Flooring for Indoor and Outdoor Basketball Courts

Indoor and outdoor basketball courts have an entirely separate field of concerns regarding flooring. Each type of court has its own purpose and must be made with flooring material suited to its own usage requirements. Constructing courts with the proper materials will not only extend the life of the court, but will also help it to retain its original appearance for longer without as much maintenance.

Outdoor Basketball Court Flooring

In the outdoors, environmental conditions compete with players’ needs. The main intention of outdoor courts is recreational rather than professional. On older courts, concrete or asphalt makes up the flooring because they are durable, all-weather materials. After playing on these surfaces for prolonged periods of time, however, they may take a toll on a player’s body, causing pain in a player’s ankles, knees, hip joints, or even lower back. These rigid surfaces make for a high impact court, and your bones and joints are absorbing all the shock. Updated courts generally turn to more forgiving basketball court flooring materials, such as acrylic surfacing. Both athletes and trainers can appreciate the superior traction, even in less than ideal weather. The bounce-back or shock absorption from the floor also augments both athletic performance and safety of the facilities.

Indoor Basketball Court Materials

For team practices and actual competitions, most groups favor indoor courts rather than outdoor. Indoor courts offer a controlled environment, allowing designers to focus on appearance and conditions rather than weather resistance. Organizations will invest significantly in their gyms because the condition of the gym represents the overall health and prosperity of the team. A gorgeous, high-ceilinged, glossy-floored basketball court will both impress and intimidate visiting teams while invigorating home-team fans and athletes. It makes sense that gym and stadium managers want to protect their investments.

One of the most important ways of maintaining an indoor court is through a high-performance floor coating. These coatings and finishes should be both aesthetically pleasing as well as functional. Most are clear and have a high sheen to show the wood paneling beneath as well as give them an attractive shine. They should also provide a measure of shock absorption to reduce the risk of long-term joint injury as well as enhance speed and the bounce of the ball. Other features typically include waterproofing, in case of drink spills, roof leaks, or tracking in water from outside. This makes clean-up of liquids and trash relatively easy so your floor will stay beautiful longer.

Types of Tennis Courts

Tennis has a long history and is now played on a variety of surface materials: clay, grass, acrylic hard courts, synthetic hard courts, and carpet. Each type of material provides its own advantages and offers unique challenges to players. Often certain playing styles will work better on some types and less effectively on others.

Clay

Clay courts are made of compressed shale, stone, or brick. While they are relatively easy and cheap to install, long-term maintenance can be quite expensive, particularly when compared to the costs of artificial tennis court surfaces. The water balance within the clay must be carefully monitored and adjusted, and the court must be rolled periodically to preserve its flatness.

In terms of play, clay courts are traditionally used in the French Open. These courts characteristically have a slower game and give balls a higher bounce. They tend to favor baseline players, as well. These courts are most popular in Europe and Latin America.

Grass

Tennis courts with grass surfaces are not as common today as they have been in the past due to the high maintenance costs of constant watering and mowing. They are also more impacted by weather conditions than clay or hard court surfaces are. Dirt is hard-packed and the grass must be trimmed very short. Grass is the fastest type of court because of its low bounce capacity. Players must get to the ball much more quickly than with clay or hard court. This means that players with stronger serve-and-volley skills will generally perform better. The grass court is the signature of Wimbledon.

Hard Courts

Hard courts can range from faster to slower speeds depending on the quantity and size of sand mixed into the paint coating. Hard courts tend to equalize the playing field in terms of athletic style. An acrylic hard court is used in the US Open and a synthetic for the Australian Open. While acrylic courts are more rigid and create a faster game, they can also be rough on the human body. To combat this, artificial tennis court surfaces were created to allow for similar usability and low maintenance, but also allow for greater shock absorption for players. These courts have been installed everywhere from the White House and the Sony Ericsson Open to high schools and tennis clubs around the world.

Carpet

Carpet courts are removable tennis court surfaces. These can be made from any of several materials, from artificial turf to hard rubber. In general, carpeted courts make for a fast game.

Advantages of Artificial Turf Athletic Fields

For decades artificial turf has been replacing natural turf in athletic fields across the world in everywhere from Olympic stadiums and professional league arenas to grade school sports fields. From its outset, artificial turf athletic fields have offered a number of benefits and advantages that natural turf fields can’t compete with.

All-weather Utility

Natural turf fields will turn to mud in a moderate to heavy rain. If you play on a natural field while it’s raining, you can say goodbye to the grass and look forward to a good deal of replanting later on. For an artificial turf field, however, rain or shine, players will leave a perfect field behind every time. The all-weather properties of these fields make them particularly ideal for wetter areas or playing during rainy times of the year.

