The flooring is one of the most important elements of a sports facility – it provides a safe, high-performance surface that allows athletes to train for hours on end, enjoy their game, and fully realize their potential, while also helping to prevent injuries and accidents. Therefore, the gym floor must be kept in excellent condition at all times – perfectly clean, smooth, and even and free of dust, scratches, and cracks.
Daily cleaning and proper care will help keep the sports floor safe and good looking for quite a while, but even when meticulously maintained, it will start looking dull and showing signs of wear and tear after some time. When that happens, the floor will need to be screened and recoated in order to play like new once again.
After several years of heavy use, however, recoating won’t be enough to restore the top-notch condition of the gym flooring – complete resurfacing will be necessary to ensure the safety and excellent performance of the sports floor. There’s no “set time” for this, but it is generally recommended that gymnasium floors should be refinished every 5 to 10 years – or as soon as you notice cracking, chipping, or any other kind of damage to the floor finish.
Here is what you need to know when it comes to refinishing a gym floor:
Gym Floor Screening and Recoating
A screen and recoat helps restore the luster of a worn out gym surface and ensures its safety and excellent performance. As a rule of thumb, wood sports floors should be recoated annually although more frequent screening and recoating may be required for facilities that are heavily used on a daily basis.
Step 1. Clean the floor well:
- Dust mop the floor to remove any loose dirt and debris;
- Use a water-based solvent cleaner to remove any film that might be on the floor (oils from the old finish, residue left behind from various treatments, activities, or gym mats, etc.).
Step 2. “Rough up” the top layer of the gym floor finish with a light abrasive screening disk (use a 120/150-grit screen) – this will allow the new coat of finish to adhere better to the existing finish coats.
Step 3. Vacuum thoroughly and tack with untreated dust mop or slightly dampened towel.
Step 4. Apply a coat of appropriate finish and allow it to dry for at least 3-4 hours.
Good to remember: Make sure you follow the grain of the wood and be careful to apply the finish at the recommended square foot coverage – different finishes can cover anywhere from 200 to 800 sq. ft. per gallon.
Step 5. Paint game lines over the first coat of finish (test the paint on a small area first to determine compatibility and adhesions). Do not use paint containing vinyls or poly-vinyls.
Step 6. When the game lines dry, abrade them with a 120-grit screen to ensure proper adhesion of the final coat.
Step 7. Apply the finish coat and let it dry well before use.
Keep in mind that the curing process may take up to 7 days – the floor can be walked on after 24 hours, but the finish will be susceptible to scuffing and marring until it is fully cured. Also, make sure you don’t clean the recoated gym floor with water or detergent during the first week.
Gym Floor Sanding and Refinishing
To preserve the beauty of your sports floor and extend its life, you need to have it fully refinished every 5-10 years (depending on how hard it is used and how well it is maintained). This job is better left to the professionals as they have appropriate equipment and extensive experience that will allow them to complete the task in a fast, safe, and efficient manner.
The process begins by sanding and removing the existing game lines and layers of finish down to the raw wood. Then, the experts remove scratches, repair cracks, and replace deteriorating wood as needed. Once the repair work is completed, the floor is resurfaced and a new finish is applied:
- The floor is refinished with a specialized sanding machine. All sanding dust and grit is removed before applying the seal and finish;
- Two coats of MFMA-approved seal are applied to the floor (it is screened between each coat);
- Game lines, logos, and images are painted on the sealed surface;
- Once the paint is dry, the floor is tacked with a rag once again;
- Finally, two coats of finish are applied to the refinished gym floor and left to dry.
The entire process takes about a week and another week is required for the finish to cure enough for athletic activities.
Gym Floor Refinishing Tips
To ensure a smooth and successful gym floor refinishing process, you’re advised to:
1) Hire licensed, experienced, and trustworthy professionals to complete your gym floor restoration project – Research the gym floor refinishing companies in your area (licensing information, years in business, lists of equipment, completed projects, customers’ testimonials, etc.), get price estimates, and compare the offers (services, materials, extra conditions, final price) to select the best gym floor refinishers for you.
2) Prepare the area well:
- Make sure you tape off, lock or block any access points to the gym so that no one walks over the freshly laid floor finish before it has fully dried. Leave messages on the doors stating when the facility will be open;
- Have all the necessary products and tools brought to one central location that is easily accessible to the refinishing crew so that they don’t need to leave the job in the middle in search of something;
- Ensure good ventilation during and after the refinishing process, but close doors and windows during strong wind to prevent air currents that could carry dust and dirt from entering the gym until the new floor finish is completely dry;
- If possible, keep the indoor temperature at approximately 65°F in order to facilitate proper drying and curing for the seal, paint, and finish.
3) Allow sufficient cure time – The refinished gym floor can be walked on 48 hours after the last coat of finish has been applied, but athletic activities should not be resumed for about a week (until the finish cures completely).
4) Mind the current weather conditions – The ambient humidity and temperature can prolong or shorten the time necessary for the newly laid gym floor finish to drying. It is advisable to avoid refinishing or recoating the floor at a time when humidity and/or temperatures are too high.
5) Properly maintain the refinished floor:
- Place mats at all gym entrances to help prevent dirt and other debris from being tracked on the floor;
- Do not allow people without appropriate footwear on the floor;
- Dust-mop the gym floor every day;
- Do not use oil treated dust mops for sweeping and tacking;
- Do not use soap-based detergents to clean the floor;
- Do not clean the floor with scrubbing machinery or power scrubbers that use water;
- Mop up spills immediately and dry the floor as quickly as possible;
- Never use tape on a wood gym floor.
Gym Floor Refinishing Cost
Last but not least, you will certainly want to know how much it costs to refinish a gym floor.
The average price for a full sanding and refinishing is about $3.00 per sq. ft. (including the labor, materials, logo and game line painting, and job cleanup).
The exact cost of your gym floor restoration project, however, will depend on several factors:
- The size (square footage) of the gym floor;
- The condition of the existing floor finish (amount of built up finish to be removed);
- The necessary repair works;
- The types of products and materials used in the floor refinishing process;
- The design of the gym floor and the amount of painting to be done (game lines, lettering, logos, images, etc.)
- The geographic location of the sports facility.
You need to get a quote from a professional service provider in order to learn the actual cost of refinishing your gym floor.
In any case, hardwood sports floors can be sanded and refinished at a fraction of the cost of replacing the entire gym floor. The restoration process will enhance the appearance and performance of the floor, will ensure its safety, and will considerably extend its life. So, if your gym floor has lost its luster and is showing severe signs of wear and tear, do not hesitate to call the experts and have it restored to its original excellent condition. The results will be more than worth the money!
If you decide to replace your sports flooring or if you need new athletic surfaces – call the professionals at KieferUSA!