In these challenging economic times, many club owners are changing their minds about expanding or are deferring planned expansions. Instead, they are upgrading their existing facilities. That’s a smart idea, since renovations cost considerably less and can improve a club’s appearance with less costly downtime.
One of the best places to renovate is sports flooring. New flooring dresses up the facility, shows members that you are still willing to invest in their safety and performance (which aids in retention for existing members) and gives you an edge over competing clubs for those prospective members who are shopping around for a new membership.
One of the least expensive areas for a flooring upgrade is in the cardio area. More facility owners are removing carpeting in these areas in favor of rubber flooring, which often is recycled. Rubber flooring not only provides more flexibility under machines, but it also is considerably more resilient under them. Rubber flooring also is easier to clean, is more hygienic, won’t stain and hides dirt well—all at an extremely low cost.
A lot of aesthetically pleasing alternatives exist now to the traditional speckled rubber flooring. One example is DuraFlex tiles, which are solid color tiles that come in a myriad of colors, including custom colors and combinations of colors that can be custom blended in individual tiles.
DuraFlex also works well in selectorized and free-weight areas because the tiles are a full 1 1/4-inch thick and can more easily handle the abuse from dropped weights than traditional rolled rubber flooring. The material has a hidden interlock so the tiles require no adhesive, which not only makes them moveable if need be but also makes the installation quick and inexpensive. Of course, you have to factor in removal of the equipment when considering replacing flooring here, both from a time and expense perspective, since it can be considerably more cumbersome than removing machines in a cardiovascular area.
One area where little equipment removal is required to replace flooring is in mind/body and group exercise rooms. In fact, people often refer to flooring as the most important piece of equipment in the group exercise area, mainly because it has to be so precisely engineered in order to be safe and resilient for the widely varied activities conducted in that space. Changing the look of these spaces can add a lot of appeal, since so many members are exposed to it through daily classes. Change also is relatively quick and easy in these spaces, with most floors being installed in a day.
In both of these areas, wood flooring has become the norm. Again, it is easier to clean than carpeting and does a better job of providing the precise traction needed for most types of exercises done in there. A product like the new Exterra wood floor provides for precise resilience and shock absorption for athletes of any weight class or activity level. The solid wood surface will last for years, and due to diligent material sourcing, has become even more attractive than many wood group exercise floors available. Gone are most of the dark streaks, knots and fine surface cracking found in many of the older generation aerobic floors. Exterra provides a professional-looking clear wood surface.
Bamboo flooring is a second alternative that has emerged in the last couple of years. It’s appropriate for either mind/body or group exercise. The solid bamboo planks are certainly much “greener” than many of the traditional wood floors, since they are manufactured from a plant that regrows in months and can be reharvested for flooring in about four to five years, instead of the 40 to 60 years that is required for a traditional hardwood floor. Although it is not a hardwood, bamboo maintains all of the properties of traditional woods in that it can be sanded and refinished a number of times over its lifetime, and it shares the same surface hardness as maple or oak. Performance testing also indicates that the material behaves the same as any hardwood flooring on any of the safety standards tests. It also carries a unique Asian aesthetic, with the “knuckles” that are characteristic of bamboo, easily visible in the surface.
Regardless of which product or rooms you choose to renovate, a simple flooring change can really affect the overall look and feel of your facility. This update alone will impress your existing membership and show prospective and existing members that you are a club that realizes the importance of investing in your facility.
With a host of quality surfacing, including Exterra Group Exercise flooring, the new Zenterra Bamboo Group Exercise Floor and DuraFlex performance rubber flooring, Fitness Flooring is your source for quality sports floors for every room in your facility. We've been serving the industry for more than 25 years and have thousands of installations across North America.
Fitness Flooring is an advertiser in the August 2010 issue of Club Industry magazine and the Aug. 18, 2010, Design Special Report e-newsletter.