gymnasium floor refinishing

How to Master Gymnasium Floor Refinishing for a Long-Lasting, High-Performing Sports Floor


Quality gymnasium floor refinishing is key to ensuring your sports floor is durable and performs for its lifespan. Refinishing gym flooring protects it from the wear and tear of sports activities it must endure. Damage to wood gym flooring can come from heavy foot traffic, improper footwear, dropping heavy equipment, and liquid spills. As a result, the athletic hardwood floor can quickly wear out and lose its performance capabilities.

However, with proper maintenance techniques, you can enhance the functionality and aesthetics of gym flooring. This keeps your sports facility looking great and reduces costly, frequent, or unnecessary gym floor repairs. 

At some point, gymnasium floor refinishing is necessary to ensure optimal performance. The gym floor refinishing process requires careful planning, skillful execution, and specialized equipment and materials. A proactive maintenance program can enhance the longevity and performance of your gym floor.

Here are the benefits: 

  • Protect your investment
  • Enhance safety
  • Minimize downtime
  • Project a positive brand image
  • Preserve aesthetic appeal

This article explores the key factors and techniques for refinishing a gymnasium floor. 

Understanding the Lifecycle of a Hardwood Gym Floor

Hardwood sports flooring typically lasts 40 to 50 years with proper care and maintenance. This includes regular cleaning and protecting the floor from dirt and grime. However, refinishing athletic floor surfaces is typically necessary every five to ten years. Refinishing involves sanding the gym floor to the bare wood, resealing, repainting, and refinishing it.

Factors impacting the durability of a wood gym floor include the following: 

  • The quality and type of flooring material used, such as hardwood or rubber
  • The quality of the gym floor finish and coating
  • Regular cleaning and floor maintenance schedule
  • Foot traffic, impact from sports, and heavy equipment use
  • Environmental factors like temperature fluctuations, high humidity, and exposure to sunlight
  • The condition and stability of the subfloor
  • The quality of installation by professional flooring contractors
  • Protection against water damage and excess humidity

Wood gym floor refinishing restores the condition of the original sports flooring. During refinishing, experienced sports flooring contractors conduct essential repairs to ensure the floor performs as it should. Without refinishing every five to ten years, you must complete a gym flooring overhaul more frequently. 

Deciding Between Refinishing, Resurfacing, or Replacement

Deciding between gym floor refinishing, resurfacing, or replacement depends on three factors—current condition, budget, and usage. Refinishing addresses surface issues, but resurfacing involves minor repairs, while a floor replacement is for extensive damage or functional upgrades. Assessing these factors helps make an informed decision.

Traditional gym floor refinishing

Gym floor refinishing involves moderate costs and time. The entire process typically takes up to two weeks. During refinishing, the contactor sands the wood gym floor to the bare wood, repairs scratches or cracks, and applies finish and sealer.

Gymnasium floor refinishing is part of regular maintenance. It’s a cost-effective solution for restoring the appearance and functionality of gym floors with minimal disruption. However, it only deals with minor dents, scratches, and chips. 

Refinishing a gym floor usually costs around $3 per sq ft. Downtime is minimal compared to resurfacing or replacing your floor.

Gym floor resurfacing

Resurfacing is like refinishing but replaces worn-out or damaged floorboards. After the entire floor is sanded to the bare wood, the contractor will identify areas where boards need replacing—usually areas with intense activity on gym floors. After installing new boards, the floor will be refinished with stain, sealer, and lacquer.

The benefit of resurfacing is that you can replace only the damaged boards instead of the entire floor. This can result in significant savings. Additionally, resurfacing requires less downtime than replacing the entire floor.

Signs to resurface an athletic floor system include the following:

  • Floorboards are warped or loose
  • Boards are turning gray or black
  • The floor shows noticeable signs of wear and tear

Gym floor replacement

Replacing the entire gym floor is necessary if the wood is severely damaged or warped or has already undergone multiple refinishing or resurfacing procedures. A hardwood floor replacement is a major undertaking. It requires your facility to be closed for an extended period. For this reason, replacement is usually only done as a last resort.

The good news is that under normal circumstances, you only need to replace wooden athletic flooring every 50 to 60 years. However, extensive damage from moisture may require an earlier replacement.

