Athletic Hardwood & Synthetic Flooring

Oglethorp Gym, basketball, flooring, hardwood, maple, athleticBasketball Hardwood vs. Synthetic Flooring – Is one better?

When considering what type of hardwood, maple flooring that will be used in a new or renovated gymnasium, the athletes, basketball and others, playing on the floor are of up-most importance, but so is the maintenance of the hardwood flooring.

When purchasing a sports floor, you should consider a floor that:

  • Follows PUR standards, set by the Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association (MFMA)
    • PUR standards focus on:
      • Shock absorption
      • Vertical deflection
      • Area of deflection
      • Ball bounce
      • Surface friction
  • Is safe, providing proper surface friction for the intended use, like basketball games and other athletic activities, for the life of the floor
  • Provides ample shock absorption, for those basketball free throws, to reduce the risk of injury
  • Couples a reasonable initial investment with added Life Cycle Cost Benefits
  • Has a track record for longevity and documented history of success in similar applications, like the many floors Horner Sports Flooring has installed
  • Is manufactured by a reputable company that stands behind their product, like Horner Sports Flooring
  • Is installed by factory-trained, accredited professionals, like one of Horner Sports Flooring’s many partners
  • Is easily maintained

Horner Sports Flooring is the oldest and longest-standing member of the MFMA, with roots dating back to 1891 – the same year basketball was invented.

We have a long history in hardwood flooring, but we also have a product line of synthetic systems. All of our systems are specialized for virtually every sports activity and engineered for the very best in athletic performance, structural integrity, trouble-free maintenance, and long-lasting appeal.

We encourage those looking into athletic, hardwood flooring to consider all the uses that their flooring will be experiencing – that is what makes the difference between hardwood and synthetic flooring.

Hardwood flooring has the aesthetics and performance that is associated with competing athletes. The sub-flooring for hardwood is designed specifically to have shock absorbency to prevent injuries in the athletes. The downside to purchasing hardwood flooring, though, is the cost and maintenance.

Michigan Tech Multipurpose, athletic, hardwood, synthetic, basketball, flooring, maple

So, although hardwood flooring is ideal for the athletes playing on it, multiple uses of the gymnasium may warrant for consideration of synthetic flooring. Frequent conversions between uses will have less wearing to synthetic flooring at it will to hardwood flooring. Also, a much considered benefit of synthetic flooring is the price.

Deciding what type of athletic flooring to use is an important endeavor and one should ask themselves some questions.

Consider these:

  • Sport-specific, multiple sports, or multi-purpose?
  • Top level competition or recreational activities?
  • Number of participants and spectators
  • Number of hours/day and days/year the facility will be used?
  • Special equipment use (bleachers, sound stages, lifts, portable backstops, etc.)?
  • Desired life expectancy of floor?
  • Budgetary considerations – initial cost versus total cost of ownership?

We hope you research and make the considerations you need to make the best choice for your gymnasium flooring. Horner Sports Flooring is happy to help with any of your questions or concerns. We look forward to hearing from you!

Synthetic Floor Maintenance

After purchasing a synthetic athletic floor, you want it to last and keep it looking like new for as long as possible. Luckily, there’s plenty of ways to do this! It’s highly recommended that at each entry to the floor, there be a floor mat. This will help catch a lot of the dirt and etcetera before people reach the synthetic floor. There are also daily and weekly/bi-monthly procedures, as well as special procedures for those scuff marks or for gum that got left behind.

Before you clean your floor, take stock of your supplies and equipment. For the following procedures, you’ll need:

  • A low rpm scrubber vacuum machine (either a walk behind or rider)scrubpads
  • A gym-style push broom
  • Scrub pads
    • Medium light to medium level scrub pad (similar to 3M blue) for regular maintenance
    • Aggressive pad (similar to3M green) for once a year maintenance
  • Cleaner (neutral ph detergent)
    • Hillyard Clean Scrub is recommended
  • Warm water
  • Optional – “Freeze It” brand freeze spray or regular ice cubes

The following items are optional for a CushionCourt system only:

  • “Soft Scrub” brand, No-bleach cleaner
  • “Mr. Clean Magic Eraser” brand scuff/stain remover

Daily Maintenance Procedure:

Dust mop the floor using the push broom or the scrubber vacuum. Don’t use a dust mop treatment.

