Coaches, players, and fans may take it for granted, but the structure beneath a sports floor plays a major role in athletic performance and safety. This unseen actor is responsible for upholding the entire wood floor, which could affect both the fans cheering in the stands and the players making points on the court. It’s safe to say theres more to sports flooring than meets the eye with subfloors.

Sports Floors, Inc. offers three major subfloor structures: anchored resilient, floating, and portable. Choosing the one that is right for your gym depends on a number of factors, from the particular activities the floor will accommodate to logistical issues like movability. Learning how to choose a subfloor for your athletic facility requires research, but that’s why working with Sports Floors, Inc. is the key to your success. Keep reading to learn more!

Subfloors: Beneath the Surface

Installing a new sports floor involves more than just wood and paint. In fact, the foundation for your floor is one of the most critical components. That’s because a subfloor is a structural device that binds the maple floor to the concrete slab below, and its quality can affect athlete performance, comfort, and safety. 

Each subfloor is made of a series of carefully-selected materials that reflect the expected application of the athletic floor in general. These materials often include plywood, laminated veneer lumber, or dimensional lumber. 

How Does the Subfloor Structure Affect Your Gym?

Choosing the subfloor structure for your athletic center depends on a variety of different factors. Depending on the unique needs of your gym or studio, you’ll need to choose a subfloor that provides an ideal balance of shock absorption, resiliency, stability, and ball rebound. 

Shock Absorption

The ability of a sports floor to absorb the force of impacts applied to it – think running and jumping – affects almost every aspect of an athlete’s experience on the court. Higher levels of shock absorption can make participation more comfortable on an athlete’s body, preventing injuries and reducing fatigue. 


Your floor’s sub-system can mean the difference between a long-lasting court and a high-investment replacement in a shorter period of time. An effective subfloor can extend the life of your court and prevent the need for a new one for years to come. 


Because the subfloor is what anchors the visible flooring to the concrete slab below, the stability of your floor is at stake. Choosing a properly stabilized subfloor for your needs can protect athletes from injury by providing an even and steady playing field for their use. 

Subfloors: There's More to Sports Flooring Than Meets the Eye

Ball Rebound

Although not all maple floors are made exclusively for sports like basketball or volleyball, most are used for these purposes. Quality floors should have a standard 93% ball rebound rate, according to the Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association. 


For multi-use facilities, logistical issues like portability may be a factor in choosing a subfloor. The ability to transfer an entire basketball court requires interlocking pieces that can easily be assembled and reassembled whenever needed. Be sure to tell your sports floor expert if this is the case – you may require a portable wood floor. 

Questions to Ask Yourself

Before you decide on a subfloor, be sure to ask yourself questions like: 

  • What types of activities will be performed in this facility? 
  • How often will the floor be used? 
  • Do I need to be able to move the floor from the facility, or will it be a permanent structure?

The Different Types of Subfloors

At Sports Floors, Inc., we offer three types of subflooring to choose from: anchored resilient, floating, and portable. Each comes with its pros and cons, and you should speak with an expert to determine which one is right for your gym. 

Anchored Resilient Wood Floors

This type of subfloor system works exactly as its name suggests: it is physically anchored to the concrete slab beneath it. This floor type is extremely resilient to high traffic levels as well as humidity. Anchored resilient  wood floors are less prone to developing dead spots, and they prevent excessive vibration, both of which lend themselves to shock absorption and safety for players. 

Subfloors: There's More to Sports Flooring Than Meets the Eye

Floating Wood Floors

Floating subfloors are not physically anchored to the concrete floor beneath them. Instead, they simply rest on top of the concrete floor. Sports Floors, Inc. cushions the surface by adding foam material between the concrete floor and floating subfloor, dramatically adding to the shock absorption and making it a better choice for younger audiences. 

Portable Wood Floors 

As opposed to anchored resilient and floating subfloors, portable wood floors place a priority on transferability. These floors are made of pinned or pinless interlocking sections that a multi-use facility can quickly install and reinstall on demand. Although these floors have a shorter life than traditional subfloors offer, portable wood floors provide the element of movability, which is key to high-traffic arenas. 

Subfloors: There's More to Sports Flooring Than Meets the Eye

There’s More Beneath the Surface Than Meets the Eye

Although most people think about maple wood or paint design when they think of a high-performance sports floor, the subfloor is just as important when it comes to safety and quality. Whether you’re looking for a basketball court or a yoga studio, your unique needs should be considered and understood before installation, so if you’re looking to install a new gym floor, contact our team of experts today!