Learn about types of gym floor covers and how they work.
A varnished and highly polished gym floor is a practical part of a facility that must provide an appropriate surface for athletic events. The court shoes worn by athletes are easy on the finished hardwood surface of the gym floor, but multiple usage gymnasiums may be subject to additional wear and tear.
The gym area is a valuable space in most schools or clubs; formal dances, assemblies, graduations, trade shows, conventions and a host of other activities are popular uses for this area. The foot and equipment traffic in these events are very harmful to polished hardwood , so some type of protection should be provided.
Gym floor covers are available in a variety of materials and application systems. From simple vinyl sheets to elaborate, interlocking tiles of fabric or rubber, there are gym floor protection systems to fit nearly every budget. The type of protective cover needed is dependent on the number and type of events held in the gym. The length of time needed to lay the cover is also a consideration, as is the size of the gym floor area to be protected.
The application systems have evolved into a science. Most of the polymerized fabric covers come in rolls that fit into a multiple-roll dolly. The dolly is rolled into the gym on non-marking casters, set in place at one end of the facility, and then the fabric is pulled out and laid across the floor. The next roll is unrolled alongside with the edges overlapping.
After all the rolls have been placed, the overlapping edges are sealed with a seaming tape using a tape dispenser . Some gym floor cover manufacturers claim an installation time of as little as 30 minutes for the completed covering.
The result is a strong, protective surface that can double the life of a gym floor. The cover may be swept, vacuumed, mopped or cleaned by other methods while in place during events and just before re-rolling onto the dolly after the event is over.
Some of the more elaborate gym floor covers are made from interlocking tiles of carpet-like fabrics or rubber. These are much more time consuming to install, but offer a more stable surface. The tiles often have non-skid backing and do not roll or wrinkle under heavy traffi c. This type of cover affords more protection against equipment traffic and pedestrians.
The two primary types of gym floor covers are the long sheets that are on rolls and the individual, semi-rigid tiles or panels that handle heavier (both weight and volume) traffic.
Most of the fabrics used in the roll-out products are heavy vinyl and are polymer coated, much like heavy tarpaulins. The fabrics are two, three or even four layers thick and are very durable. They are much more cost-effective for occasional use to protect the gym floor. They are stain resistant and may be cleaned with a variety of solvents, from soap and water, to bleach and industrial cleaners. The weight and durability of the fabric chosen is determined by the number of events and the type of traffic. There are reports of these covers lasting as long as 20 years .
Gym floor covers composed of individual tiles or panels may look like heavy, and are made of commercial carpet or interlocking rubber. They can be laid so there are different colored pathways with school or company logos. The interlocking design and skid-resistant backing preclude the use of any tapes or adhesives for installation.
Covermaster gym floor covers seem to cover the market share and have high availability and a wide variety. Another option is Mid-America Sports Advantage (MASA). However, a facility may also rent (as opposed to purchase) the material at rental outlets such as AAA Rental System.