Weekly or Bi-Monthly Procedure:

  1. Mix the cleaner with warm water and put in the scrubber tank
  2. Apply to the floor and scrub a section that can be covered in fifteen minutes
    1. Do not vacuum – let the dirt emulsify for the fifteen minutes
  3. Start at the beginning of the next section again without vacuuming
  4. Return to the previous section and scrub again WHILE vacuuming
  5. Repeat steps 3-4 until finished cleaning

Use the blue pad on a regular basis, but use the green pad once a year to remove any access build up.

As Required Procedure:

Scuff Marks/Deeper Stains: Use “Mr. Clean Magic Eraser” (for CushionCourt only) according to package instructions.

Gum: Freeze the gum with ice or “Freeze It” brand spray. Once the gum is frozen, gently scrape it off the floor. Repeat as necessary.

Once a year deep cleaning: Use no bleach “Soft Scrub” brand sparingly in front of the vacuum with the green scrubber pad and proceed as you would for the weekly cleaning.

For more questions, contact us at Horner Flooring by visiting our webpage:

Hardwood Athletic Floors – Water Damage

Anyone responsible for maintaining a hardwood athletic floor has heard of it or experienced it: water damage. Whether it’s from a leak in the roof, fire sprinklers that went off, rainwater or snow from an open exterior door, a burst pipe, or something worse, no one wants to see water damage. While water damage isn’t likely to happen to most floors, it does happen and it’s important to be prepared for it in order to minimize the damage.

There are three basic steps to follow.

  1. Control the source of the water (close the exterior door, seal off the burst pipe, shut off the fire sprinklers, etc.)
  2. Remove as much surface water as possible from the floor (use towels to mop up as much excess water as possible)
  3. Call a local hardwood flooring contractor to assess the floor and assist
Image from Athletic Business

Image from Athletic Business

Most of the time damage is done because no one noticed the problem soon enough or didn’t know what to do when they did notice the damage. Once the water reaches the sub-floor, the floor has a significantly smaller chance of being rescued. This is where finish comes into play. If a floor has several coats of finish on it, it has a higher chance of survival because the water can’t seep in as easily. The type of floor system also affects the amount of damage. For example, typical floating systems recover better than nailed-in systems because floating systems hold better to the sub-floor, where as once a nailed-in floor starts to come up, it loses it’s attachment to the sub-floor.

So you’ve got water damage and you’ve followed the three above steps. What happens now? The floor may be able to be dehumidified. If the floor is able to be dehumidified, it may simply need to be sanded down and refinished. If the floor isn’t able to be dehumidified, it may need to be replaced. The most important factor when dealing with a water damaged floor is time. It needs to be addressed ASAP and can take time to dry out and return to normal.

Purchasing a Hardwood Athletic Floor – Quality Assurance

When purchasing a hardwood athletic floor, you’ll want to make sure the performance and quality of the floor are what you expect. There are multiple sets of flooring standards and guidelines which can help you to determine if the system will meet your needs.

At Horner, we have several DIN floors known as our Performance Systems. DIN standards measure the following performance characteristics:

  • shock absorption
  • vertical deflection
  • deflective indentation
  • ball bounce
  • friction
  • rolling load

Horner Flooring also has a Long Life flooring option. As it’s name suggests, Long Life flooring will help to extend the life of the hardwood floor by providing a thicker hardwood surface. This will enable to floor to be sanded down and refinished more times than a regular 25/32″ floor. The life of the hardwood floor also contributes to its quality.


Horner’s Long Life flooring option

Also make sure you select a quality installer to install your new hardwood athletic floor. In order to assure quality, the floor must be properly installed. If you’re unsure about how to select an installer, see our previous blog post, Purchasing a Hardwood Athletic Floor – Installation, or ask your flooring provider for recommendations for your geographic area.

