basketball court subfloor designs

Basketball Court Subfloor Designs: Details and Considerations

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Subflooring systems are the heart of every hardwood floor.  Choosing the right subfloor system guarantees consistent performance of your entire hardwood floor. Ideal subfloor designs also have a significant impact on player performance, comfort, and most importantly — safety.  There are quite a few things to consider when picking a subfloor design.  In this article, we’ll share the most important. Continue reading to learn more about the types of basketball court subfloor designs and the most common subfloor materials.

Common Type of Sports Subfloor Materials

Most gym operators and athletes are unaware of the subfloor’s importance.  But it’s one of the most significant parts of a quality hardwood gym floor.  Before we take a more detailed look at the type of basketball court subfloor designs, we should consider the types of subfloor materials for an indoor gymnasium or basketball court.  Here are the two most popular:

  • Rubber Pads — Rubber or foam pads are very popular subflooring materials and offer many advantages.  Aside from providing near-perfect amounts of shock absorption, rubber pads don’t harden, oxidize, or degrade as they age.
  • Plywood — This type of subflooring can come in many different combinations and multiple layers, such as strips or solid layers.  Before rubber pads were invented, plywood was used on all courts as a strong structural base underneath the hardwood flooring.

Some sports facility owners also opt-in for a third subflooring option, combining the two above-listed materials.  By inserting foam padding inside the plywood or sheathing channels, they get a highly-resilient subfloor with solid dimensional stability that fares better under heavy loads.

Type of Subfloor Designs

The kind of subfloor material you’ll use will depend on the type of subfloor systems you’ll install. Moreover, it’s worth mentioning that the nature of your project will also impact the kind of subfloor design you’ll ultimately choose.  For example, if you’re looking to replace an existing floor, the condition of the concrete slab and its depression will be a deciding factor.  Going by the MFMA specifications, there are three main categories of sports subfloor designs.  Let’s take a closer look at each one next. 

Floating Resilient Sports Floors

These subfloors consist of sheathing or plywood with rubber pads on top. The pads’ primary use is to provide added shock absorption to the hardwood floor placed on top of it.  This makes for a more comfortable floor for athletes when jumping and running.  Floating sports floors are very resilient, but unlike anchored sports floors, they don’t use anchors to keep the floors in place. The subfloor isn’t pinned to the concrete but rather lies on top of the slab.

Fixed Sports Floors

Fixed sports floor systems are directly attached to the concrete slab using screws or pins.  They are the complete opposite of the previous type of subfloor design and provide little to no resilience.  This type of subfloor is designed to be faster than other options. That being said, while it offers better ball rebounds, it also offers less shock absorption.  Athletes don’t get any benefits that usually come with it.

Anchored Resilient Sports Floors

Anchored sports floor systems are mechanically fastened to the concrete slab, combining characteristics of both floating and fixed floors.  They retain the hardwood floor close to the concrete slab, but also give it space to move both vertically and laterally.  This helps minimize vibrations without sacrificing player speed, performance, and movement.  The lateral flexibility of the floor is crucial in preventing significant contraction or expansion of the floor, usually caused by seasonal changes and oscillations in indoor humidity.

Things to Consider When Picking a Subfloor for your Court

When it comes to sports flooring, the topic of subfloor systems ultimately boils down to two things — safety and performance.  The subfloor design plays a crucial part in determining how resistant the surface will be, the floor’s shock absorption levels, and how uniform the floor will feel. 

For example, if you want to pick a subfloor for a sport like basketball or volleyball, you should use an option that provides the best shock absorption to minimize stress on the players’ joints and muscles.  On the other hand, for sports like dance, you should focus most of your attention on ensuring application uniformity.  An inconsistent floor will inhibit user performance and potentially lead to an injury.

This is why, if you want to develop your court for specific sport applications, you should spend some time getting to know all of the benefits and drawbacks of each subfloor configuration.  In the same breath, this is also why it’s crucial to go with a trusted flooring company that can guide you through this process and make choosing a subfloor design for your basketball court less stressful.

At J&J Gym Floors, we’re an experienced company that provides first-rate services to sports teams, organizations, and businesses in the New Jersey area.  Our commitment to quality is our guarantee to all of our customers.  When you select a subflooring system that best suits your facility, we’ll make sure you’re satisfied with the result!

Need Help Choosing the Right Subfloor Design?

Picking the type of subfloor material for your facility boils down to choosing the right design for your hardwood sports floor.  With that in mind, regardless of which option you choose, we’ll make sure you get your money’s worth.  Our experienced professionals will provide you with a top-quality subfloor design solution that will last a lifetime.

If you have any questions about our service or want to find out more information on which subfloor is best for your facility, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Simply fill out our short online form or call us at (973) 801-7219.  We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.