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.

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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.

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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 – 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.

finishes

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 – Environment

When considering purchasing a hardwood athletic floor, it’s important to consider the environment the floor will be in. How much moisture will the floor encounter? Will your gym be temperature controlled or with the outside weather heavily affect the gym environment?

Depending on your geographic location and air temperature control, there could be substantial swings in humidity. The way your floor is installed depends on humidity levels, as hardwood athletic floors are installed to accommodate these humidity changes as the maple hardwood expands and contracts.

Building architects are expected to provide MFMA-approved conditions for wood floors by looking at existing conditions and the possibility of future moisture problems. This is so you don’t see your floors doing this:

Repair Rosemount-filtered

Gym Floor

When purchasing a hardwood athletic floor to match your facility needs, it’s important to keep the environment in mind. Many things can influence the selection of flooring, we’re here to help you think of all the little things.

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