It’s time give your gym floors a beak after the season ending game buzzer. Sports floors experience heavy traffic during the basketball or volleyball season. Your gym floors probably look dull and covered in scuff marks. A good sports floor refinishing helps to regain that shiny new-floor look. It’s been said a million times that gym floors should be refinished annually. Doing so helps protect your floors and maintenance budget.
Hardwood gym flooring is coated with sports finish. Both oil-based and water-borne gym floor finishing provide a “tackiness” that allows athletes to perform optimally. The classic sneaker “squeak” associated with basketball is from athletic sneakers gripping the gym floor finish. Without a proper floor finish, athletes cannot control their footing and injuries occur.
Routine maintenance such as dry-mopping and use of auto-scrubbers will wear down the floor’s finish and decrease the floor’s performance over time. Because of this, the Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association recommends annual gym floor refinishing. Your athletes, and their joints, will thank you for it.
Hardwood gym floors are expensive. Fortunately, proper maintenance routines improve a hardwood floor’s lifetime. Regular gym floor refinishing allows hardwood gym floors to 50+ years. There are many hardwood horrors that threaten the integrity of your hardwood floors. Gym floor finish adds a layer of protection from many of these horrors like water damage. Additional annual scrub and coats improve this protection.
Annual refinishing makes up roughly 65% of Quality Hardwood Floors professional gym floor services. During the winter break of 2021, QHF refinished roughly 2 million sq. ft. of gym floors. That’s a lot of work in just three short weeks. But when school’s out, we go to work.
Gym floor scrub-and-coats, or refinishing, consists of lightly scrubbing an upper layer of finish off the gym floor. This initial light-scrub removes scuff-marks and other light finish damage. Generally, this scrub leaves a clean layer of finish. During the refinishing process we do not go down to bare-wood as we would with a complete sand-down. Typically a complete sanding is performed every 10 years and requires repainting game lines. More on this later.
A floor is clean once our crews tack the floor to remove any fine dust from the scrubbing process. Finally a new layer of finish is laid on the floor, replenishing not only the protective shine but the athletic responsiveness of the floor.
Sports maple flooring is a pricey investment. In order to protect your hardwood floors there are two standard finish options: oil-based or water-born. Both types of finish improve playability and keep ballers safe. There are major differences between the two, however.
Traditionally hardwood sports floors have been coated in a protective oil-based finish. The overall cure time of an oil-based finish is 72 hours after application. As an economical choice, oil-base finish requires less maintenance over time due to 45-50% solids it contains. On the flipside, oil-based floor finish ambers after a number of years and can have a strong odor.
Water-borne floor finish goes on clear with little to no odor. In recent decades many gyms opt for water-borne finish to retain the natural wood appearance with out any discoloration. This eco-friendly floor finish costs twice as much as oil-based and requires 2 coats, more frequently.
A typical gym floor can be scrubbed and re-coated in a day. After removing the dull and dirty top layer or finish, QHF can touch-up game-line paint or markings if needed before “tacking” the floor. The QHF crews tack the floor twice to remove any fine dust before an even coat of new finish is applied. It is recommended that this new top coat of finish fully cures over 72 days (3 days) before returning to the floor for play. Returning to play before the new layer of finish is cured will result in scuff marks and uneven, unsafe playing surfaces.
Occasionally, QHF is asked to add game lines during a refinishing. Different from touching up small game-line areas, many coaches want to add whole game lines for new or popular activities. Many gyms have been asking to add agility lines, pickle-ball courts to avoid damaging the floor finish with taped temporary game lines. Though, game lines can be touched-up during the refinishing process, it is not recommended. The professionals at QHF recommend adding new game lines during a complete sand-down when typical game lines are repainted.
Many school districts may opt to refinish their gyms themselves in order to help a district’s budget. In this case your in-house crew will need proper training and the right equipment to do the job right. However, what you save in labor just might cost more in the long run. Even if your staff is capable, it will be a good idea to have the pros come in from time to time.
Quality Hardwood Floors re-coats gym floors for schools across the great state of Texas. As much as we try to accommodate a facility’s schedule, time-conflicts can occur. Remember, gym floor finish takes time to cure. Scheduling even a 4 day window of time to keep events off of the court can be a headache when scheduling tournaments, games, camps, etc. Thus, long time-windows such as holiday weeks and summer months allow our team to refinish multiple gyms in a district without interruption.
Having a properly trained and experienced maintenance crew can allow flexibility to perform refinishing on your schedule. In-district refinishing crews may refinish a gym floor sooner than scheduling a professional to arrive. But, even if QHF needs to schedule out until after the school season, our pros are equipped with the staff and materials to tackle multiple gym floors quickly.
In-house gym floor maintenance may save you from scheduling headaches. But one should consider other costs that add up quickly.
Do your facility maintenance crew have the proper equipment? Floor scrubbers use a light grit disk to remove the top-most layer of gym finish. If not used carefully, these scrubbers will leave unsightly swirl patterns that will appear in your finish.
There are also different applicators for different finishes. Again, if not applied correctly the gym floor finish can be uneven and unsafe for play. Proper training and experience is suggested before applying floor-finish yourself.
That said, it is a good idea to have professional eyes on your sports floors. During the scrubbing process a QHF professional can assess any issues that will affect your sports floor later. Proper Gym Floor Finish.
Although scrub and coats require experience and training, they are not impossible for your maintenance crew to learn how to do. It never hurts to contact the gym floor specialists at QHF. Especially, if you want your floors done right the first time. And delivered on time for your next event. Our staff is happy to help avoid costly mistakes… we’re just a click away.