Gyms and weight rooms see perhaps some of the most intense use in the facility world. Between heavy foot traffic day in and day out, wayward sweat from athletes and the clang and bang of free weights and plate-loaded machines, the flooring is undoubtedly the workhorse of your fitness club.
The floor in your gym is more than just an aesthetic accent or part of the decor - it's also an important part of your facility's safety. A properly maintained weight room floor is essential for ensuring the safety of users and preventing injury. For this reason, it's especially important to keep floor repair on your list of regular building maintenance and to keep these basic principles in mind.
The ins and outs of weight room floors
Gone are the days when the floors in a gym or weight room were hardwood, covered in some areas by independent rubber mats. As exercise equipment has evolved, facility managers have also taken additional factors into consideration when choosing flooring, such as purpose, traffic and durability. For example, cardio training areas typically don't require padding as thick as the flooring to be used in weight training areas, which have to contend with heavy dumbbells constantly being dropped.
One important consideration that FMs should take into account is the bacteria resiliency of the floor - Athletic Business noted that nonporous floors are not only easier to clean, but are more resistant to bacteria such as germs that can cause MRSA - a bacterial infection that is frequently spread through skin-to-skin contact.
Part of the beauty of rubber weight room floors is they typically don't require as much direct care as their hardwood counterparts. However, rubber floors still require cleaning to keep them not only free of dirt, grime and germs, but also to increase their shelf life. MyGymFloor.com noted that, typically, vacuuming rubber floors is sufficient to keep them clean and free of debris. The source recommended against the use of oil-based chemicals or solvents if avoidable, and noted that bleach or high-pH cleaners should not be used.
Signs of wear
The life cycle of a gym floor can vary tremendously depending on how regularly and how intensely it's used. As Athletic Business pointed out, a standard health club floor can typically last between 10 and 20 years, while a floor in a college athletic facility or sports club often needs to be replaced much sooner.
After a while, holes and rips may form in the surface of the floor as a result of repeated impact from dropped weights. The source noted that it's important to patch these up or replace the floor when such tears are found. Otherwise, they can form a significant tripping hazard that could lead to injury. The same is true of bubbling or buckling that can occur when water gets underneath rubber floor tiles. Another sign that it may be time to replace the floor is if you notice it starts wearing thin in some places. However, the source noted that this may be difficult to determine visually on some floors.