Gymnasium floor sockets, also known as floor sleeves, are an essential component of athletic spaces in schools, recreation complexes, and a wide variety of other sports facilities. Setting-up netting equipment and its posts to play sports like volleyball, badminton, and pickleball requires properly installed floor sockets to hold the posts safely in place. Since there is a wide range of floor sockets on the market, it’s good to be informed so that you can choose the right one for your facility.
Floating Sockets vs Fixed Sockets
Floating sockets are used for hardwood floor applications. Most hardwood floors are not anchored to the concrete slab and are considered to be “floating floors”. Hardwood floors also, by nature, will produce some movement by contracting or expanding depending on the relative humidity (RH) variations of the surrounding environment. Relative humidity can originate from the concrete slab and/or the surrounding air. As RH increases, the hardwood expands, and as the RH decreases, the hardwood contracts. This is why floating sockets are necessary as they can easily adapt to these circumstances.
Floating sockets consist of three parts to allow for movement: a socket to accept the post diameter required, a flange, and a flush-fitting lid. The flange is the ring that surrounds the socket and that supports the lid in place. It is installed in a fixed manner to the hardwood floor, but not to the actual socket. Since the inside diameter of the flange is larger than the opening of the socket, even if the hardwood floor contracts or expands, the posts will still be able to be inserted into the socket.
Fixed sockets are used for synthetic floor applications such as Omnisports, PolyTurf Plus, and LinoSport. Synthetic sports flooring systems do not fluctuate in relation to relative humidity levels and remain stable. Fixed sockets are made up of just the socket (composed of the tube sleeve and flange) and a flush-fitting lid. They are the ideal choice as they remain stable and in place.
Types of Floor Socket Materials
This alloy metal is made of copper and zinc. Due to the unique properties of brass, it is one of the most widely used alloys. It is known for its durability, aesthetics, and anti-bacterial properties. Even though brass tarnishes easily, this only affects its luster and not its performance and durability. Its natural colour is very similar to that of gold, which is why it is often used for accessories and decorative elements in buildings.
Stainless Steel with Nyloil®
This is a socket with a combination of materials. The top part and the lid are made of stainless steel whereas the socket tubular portion is made of Nyloil®.
Stainless steel possesses great strength for impact and corrosion resistance to provide long-term value for gym floor sockets. The bright and easy-to-maintain surface of stainless steel contributes to a modern and attractive appearance. Where cleanliness is a matter of top importance, the ease of maintaining stainless steel makes it a good choice for environments such as schools and community centres.
Nyloil® is a cast nylon with oil lubrication dispersed throughout the material. This built-in lubrication reduces friction and abrasion on the posts and extends the lifespan of the equipment.
Steel with Zinc Treatment
Steel is known for its exceptional strength and durability. It provides structural integrity, impact resistance, and long-term strength. Also, steel will not corrode or rust when covered with a zinc coating, even when a scratch or cut exposes the steel to air or moisture.
When it comes to socket installations, if new sockets are required, coring procedures will be necessary. Coring consists of drilling holes with a diamond core drill in the concrete slab to the size of the sockets. If the sockets must be moved to another location, the remaining holes in the floor should be filled with a high-quality cementitious non-shrink grout designed for this purpose.
To ensure the stability of your sports accessories, it is important to install the proper sockets in a flush-fitting manner with at least one inch of concrete remaining below the bottom of the socket. This will in turn keep athletes safe from sports equipment failure.
Socket Installation Planning
When it comes to planning socket installations, it is important to always request drawings of plumbing, electrical, wiring, etc. that might be found within the slab. It is also essential to know of any conduits running under the concrete slab. If drawings cannot be provided, the floor must be scanned to find out. In addition to affecting personal safety, hitting a water line could cause severe flooding, while hitting an electrical conduit could result in shutting down the power to the building. These are very costly mistakes that owners and installers want to avoid.
Game Line Drawings
Approved game line drawings are also an integral component of floor socket installation. These drawings help ensure that the correct number and size of sockets are supplied. It also helps to provide accurate positioning of the sockets in relation to the game lines.
Changing Socket Locations
In situations where floor socket locations are changing from existing positions, it is critical to confirm that any new socket sizes and locations will work with existing equipment post diameters, heights, and netting lengths.
There are cases where the existing sockets are in good condition and do not require relocating. However, the newly installed flooring material can be higher than the original flooring. The option of retrofitting a new socket ring and cap to compensate for the height difference is both an economical and aesthetically pleasing alternative.
Floating socket on hardwood floor
Fixed socket on synthetic floor