Are gym floor protection covers worth the cost?

By Kim Butler Created: August, 2017 - Modified: April, 2024

When you think of a high school basketball game, I am sure images of a highly polished maple floor come to mind, as well as that satisfying smack of the ball as it is dribbled down the court. But those shiny wood floors come at price - easily starting in the tens of thousands for a standard gym, with annual maintenance costs adding to the overall price tag. With a cost like this, most schools and institutions want a way protect their investment. Although synthetic gym floors have their place, if it were left up to athletic departments, coaches and players, most gymnasium floors would be wood. The aesthetics and performance of wood surfaces are what athletes competing at high levels expect. Perhaps your local school isn't developing the next LeBron James or Kevin Durant, but fans of wood floors believe that because of the foundation that lies beneath a hardwood floor, which absorb shock, athletes are less likely to sustain injuries.

The downside of wood floors is their expense, although they do have a longer lifespan than synthetic floors. Installing a wood floor is more expensive than synthetic alternatives, and depending on the amount of sanding and refinishing required, can deplete an institution's maintenance budget. Colleges and high schools, which have a wider range of needs for athletic space, often have both wood and synthetic floors, sometimes a wood floor for varsity competition gym, and a second gym with a synthetic floor for practices and other uses. In cities and small towns, schools are used around the clock, by the school and the community. The Maple Floors Manufacturers Association estimates a $2,088 annual daily maintenance cost for 10,000 square feet maple sports flooring (174 hours at $12 an hour). Plus another $2,800 for the annual cost of screening and re-coating maple sports flooring. And finally, $845 annual cost of refinishing maple sports flooring.

The road to the state tournament or the Final Four may be paved in maple, but that maple needs to be protected. That's where gym floor covers come in. Protective gym floor covers are available in two styles: roll out sheet vinyl and large carpet tiles. Both floor covering options are easy to use and install. Either protective flooring surface will do a great job of safeguarding your hardwood gym floor. Vinyl covers are typically much faster to install while carpet tiles will offer more comfort for your gymnasium event.

Vinyl Gym Floor Protection Rolls

Vinyl floor covers come in long rolls, which are typically stored on large racks, and are rolled out to cover the floor for activities other than sporting events like dances, registrations, banquets, plays and commencements. A gym floor gets heavy foot traffic, stains, scuffs, impact from furniture and more., a specialty flooring retailer, carries several types of vinyl floor covering materials, and the racks needed to store the materiel. Their vinyl mesh fabric is fire retardant, ADA and OSHA compliant, and waterproof, rot and mildew resistant. Plus the material is anti-fungal and antibacterial.

The ultra durable three ply PVC vinyl sheeting is available in multiple thickness, which is measured by the weight of the vinyl per square yard. Thicknesses range from 18 ounces to 32 ounces per square yard. The number of uses per year equates to the recommended weight that you choose. For use six times a year or less, choose the 18 oz. If you plan to cover the floor six to 12 times a year, go for the 22 oz. weight. Twenty-seven oz is preferred for usage of more than once a month. For more frequent events, opt for the heaviest 32 oz. weight.

Greatmats has many colors available, plus some have tan on the reverse side. You might even get your school's colors. A raised pattern is available on some weights to enhance the non-slip factor.

Two people can easily deploy a vinyl floor cover system over a standard basketball court in less than 30 minutes.

The material is easy handling, and the seams are strong and lay smooth and flat. Seams are typically taped down, and the product is stored rolled up on racks. The product comes in 10-foot widths, and it is recommended to add six to 12 inches for overlapping each section. The rolls will be custom cut for your facility. To clean, sweep with a broom before storing.

Gym Floor Protection Carpet Tiles

Another option are durable and attractive carpet tiles. Greatmats stocks a 6mm thick carpet tile in a 3.28 by 6.56 foot size, which weighs less than 14 pounds a piece. This product is used by schools and universities to cover gym floors, and as protective carpet flooring for convention halls and sports/recreational facilities.

Carpet tiles lie flat on top of the wood gym flooring and there are no unsightly wrinkles or ripples to cause potential tripping hazards. Many protective carpet tiles users appreciate the added acoustic buffering that the carpet tiles provide.

They are easy to install and remove by one person even for large areas and don't require tape or lots of special accessories. Carpet tiles used as protective gym flooring covers provide a more finished look and create a better image and appearance in your facility.

Greatmats customers report compliments when they use the protective carpet tiles. Tiles are available in gray and blue and can be stored on rolling carts for easy mobility and storage of the tiles - up to 75 carpet tiles per cart. Greatmats also offers the carts for these tiles.

So whether you choose carpet tiles or vinyl rolls, you and your facility will save time and money when your gym floors are protected. You will gain usable space, without damaging the quality flooring your athletes, coaches and fans expect.