Three Factors to a Successful Gym Floor Refinishing Project
By Jason Scott
There's no mistaking whose house you're in upon entering the gym at Lakota West High School in West Chester, Ohio. "We put this 30-foot Firebird right at midcourt, and it's the first thing you see," says Scott Kaufman, athletic director and assistant principal at West, which recently refinished its gym floor. "There's a lot of pride that goes into that."
Most gym floors are sanded down every 10 to 15 years. During sanding, a wood flooring contractor will go over the court multiple times with a scale of grits — from coarse to a finer grit — to remove existing coatings and paint. Depending on the nature of the project, the floor is then buffed, stained, glazed and sealed.
As tempting as it may be to use sanding as an opportunity to jump on a trend, it's worth remembering that in most cases, a wood floor will outlive the facility in which it resides.
"If it's sanded properly, a floor will last 50 or 60 years before it needs to be replaced," says Price. "That wood floor — if they properly maintain it by recoating annually and sanding it down about every 12 years — should outlast the building."
As such, Prater advises caution before committing to a bold stain. "If you apply stain to the court, it'll actually stain the court," he explains, "And so when they go back and sand these courts back down to bare wood, it'll leave a discoloration in the wood."
If facility directors pay proper attention to important aspects of the project, refinishing a gym floor can be a chance to make a lasting impression.
Kaufman put his stamp on the recently refinished Lakota West floor by specifying stains in some areas of the court and paints in others. He says he's pleased with the look, though he acknowledges the risk involved. "It ended up just gorgeous," Kaufman says, adding, "The next time they have to sand it down, you never know how deeply the stain might get absorbed into the wood. But I'll say it's the next guy's problem."
This article appears in the May 2019 issue of Athletic Business under the headline, "What to consider before your next gym floor refinishing project."
Proper Cleaning and Maintenance for Hardwood Courts
A hardwood court is a big investment for any athletic facility. Like any big investment, organizations want to do whatever they can to take care of it. But when the people in charge of the court are unfamiliar with proper basic care, they tend to end up doing too much — or not enough. "With gym floors, there's so many misconceptions about what you're supposed to or not supposed to do because the floor is wood," says Bill Price Jr., national sport manger with Aurora, Colo.-based hardwood care specialist Bona.