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How To Protect Indoor Sports Floors

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Sports halls are often used to accommodate a wide variety of non-sporting activities from school assemblies to pupils sitting exams. Although floors are resilient to the use of balls and trainers, heavy usage by people wearing non-sporting footwear can cause untold damage to the flooring. Indoor sports floors experience extreme wear and tear due to the numerous activities in the facilities. The heavy machinery used in gym and other indoor sports facilities contributes to the deterioration too. Also, specific times of the year like winter are the busiest as events such as basketball games, winter dances and holiday parties happen during these periods, and this takes a toll on the floors. Given that most indoor sports flooring are made of wood, replacing the surfaces is pretty expensive, not to mention the amount of time required for the exercise. As such, it is imperative to take care of the flooring from the onset. This guide highlights essential tips for such an exercise.

Most people do not really think about it but the floor a sport is played on makes a huge difference to the game in question. Flooring for indoor sports is so much more than a hard surface with painted lines to inform players. It is specially constructed to withstand the harsh demands of athletes while also retaining special properties to help prevent injury. The floor needs to be looked after and if it is not, the consequences can be severe.

What Causes Damage?


While coloured strips of tape may seem like an obvious go-to for marking out court lines, it can cause damage over the long term. Often, when the tape is removed it also peels away some of the finish from the floor. What is left is a rough patch that will grow in size as that area gets used.

Temperature and Humidity

Different types of indoor sports flooring have different optimum temperates and levels of humidity. Of course, it is impossible to maintain both of these at a steady level. The key lies in preventing fluctuations from occurring too quickly or from being too large. If they are, then the surface is going to warp leaving it permanently deformed.

Dirty Wheels

Equipment is often carried back and forth on trolleys many times across the floor every single day. This is absolutely fine provided that the trolley and in particular its wheels have been properly looked after. Dirty wheels can leave marks that are hard or even impossible to remove while damage wheels can in turn damage the surface beneath them.

Heavy Loads

Speaking of equipment, you need to be careful how much pressure is being exerted on your floor at any given time. Remember, it is not just about weight but how well it is spread across an area. If the pressure is too great then there will be a permanent indent. If you need to place something heavy on the floor temporarily, then find something wide and soft that can be used as a buffer.


Do not use water to clean your indoor sports flooring. Water is by far the most damaging element examined so far and it only gets worse if you try and clean with it. Water wears away everything and that includes your floor and it will combine the warping caused by temperature and humidity with the wear caused by tape and more.

Purchasing and installing sport hall floors is typically very expensive. However, the most expensive and best quality indoor sports flooring products are designed to last a long time. The most common types of sports flooring are timber since they are resilient and very durable. They can withstand all kinds of impacts from balls and players.

Note that sports halls, especially in schools can be applied for a wide range of other purposes. For instance, they can be used for exams, assemblies, conferences, and other social events. This means that the floors go through a lot of strain. Therefore, in addition to getting the best quality of floors, you also need to practice proper maintenance.

Why is maintenance of indoor sports floors important?

The proper maintenance of indoor sports flooring is crucial because:

  • It is cost-effective – indoor sports flooring lasts longer so doesn’t need to be re-laid so frequently.
  • It ensures that flooring retains its non-slip surface, thereby avoiding possible injuries to athletes.
  • Without surface damage, the floor looks aesthetically pleasing.

What causes the most damage to indoor sports flooring?

There are a number of factors – related to the environment as well as usage – which cause damage to sports flooring. These include:

  • Extremes of temperature and humidity as well as direct sunlight.
  • Direct access from outside, bringing in dirt and debris on outdoor footwear.
  • Careless dismantling and/or transport of sports equipment, pianos, etc.
  • Incorrect cleaning materials used on surfaces.
  • Game lines renewed with adhesive tape.

How can you keep your sports floors in good condition?

