What's the best gym floor? What's the best finish? What's the best surface for my needs?
Choosing the perfect floor can be stressful and full of questions. At Foster Specialty Floors, we want to alleviate some of that stress by answering some of your most commonly asked ones.
You ask; we answer.
Have a question that is not answered below? Contact a member of our team.
Most Commonly asked questions about "Best Floor"
What is the best gym floor?
The better question is “what is the best gym floor for YOU?” Generally, the best gym floor for you is one that has been specifically designed for the weight of the athlete that will provide a safe shock absorption value and uniformity of play.
There are dozens of different construction designs of gym floors, using either wood or synthetic components. These designs have taken into account the end user’s body mass from 50 to 260+ pounds. The physics of shock absorption is based on the impact of the user generating 2 to 2 ½ times body mass at the point of contact with the floor surface. Therefore, a design that is perfect for an NCAA player is far too stiff for an Elementary School child to be safe. Thus, the weight of the user is critical in the selection and design of what is best for you.
Moreover, years of biometric studies have shown that uniformity of play is the key factor in injury and fatigue reduction. Our brains, subconsciously, use about three steps of consistent surface resistance to establish “muscle memory” for our future steps. (This “muscle memory” is commonly shown by walking down a staircase in total darkness, without the last step visible, we always stumble at the bottom.) Athletic flooring selection should take these two key performance criteria into consideration when
selecting the best gym floor for you.
What is the best wood gym floor?
Almost all wood gym floors are made from maple flooring as the surface material. From the top, maple gym floors pretty much look the same. It is the subfloor design underneath that creates the safety and performance necessary to establish uniformity and reduce injuries. The best maple gym floors are ones that have been designed for the weight of the end user and tested for safety and performance by a third-party laboratory.
There are dozens of different subfloor designs of maple gym floors. These designs have taken into account the end user’s body mass, vertical deflection / shock absorption, uniformity of play, area of deflection, ball bounce, coefficient of friction, and rolling load resistance. Currently the most stringent testing protocols have been developed by the Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association. These the known as the PUR Standards. (Performance and Uniformity Rating.)
The physics of shock absorption / vertical deflection is based on the impact of the user generating 2 to 2½ times body mass at the point of contact with the floor surface. In order to absorb the impact forces of the user, the floor system must be able to deflect immediately and vertically directly under the point of impact. Therefore, a design that is perfect for an NCAA player is far too stiff for an Elementary School child to be safe. Thus, the weight of the user and force reduction ability of the system is critical in the
selection and design of what is best for you.
Moreover, years of biometric studies have shown that uniformity of play is the key factor in injury and fatigue reduction. Our brains, subconsciously, use about three steps of consistent surface resistance to establish “muscle memory” for our future steps. (This “muscle memory” is commonly shown by walking down a staircase in total darkness, without the last step visible, we always stumble at the bottom.) Athletic flooring selection should take these two key performance criteria into consideration when selecting the best gym floor for you.
Area of deflection is the testing protocol that requires the deflecting area of the floor immediately around the point of impact is limited in size as to not reduce the force reduction ability of the floor for the user just adjacent to the impacting body mass. This limited area of deflection is one of the most difficult testing protocols to achieve. This is critical in all activities that have more than one user at a time.
Ball bounce return and uniformity is critical for those activities such as basketball, pickleball, and racquetball. Testing protocols require these results to be adequate for playability and uniformity.
The coefficient of friction is the measured amount of “slide” of the finish used on the maple floor. All Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association approved finishes have been laboratory tested to have a safe coefficient of friction.
Rolling load resistance is the ability of the flooring system to withstand heavy rolling loads. For example, this is critical in facilities that will have large bleacher stacks.
Foster Specialty Floors generally recommends a maple gym floor design that is PUR Compliant for safety, uniformity, and performance.
What is gym flooring?
The term “Gym Flooring” can mean different surfaces to different athletes. For example, when a weightlifter says, “I’m going to the Gym”, they mean a room full of equipment and weights with a very high friction coefficient, and a high load bearing rubber floor. Conversely, when a basketball player makes the same statement, they are going to a basketball facility with a maple or synthetic surface specifically designed for basketball with proper floor traction and force reduction. “Gym Flooring” is therefore a bit nondescript; it all depends on the athlete’s perspective of their sport. There really isn’t a “one size fits all” when it comes to “Gym Flooring.”
A properly designed weight room is one that takes into account the drop weight of the free weights, the coefficient of friction of the surface, and the desired aesthetics of the facility. The primary function of a weight room floor is to protect the concrete subfloor from impact drops of heavy free weights or barbells. This can be accomplished by thicker rubber surfaces or specific drop platforms. The floor’s surface itself should have a coefficient of friction close to 1.0 to provide a stable and secure plane to reduce the chance of the athlete slipping.
A properly designed basketball facility is one that evaluates the weight of the athletes to provide proper force reduction, uniformity of play, and the correct coefficient of friction. This may be accomplished with a maple or synthetic surface.
See: Weight Room
See: What is the best gym floor?
What is the best home gym floor?
What is the best home gym floor?
The answer to this question is based on how you define “gym”? A home gym which is really a “fitness or weight room” should have a rubber or urethane floor to protect against free weight damage and allow for easy cleaning. If your home gym is to be used for basketball, pickleball, or volleyball then a maple floor or padded urethane floor is your best selection.
When selecting a home weight room floor, it is wise to consider the country of origin of the rubber flooring. There are many choices online to purchase Asian rubber flooring. Typically, these products are low cost with very low quality. Additionally, some of these products can
contain unhealthy chemical additives. We recommend rubber flooring products manufactured in the United States.
When selecting a maple or padded urethane sports floor for your home gym, features to consider are the force reduction value of the surface and the acoustical characteristics of the design. We recommend a floor that has uniformity of play and force reduction. Additionally, we recommend a design without an air void under the floor which would lead to “drumming” during use. A safe and quiet floor is always best for a home application.
What is the best NBA floor?
Surface uniformity, force reduction, and vibration damping are the biggest factors in injury reduction at all levels of athletic play. This is particularly true at the NCAA / NBA level of competition and training.
The average weight of these high-level athletes is 200 to 225 pounds. The physics behind the impact force on the floor, during play, is two to two and half times body weight. This equates up to 560 pounds of energy that should be absorbed by the floor’s design to prevent this impact shock wave from returning into the player’s skeletal and muscle structure. At these force levels it is imperative the flooring system not “bottom out” against the concrete subfloor. Additionally, a design that reduces or eliminates the floor’s vibration after this impact will
reduce soft muscle tissue fatigue; and fatigue is a leading cause of injuries.
In short, the best NBA floor has the same performance characteristics as the best elementary school floor; just the weight of the athlete must be taken into account to change the safety components that make up the floor’s internal design.
Due to varying uses of the space at some NCAA / NBA arenas, the athletic floor may be a portable design. This doesn’t change the biomechanical need for safety and uniformity; however it does make it more difficult to achieve.