Sport flooring

The value of making a premium decision

By David Carter Sport Marketing & Communications Manager Gerflor UK.

IT’s a well-known fact that making financial compromises in any sporting discipline can have a detrimental effect on performance and results. Ensuring players and participants have a reliable surface to train and play on is seen as a crucial element of the sporting mix.

Creating a sports flooring solution that will not only stand the test of time and deliver a safe and high-performing base must be a key consideration when choosing a new or replacement sports floor. After all, who wants to be on the losing side of a bad specification? Heads you win, tails you win.

Everybody likes a sure bet and to know they’ll end-up being on the winning side. It’s basic human nature and the very epitome of Darwin’s theory of natural selection. The best will always prevail. Choosing the right sports flooring for whatever discipline isn’t much different. Making the right choice for a winning solution is still top of the game – or tree.

Being frugal doesn’t just mean saving money, it means spending your sports flooring budget wisely. That also means some things may be inexpensive now but can cost you more in the long run, while other times it makes sense to spend more now for a better, longer-lasting experience. Unfortunately, buying low-cost sports flooring can lead to spending more money down the line, whether it’s in things like the cost of maintenance and upkeep, or replacement costs when you must buy the same cheap thing repeatedly.

If you really want to save money, then invest in quality sports flooring products. It’s true to say there are strong arguments in favour of spending that little bit more now, so you don’t run into those long-term dearer costs. There are two big factors you might want to consider when you’re making a buying a decision geared towards a new or replacement sports floor.

Whether you’re specification decision for a small private gym or a huge sports hall, or even several basketball courts, the mantra needs to be price, and quality. It’s easy to cut corners where you think you might make savings but that’s false economy.

Installing a sports surface that will stand the test of time and deliver a legacy of top level performance and safety through its lifecycle is hugely important – and making that investment now will yield rewards way down the line. It’s akin to making a large capital purchase like a car or a house.

A sports floor surface is arguably the most important element of a sporting facility to its players and designing, building and managing indoor sports premises need high quality and sustainable sports floorings that provide the comfort, safety and performance aspects that are so crucial to everyone taking part in sport on that floor.

Clearly aesthetics, acoustics, hygiene, resistance to wear, easy maintenance and good indoor air quality are key factors to sports venues. However, when it comes to reducing the risk of injury, minimising the severity of an injury, should it occur, and helping to prevent both short and long-term impact injuries, then the choice of sports flooring is critical.

It’s a valid argument to say you get what you pay for. Sports flooring like many other sporting products is all about supplying quality that really performs versus the lifetime cost of the product. Sports flooring is no different.

As the performance qualities required differ from sport to sport and venue to venue, the new generation of sports floorings is rising to the challenge of delivering solutions fit for champions.

Gerflor has more than 70 years of experience with their Taraflex sports flooring. It offers a wide range of colours and is suitable for a variety of applications. Taraflex sports floors have been used since 1947 at the largest international sports federation events (volleyball, handball, badminton, table tennis).

Through partnerships with these federations, Gerflor has been present at the Summer Olympic Games since 1976. It’s an Olympic pedigree stretching back over an incredible 42 years.

Taraflex is available in 17 colours and three wood-effect designs. The Sport M Performance product offers a P2 category shock absorbency 35% to 45%. Taraflex is recognised for providing durability, safety and comfort without impairing performance. The range also offers greater than 45% force reduction, making it unrivalled in the marketplace in terms of offering comfort for users.

Taraflex meets the EN Standard of 22196 for antibacterial activity (E coli – S aureus – MRSA) returning >99% levels of growth inhibition. The product is also treated with Protecsol, which renders polish redundant and is triple action meaning no polish is ever required, it contributes to easy maintenance and is anti-friction burn and slide/grip.

Taraflex has a double density foam backing and with another bonus, it’s environmentally friendly. Taraflex Sport M Performance from Gerflor also meets the EN 14904 Standard for indoor sports surfaces. It’s also ideal for renovation works and is available with the Dry-Tex System perfect for new construction or refurbishment projects with damp subfloors.

In 2015, Gerflor announced its acquisition of Connor Sports and its Sport Court brand in a move that subsequently expanded the company’s global market reach and sports product portfolio. It’s little wonder why more athletic events are played on Connor Sport Court surfaces than on any other sports flooring in the world.

Connor Sports and Sport Court are registered trademark of Connor Sport Court International. Sport Court has built systems for many elite associations including the NBA, NCAA, FIBA, USTA, FIVB, US Youth Futsal, USA Volleyball and Premier Euro League Teams.

The safest outdoor court in the world PowerGame from Connor Sports features the lowest skin abrasion of virtually any outdoor court surface and is made of the highest quality materials and UV stabilizers to protect the customer’s investment.

The patented Double-Tier shock absorbing grid and Lateral Forgiveness reduces joint strain and fatigue to help users play longer and more safely than ever.

Timber sports floorings are still popular for their traditional good looks. MFMA certified Hard Maple is among the most robust timber sports flooring available and when installed with an undercarriage system it provides a resilient, sprung floor with varied values of area elastic and shock absorbency. Gerflor has introduced four systems from the Connor Sports family providing a host of high quality sports flooring solutions for a myriad of markets.

Available now are NeoShok, Rezill Sleeper and Alliance, with stock levels held in France. The fourth available product is the QuickLock portable system, also held in France and is ideal for temporary use in a multitude of sporting events.

All the above systems can be finished in three different grades of 57mm x 20mm North American Hard Maple strip. Connor Sports is the only American Sports Flooring Company, and one of a few European Sports Flooring Companies to operate under ISO 14001-management system and the only in the sports flooring industry to be Zero Waste certified.

When the 2016 Rio Olympic Committee sought to buy eight courts for basketball and wheelchair basketball arenas they specified a total of 75,000sq m of flooring that would need to undergo the rigours of top-flight performance. They selected Connor Sports floors. Says it all really!

As with most things premium budget options are available for a wide choice of sports flooring. However, it’s important to weigh up quality and cost against each other. Flooring may seem expensive at first glance but when you consider the value of the floor underneath and the equipment and people it’s there to protect, you’ll easily realise it’s a necessary expense that should be seen as an investment.

It’s also critical to not just consider the initial cost of the flooring but the usage of each zone and the lifespan of the flooring. Some flooring maybe more expensive but could last twice as long, thus working out as a less expensive option over the products life time.

Making that shift in mindset isn’t too difficult, but it does require research. You’ll need to do your homework when specifying your sports flooring project, which means doing more than just reading reviews, and learning which types of reviews to trust.

Consider putting your clients budget towards factors like longevity, energy efficiency, and low total cost of ownership. The premium route is always the safest path to durability and cost effectiveness. When you do find companies like Gerflor that make quality products and support this mindset, invest in them. It shouldn’t be difficult, many are proud of their commitment to quality. Companies that generally put quality first are usually proud to say it, and their customers are usually proud to back the statement up. Look for that kind of fan community, and you’ll find something good.

Forward-planning is the name of the game and opting for a more expensive option could in many cases reap real rewards.

Transforming the very DNA of sport now means moving it from entertainment and pastime to a force catalysing change in our communities and across society. It’s for this reason many independent sports facilities and local government bodies are taking the life time investment of deciding to specify quality sports flooring products alongside justifying their costs to fulfil their sporting offer to the wider populist.

Premium products that deliver quality and top-end sporting performance will always be the right specification decision.

Gerflor UK
01926 622600