Kids running in a school gymnasium

Resilient. Sprung. Cushioned. Supple. Flexible. Elastic. Absorbing. No matter what term you use, they all mean “to spring back into its initial shape after bending, stretching or being compressed”, all highly desirable features when looking for a sports floor. It is fair to say that these floors are engineered first and foremost for safety and high performance in sports or athletic settings. However, these flooring systems also work well for recreational sports activities and competitive sports, but can even welcome many other applications.

In the field of floor covering, there are many types of materials that are made to flex under a load and to recover quickly afterwards. They are mainly sought after due to their capacity to absorb shocks and for the much needed softness provided during physical activities. These surfacing products contribute to your body’s health and safety by cushioning your movements, therefore reducing stress from force impact on your joints.

Synthetic vinyl sheet flooring

Vinyl/PVC flooring that is engineered for sports activities commonly integrates a cushioning foam sub layer in its configuration. Few people realize that this foam’s dense cellular structure also offers acoustic properties by allowing a reduction of ambient noise, and this feature is especially useful in large spaces. This layer also provides the necessary flexibility and cushioning for greater shock absorption and it ensures natural ball bounce levels. Besides, this flooring comes in many different thicknesses in order to complement different activities and to comply with many requirements. Even today, the flexible covering material remains the most effective for shock absorption performance per millimeter of thickness.

Hardwood and engineered wood surfaces

In order to provide cushioning and flexible properties, these wood floor systems function quite differently. They generally integrate subfloor shock pads under their plywood sub-structure or foam strips directly under the planks of wood. However, this type of resiliency is very different from many other surfacing products because the flexibility is more widespread over a larger area rather than limited to a concentrated local compression or impact. Nevertheless, wood remains the most sought after option due to its classic look and feel.

Rubber tiles, mats and pads

The properties of rubber are naturally elastic, which ensures its capacity to absorb shocks. This material is also extremely tough, making it more resistant to vibrations, abrasion, and tearing. Its extreme strength also allows it to also withstand repetitive force impact, such as when dropping weights and dumbbells. The durability factor explains why this surface is generally preferred in fitness centres and arenas.

Pad & poured polyurethane system

Before pouring a polyurethane top layer, a recycled rubber shock pad must first be installed on the subfloor. This rubber layer provides the cushioning effect and shock absorbing factors, the two essential aspects that are much needed in any athletic floor covering system. Since the surface includes a layer that is made of rubber, as opposed to foam, this type of flooring can generally offer some shock absorption, but stands out by its capacity to excel at handling heavier loads.

In conclusion, it is important to note that floor coverings engineered for sports and athletic needs can, depending on their thickness, also support other recreational or leisure activities. So make sure to stay informed about the resiliency performance of each sports surface, as this study will help to determine which one is best for your project.

Teenagers running with a basketball on a gym floor
Heavy weight on a rubber covering material
Walking on a rubber sports flooring

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