Area v Point Elastic
Characteristics of Area Elastic Sports Systems v Point Elastic Floors
We are often asked why choose an area elastic sprung sports floor system rather than a point elastic foam-backed product. Below we illustrate the three types of available sports flooring options and briefly describe their characteristics with regards to shock absorption, comfort and vertical deformation – these are key elements for the protection of an athlete playing on a sports surface with an aim to reduce the risk of injury, enhance sports performance as well as provide a suitable surface for both sporting and non-sporting usage.
Area elastic sprung systems absorb impact and rolling loads over a wide area therefore offering high levels of shock absorption and vertical deformation. Providing comfort, high indentation resistance, low rolling resistance ideal for high performance sporting and non-sporting usage.
Point elastic floors have low levels of shock absorption as the deflection only occurs at or close to the point of impact with little vertical deformation. Foam-backed floor coverings have poor indentation resistance therefore are prone to damage during non-sporting usage and are not ideal for wheelchair usage due to the high rolling resistance.
An area-elastic floor combined with a point-elastic top layer provides all the advantages of an area elastic system (high performance) but all the disadvantages of a point elastic floor covering (low durability). These systems are preferred by some sports, however are typically less cost-effective and often unsuitable for non-sporting events required within most UK sports halls.
Typical Construction of Area Elastic Sprung Systems & Point Elastic Floors
An area elastic sprung sports floor system can be constructed in two ways – the DYNAMIK Sydney and DYNAMIK London systems can both be finished with a solid sport vinyl, solid sport linoleum, sport polyurethane or sport rubber playing surface.
Area Elastic – DYNAMIK London
The DYNAMIK London system is designed to be packed and levelled, therefore eliminating variations in the sub floor and thus removing the need for a levelling screed. It is based on factory assembled elastic sprung beams which support a counter floor and load distribution panels which accommodate a range of solid synthetic playing surfaces. The structure of the system also allows for underfloor heating and insulation to be incorporated between the beams if required.
Area Elastic – DYNAMIK Sydney
The DYNAMIK Sydney sprung system is designed to be installed on a level slab or screed and has a low construction height of only 22mm. Accordingly it is a low profile high performance sprung sports floor. It is constructed using a high density elastic layer over which a solid load distribution panel is installed to accommodate a range of solid synthetic finishes. As every part of the surface is equally supported by the elastic layer, consistent sports performance is guaranteed.
Point elastic floors are designed to be laid onto a level slab or screed. They are typically a factory produced vinyl which combines an integral foam backing. This foam backing achieves low levels of shock absorption but despite this feels soft, which can be ideal for facilities that do not require high sports performance such as pre-schools or facilities that intend not to use heavy equipment, tables and chairs or incorporate non-sporting events such as exams.
Performance Characteristics of Sports Floor Systems
The table below confirms the performance characteristics that each type of sports floor must meet to comply with EN14904 which is the recognised standard for indoor sports flooring. A3 and A4 represent area elastic floors and P1, P2 and P3 point elastic floors.
SHOCK ABSORPTION (%)
|Area Elastic (A)||Combi Elastic (C)||Point Elastic (P)|
|3||≥40 <55||≥45 <55||≥45|
|4||≥55 <75||≥55 <75|
VERTICAL DEFORMATION (mm)
|Area Elastic (A)||Combi Elastic (C)||Point Elastic (P)|
|3||≥1.8 <5.0||≥1.8 <5.0||≤3.5|
|4||≥2.3 <5.0||≥2.3 <5.0|
With superior shock absorption and higher vertical deformation, A3 or A4 sprung sports systems not only offer high sports performance but also superior protection and comfort compared to any point elastic floor.
The DYNAMIK Sydney and London systems can meet Class A3 or A4 performance criteria as required.
Principal Benefits of Sprung Area Elastic Systems v Point Elastic Surfaces
Multi-sport – Multi-use
Sprung systems finished in a solid playing surface, such as sport vinyl or sport linoleum, can be used in both sport and non-sport environments. This is important as a typical sports hall needs to combine sports usage as well as community use or social functions whereby the floor must cope with spillages, indentation caused by tables and chairs, stiletto heels or non-sporting footwear.
It is essential if using a timber surface or point elastic floor that heavy duty protection such as DYNAMIK Giant Carpet Tiles be used to avoid indentation, tearing or puncturing of the surface. There is no requirement for protection with a sprung system finished with a solid synthetic playing surface.
Sprung area elastic systems can accept high loadings that arise when maintenance equipment or seating systems are used. The load distribution panels within the DYNAMIK Sydney or London systems distribute and accept the high loadings perfectly.
Point elastic foam-backed floors are generally not recommended or liked by wheelchair users as they provide a surface with a high rolling resistance and poor maneuverability which in turn can cause muscular strains and fatigue issues if the wheels sink into the foam backing. A3/A4 Sprung systems finished with a solid synthetic surface provide an ideal surface for wheelchair use with low rolling resistance and ideal maneuverability as well as high indentation resistance and durability.
25 Year Warranty
The DYNAMIK Sydney or DYNAMIK London systems finished with a solid playing surface come with a 25 year warranty as opposed to 10 years typically offered for a P3 foam-backed surface.
The DYNAMIK Sydney and DYNAMIK London systems are “floating floors” and hence bridge any movement joints that maybe within the floor slab.
Low Life Cycle Costs
The DYNAMIK Sydney and DYNAMIK London systems finished with a solid playing surface will have a life in excess of 35 years as opposed to 15 years for a typical point elastic floor.
If it is intended to let out your facility as an income generator then the amount of revenue received is directly linked to the performance of the floor. Clubs are becoming more selective as to where they play and have a wider choice. It is therefore worth ensuring you choose a high performance floor.
When considering your new sports floor you may be surprised that the high quality DYNAMIK Sydney or DYNAMIK London area elastic sprung sports systems compared to Point Elastic floors will give you a more cost effective alternative.
Specific pricing implications are due to the differences in construction methodology which are compared below:
- Requires a level slab
- Usually requires a liquid DPM
- May require a latex layer between the DPM and final surface
- Underfloor heating has to be laid in the slab
- Involves more wet construction processes
- Requires a heavy duty protection system such as giant carpet tiles to protect the surface
- Can be built off the structural slab
- Typically uses a visqueen DPM
- A floating floor therefore not stuck down
- Savings from less construction time
- Underfloor heating can be installed between the beams
- Depending on choice of surface e.g. sport vinyl or sport linoleum, no protection system is required
Once the above factors are considered a Point Elastic floor will typically cost more than a sprung area elastic sports floor system.
Feedback and Market Opinion
DYNAMIK regularly receive feedback from end-user clients, specifiers, architects and consultants who have stated that in their opinion a Sprung Area Elastic Sports System – finished in a solid synthetic playing surface – is much more suitable for use in educational facilities when compared to a point elastic surface or a sprung timber finish. It is clear that sprung systems finished in a solid surface provide high indentation resistance and low maintenance/life cycle costs – ideal for school usage.
For longevity, durability and cost effectiveness our DYNAMIK Sydney system finished in a solid playing surface would be our recommendation if you require a Multi-Sport, Multi-Use floor and have a level slab or screed.
Alternatively, if you do not have a level slab or screed we would recommend our DYNAMIK London system.