Here are key signs the athletic flooring installation needs replacing:

  • Chronic water damage has caused mold or decay
  • You notice severely damaged floorboards
  • A floor inspection reveals subfloor safety issues
  • Floorboards are severely warped, cupped, or buckled

Gym floor refinishing revitalizes worn surfaces, addressing scratches and damage. It’s a cost-effective solution to enhance aesthetics, extend the floor’s lifespan, and preserve functionality. The process also improves safety and contributes to a positive gym environment—all achieved with minimal disruption.

What is involved in the refinishing process?

Here is a step-by-step guide to repairing a gymnasium floor.

  • Initial assessment: First, the contractor evaluates the current condition of the gym floor, identifying scratches, wear, and damage. They decide on the appropriate type of flooring material and finish.
  • Preparation: It is necessary to remove all equipment and furniture to prepare the gym space for refinishing. Next, it is important to clean the floor thoroughly to remove any dirt, debris, or other potential hazards. This makes the next stem—sanding—easier.
  • Sanding: The contractor removes the existing finish to the bare wood using low-grit sandpaper and a professional floor sander. To create a smooth finish, the contractor may use various grits during multiple sanding to create a refined surface ready for sealing.
  • Repairing damage: The next step is to fill gaps, cracks, and deep scratches with appropriate wood filler. At the same time, it’s necessary to replace damaged boards.
  • Preparation: In this step, the flooring professional prepares the bare wood for painting, lining, and finishing. This may include staining to give the hardwood floor a distinct color, painting new game lines, installing logos or branding, and other finishing touches. Once this is completed, the gym floor is ready for sealing and finishing.
  • Sealing and finishing: Sealant is applied to the floor to protect the bare wood. Next, several layers of high-quality gym floor finish are applied. Sanding with high-grit sandpaper is necessary between coats to obtain a durable, hard-wearing finish lasting up to ten years.
  • Curing period: Gym floor finish takes up to 24 hours to dry. However, you must allow up to 72 hours of cure time before gameplay. During this time, it’s vital to restrict sports activities and avoid placing equipment on the athletic surface.
  • Final inspection: The contractor inspects the refinished floor to check for uniformity and quality.
  • Regular maintenance guidelines: To ensure maximum longevity, the flooring experts provide gym staff with updated guidelines for ongoing maintenance to care for gym floors.

The Benefits of Gym Floor Refinishing

Refinishing hardwood floors every five to ten years protects one of your most important assets—the athletic flooring surface. The floor of a sports facility must perform to a high standard. This includes sufficient traction, shock absorption, bounce, and ease of cleaning.

Here are some of the reasons refinishing a gym floor is necessary:

  • Improved aesthetics: Restoring the gym floor to its original appearance creates a fresh and inviting environment.
  • Enhanced safety: Smoothing out scratches and uneven surfaces reduces tripping hazards, enhancing overall gym floor safety.
  • Extended lifespan: Refinishing is part of regular gymnasium floor maintenance. It protects the gym floor, contributing to its longevity and postponing the need for costly replacements.
  • Customization options: A gym floor refinishing project lets you update branding or logos. This allows for modern customizations to match evolving aesthetic preferences.
  • Positive member experience: A well-maintained and aesthetically pleasing gym floor contributes to a positive experience for members. Showing you care for the facilities and members’ well-being helps you charge premium prices. 

Innovations in Gym Floor Refinishing

Trends in gym floor installations show more sports facility owners are adopting eco-friendly and durable solutions. These options range from sustainable flooring materials like bamboo to eco-friendly finishes and dust-free sanding machines.

Let’s look at three exciting advancements in refinishing materials and techniques. 

  • Low VOC and Green Seal-certified products: The latest types of gymnasium flooring finishes contain fewer toxic chemicals. Eco-friendly finishes with low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are free of carcinogens, mutagens, and reproductive toxins. Many of these products are biodegradable and made from sustainable materials. 
  • Bamboo sports flooring: Bamboo sports flooring is as strong as beech and maple. It also has a visually appealing clear and consistent grain. It’s a popular sustainable flooring option for sports facilities like gyms, community centers, and basketball courts.
  • Dustless sanding: Modern dustless sanding machines have advanced vacuum systems that eliminate dust from the sanding process. This makes the sanding process cleaner, healthier, and less disruptive. The machines work efficiently to preserve indoor air quality and ensure a smoother finish. For example, there are no dust particles to settle on freshly sanded surfaces.

