There are many different types of sport flooring available, with special surfaces for sports such as football and hockey, and general surfaces for indoor courts, halls and functional fitness areas. This article identifies some of the different types of sport flooring available. Which is the best? That depends on your performance and budgetary requirements. 

What makes sport flooring different? 

Sport flooring is engineered to reduce the risk of injury, absorb impacts and survive decades of use. Whether they are specialised or multi-use, one thing all sport floors have in common is that they are designed to be played on. 

 Much thought goes into designing sport floors and considering player safety, performance requirements, use cases, durability and the budget. 

 Different materials 

 Polyurethane build-up 

 Sport flooring can be made from polyurethane, which is also widely used in commercial environments on top of a screeded floor. It is generally installed smoothly in sport settings on top of a shock-absorbent underlayer. The cushioned element underneath the polyurethane floor makes it different to commercial applications, which is crucial for sport performance properties as well as athletes’ safety and comfort. 

Polyurethane floors are perhaps the most versatile and durable of all indoor sport surfaces, with maximum slip resistance and outstanding wear resistance. These surfaces last a lifetime and provide optimal ball bounce and athlete safety for ball sports. 

EPDM rubber crumb 

EPDM rubber crumb flooring (polymetric surfaces) is used outdoors, and is often found in children’s playgrounds, multi-use games areas and athletic tracks’ surfaces. 

Caption: Artificial turf for hockey has a shorter and denser surface area. (FIH Approved)

This flooring offers sound technical performance, allows for excellent and consistent ball bounce, provides good grip and sliding capacity, and is a durable, long-term solution that has been built to withstand tough conditions. Water is quickly and efficiently drained from the surface. 

Rubber flooring 

Rubber flooring, whether it is in the form of interlocking tiles or rubber matting, is used to surface free weight and functional fitness areas. Rubber flooring should be used to protect a substrate (e.g., concrete) from heavy shock and to provide comfort for the individuals. 

 Plastic tiles 

This product is made of polypropylene and is an ideal solution for multi-purpose venues, both indoor and outdoor. It offers sound technical performance, allows for excellent and consistent ball bounce, provides good grip and sliding capacity, and is a durable, long-term solution that has been built to withstand tough conditions.

Artificial grass 

Artificial grass for soccer pitches is available in a range of thicknesses to meet International (FIFA) and local league requirements.

Soccer pitches: Soccer pitches are made from artificial grass, which is normally made from polyethylene (PE) fibres, and it has become very convincing in recent years, offering similar play to real grass. It’s available in a thickness range of 40mm to 60mm. Roll dimensions can be tailored to individual pitch requirements, to ensure the 3G system meets the needs of players and the respective league requirements. 

Hockey pitches: Most competitive outdoor hockey games and matches are played on artificial grass. This is the preferred system that is used for the top-end international matches as well as those at lower levels. The main difference between football and hockey pitches is that a hockey turf has a shorter and denser surface area, allowing for a fast-playing surface as well as better stick-to-ball interaction. 

Tennis 

 Tennis courts can be made from artificial grass, polyurethane or concrete/asphalt. The traditional surfaces are clay, grass and hard-court surfaces. The correct surface depends on where the court is, as well as the specific market need it is targeting. An indoor court could have a hard playing surface, or it can have a thin shock-pad underneath for player comfort. Generally outdoor courts are hard-court based, which are resilient to the elements. 

Padel, sometimes called padel tennis, is a hybrid between tennis and squash, and is widely referred to as the fastest growing sport in the world. These courts are made from a short-pile artificial grass surface with a silica-sand infill. 

Issue: Which sport flooring is the best?  

Solution: The choice of sport flooring depends on the sport, required performance and budgetary requirements. 

 

Full acknowledgement and thanks go to www.tvs-sportssurfaces.com and www.belgotex.co.za for the information in this editorial. 

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