Synthetic Sprung Sports Floors v Timber Sprung Floors
Benefits of Sprung Synthetic Finishes over Sprung Timber Finishes
Typically in the past the usual finish for a sports floor was solid timber.
With advances in technology and material science the sports market has seen a move towards engineered timber and a range of synthetic surfaces.
DYNAMIK offer a full range of sports floor finishes including timber, sport linoleum, sport vinyl, seamless polyurethane and sport rubber and therefore have no bias to any one in particular. However, what we have seen is an increasing trend towards synthetic surfaces installed over our Komfort Plus or Flexi-Beam Plus sports floor systems, and we expect this to continue.
We explain why we offer these different surfaces in further detail below:
Sports Performance and Synthetic Surfaces
There is absolutely no compromise in sports performance between a sprung sports floor finished in timber and a sprung sports floor finished in a synthetic surface such as sport linoleum.
Our sprung sports floor systems such as DYNAMIK Komfort Plus or DYNAMIK Flexi-Beam Plus when finished with a solid synthetic surface still incorporate the performance benefits of timber in their sub-construction.
It is also interesting to note that the majority of European countries install synthetic surfaces such as solid linoleum or solid vinyl onto a sprung wooden undercarriage in most of their sports facilities.
If you watch top level sporting events, including the Olympics, you will find most sports are played on a sprung synthetic surface – the exception is Basketball where in Elite Basketball Arenas a timber finish is required to meet FIBA 1 playing standards. DYNAMIK are the Official Partner to Basketball England and Official Technical Partner to British Wheelchair Basketball and have installed at various sporting arenas including the National Basketball Performance Centre in Manchester, home of the GB Basketball teams and The English Institute of Sport, Sheffield where GB Wheelchair athletes train.
Multi-sport – Multi-use
Sport specific sports halls are rare in an increasingly competitive market. A typical sports hall must now combine sport usage and community use together with a range of non-sporting activities.
Sport usage can range from Badminton to Basketball or Spin class to Trampoline use. This range of sporting activities imposes high demands on a sports floor. It must perform for the Badminton player but must be able to resist damage from trampolines and spinning bikes which are moved across the floor.
Community use can involve social functions whereby the floor needs to cope with spillages and stiletto heels. The hall may then be used by the school for a range of non-sporting activities, such as exams, dining, parent/teacher evenings or prom nights to name but a few. A solid synthetic finish has the ability to deal with these non-sporting usage whilst still providing the required sports performance.
The need to protect the sport surface with carpet tiles or alternative surface protection is purely optional with a solid synthetic surface whereas with a sprung timber surface we would advise that floor protection, such as the DYNAMIK Giant Carpet Tiles are used in order to protect the timber from indentation and scratches as well as maintaining its warranty.
Life Cycle Costs
In terms of life cycle costs there is a significant additional cost in maintaining a sprung timber floor compared to a sprung synthetic floor.
We estimate that over a 25 year period for an engineered timber board this can be in the range of £75 to £100/m2 and for a solid timber board in the range of £125 to £150/m2.
The above covers both periodic re-lacquers and full sanding and sealing which is a requirement of all company warranty obligations. The above maintenance is not required with a sprung synthetic floor finish, such as solid sport linoleum, applied to the DYNAMIK Komfort Plus or DYNAMIK Flexi-Beam Plus sprung systems.
As noted above surface protection is not optional on a sprung timber floor during periods of non-sport usage. Protection is often insisted upon by timber manufacturers for their warranty to be valid.
Depending on the form of protection adopted be it DYNAMIK Giant Carpet Tiles or alternatives there is a capital cost of purchase (this typically varies between £10 and £15 /m2) and an on-going cost for staff to lay out these products and then uplift. In addition during the period of laying and up-lifting the product the hall is out of use plus there is a requirement for additional storage space when the floor protection is not in use.
Water Damage and Climatic Conditions
If there are any roof leaks or spillages on the floor a synthetic surface is highly resistant and non-absorbent, whereas a timber surface will absorb moisture and has gaps where water can ingress, therefore can be easily damaged which may require a full or part replacement of the floor.
We are increasingly replacing more timber sports floors due to roof leaks or ingress of moisture than we do sprung synthetic floors.
Climatic conditions are becoming more variable, both in terms of temperature but more importantly humidity. All timber surfaces expand and contract with changes in relative humidity, and we now find that this increased humidity has led many sports floors to move and expand.
DYNAMIK have taken the decision to only install sprung engineered timber systems which are far more stable than solid timber floors, nevertheless there will be a degree of movement.
By contrast our sprung systems finished with a synthetic playing surface have been far more stable and have not expanded and contracted to the same extent as those with a timber finish– this is because the surface is sealed and therefore has a higher degree of protection from climatic changes such as humidity and water ingress.
Increased stability of the sports floor means lower maintenance costs with a higher life expectancy plus consistent sports performance such as high indentation resistance and surface evenness.
DYNAMIK Komfort Plus and Flexi-Beam Plus Area Elastic Sprung Systems
The DYNAMIK Komfort Plus and DYNAMIK Flexi-Beam Plus systems are ideally suited to accommodate a solid (non-foam backed) synthetic surface finish. The choice of system will depend on individual site conditions. Principally the DYNAMIK Komfort Plus system is ideal for refurbishments where a level slab exists, whereas we would recommend our DYNAMIK Flexi-Beam Plus system on new build projects where a levelling screed can be omitted. The system can be packed and levelled directly off the structural slab and is also ideal where underfloor heating is to be incorporated within the floor void.
Both timber and synthetic sports floor finishes have a place in the market and we install both, but we would advise that people make an informed choice and we hope that this information sheet assists that process. DYNAMIK offer free site surveys and no obligation quotations.
All sprung systems are fully warranted for 25 years and have an average life expectancy in excess of 35 years.