Looking for more information on what to consider when purchasing a new hardwood athletic floor? Download Horner Flooring’s FREE eBook, 10 Questions to Ask When Purchasing a Hardwood Athletic Floor!

Purchasing a Hardwood Athletic Floor – Installation

When considering purchasing a hardwood athletic floor, it’s important to consider who will install the new floor. You want someone who is trustworthy and reliable and is experienced with the flooring system.

The Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association (MFMA) has a list of accredited installers on their webpage. Each of these installers and flooring manufacturers are evaluated every two years. These evaluation tests ensure that the installation recommendations are being followed.

Do you want to find a Horner Dealer? We have made it extremely easy, simply type in your zip code on our website and we will give you a list of Horner Dealers near you.

Maintenance Tip: When your floor is installed, make sure to ask the manufacturer or installer the best ways to maintain your floor or for a cleaning demonstration. Many will do this free of charge.

Looking for more information on what to consider when purchasing a new hardwood athletic floor? Download Horner Flooring’s FREE eBook, 10 Questions to Ask When Purchasing a Hardwood Athletic Floor!

Purchasing a Hardwood Athletic Floor – Maintenance

When considering purchasing a hardwood athletic floor, the amount of maintenance needed for the floor will be a large factor to consider. In order to keep a new hardwood athletic floor in top shape, it must be maintained. This will help protect the investment in the floor. When your floor is installed, make sure to ask the manufacturer or installer the best ways to maintain your floor or for a cleaning demonstration. Many will do this free of charge.

First, it’s highly recommended to place mats or rugs by the entrances to the gym where the athletic floor is housed. This will help catch a lot of the dust, dirt, and other unwanted particles when students, faculty, or community members enter. It may seem like a small step, but it’s an important one.

Daily dust moping is also highly recommended, as doing so won’t allow dust to settle onto the floor. Regular cleanings with an approved solution are also recommended, though it may be best to simply use water depending on your floor system, finish, and environment.


On a yearly basis, the floor should be screened and re-coated if necessary. Additionally, approximately every seven to ten years (depending on the usage of the floor) the floor should be sanded down, resealed, repainted, and refinished. This will help to further protect your investment in the floor and prolong the life of your floor.

While there are things you should do to maintain your new hardwood athletic floor, there are some things you shouldn’t do as well. You shouldn’t use excessive water to clean your floor, and beware of mops or rags that leave behind too much water. The excess water (though it may not seem like much) can seep through the finish in any cracks and settle into the sub-floor, which will increase the moisture level of the overall system, potentially causing water damage. Also make sure not to use any brooms or scrubbers which will scratch or damage the existing finish.

When considering purchasing a hardwood athletic floor, maintenance is something that should be deeply considered. For more information, download Horner’s FREE eBook, Maintaining Your Horner Athletic Hardwood Floor.

Looking for more information on what to consider when purchasing a new hardwood athletic floor? Download Horner Flooring’s FREE eBook, 10 Questions to Ask When Purchasing a Hardwood Athletic Floor!

Purchasing a Hardwood Athletic Floor – Game Lines & Graphics

When purchasing a hardwood athletic floor it’s important to find one that will look good in the end. So when do you start considering game lines and graphics?

Right away. Game lines and graphics are an essential part of choosing and making a new hardwood athletic floor. First, the game lines will determine the future uses of the floor. Second, considering the game lines and graphics together on the floor can help you visualize your investment and make sure you get the most out of it.


The center court logo for a floor at Rancho Solano Preparatory School.


The center court logo for a Boys & Girls Club floor.








Keep in mind that for basketball, there are different game markings for NBA, college, and high school levels. Some other sports, such as volleyball, are the same way. Make sure you get the correct game lines. Here are the official MFMA guidelines on game markings!

The best time to apply the game lines is during the installation of the floor. It’s important to apply the game lines properly, rather than taping the floor. Taping a floor can pose injury to athletes if it creates a slippery area. It can also cause damage to the floor finish upon removal.

