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How To Protect Your Gym Floor From Winter Damage

How to Protect Your Gym Floor from Winter Damage

Winter and its harsh elements are fast approaching. As the chilly season descends upon us with its ice, snow and extreme temperatures, hardwood maple gym floors tend to react unfavorably. Invest in protecting the gym floor in the upcoming frigid winter months and you can help lengthen the court’s lifespan.

Why are gym floors vulnerable in winter?

When Old Man Winter makes his first appearance at the end of the year, the gym floors begin to endure major foot traffic. High school and college basketball seasons start in the cooler months. Plus, dances, rallies and events are scheduled during winter on these shiny hardwood gym floors.

With increased foot traffic in the brutal winter months, the gymnasium flooring takes a merciless beating. Athletes track snow, sidewalk salt and slush into the gym. Unless handled promptly, the moisture from the melting snow results in significant damage to a hardwood court.

What are solutions to increased foot traffic in winter?

University of Illinois gym flooringEnforce policies among those using the gym in winter. Rules may include wiping feet on a scraper mat prior to stepping inside to loosen salt and debris from the soles of shoes. Place a sign that prohibits street shoes but allows clean footwear on the gymnasium surface.

Rubber scraper mats are durable and affordable. Placing these mats at the entrance gives players the chance to change into clean athletic footwear prior to treading on the gym floor. Additionally, absorbent rugs whisk away moisture, preventing snowmelt from destroying the integrity of hardwood floors.

Rug maintenance is critical in order to be effective. When debris piles up onto an uncleaned rug, athletes easily track the mess into the gym. Schedule regular vacuuming and cleaning of the rugs and mats. Utilize cleaning chemicals that are recommended by the gym floor manufacturer.

In addition to rugs and mats, use heavy duty gym flooring covers for extra protection on the courts when athletic practice or games are not scheduled. These floor covers are especially useful during events, when attendees are expected to track in winter’s elements, like snow, road salt and slush.

What are best practices when precipitation leaks inside?

University of Central Missouri gym flooringDespite rugs, mats and signs, moisture may still find its way into the gymnasium. If the precipitation is due to water droplets from foot traffic, immediate cleanup with recommended cleaners is advised. Mopping with a cleaner several times a day during winter months is often necessary.

Additionally, evaporate water droplets with an industrial fan or heater. Place the fan or heater in areas with heavy foot traffic, such as at the gym’s entryway or near the bleachers, to whisk away the excess moisture almost as soon as it hits the hardwood floors.

Athletes’ shoes are hardly the only source of excess moisture. Gymnasium roofs can spring a leak during blizzard conditions, leading to devastating water damage to the hardwood floors underneath. In such instances, portions of the flooring may have to be replaced, sanded and refinished.

Inspecting the gymnasium roof is a prudent and necessary step to protect the gym floors. Prepare for the anticipated harshness of heavy snow and ice by looking for signs of leaks well in advance of the winter months. Upon discovering weaknesses in the roof, repair them promptly.

Additional structural issues include burst water pipes, a common incident in winter. Moisture leaks from the ruptured pipes can seriously damage the gym floors. Insulate the water pipes and maintain a warm facility temperature to keep the pipes from freezing.

Also recommended is the proper insulation of the facility’s ductwork and any drains located inside the gym. Adding the right type of insulation to these areas prevents condensation from accumulating, dripping onto the hardwood gymnasium floor and causing costly damage.

When the exterior doors that are attached to the gym lack a watertight seal, the outdoor elements can seep inside. The gym floor undergoes significant damage when exposed to frigid air and the constant trickle of water. Keep moisture and cold air at bay by weatherproofing the facility doors.

How is dry winter air best handled?

Hardwood gym floors normally undergo minor cracks or separate slightly in winter. Gaps along the floors are a common occurrence. The low humidity in the cold season causes the moisture content in wood to decrease. When moisture is diminished, the wood shrinks.

Sustain optimal humidity levels inside the gym. Set the humidity level between 35 and 50 percent. The indoor air temperature also makes a substantial difference when caring for gym floors. Indoor temps should fall between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit in winter as well as year-round.

What is an optimum cleaning schedule?

Regular cleanings are essential to preserving the life of a gymnasium floor. In winter, however, these efforts should be tripled. An effective winter cleaning routine includes dust mopping three times daily, spot cleaning and buffing. Cleaners must be compatible with the floor’s finish.

Contact Kiefer USA 

Missouri Valley College Gym flooringDespite Old Man Winter’s annual furies, a hardwood gymnasium floor can endure for over 35 years. When your college, high school or elementary school is looking for the gold standard in sports flooring, consider Kiefer USA. We offer a range of premium hardwood basketball courts that are built to last.

Kiefer USA meets the flooring demands for a multitude of other sports, like volleyball, track and tennis. Our rubber floor products allow facilities to host a wide range of athletic competitions and events. With a national reputation for excellence, Kiefer USA is positioned to deliver the best in gym flooring.

We take our customers from the design phase through the installation. Kiefer USA’s premium hardwood floors keep coaches, players and event attendees 100 percent satisfied. Our floors are the number one choice for the University of Notre Dame and Purdue University, among many more.

Trust Kiefer USA, the most notable provider of gym floors, when you are in the market for an upgrade. A friendly Kiefer USA representative is ready to take your call and answer any questions you may have about our efficient processes, premium products or unbeatable service.


Amber Stromberg

Kiefer USA is a leading athletic surface design and sports flooring installation company. Amber Stromberg is a Director of Marketing. 10 Years with Kiefer.
Favorite Hobby: working out and spending time with her kids and family.

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