Gym floors, in facilities like schools and community centers, are often the center of action in the facility. Many different events are often held, such as sports games, dances, and community events. All of this can add up to a lot of wear and tear on the floor. In order to get the most out of a wood gym floor, not only does it need to be properly installed and finished, but it needs to be properly cared for and maintained.
The timeline for various refinishing tasks can vary by each facility’s conditions, but generally, a full installation of new flooring occurs every 15-25 years, and can cost upwards of $100,000. A complete refinish of the wood floor, including sanding down to the bare wood and repainting, should occur about every 8 years, and can range from $20,000-$30,000 in cost.
Instituting a yearly maintenance recoat, which typically costs $2,500-$4,500, can help to extend the life of a gym floor and save the facility a considerable amount of money in the long run. It has been shown that neglecting this type of yearly maintenance can reduce the floor’s lifespan by as much as 30%.
In addition to refinishing procedures, implementing an appropriate floor maintenance program can greatly extend the life of the floor and improve its appearance. Here are some tips for wood gym floor maintenance:
- Know the materials: In order to establish the correct products and procedures to use in your maintenance program, it is important to know what type of wood the floor consists of, and the type of finish that is on the floor. Using the wrong products, in terms of both chemicals and equipment, can damage the floor and its appearance.
- Make time: Proper care of a gym floor can be time-consuming. Be sure to commit the necessary time and resources to the care of your gym floor, as it can greatly improve the appearance of the floor as well as save money in the long run by extending the life of the floor.
- Consistency: One of the big keys to maintaining a gym floor is to establish a routine and stick to it. Daily maintenance is the biggest factor in keeping the floor dirt-free and looking nice. Something as simple as dust mopping in between uses can have a huge effect on the appearance and life of the floor, as well as making end-of-day cleaning easier.
- Use the right products: Be sure you are using the correct cleaning chemicals on your gym floor. Many all-purpose cleaners can be too harsh for hardwood floors, dulling the finish. Many cleaners can also leave a residue behind, creating slip hazards. Be sure to use chemicals that are formulated specifically for gym floors or wood floors, as these will be the safest and most effective. During the winter, using a cleaner that neutralizes salt residue can greatly improve the performance and appearance of the floor.
- Preventive maintenance: Using walk-off matting at gym entrances can make a huge difference in the rest of your maintenance program. Keeping particulate soils off of the floor by catching them at the door saves maintenance time and keeps the floor from being damaged. Mats should be vacuumed daily for maximum performance.
In addition to an effective maintenance program, selecting the right finish itself can have an effect on the life of your floor. Next-generation water-based finishes have improved to the point where they can offer the same quality and durability of traditional oil-modified finishes, but with big benefits. In addition to quicker dry times, water-based finishes offer lower VOC content, which makes them much more environmentally friendly. This is a big consideration in facilities like schools.
Wood gym floors are often the most costly to install and maintain. Using the right maintenance program for these floors can help save some of these costs, as well as keep the floor at a high appearance level.
For more information on wood floor care, visit our Wood Floor products page.