Most people think of sports floors as the very large sports halls in schools, universities and in large sports campuses. However they are much more popular than just large commercial floors and they have now been used regularly in people’s homes.
Sports floors are made from wood flooring but have additional support underneath to enable the floor to “spring” slightly which puts less strain on athletes’ bodies therefore counteracting injuries.
The undercarriages vary between the following:
- A thick foam underlay – approx 10mm or thicker that is placed over the whole floor – this cushion is what creates the bounce in the floor.
- A batten system with foam which can enable the floor to be used over battens however the foam on the battens creates the cushion and the spring required for sports floors.
- Carriage system or cradle system – this system is used with battens to create small plastic supports along the battens. These supports have been specifically manufactured to allow for bounce and movement in the battens therefore creating the springing.
Sports floors can also be used in conjunction with under floor heating to keep the room warm. Both the wet system and the electric system can be used – however more planning is required with the electric carbon mat system as it needs to be placed in between the battens.
Most sports floors are made from an engineered flooring board – this ensures there is less movement in the boards and they are not prone to cupping, warping or gapping creating additional hazards for the athletes.
There are still a lot of sports boards made from solid timber though which are suitable where underfloor heating is not being used.
Both types of floor are mounted on the undercarriages mentioned above and are available with various fixing systems.
Engineered floors can be manufactured in a quick and simple click system – enabling these wood floors to be laid without glue or nails – this way is a very quick method when time is a pressing issue.
Other engineered boards are tongue and groove, which need to be either glued on the edges or nailed to the battens to ensure good bonding.
Solid flooring can be laid on battens by nailing to the battens. The Junckers sports floor system on battens can be used with the Junkers Clip system which enables the boards to clip together using metal clips on the underside of the floor. This way the flooring can be laid quickly and easily with the clips as no gluing or nailing is required.
A lot of the solid sports floors come unfinished as strips ready to be nailed down and then sanded and finished on site. These floors are unbranded and any 20mm thick or larger strips can be used for sports floors.
A lot of sports floors used for football, basketball, netball and other specific sports are laid as unfinished wood floor as line markings need to be painted onto the court before the floors are sealed with a hard wearing lacquer / varnish which also comes with a non-slip finish for safety.
The most popular timber to be used as a sports floor is Maple, Beech and Oak. Maple and beech are both lighter in colour and work better with line markings however oak flooring is also used. Where the sports floor will be used for barefoot sports or where children will be regularly using the floor oak is not recommended due to its splintering properties. As maple and beech do not splinter they can be used for all applications but there is too much danger of injury caused by splinters if oak is used with barefoot sports.
Sports floors have recently become popular in spare rooms used as a gym in residential homes. The prefinished sports flooring is ideal to be laid quickly and simply in a room and can then be used as a child playroom or gymnasium. High impact exercise can then be performed without the risk of injury due to the sprung floor. It can also enhance the value of the home to have individual rooms fully prepared for a gymnasium.