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Caring For Your Maple Wood Gym Floor

 

Choosing to install a hardwood maple flooring system is a big investment that shows you take pride in your facility and want the best playing surface possible for you athletes. These hardwood flooring systems can easily give you 50 years or more of high quality service when maintained properly. In order to help you get the most out of your investment we’ve complied a short list of practices to help care for your athletic floor system so you can get the longest life possible from it.

kau-wood-gym-floor-photo

Ka’u community gym floor installation by IPR Hawaii.

How To Avoid Damaging Your Maple Gym Floor:

  • Avoid using tape for temporary markings – Using tape on your wood gym floor can peel off layers of the finish that provide grip and protect the wood below. Removal of the surface paint in one area compromises the surfacing integrity causing further chipping of remaining paint in adjacent areas.

  • Monitor temperature and humidity levels – The general recommendation is to maintain indoor relative humidity between 35 to 50 percent and to keep temperatures between 55 yo 75 degrees year-round. Some variation is natural and it may not be possible to maintain this exact humidity and temperature. The main concern here is in keeping that variation within a 15 percent fluctuation in order to avoid excessive shrinkage and/or expansion. If you maintain an average high and low that aren’t separated by more than 15 percent on average for the year, you will avoid excessive movement in your floor system.

  • Keep wheels on carts and portable gym equipment clean – It’s worth the small investment in time and effort to keep equipment clean and debris free. Dirty wheels will mark up the floor finish and larger debris can scratch and damage the wood flooring.

  • Don’t use water to clean your wood floor – As tempting as it may be, don’t use water for maintenance or cleaning. Besides giving a dull appearance to the finish other possible side effects of using water on your wood flooring include premature finish wear, chipping and peeling of paint & finish, shaling, splintering of individual pieces, excessive shrinkage and expansion, and cupping. Use only cleaning products and techniques recommended by your floors manufacturer and/or installer.

  • Protect flooring from heavy loads – You can expect your maple floor system to perform well under normal loads however excessive loading can result in damage to the surface finish and structural components that can lead to system failure. When loading a flooring system with any size lift be sure to use multi-layer protection to maintain the integrity of the system and quality of the surface finish. Never leave heavy loads on the floor overnight or for extended periods.

  • Weatherproof exterior doors – Make sure seals on all exterior doors are intact to prevent moisture from entering the gym. Sunlight should not be visible on the flooring when the doors are closed.

Keawe Gym at Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Middle School-photo

Keawe gym floor installation at Kamehameha Schools by IPR Hawaii.

How to Extend the Life of Your Maple Gym Floor:

In order to ensure you get the longest life out of your maple gym floor it’s wise to create a maintenance program. Here are some manufacturer recommended maintenance tips that will help to keep your maple wood flooring system functioning at it’s best.

  • Screen & Recoat Flooring: This process can save you labor, time, and money over the life of your maple wood floor and will keep it looking beautiful year after year. It should be a regular part of any maintenance program for wood flooring that has been top coated with a protective polyurethane finish. This sacrificial layer is slowly removed and becomes too thin with the friction of active daily use.  The screen & re-coat process is used to refresh the polyurethane of an existing coat by lightly sanding it, just enough so that a new coat will adhere.  It’s recommended to do a screen & recoat for an active wood gym floor annually, before you see damage and bare wood is exposed.  Once damage has occurred, a more costly re-sanding of the entire floor, will be your only option.
  • Sanding/refinishing: Even if you meticulously care for your wood gym floor it will still need to be refinished every 10 – 15 years in order to ensure the long life and good performance of the flooring system. Not only does refinishing revitalize older flooring by restoring the luster, it also provides a great opportunity for re-branding your floor’s image with new logos or a new floor layout!  This process involves sanding the floor down to the bare wood and then applying new sealant, paint, and finish.

Not following through with recommended maintenance could nullify associated warranties for your flooring system. Be sure to speak with your wood floor installer so you understand warranty policies and see if they offer a maintenance program that will protect and ensure your investment. By following these simple guidelines you can make the most of your investment and get 50 years or more out of your maple gym floor system.