For schools, we normally recommend a polyurethane or vinyl floor because these floors are cost-effective and low maintenance.
The two most important considerations with sports flooring for schools are safety and functionality. The floor has to be non-slip and forgiving, while also providing a sound surface for a wide range of different sports.
Vinyl floors and polyurethane floors both meet these criteria. They are safe, good to play on and forgiving underfoot. They can also be used for assemblies, exams, exhibitions and other school events like parents’ evenings.
Polyurethane (PU) is suitable for mixed sports including basketball, netball, indoor hockey and 5-a-side. The surface has excellent ball bounce and is forgiving underfoot, helping reduce the risk of injury and provide a comfortable playing surface. Most schools choose PU for their sports hall because it’s a multi-sports surface.
Vinyl performs very similarly to polyurethane and somewhat confusingly it can also have a clear polyurethane top layer. The vinyl we provide is pre-laminated. It’s ideal for sports halls and it can have all points and mixed elastic characteristics. The choice between polyurethane and vinyl normally comes down to cost at the time.
Another option for a sports hall is hardwood timber flooring. This is normally made from Maple. It is much more expensive than polyurethane and vinyl, but it has a classical look that may be worth the extra depending on what you want to achieve. We’re an official UK partner of Robbins Sports Surfaces, who supply the NBA.
Hard surfaces and especially timber should be combined with interlocking rubber floor tiles in areas where functional fitness and weight training will be performed. Floor tiles can be placed strategically in a sports hall to provide greater protection to students. Since they are flat, they can be stacked and stored easily too.
When choosing the right sports flooring for a school, it’s important to consider the requirements for each sport that will be played. You should also consider the cost of the surface and how long it will last. Sports hall floors should last well over a decade, and some surfaces are easier to repair than others.
Polyurethane vs vinyl for schools
Polyurethane is a superior material to vinyl for sports halls. It is longer lasting, more substantial and boasts better playability. We recommend polyurethane for sports halls because it is designed for sports. Vinyl is more of a multi-use surface – it’s cheap and easy to buy. Polyurethane is a more specialised surface.
Polyurethane vs hardwood for schools
Polyurethane lacks the classical appearance of hardwood, but it is designed to last longer with no maintenance. Hardwood has lacquer that wears down over time. You will need to buff it regularly. Polyurethane requires no upkeep other than cleaning. It is also cushioned so it reduces player fatigue and risk of injury.
What is the lifespan of school sports flooring?
Sports flooring should last at least 10 years. Some of the flooring systems we install are rated to last 15 to 20 years. The lifespan of sports flooring depends on the types of sport that will be played and at what intensity. No sports floor is impervious to wear but surfaces like polyurethane are extremely wear resistant.
An important consideration for schools is the ability of a sports floor to support general foot traffic, exams, parents evenings and other events. Most sports halls are mixed use areas so it makes sense to choose a floor that can do it all.
Polyurethane is the ultimate do it all sports flooring for schools. It’s great for sports and all other activities including those involving desks and chairs.
Sports flooring installation considerations
A polyurethane or vinyl sports flooring system can sometimes be installed over an existing hardwood floor so long as the hardwood floor is sound.
If the existing floor isn’t sound, it will need ripping up and a new base creating for the new surface. We have significant experience replacing old flooring systems. Most old sports hall floors are built directly on concrete or floorboard.
We offer a complete design and installation service, including the removal of your old floor if necessary and recycling. We will size and specify the right flooring systems for your sports hall and recommend a few options to suit your budget.
All the sports floors we install are multi-use surfaces, making them ideal for sports, assemblies and extracurricular activities. Get in touch for a chat about your needs and we’ll take it from there. Call +44 (0)1706 260 220.