A new gym floor is a big investment for any athletic facility, and it’s one you’ll want to protect by caring for it properly. Sadly, there are many misconceptions about basic care for wood floors in particular, so they may not receive the proper maintenance they need. Many people end up doing too much—or don’t do enough!
Wood floors are sensitive to cleaners, moisture, humidity, and weight. They require both daily and yearly maintenance to stay in shape, but where to begin if you’ve never cared for one before? Sports Floors, Inc. has decades of experience working with wood floors, and we know exactly what it takes to keep them looking good and functioning the way they should!
Keep reading below to learn more about caring for your wood floor safely and effectively over the years.
Daily care and maintenance
Dust and dirt will settle on your floor every night, and this can act a bit like sandpaper when people start walking on it in the morning. This doesn’t have anything to do with how often the floor is actually used, as the dirt and dust are in the air. That means dust mopping should be done at least once a day using a dry dust mop, even if your facility hasn’t been used. If your floor is heavily used, you can dust mop up to three times daily.
Dry mopping daily will help minimize loose grit and dirt, but if you’re dealing with debrish or residue, it may require a little more effort. You can spray an untreated dust mop with an approved floor cleaner that’s been diluted but it must be compatible with your gym floor finish. An unapproved cleaner can strip the finish off your floor, leaving it dull and slippery. The company you use for your yearly coat of finish can give you a recommendation on the appropriate floor cleaner.
Don’t rely on janitorial staff or a cleaning company to know the right kind of cleaners to use! Even a regular old mop and bucket can cause water damage. Call your flooring contractor, order the recommended cleaner, and pass it along to anyone in charge of cleaning your floor.
As for maintenance, stick to the following guidelines to keep your floor clean and cared for.
- For liquid spills, use a soft cloth to wipe it up.
- Remove chewing gum by placing crushed ice in a plastic bag over it until the gum becomes brittle enough to crumble off the floor surface.
- Black marks on the floor? Dampen a soft cloth with a small amount of pre-approved floor cleaner and gently wipe away.
- Don’t ever use a rough or textured cloth on your wood floor.
Sports Floor, Inc. is happy to recommend and provide floor cleaners to all of our clients. Get in touch if you’re not sure of the best cleaner for your wood floor!
Long-term care and maintenance
Most manufacturers recommend recoating wood floors on a yearly basis. This is sometimes called a screen and recoat, and essentially means giving the floor a new coat of finish, the shiny top coat that keeps it sticky and protects the paint from scuffs and chips. Doing this annually can help extend the life of your floor and may save your facility a considerable amount of money in the long run.
Your wood floor will need a complete refinished every 8-10 years. During this process, all finish, paint, and sealant is removed and the floor is sanded down to the bare wood. It will then be re-sealed, painted, and have two coats of finish applied. This is a great time to update the graphics and layout of your floor!
Tips for general care
The southeastern United States is no stranger to humidity, and unfortunately, it can have an obvious effect on wood flooring. As relative humidity varies, wood flooring will expand and contract. While these changes are mostly minute and therefore unnoticeable, drastic changes can sometimes occur. The recommended moisture content of your wood floor will depend on your geographical region, but in general, you’ll want to aim for a 15% fluctuation between the highest and lowest average indoor relative humidity to limit shrinkage and growth.
Separation between your flooring boards is fairly common during the low humidity of winter, and will usually correct itself during peak summer humidity. Although moderate shrinkage and expansion is normal, be sure to utilize your HVAC system to prevent any excessive tightening and shrinkage of the floor.
Take active measures to protect your floor from damage caused by water and grit. Use floor mats at all doorways, and be sure to check underneath them frequently to ensure there’s no trapped moisture. Prevent condensation moisture from reaching your floor by insulating ductwork, interior drains, and downspouts. Moisture is dangerous to a wood floor, so if you notice any leaks or excessive moisture, call your flooring contractor immediately.
- NEVER put tape of any kind on a finished wood floor, as it will take the finish with it when you pull the tape off.
- NEVER shut the ventilating system off for anything more than brief periods.
- NEVER use a household cleaning product on your wood floor.
- NEVER attempt to repair your floor without consulting your flooring contractor first.
- NEVER use an auto-scrubber on your wood floor, as it introduces moisture to the wood and this can cause it to buckle.
Protect your wood floor for years to come with Sports Floors, Inc.
To keep your wood floor looking great and performing exceptionally well over the years, it’s important to give it the appropriate care and attention. If you’re feeling unsure about how to care and maintain the flooring in your facility, our expert team would be happy to assist you! To ensure you have many more years of enjoyment from your wood floor, get in touch today.