The Complete Buying Guide to Sports Flooring 

When it comes to sports flooring, you have a vast range of options to choose from. Whether it’s multipurpose flooring to sport-specific surfaces, you need to think about your sports flooring carefully. That way, you can invest in a high-quality sports flooring solution that enhances performance, supports users, and looks fantastic in your facility. 

In this guide: 

  • An Introduction to Sports Flooring 
  • How to Choose the Best Sports Flooring 
  • 4 Benefits of Sports Flooring 
  • Different Surface Types for Sports Flooring 
  • 7 Best Sports Flooring 
  • Picking the Right Sports Flooring 

An Introduction to Sports Flooring 

 

The type of sport and purpose of your facility dictates the best flooring solution for your needs. While a foam tile may be well suited to yoga, badminton players have very different requirements. Because of this, to choose the best sports flooring, you need to know what type of sport you will be playing and how you intend on using the space. You can then navigate through materials, qualities, and products to find the right solution. Let’s get started. 

How to Choose the Best Sports Flooring 

To pick the right flooring solution, you should start with the type of sport you intend on playing. 

Badminton 

Badminton players require a great deal of shock absorption from a playing surface. During a game, you are running, jumping, and flying around the court. Without shock absorbing qualities, the movement would be far tougher on joints and muscles. Considering you get players of all ages, good sports flooring can create a higher comfort level and make the game easier on the body. In addition to good shock absorption, traction and non-slip properties are a must. 

Tennis 

In tennis, you need a decent return of energy for the ball to bounce and allow the players to feel lighter on their feet. Indoor tennis court flooring should support player movement while minimising the risk of slips and falls. Shock-absorbing qualities are essential for more comfortable and safe play. 

Basketball 

During a game of basketball, players jump to great heights. A suitable basketball flooring offers high impact protection and shock absorption for large movements. It should also have a good return on energy and high bounce for gameplay. Basketball courts are typically quite bright, so you can use the flooring to add vibrancy to a facility. 

Volleyball 

Like basketball, you can expect large movement and high jumps during a volleyball game. Players tend to dive, dodge and jump to score points. Volleyball flooring should offer enough traction to support players without controlling the movement. It needs to absorb shock considering the great heights players will often jump to hit the ball. 

Multipurpose Sports Hall 

You will need to factor in the different types of sport and activities you intend to play for a multipurpose sports hall. A standard sports hall may be used for yoga, fitness classes, basketball, badminton, and table tennis. You need to factor in that some of these sports need shock-absorption and high impact protection. Therefore, you would start with flooring that has these qualities for optimum safety across all activities. 

4 Benefits of Sports Flooring 

There’s a reason you need to invest in high-quality sports flooring. When you add exercise and movement into the mix, it’s far too easy to slip and fall. By choosing a suitable flooring for your sport and purpose, you can maximise the benefits. 

Improve Performance


 

Sports flooring can improve and enhance performance. Players should focus entirely on the game without having to worry about foot placement or slipping over. Sports like badminton and basketball require quick and swift movements. By using the correct flooring, it can enhance performance so that players can give the game their full attention. 

Reduce the Risk of Injury

A major benefit of the right flooring solution is reducing the risk of slips, falls, and injuries. Whenever you involve movement and exercise into the mix, the likelihood of an injury does increase. By doing everything possible to reduce that risk, you can support a player’s safety so they can focus on the game. Non-slip properties and plenty of traction are a must when it comes to sports flooring.  

Shock Absorbing

During a badminton or volleyball game, players are jumping great heights and landing repeatedly on the floor. Without proper shock-absorbing flooring, all the impact goes straight into the joints, muscles, and tendons. Over time, this could increase the likelihood of injury and decrease the comfort of gameplay. This is true for both young and older players. 

Resistant and Durability

Finally, sports flooring is resistant and durable. It can handle high traffic areas and repeated use. By investing in high-quality sports flooring the first time around, you can choose a solution that is resistant to scratches and marks. Good flooring is durable and supports players even with repeated use. 

Different Surface Types for Sports Flooring 

As you start researching sports flooring, you will find a few different surface types to choose from. The best flooring material needs to match your needs. So, it’s a good idea to decide how you want to use your facility so that you can select the right material. In general, you will find that each material comes in a variety of options. Therefore, this is a crucial step in narrowing down your most suitable sports flooring choices. 

