Polyurethane Versus Vinyl Sports Flooring

Polyurethane vs vinyl sports flooring

Polyurethane (PU) and vinyl (PVC) floors are extremely popular in sports halls and leisure centres because they are durable and deliver excellent performance.

The biggest difference you need to know is that vinyl is a flooring system consisting of several vinyl layers. Polyurethane, on the other hand, is a coating applied on top of a rubber layer to offer a non-slip and highly durable finish.

Technical differences

Vinyl flooring is made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) which depending on the intended application has tailored compounds to harden or soften the material. This allows it to have a wide range of elastomeric properties.

Polyurethane flooring is made from polyurethane (PU), a synthetic polymer. It’s not an actual floor per se, but a coating, and in the case of sports flooring, it consists of a point elastic shock-absorbing rubber layer with a polyurethane layer.

Functional differences

The functional differences between polyurethane and vinyl sports floors (how the floors play and feel underfoot) are often imperceptible.

Differences can however be felt when the two floors have different elastomeric properties. In general, PU floors have very little point elastic performance, which is how the floor deforms in a very small area with impact (such as jumping). PU floors don’t deform much at all. Vinyl, on the other hand, can be tweaked to be softer.

Appearance differences

The difference in outward appearance between polyurethane and vinyl is minimal. PU has less sheen, but this is not always the case.

PU can have a topcoat in any colour. We like to offer colours on the RAL colour chart. They can also be marked up. Vinyl offers all the same qualities. It too can have a coloured topcoat as well as markings. Comparing the two materials there isn’t any real difference, except when you inspect the layer of the material.

Which is the right flooring for me?

Which is best for you depends on your budget and intended use. Both vinyl and PU are durable and relatively low-cost per square metre. Also, both materials can sometimes be installed without removing the old floor. Where a new substrate is needed, the board is usually the ideal material to create a level foundation.

The final playing surface will always be beautiful when we provide it. For multi-use sports areas, both PU and vinyl are excellent choices. Get in touch today for free advice and a quote on your project. We’re here to help.