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Breathing New Life into School Gymnasiums

September 25, 2023 jill Blog


In this article, our focus is directed towards the importance of schools refreshing their gymnasium floors to maintain optimal conditions. The gymnasium floors, playing a pivotal role in a school’s setup, can degrade with the passage of time, influencing safety measures and overall visual appeal.

We’ll shed light on the advantages of refurbishing, guide you through the process of choosing the right flooring material, and provide an overview of the potential expenses involved.

Here are the benefits of upgrading gymnasium flooring:


Over time, gymnasium floors can show signs of wear and deterioration. Refurbishing the surface guarantees a safer setting for a range of events, from athletic matches to school gatherings.


A well-maintained floor significantly impacts athletic performance. A smooth and even surface is essential for optimal sports activities.


A refreshed gymnasium surface can boost school morale. Institutions have the option to modify the floor’s hue, integrate school themes, mascots, and emblems, or even choose a design that blends artistic elements with the floor’s inherent texture.

Educational institutions have three primary options to rejuvenate their gym floors:


This is about adding a new topcoat to the existing floor, ideal for addressing minor wear and tear. It’s the least disruptive and is generally more affordable than other options. Experts recommend this every 5-10 years.


This involves replacing damaged boards and then refinishing the entire floor. It’s more comprehensive than refinishing and is typically required every 10-15 years.


The most extensive option, where the entire floor is replaced. It’s for severely damaged floors or those that have undergone multiple treatments.

Material Options

When considering gymnasium flooring options, there’s a plethora of choices available to cater to the diverse needs of educational institutions. These options are designed to meet the requirements of various sports and other multi-purpose activities.

Here are the most common options:

Maple Hardwood Floor

Sports: Basketball

Advantages: Long lifespan of 35-40 years, diverse system designs.

Maintenance: Daily dusting, annual recoating, HVAC monitoring, and regular re-polishing. Protection needed for multiple uses.

Sports Vinyl Floor

Sports: Basketball, volleyball, etc.

Advantages: Good shock absorption and uniformity, ideal for multi-purpose halls

Maintenance: Low cost, no surface protection needed, bi-weekly cleaning with scrubber and detergent

Sport Linoleum Floor

Sports: Versatile uses

Advantages: Lifespan of up to 50 years, eco-friendly, suitable for general-purpose gyms

Maintenance: Bi-weekly cleaning with scrubber and detergent, no surface protection needed

Vulcanized Rubber Floor

Sports: Multifunctional

Advantages: Suitable for heavy equipment and vehicles, can withstand skates or spikes based on thickness

Maintenance: Easy to maintain, but harder to clean

Pad & Pour Polyurethane Floor

Sports: Versatile

Advantages: Seamless surface suitable for heavy equipment

Maintenance: Polyurethane spray every 10 years

Combination System Floor

Sports: Basketball, volleyball, aerobics, etc.

Advantages: Good shock absorption, reduced injury risk, multi-functional

Maintenance: Regular dusting, bi-weekly cleaning, polyurethane spray every 3-5 years

Choosing the Right Material

A gymnasium floor must cater to various sports-specific requirements, such as slip resistance, ball bounce behavior, and load-bearing capacity. If the gym is also used for events like concerts, specific criteria must be observed. There are standards from associations and institutions that define requirements for sports floors, including construction, testing, and maintenance.

Factors to consider include:

  • Level of competition: As the competitive level rises, so do the demands on the gymnasium floor. While elementary and middle schools might opt for versatile vinyl flooring, high school student-athletes and above typically prefer the reliable and traditional hardwood floors.
  • Gymnasium Floor Dimensions: It’s crucial to ensure that the size of your gymnasium floor aligns with the standards set by sports associations. This ensures compliance and optimal performance for athletes.
  • Type of Sports and Activities Envisioned: Assess the specific sports and activities that the gym will host. The choice of flooring should be influenced by both the nature of the activities and how frequently the space will be used. Different sports may have varied needs, and the floor should cater to all of them.
  • Financial Planning and Budgeting: When deciding on a gym floor, it’s essential to look beyond the initial costs. Take into account the entire life cycle of the floor, its durability, and the potential maintenance expenses over the years. An investment in quality now can lead to savings in the long run.
  • Maintenance and Upkeep: To ensure that the gym floor remains in top condition, it’s imperative to establish a regular maintenance and cleaning routine. This not only keeps the floor looking pristine but also extends its lifespan, ensuring a safe and appealing environment for users.
  • Choosing the Right Subfloor: The foundation upon which your gym floor rests is equally important. There are several subfloor options to consider, including floating systems which provide some give, fixed systems that are firmly attached to the base, and anchored systems that offer a combination of both. Each has its own set of advantages, and the choice should be based on the specific needs of the gymnasium.

Timing of the Project

The intervals between school terms or during breaks within the academic calendar provide ideal opportunities for initiating such projects.

Here’s why:

  • Minimal Disruption: With students on vacation, the gym can be worked on without interrupting school activities.
  • Fresh Start: Beginning the academic year or restarting the season after a break with a revamped gym can boost morale and school spirit.

In terms of duration:

  • Refinishing can take a few days to a week.
  • Resurfacing might require one to two weeks.
  • A complete replacement can take several weeks, depending on the gym’s size.

Estimated Costs

The costs can vary based on the gym’s size, gym floor material, the extent of damage, and regional factors.

However, as a ballpark:

  • Refinishing: $2-$5 per square foot.
  • Resurfacing: $3-$8 per square foot.
  • Replacement: $8-$15 per square foot.

Who Can Help?

Professional sports flooring companies specialize in these projects. They possess the expertise, equipment, and materials to ensure the job is done right. It’s crucial to consult with such professionals to understand the best option for your facility and get an accurate cost estimate.

Professional gymnasium flooring companies offer a range of specialized services to cater to the needs of educational institutions and sports complexes.

These services include:

  • Floor installation, refinishing, resurfacing and replacement
  • Consultation Services: Assisting clients in understanding their specific flooring needs based on the intended activities and usage frequency.
  • Custom Designing: Incorporating school colors, logos, mascots, or specific design elements into the floor layout.
  • Maintenance Services: Offering regular maintenance packages to ensure the floor remains in top condition, which may include cleaning, polishing, and minor repairs.
  • Training: Educating school staff or facility managers on proper floor care, maintenance routines, and best practices to prolong the floor’s lifespan.

As educational institutions gear up for the upcoming academic year, giving due attention to the gymnasium floor becomes increasingly essential. A well-maintained and modernized gym floor not only guarantees the safety of students and athletes but also significantly boosts their performance. Beyond the functional benefits, a rejuvenated floor can transform the overall ambiance of the space, making it more inviting and reflective of the institution’s commitment to excellence.

Engaging in thorough planning, coupled with seeking insights and expertise from professional flooring companies, is paramount. Their guidance can navigate the complexities of the project, ensuring that the end result is both durable and aesthetically pleasing. By prioritizing the enhancement of the gymnasium floor, schools can establish a positive outlook, underscoring their commitment to furnishing top-tier facilities for their students.

Antti Rydman is the co-owner and head of marketing for Sports Venue Calculator, which supports and educates schools in all topics related to planning, building and equipping sports facilities,


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