Wood

Sprung wood flooring has a hardwood finish combined with a HDF layer and shock-absorbing underlay. It is a Area Elastic sprung solution which means it deflects an impact over a wide surface area, providing the highest levels of shock absorption and comfort. Wood not only looks great, but it is perfect for high-performance sports, fitness, and dance. You can get wood finish flooring in different tones, finishes, and styles to suit your gym layout.  

Vinyl 

Vinyl offers excellent shock absorbing properties and superior protection against sports and exercise. It is a Point Elastic sports solution which is defined as soft surfaces that absorb shock at the point of impact  Used widely in sports halls and leisure centres, vinyl sports flooring comes in a range of thicknesses and colours to suit different activities. 

Foam 

Another sports flooring material is foam. This usually comes in either an interlocking or jigsaw puzzle foam tile. Foam tiles are great for gyms, yoga, and floor-based fitness but are not ideal for more high-performance sports like basketball and tennis. 

Rubber 

Rubber tiles and fitness rolls are often a great choice for multipurpose facilities especially for areas using free weights or heavy equipment. In multipurpose facilities you need a surface serve various purposes. You might teach personal training sessions in the morning, run a HIIT class in the afternoon, and yoga in the evening. You need versatility and this is where rubber flooring can be helpful. It’s easy to install and offers wide functionality.

7 Best Sports Flooring Options 

Here are seven flooring options for you to consider to find the best choice for your facility. 

Sprung Wood Sports Flooring 

Pros:

Sprung SmartFit Wood Flooring uses a clever 5G click system, engineered surface, HDF layer, and shock-absorbing underlay to save time and money on the installation process. This easy-to-install flooring looks fantastic and is ideal for multipurpose sports halls, dance studios and facilities.  It is classed as an A3 Area Elastic Sprung sports floor in UK and European standards.

Cons:

If you need something more heavy-duty, you may want to look at Sprung Air Elite Sports Wood Flooring which is an A4 Area Elastic Sprung floor. It’s a little more expensive but offers unbeatable resistance and durability. 

Verdict:

Sprung wood flooring with a hardwood finish looks fantastic and has several uses. If you’re looking to upgrade the flooring in a leisure centre, sports hall, or community building, this is a great choice.  It can be recoated with lacquer every few years to preserve the wear layer and sanded down several times meaning it will last many years.  Sprung wood solutions come in categories ranging from A1 to A4 depending on thickness of the floor and level of shock absorbency properties.

Suitable for:  

  • Sports
  • Fitness
  • Dance
  • Basketball
  • Education 
  • Sports halls 

Sprung Vinyl Sports Flooring

Pros:

Sprung vinyl sports flooring comes in a range of thicknesses from 5mm to 10mm. You can use vinyl flooring for specific sports, like table tennis and badminton and is also a great option for dance. It’s ideal for sports like fencing and martial arts. You can find a range of colours and thicknesses to suit your needs and is simple to maintain.

Cons:

Vinyl tends to be more colourful than other neutral options like wood. If you’re looking for something not as vibrant, a hardwood finish may be a better option. Vinyl isn’t ideal for gym equipment and lifting weights as it does not support the impact enough.  Repairing vinyl can be costly as opposed to other floor repair services.

Verdict:

Vinyl has excellent shock absorption and player protection for competition sports. It is perfect for sports halls and multipurpose facilities as well as sport-specific flooring options and has various grades depending on the thickness for eg P1, P2 and P3. The Sprung Sports Vinyl 10mm is our most complex vinyl flooring system and offers outstanding performance as a P3 category. It provides superior protection against cartilage and ligament damage. If you plan on playing very high impact sports, this should be at the top of your list.  

Suitable for: 

  • Table tennis 
  • Badminton 
  • Recreation
  • Sports hall
  • Dance, yoga and fitness 
  • Volleyball 
  • Futsal 
  • Netball
  • Tennis 
  • Fencing 
  • Martial Arts 

Eva Foam Tiles

Pros:

EVA Foam Tiles come in both 20mm and 40mm. The foam tiles are light, portable, and easy to install. They are specifically designed for yoga, MMA, and gymnastics therefore provide high cushioning and protection qualities.

Cons:

Foam tiles are not suitable for high impact sports because they do not have the surface durability to withstand ball sports or specific activities. They are more suited to yoga, gymnastics, and in a home gym setting for lighter fitness.

