School gymnasium with a vinyl floor in Saskatchewan

After having invested in a brand new synthetic sports floor such as resilient vinyl, it is essential to use the proper protection to avoid any damage from heavy equipment. Sometimes, the use of specialized heavy equipment such as scissor lifts or even scaffolding is unavoidable. You need to be able to access your gym’s ceiling lights, basketball nets, scoreboards, dividing curtains, and any other materials that can be found up high.

The most important aspect to ensure that your flooring is protected is to properly disperse the load of any heavy equipment that will be brought into the room. This will prevent any deformation of the floor’s sub-layer. Here are some guidelines to follow depending on the type of heavy equipment that will be used on your surface and some matters that can interfere with the use of equipment.

Scissor lifts and scaffolding

The best way to prevent damage is to lay down sheets of plywood or even Masonite before driving any type of heavy machinery on the surface. The purpose of laying down these panels is to offer impact protection and to disperse the concentrated pressure over the floor.

Laying down a polyethylene sheet or film on the surface beforehand will allow the panels to slide more easily and avoid scratching the floor. It will also protect the flooring from the irregular texture of plywood. If necessary, the seams of the rigid panels can be taped together with heavy-duty tape to keep them from shifting.

Create a pathway with the boards through the entire travel distance, from the door to the desired area or element that needs to be accessed. It is recommended to use a minimum of ½” plywood or an equivalent for medium-sized equipment, larger sizes may require as much as ¾” thick panels. The panels can be relocated down the path if the lift needs to travel far. The same process must be followed when scaffolding is brought into the space and used to perform other overhead work.

Cleaning machines

Equipment used to clean the flooring can also be very heavy and must be evaluated before use. “Ride-On” cleaning machines and other heavy machinery of the sort should be avoided. It is best to use standard “walk-behind” machines to clean and rinse the flooring.

Other heavy equipment

Plywood or Masonite will always be the most reliable choice to protect your flooring. When other heavy elements such as bleachers, portable stages, pianos, and similar heavy furnishings are needed, one should, at a minimum, use WIDE protective coasters (rigid furniture pads) once the item is in place. These will help prevent localized compression of your flooring to cushion the feet or corners of furniture for temporary protection by dispersing the load to support the weight more evenly. Carts that carry furniture, sports accessories, or other equipment should have large flat wheels to disperse the load and ease movement.
Extra tip: You should not exceed the psi (pounds per square inch) capacity of the floor. To avoid damaging the floor permanently, check with your sports flooring provider for the maximum amount of psi allowed on the resilient floor covering material.

Dirt, grit, and debris

It is necessary to sweep the area where any protective panels will be laid down. If any dirt, grit, and debris are left on the surface before laying the boards down, the bits left could potentially damage the floor.

Damaged equipment

You need to pay close attention to the condition of any heavy machinery that will be brought into the area. Inspect the wheels on all machinery to prevent damage from any nails, screws, and other sharp objects that may be stuck or embedded in the tires. This is a necessary step to prevent the creation of needless dents in the flooring.
Extra tip: Never park unprotected heavy equipment on the floor long-term, such as overnight, as this will damage the floor.

Knowing about these factors is a necessary element to provide the best protection for your flexible covering material. If you have any additional questions about caring for your new sports floor, please contact our experts and we will be glad to answer your questions!

Scissor lift protection on a sports floor

Protection of vinyl floor from heavy equipment

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