Sports Flooring – Science in Motion

The date was December 21, 1891. The place: Springfield College gymnasium.  Dr. James Naismith had been given a class of unruly young men fed up with winter physical education activities such as gymnastics and calisthenics. In Naismith’s own words, “What this generation wanted, was pleasure and thrill rather than physical benefits.” After many attempts to modify existing sports such as football and rugby, it was on this day that inspiration struck Dr. Naismith. He nailed a peach basket to a rail, ten feet off the floor on both sides of that cold gymnasium, told the men to choose sides, threw a soccer ball up in the air between two centers, and in that moment, Basketball was born.

           Over time, and through advancements in Science and Sports Medicine, gymnasium, also known as “sports flooring”, has evolved into something that is not only durable and able to withstand the stress put on it by sports and athletes, but also as a product that actually prevents injury and fatigue.  Taking a closer look at sports flooring, we begin with the top layer.  Due to their durability, strength, and scratch and scuff resistance, Hard Maple wood planks have been the material of choice since 1891. It is also an aesthetically pleasing wood that comes in a variety of colors such as the most common off-white cream, to hues of red, gold, and even dark auburn. Though it most often comes in a straight grain, Hard Maple can also be found with many different grain patterns which provides teams and gyms with many design options without having to compromise the strength and integrity of the floor.  Hard Maple also takes well to glues and finishes, making it perfect for not only the polyurethane and urethane gloss finishing coats, but for the installation process was well.  When it comes to the health and performance benefits of sports flooring, there is a very specific installation process which is much more intricate than what one would see in a home hardwood installation.  These layers act as a shock absorber which guards against minor injuries, promote energy and prevent fatigue.  A concrete subfloor serves as the base layer followed by a polyethylene vapor barrier which helps to absorb the natural moisture that can occur with concrete. The next three layers contribute to the “bounce” that occurs in sports flooring. There are two recommended mediums to place on top of the concrete. Option number one: 16 gauge steel is anchored to the concrete along with Tri-power pads which are placed on each side of the steel and covered by a special type of plywood known as monolithic subfloor.  Option number two: ¼” “performance foam” with two layers of Pine plywood. After completing the installation of the chosen underlayment medium, the floor is now ready for the Hard Maple Plank nail down installation. The final step in this process is the finishing of the floor.  Two coats of polyurethane are applied first with sanding of the entire floor after each coat.  Then, the iconic High Gloss urethane coat is applied.  Let the games begin!

                 In addition to basketball courts and gymnasiums, Hard Maple is the preferred flooring choice of bowling alleys, dance-floors, dance and yoga studios, and even in many homes today.  Deciding to have Hard Maple flooring installed in your family home is a great way to have that beautiful, warm, rich look of genuine hardwood and yet still be able to have a floor that stands up to animals and heavy foot traffic.  

Whatever your flooring project may be, My Flooring Guy ishere to assist.  Contact us today at(714) 893-5668 or via email at [email protected]. Please feel free to read our reviews on Yelp, Angie’s List, Houzz, Google, and Facebook.