Scheduling and Planning for Minimal Disruption

Refinishing a gym floor means downtime for your sports facility. However, we have some tips to minimize disruption while hardwood floor restoration occurs.

Here are a few ways to plan for gym floor refinishing without impacting the member experience:

  • Strategic planning: Schedule the refinishing project during periods of low gym usage. These times can include holidays or off-peak hours.
  • Advance notification: Inform gym members well in advance about the refinishing project. Provide details on timelines and temporary closures. At the same time, highlight the benefits of the improved facilities to gym members.
  • Temporarily relocate equipment: If possible, rearrange the gym zones so members can access some workout areas during the refinishing.
  • Use fast-curing finishes: Arrange with the flooring contractor to use rapid-curing finishes. This technology can expedite the drying process, minimizing gym floor downtime.
  • Dust containment systems: Work with a professional flooring contractor who uses dust containment systems. Minimizing cleanup can help reduce downtime by a day or two.

Plan and communicate well for minimal disruption during gym floor refinishing while maintaining satisfaction and functionality.

Cost Analysis: Refinishing vs. Replacement

What are the cost considerations and benefits when deciding between a refinishing project or replacing the entire gym floor? Here are a few things to think about:

Traditional gym floor refinishing: Costs and considerations

  • $2 to $5 per square foot
  • Short downtime
  • A cost-effective way to extend the gym floor’s lifespan
  • Lower upfront costs and good return on investment
  • Refinishing is necessary every five to ten years

Gymnasium floor replacement: Costs and considerations

  • $12 to $26 per square foot
  • High upfront costs
  • Long downtimes, up to two weeks
  • Long-lasting solution for floors in poor condition
  • Higher upfront costs mean ROI takes longer to realize
  • Floor replacement is necessary every 40 to 60 years

Complying with Regulations and Standards

Refinishing a gymnasium floor ensures it complies with current safety standards. For example, a safe gym floor should provide enough traction, shock absorption properties, and stability for high-intensity sports.

Therefore, consultation with a specialist in gym floor installation is vital to ensure the new flooring surface complies with current safety standards. They also make certain the new floor complies with ASTM F2772-11—the standard for indoor floor systems.

Enhancing Your Gym’s Aesthetic with Refinishing

Refinishing your gym’s sports floor is an excellent way to make the facility more inviting for athletes of all levels. When consulting with a hardwood floor contractor, you can find out about ways to make logos, branding, and color schemes more contemporary. The chances are that if the previous refinishing project was ten or more years ago, your current designs may appear dated. 

Why Professional Expertise Matters

Hiring experienced professionals for gym floor refinishing ensures the best results. Their precision, adherence to safety standards, and the use of high-quality materials mean you get the desired results. The expertise of gym flooring professionals minimizes the risk of errors, promotes efficient project completion, and guarantees a durable, aesthetically pleasing result. This contributes to the long-term success of the gym facility.

Seal the Deal with Expert Gymnasium Floor Refinishing

Refinishing your sports facility’s gym floor has several benefits. These include enhanced aesthetic value, improved durability and longevity, and cost savings. Professional refinishing services ensure you comply with industry standards and regulations. They also provide long-lasting, high-performing sports flooring for your facility.

If you need expert advice on refinishing your gym floor, contact J&J Gym Floors today.

Our team of sports flooring industry professionals can help guide you through the entire project. We can ensure your gym has a long-lasting, high-performing sports floor. Get in touch with us now to start planning for a successful gym floor refinishing.

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J & J Gym Floors is a full-service gym floor company. Established in 2000, we’ve completed more than 35,000 projects for various types of facilities: NBA basketball courts, college gym floors, high school gymnasiums, K-8 gym floors as well as fitness centers, YMCAs and Jewish Community Centers. We also done some amazing work for homeowners and professional athletes! 

We specialize in: gym floor screening and recoating, basketball court sanding and refinishing, new gym floor installations, gymnasium wall padding, expert gym floor repairs as well as gym floor designs, graphics, logos and game lines.

We’re proud to service the following areas: New Jersey, New York (including NYC‘s five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens & Staten Island), as well as all of Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Rhode Island. 

We’re based in Northern New Jersey and we service most of NJ, NY, NYC, CT, PA, DE, MD & RI.
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