How to keep your sports flooring protected

Below are some significant tips on protecting your sports flooring;

  • Proper ventilation - the first thing you need to do is to ensure that the sports hall is properly ventilated. You also need to provide ample protection from direct sunlight. This is because high humidity and direct sunlight caused damages to the floors.
  • Do not drag items along the floor - you also need to avoid moving equipment and dragging apparatus on the floor. Make sure you use moving equipment with rubber wheels and free-running elements to prevent scratching or breaking the floors.
  • Keep the floors clean - you need to make sure that dirt is not carried on the floors. Note that the tiny dirt particles could cause a lot of harm to the floors. You can use barrier matting at the entrance of the sports facility where people can wipe off the dirt from their floors.
  • Use proper cleaning tools - make sure the floors are cleaned properly depending on the type and material. Stay away from harsh detergents that could cause damages to the floors.
  • Use temporary floor covering - you can also protect your sports flooring using temporary floor covers. These covers come in handy when the sports facility is used as an exam room and equipment has to be moved to the hall.
  • All you have to do is install the covering when need be, and remove then afterward leaving your flooring as good as new.

    Apply Coating

    Experts recommend applying a solvent-based oil-modified urethane during the initial years of sports flooring as it is flexible. Wooden floors expand, stretch, contract and swell hence, the need to use a softer product that changes with the floor. The product should be applied after two or three years of installation to ensure it gets into the grooves. Once the floor is established, the institution should consider applying water-based finishes during routine maintenance. A while ago, oil-based finishes were all the rage. Today, however, water-based acrylic polymers make the best coating given the reduced VOCs (volatile organic compounds) used that allow the indoor sports flooring to dry fast. You also want to avoid natural finishes as they wear out more quickly than their oil alternatives or water-based finishes.

    Placing Doormats at Entrances

    Proper maintenance of indoor sports flooring begins at the entrance. That’s why it is essential to place a good walk-off mat at the door. It takes off dirt, snow, ice, mud and other types of debris that damage a floor. Such particles create friction and dull the appearance of the floor.

    Inspect the Floor for Signs of Damage

    Routine inspection helps identify early signs of damage such as concentrated wear and tear or cracks. A little vigilance goes a long way to ensuring problems are fixed early on before they aggravate and lead to costly repairs.

    Create a Cleaning Schedule

    Sports facilities are high-traffic areas that can make it difficult to clean. However, with all the sporting activities taking place, the floor takes a real beating from the dances, basketball games, assemblies and other events. You can create a schedule that includes spot cleaning, dust mopping and buffing. Be sure to use manufacturer-approved cleaning products when spot cleaning to remove stubborn scuff marks.

    Proper maintenance of indoor sports flooring is very cost-effective. It helps you from having to spend a lot of money replacing the floors. It also helps to make sure the flooring is safe. It does this by ensuring that the floor retains its non-slip elements hence preventing injuries. Protecting indoor sports flooring also helps maintain its aesthetic appeal. 

    It is very important that sports halls are well-ventilated, but with the necessary protection to ensure direct sunlight does not enter. RH (relative humidity) levels should fall within the 35-65% range otherwise the floor could be damaged.

    When dismantling or moving equipment or other apparatus, care should be taken to make sure that it isn’t dragged along the floor. If a moving apparatus is used for heavier equipment, this should have rubber wheels and be free-running. Game lines should be correctly re-applied and the use of adhesive tape avoided.

    To prevent dirt being carried in on outdoor footwear, entrance to the sports hall should be via an internal door. If this is not possible, barrier matting should be laid at external doors.

    Cleaners must adhere to the floor manufacturer’s cleaning instructions to prevent damage caused by strong detergents. Any spills (for example, of liquids) should be wiped up as soon as they occur.

    Why should you buy floor protection from Trio Plus?

    Despite your best precautions, school performances and the exam period are times when the sports hall sees heavier foot traffic than usual. At such times, the best solution is to invest in temporary floor covering.

    Trio Plus offers a quick supply of high quality, reusable temporary floor coverings and is available throughout the whole of the UK. To find out about our sports hall protection products contact our flooring experts at Trio Plus on 01372 747 55. We often free support and technical advice and can dispatch products quickly.