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 Systems deflect an impact over a wide surface area, providing the highest levels of shock absorption and comfort. This is the best solution for multi-sports, offering high levels of performance and indentation resistance, therefore making it more suitable for wheelchair sports and non-sporting activities.
British Wheelchair Basketball recommend Area Elastic Systems within their latest facilities document.
Combined Elastic Systems are Area Elastic systems finished with a Point Elastic foam backed surface. Combined Elastic Systems provide a slow rolling resistance and are therefore not ideal for wheelchair sports. They are not to be used for ESFA funded projects within sports or activity areas.
Point Elastic Foam-Backed Surfaces absorb shock at the point of impact. They are best suited to low levels of multi-sport performance.
Please Note – Foam Backed surfaces are not ideal for wheelchair sports and are not to be used for ESFA sports or activity areas, according to their latest outline specification.
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 Athen and DYNAMIK Flexi-Beam Plus systems can both be finished with a solid sport vinyl, solid sport linoleum, sport polyurethane or sport rubber playing surface.
The DYNAMIK ‘Flexi-Beam Plus’ sprung system can be packed and levelled to take out variations in the sub floor or slab, thus removing the need for a levelling screed. It is based on factory assembled flexi-beams which support a counter floor and load distribution panel which accommodate a range of solid playing surfaces. The structure of the system also allows underfloor heating and insulation to be incorporated between the beams. The range of solid synthetic playing surfaces include vinyl, linoleum, polyurethane (PU) and rubber.
The DYNAMIK Athen sprung system is designed to be installed onto a level SR1 screed (+/- 3mm over 2m straight edge) and has a low construction height of 28mm. It is constructed using a twin load distribution module installed on to a high density, comfort-based elastic layer over which an interlocking load distribution panel is installed to accommodate a range of solid synthetic playing surfaces. As every part of the system is equally supported by the elastic layer, consistent sports performance is guaranteed.
Point elastic surfaces are designed to be installed onto a level SR1 screed (+/- 3mm over 2m straight edge). They are typically a factory produced vinyl or synthetic playing surface which combines an integral foam backing similar to a foam backed carpet. This foam backing achieves low levels of shock absorption compared to a sprung system, 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 activities such as exams or social events.
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 recognized standard for indoor sports flooring. A3 and A4 represent area elastic floors and P1, P2 and P3 point elastic floors.
|Shock Absorption (%)||40 < 55||55 < 75||25 < 35||35 < 45||> 45|
|Vertical Deformation (mm)||1.8 < 3.5||2.3 < 5.0||< 2.0||< 3.0||< 3.5|
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 Athen and Flexi-Beam Plus systems can meet Class A3 or A4 performance criteria.
Principal Benefits of Sprung Area Elastic Systems Over Point Elastic Surfaces
Multi-sport – Multi-use – Sprung systems finished in a ‘solid’ playing surface, such as sport linoleum, can be used in both sport and non-sporting 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.
Surface Protection – It is essential if using our P3 foam-backed vinyl or timber surface that Giant Carpet Tile protection 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 (non foam-backed) synthetic playing surface.
High Loadings – Sprung area elastic systems can accept high loadings that arise when maintenance equipment or seating systems are used. The load distribution panels within the Athen system distribute and accept the high loadings perfectly.
Wheelchair Use – A3/A4 Sprung systems finished with a solid synthetic surface provide an ideal surface for wheelchair use having low rolling resistance and ideal maneuverability as well as high indentation resistance and durability. P3 soft 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 may cause muscular strains and fatigue issues if the small front wheels sink into the foam backing.
Floating Floor – The Athen system is a floating floor and hence bridges any movement joints within the floor screed.
Low Life Cycle Costs – The Athen system finished with a solid playing surface will have a life in excess of 35 years compared to foam-backed floors which have a much shorter life expectancy.
Income Generation – If you intend 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 sports floor.
The high quality Athen or Flexi-Beam Plus area elastic sports floor systems will give you a more cost effective alternative
compared to certain point elastic floors.
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
• Underfloor heating has to be laid within the slab
• Involves more wet construction processes
• Requires a heavy duty protection system to protect the
• Can be built off the structural slab
• Typically uses a visqueen DPM
• A floating floor therefore not stuck down
• Provides saving in construction time
• Underfloor heating can be installed between the beams
• Solid synthetic surface requires no additional protection
Once the above factors are considered a point elastic system will typically cost more than a superior area elastic sports floor
We would be pleased to provide a price comparison based on your specific requirements.
Feedback and Market Opinion
DYNAMIK regularly receive feedback from end-users, specifiers 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 school 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.
If you require a Multi-Sport, Multi-Use floor and have a level slab or screed; for longevity, durability and cost effectiveness the DYNAMIK Athen system finished in a solid synthetic playing surface would be our recommendation.
Alternatively, if you do not have a level slab or screed we would recommend our DYNAMIK Flexi-Beam Plus system.