For more information on the process of game lines and graphics, check out our FREE eBook, Applying Center Court Logos and Floor Lines.

Purchasing a Hardwood Athletic Floor – Finish

When considering purchasing a hardwood athletic floor, the finish must also be considered. The choice of finish depends on personal preference. There are two types of finishes: oil and water.


The left is an oil-based finish; the right is a water-based finish.

Oil-based finishes:

  • the color of the hardwood floor will amber as the floor ages
  • oil-based finishes tend to be the most cost-effective option
  • when re-coating the floor, one coat of an oil-based finish will be enough
  • it’s easy to switch to a water-based finish on a re-coat
  • oil-based finishes tend to have a strong scent

Water-based finishes:

  • the hardwood floor will maintain a clear shade, revealing the natural wood
  • water-based finishes are typically more expensive
  • when re-coating, most floors require two coats
  • water-based finishes are little to no odor
  • water-based finish creates a more durable surface
  • it’s not recommended to switch to an oil-based finish when re-coating

View the Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association (MFMA)’s list of approved sealers and finishes. This list will help to make sure you get a sealer and finish that has been approved by the MFMA.

Also when considering purchasing a hardwood athletic floor, make sure you know the regulations in your county (or state) for BOC content, as the allowed content varies by area. The oil-based finishes have a higher BOC content than water-based finishes.

Looking for more information? Download Horner Flooring’s FREE eBook – 10 Questions to Ask When Purchasing a Hardwood Athletic Floor!

Purchasing a Hardwood Athletic Floor – Maple Grade

When considering purchasing a hardwood athletic floor, you must also consider the flooring grade. The grade of maple is purely aesthetic, and has no effect on play-ability. All manufacturers will confirm the quality of flooring will be the same whether you select First, Second & Better, or Third Grade maple.

What are the differences between the grades of maple flooring?

1. First Grade maple is the lightest in color with a clean, consistent look
2. Second & Better Grade maple is a bit darker with a few more imperfections (such as knots or mineral stains)
3. Third Grade is the darkest color of maple and has the most imperfections

UntitledWhen considering purchasing a hardwood athletic floor, the grade of maple is very important. The most common choice is Second & Better Grade maple, and it is used in about 70% of hardwood gym floors.

Looking for more information? Download Horner Flooring’s FREE eBook – 10 Questions to Ask When Purchasing a Hardwood Athletic Floor!

Purchasing a Hardwood Athletic Floor – Sustainability

When considering purchasing a hardwood athletic floor, sustainability should be a question to ask yourself or your company. First, consider which LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) requirements you need fulfilled. Then, look at the LEED credits of the company to manufacture your new floor.

For example, Horner Flooring has several LEED credits. To give an example of what LEED credits look like:

  • EQ Credit 4.4 – Low-Emitting Materials – Composite Wood
    • (Horner’s manufactured-assembled subfloors are made with urea-formaldehyde-free plywood)
  • MR Credit 4.2 – MR Credit 4.3 Recycled Content
    • (Horner ECO PAD Options are made of 90.5% post-consumer recycled rubber)

Subfloors in particular can be made in part with post-consumer recycled materials, combined with sustainable harvested wood. Check out the following table to see where the sustainable wood is typically used:


If you or your company decides post-consumer recycled materials are necessary for your new floor, make sure the gym floor contractor is aware. Many times you can get a quality sustainable product and make eco-friendly choices even without a LEED certified floor, so check out all your options when considering purchasing a hardwood athletic floor.

Also when considering green choices, consider a water based finish for your hardwood athletic floor instead of an oil-based finish. This will help reduce the BOC content. Some state and local laws actually limit BOC amounts, so make sure to check your laws before deciding on a finish.

Building green with a sustainable design is great for the environment, so when considering purchasing a hardwood athletic floor, consider all your options and decide what’s best for your company.

Looking for more information? Download Horner Flooring’s FREE eBook – 10 Questions to Ask When Purchasing a Hardwood Athletic Floor!