Tape is a Four Letter Word
There are a lot of things that can damage a wood gym floor: water, heavy loads, auto scrubbers, etc.
But there is one type of damage that makes us cringe each time we hear it. One word: TAPE. Call and tell us that you put tape on your floor, and our shoulders immediately slump. You’ll hear an exasperated sigh escape our lips, as we ask, “How much tape did you put down?” and “For how long?”
Conversely, some people call us and try to cover up the true cause of the damage to their finish or who simply omit the fact that they use tape. However the customer tries to play it, tape is Enemy #1 to a finished wood floor. Gyms, stages, aerobics rooms… if it has finish on it, keep tape off of it AT ALL COSTS!
When we come across a customer who has used tape on their floor, it is usually because they thought that particular tape was safe. They typically get this impression from the tape manufacturer. However, when the manufacturer is asked directly if they guarantee that their tape won’t pull the finish off of a gym floor, their answer is a resounding… NO. When asked if they will pay for the repairs if their tape pulls the finish off of a gym floor, the answer is again NO.
Why? Because tape is never safe on a finished wood floor. The wood floor manufacturers don’t recommend it, the finish manufacturers don’t recommend it, your installer doesn’t recommend it, and the Maple Flooring Manufacturer’s Association doesn’t recommend it.
If tape pulls the finish from your floor, the only way to properly fix the problem is to sand the entire floor down to the bare wood, repaint the lines, and put new finish down. That can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000 on an average floor. You can mask the problem by doing a screen and recoat, but the peeled finish will still be visible to the naked eye.
So what can you do if you need temporary game lines on your gym floor? There is a temporary game line paint called Tempera paint. It is made by Crayola, and can be purchased at places like Walmart or school supply stores. I even found it on Amazon. Just paint the lines (or call us to do so), and leave it for as long as you need the lines. When you are ready to remove them, just damp mop the floor and it will come right off. The paint will last as long as you need. Some of our schools even leave the lines down for an entire volleyball season!
We recommend only using white paint, because the other colors have a chance of bleeding which can make removal a bit more difficult. Also, you’ll want to wait at least 30 days after the last coat of finish has been put down before painting any temporary lines. If you put the paint down too soon, it can also cause bleeding.
In the end, using tape isn’t the best option for temporary game lines on a wood gym floor, and it certainly isn’t the most economical option when the possible repair costs are factored in. Here at Sports Floors, tape is strictly prohibited. We like doing repair work, but we get no pleasure from doing repair work that is costly and could easily have been avoided.
Are you curious why tape and finished wood floors don’t mix.