* How does it look? Will it provide the image you wish to portray?
* How well does this product play for sports you intend to play?
* How do you maintain the floor and how often?
* What equipment and chemicals are necessary to maintain floor?
* Can it handle hosting multipurpose events, if needed?
7. Determine the best value for your project.
Steve Frailey has more than 25 years of experience as a resilient flooring specialist. He is the owner of Specialty Floors, an independent sales agency specializing in sports and recreation flooring, www.spflooring.com.
Members of the Bent Tree Bible Fellowship Church in Carollton, Texas, are not the only ones reaping the benefit of their high-performance sports floor. The new 16,000-square-foot gym and multipurpose space welcomes members of the community for volleyball tournaments and recreational and league basketball games and practices.
Shortly after the gym opened in February, Bent Tree's members danced on the Taraflex Sports Flooring surface at a Valentine's Day Sock Hop, and the youth congregation began using it for their twice weekly activities. According to Dennis Richards, Bent Tree's director of communications, the long list of other planned programs include dinners, birthday parties, concerts, plays, and overflow space for worship services.
"We really want this to be a gymnasium, but we want it to be multipurpose as well," said Richards. "We use it as a gymnasium and then set up chairs and tables without damaging the floor."
The decision to install Taraflex Sport M Plus came after the six members of "the interiors team" spent hours touring other facilities with applications similar to what they were planning and speaking with facility managers and maintenance staff. The team relied on the expertise of one member with a strong sports background. The interiors team members invested their time because they wanted to choose the best flooring.
"We wanted to make sure we had the right product for the right application," said Richards.
So, the group took a mini-tour of different size and use facilities in Texas that had Taraflex floors installed from one to seven years earlier. The stops included the Bethesda Community Church in Haltom City, E.M. Daggett Elementary School in Fort Worth, Stipes Elementary School in Irving, and Life School of Dallas.
Facility managers and maintenance staff spoke directly to the team members and answered their questions about maintenance routines and costs, durability, and usage in their facility. The mini-tour gave them the opportunity to see how the floor held up under heavy usage with permanent telescopic bleachers, high traffic, and the creative ways it was installed. What they learned was very important.
"Maintenance is a huge issue for us," said Richards referring to the size of Bent Tree. "The Taraflex product got rave reviews. Now we are getting really good feedback from our maintenance staff."
The church is in the midst of an 180,000-square-foot expansion project. Although the gym has been available for activities since February 3, it will not be considered formally open until the grand opening, which is expected to take place in September. That is when the two years of expansion and renovation of the entire campus is scheduled to be completed.
The gym's Maple Design floor has a red center court jump circle and keys. The game lines for basketball are black, white for the two volleyball courts, and yellow and black for the 16' by 4' four-square game section.
Taraflex Sport M Plus delivers performance, comfort, 35% shock absorption and correct coefficient of friction for rapid movements. Gerflor's Taraflex environmentally friendly flooring meets and exceeds the stringent performance standards mandated by all major flooring associations and can contribute credits to LEED certification, www.gerflortaraflex.com. Vector Concepts of Irving, Texas, www.vectorconcepts.com, installed the Taraflex flooring.
LG RexCourt Resilient Sports Flooring from Gerbert
PROTECT-ALL from Oscoda Plastics
Robbins Pulastic Floors
Boflex Sport Floor from Centaur
ACTION MAPLE SmartCourt by Flex Court