Verdict:

These tiles are super resilient and non-slip. If you’re looking for an all-rounder with a big focus on floor work eg martial arts, yoga and gymnastics, foam tiles are an excellent choice. A bonus of these tiles is that they are dual colour to mix up your design. 

Suitable for: 

  • Yoga 
  • Gymnastics 
  • MMA 
  • Children’s play 
  • Multipurpose 

Rubber Gym Tiles

Pros:

Rubber is a durable and resilient material built to last. Rubber gym tiles are ideal for multipurpose facilities particularly gyms with equipment and free weights. You have the option to go for something like this puzzle interlocking tile for lower impact fitness or a more heavy-duty tile for higher impact.  

Cons:

These are designed for the gym and fitness rather than specific sports although they can be used for studios dedicated to MMA and Yoga.

Verdict:

Rubber tiles are easy to install, do not require adhesive and are available in innovative interlocking options. Always match your needs to the rubber’s thickness to get a tile that can cope with what you need and protect the user. 

Suitable for: 

  • Gym 
  • Fitness
  • Yoga
  • Multipurpose 
  • MMA (40mm and above)

Boen Wood Sports Flooring 

Pros:

Boen is a well known, widely used sprung sports solution designed for sports halls, dance halls, and gymnasiums. It’s a multipurpose sports floor that will support various activities. It offers both rigid construction and comfort for the user. If you’re looking to upgrade your set-up with a premium hardwood finish, this range offers a highly durable, high performance system.

Cons:

More expensive than some of the other options but offers excellent protection, adds value to a facility and will last many years.

Verdict:

For complete comfort and flexibility, BOEN Actiflex Stadium is a fantastic choice for school sports halls, community facilities and sports centres. However, if you are working with an uneven subfloor and different building heights, you want BOEN Arenaflex Stadium Olympia which offers a levelling system.

Suitable for: 

  • Sports halls 
  • Education facilities
  • Recreation halls 
  • Gymnasiums 
  • Dance Studios

Outdoor Modular Tiles

Pros:

If you’re looking for a dedicated court surface for eg Basketball intended for outdoor use, then 3x3 Basketball Evolution Modular Sports Floor is ideal. It can handle rain and humidity with great drainage. The unique web design creates a solid and safe foundation for sports. The tiles absorb any unevenness or irregularities on the ground.  

Cons:

Not suitable for heavy equipment or weights.

Verdict:

Good shock absorption with an air cushioning effect for comfort. This flooring solution works for a ton of different outdoor sports. It’s perfect for leisure centres, gyms, educational bodies, and communities looking to create an outdoor setting for sports. 

Suitable for: 

  • Basketball 
  • Football 
  • Volleyball
  • Futsal
  • Badminton
  • Hockey
  • Roller Sports
  • Athletics
  • Handball
  • Rugby
  • Table Tennis
  • Gymnastics

Indoor Modular Tiles 

Pros:

Like the outdoor modular tiles, the indoor Evolution Modular Tiles are suitable for high impact, speed, and agility sports. The main difference is that these tiles are designed to be indoors therefore don’t have the same drainage qualities. The tile system delivers maximum shock absorption with a built-in airbox effect. Great comfort levels, easy to assemble, and works for a lot of different sports. 

Cons:

Slightly more expensive for a multipurpose sports hall but a must for any facility serious about sport. 

Verdict:

The Evolution tile system provides both lateral and vertical shock absorption. It’s certified by several National and International Sports Federations. If you’re looking for durable and high-level sports flooring, this is a good choice that can give your team an advantage. 

Suitable for: 

  • Basketball 
  • Football 
  • Volleyball
  • Futsal
  • Badminton
  • Hockey
  • Roller Sports
  • Athletics
  • Handball
  • Rugby
  • Table Tennis
  • Gymnastics

Picking the Right Sports Flooring 

Finding the right sports flooring for your facility is key to creating a safe foundation for sports. As players jump, hit, and run, the flooring should support each movement. By narrowing down your choice and finding something suitable for your specific needs, you can find the best option for you. You don’t need to compromise on appearance or quality. The best sports flooring solutions not only look fantastic but offer optimum performance and safety for your players. After picking a suitable material, you can begin to look at the different products available and make the best decision.

April 28, 2021 — Richard McKay