Maple floors have been a constant feature in almost every gym since basketball was invented in the late 1800s. This standard wood sets the tone for the court, provides a laundry list of benefits compared to other woods, and creates an aesthetically pleasing appearance that never fails to get the crowd going. 

Using a maple floor to boost the appearance of your gym is a great idea, and the team at Sports Floors, Inc. is here to be your guide in this process. Check out these unique ways to use different grades of maple flooring before you install your next court. 

All About Maple Flooring

Maple flooring is the standard wood used in almost all sports floors, but have you ever wondered why that is? With so many different benefits, maple floors are our number one choice for effective flooring at Sports Floors, Inc., and here’s why:

1: Maple Floors Have a High Shock Resistance

When athletes are running up and down the court, their safety is paramount. One of the most important qualities of a safe and effective gym floor is that it bounces back, and maple floors do the best job of this. Their shock resistance allows players to compete in the game they love without risking harm or fatigue to their joints. This resistance is also the reason basketballs bounce when players dribble them – so without maple floors, the entire game experience would be entirely different. 

2: Maple Floors Are Resilient in the Face of Wear and Tear

A Sports Floors, Inc. maple wood court is designed to stand the test of time and will even last you up to 75 years if carefully maintained. That’s because maple wood resists wear and tear much better than other types of wood due to its shock resistance and hardness rating. When you’re using a court for sports like basketball, it’s extremely important to use a high-resiliency wood like maple to reduce damage over time. Other woods, such as pine, dent easily and could require major maintenance as a result, but maple’s density means it is your best friend on the court. 

3: Maple Floors Are Attractive 

With a light color that can be painted or stained for an aesthetic effect, maple floors are beautiful additions to your school or gym. This common wood type is perfect for creating unique and attractive finishes that will make your home games pop. 

Understanding Maple Floor Grades

When you’re looking to install a hardwood maple floor, aesthetics are one of the most important aspects to consider. After all, your home court sets the tone for every home game. Much of a sports floor’s design comes from the maple wood grading, and although the floor’s performance remains the same no matter which grade you choose, each grade has its own unique look. 

First-Grade Maple

According to the Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association, first-grade maple floors are defined by the strictest standards compared to second and third-grade floors. That’s because first-grade maple has very few dark spots or exposed grain patterns. These floors are typically the lightest and brightest and have far fewer wood marks or streaks than other floors. It’s typical to find first-grade hardwood floors in higher-level athletic courts like high schools, colleges, or professional leagues. 

Unique Ways to Use Different Grades of Maple Flooring

Second & Better Grade Maple

The MFMA allows second and better-grade maple floors to exhibit some tight knots or streaks as long as they don’t sit near the ends of each board. You’ll find more natural variations in second and better-grade maple floors than in first-grade, and these floors tend to be a little darker. These floors allow some of the natural wood to shine through without affecting the overall appearance of your floor. 

Unique Ways to Use Different Grades of Maple Flooring

Third-Grade Maple

This grade of sports flooring allows the most natural wood variations to show through on your court, leaving the floor darker and more natural than it would be with first or second and better-grade maple. These natural streaks and marks may add more character to your sports floor, and choosing this grade over another is purely a matter of aesthetic preferences. 

Unique Ways to Use Different Grades of Maple Flooring

Unique Ways to Use Different Grades of Maple Flooring

Considering the strength and durability of maple wood flooring, no matter the grade you select, there’s really no wrong way to set up your gym floor to look and perform at its best. Try these ideas to make your athletic court pop!

Mix & Match Grades

By mixing floor grades on one court, you can create a contrasting effect with both dark and light sections. Use this to mark off the court to draw your audience’s eye to different action areas! This will also help your players navigate the floor to get the perfect shot for a great game. 

Add Stain Designs

Another great way to take advantage of the contrasting effect of different wood grains is to use stains to shade different areas of the floor. You could change the color of key areas like 3-point arcs or even create logos and images on the floor instead of using paint. This is becoming a more popular trend as we expand our ability to provide these unique services. Because most gyms currently use paints for their logos, stained logos stand out from the crowd and make your floor pop with a modern touch. 

Add Color

Typically, when you think of adding color to your gym floor, you’re thinking about using paint. However, by staining the natural grain of the wood, it’s possible to add colors that create an aesthetically pleasing effect that not everyone will have. Whereas paint covers up the natural texture of the wood, stains can provide color while still enhancing the grain patterns on the maple floor.

Prepare to Be Floored

Working with our team of maple flooring professionals at Sports Floors, Inc. makes your next gym floor installation easy. From design to setup, we have all the tools and experience to create a home court fit for a winning season. If you’re ready to get started, contact us today for more information!