Versatility and Preparation

Artificial turf athletic fields are versatile and can endure heavy use. After events, natural turf will need a period of recovery before another game can be played on it. If you are organizing several consecutive sporting events to take place on the field, this recovery time can limit or interfere with your arrangements. However, while natural turf fields are able to withstand about 100 event hours of use, artificial turf fields can endure well over 500 event hours. For a multi-purpose field with frequent events and games, artificial turf is often the best solution. It requires 0 recovery time and is ready to go as soon as your team is.

No Growing Required

After installation, artificial turf is ready for use. Preparation for natural turf takes much longer and requires significant attention and care as the seasons change. As time passes, certain areas will wear down more than others, leaving the look of the field patchy and inconsistent. Every few weeks it must be mown and the grass trimmings collected. To keep away bugs that can damage the field, it is often necessary to use pesticides, which can spread into surrounding areas and leach into nearby water sources. Fertilizer can have similarly harmful effects on nearby areas in addition to consuming a considerable amount of time. The frequent watering can drive water expenditures through the roof. With every spring, you can also look forward to the replanting you will have to perform to thicken the turf again to meeting playing and aesthetic standards. None of these problems associated with growing and maintaining grass are present in an artificial turf field.

Types of Tracks

Whether you run competitively or recreationally, the type of surface you run on can impact your speed, your technique, and even your physical health. While a comfortable surface can improve your running experience, a hard surface can wear down your body over time, particularly your joints. You may even feel it as you practice. That said, no two runners are alike and each may prefer a different surface. Each has its own advantages.

Synthetic

A synthetic track surface is durable, weather-resistant, and reliable. The spongy texture of synthetic athletic surfaces provides good shock absorption and a stable tread. Because synthetic tracks are an independent system from their environments, they will not erode over time and can be maintained with minimal effort. This translates into even surfaces without surprises. Because of the material and construction, athletes can use the track even during drizzly weather without having to worry about getting caught in the mud. Synthetic tracks are also well-suited for indoor or stadium fields.

Grass and Turf

Running through fields of grass is easy on your joints because the turf provides a nice cushion and the dirt beneath is kept from being too tightly packed by the roots of the grass. You may even be able to run barefoot if the field is well-maintained. However, on rainy days, the grass can be dangerously slippery or suck your shoes into mud. It is also hard to find a good stretch of grass without dips or holes, which can be a hazard if you stumble into one accidentally.

Dirt

Dirt tracks are a mixed bag. In ideal conditions, they should provide decent shock absorption (although not as much as turf) for an easy run. Most traditional cross-country tracks will be dirt and offer scenic trails. On hot days, though, the dirt can dry out and become as hard as asphalt from dense packing. A loose surface layer may also create a slippery tread for runners. As with other natural surfaces, dirt tracks may be pitted with dips and potholes from animal activity and the forces of erosion. If a dirt track isn’t routinely maintained, you may see it return to nature in a short amount of time.

Asphalt

Asphalt is harsher on your joints than (generally) dirt and turf surfaces because it offers a harder surface, but this property also allows you to break out with faster run times. Another down side, though, is that on sunny or hot days, the asphalt will seem to radiate the ambient heat onto you as you run. If you run on this surface, which some city dwellers are limited to, make sure that you are hydrated and have well-cushioned and supportive running shoes.

Note: Concrete surfaces are significantly harder than asphalt ones and are not suited for intense training.

Synthetic Vs Natural Athletic Tracks

Historical Perspective

Traditionally runners have preferred natural athletic surfaces, such as dirt and turf, for running because the alternatives (asphalt and concrete) provided surfaces too harsh to train on for either long-term recreational running or competitive preparation. Despite the advantages offered by natural surfaces, there were also some challenges. Natural tracks required careful maintenance to preserve good running surfaces. Gopher holes, ditches from running water, dips created from puddles, etc. create hazards for unsuspecting athletes. Competitions of the past were often held on cinder or clay, but as with the other surfaces, they were subject to natural weathering over time.

Synthetic Tracks Emerge

Synthetic athletic tracks made a major debut in the late 60s at the Mexico City Summer Olympics. Although synthetic track systems had been in development before then (mainly consisting of a mixture of asphalt and sand), these new polyurethane surfaces revolutionized the industry. Our own Rekortan hit the fields a year later. Now synthetic tracks are the most common type of track installed around the world and have become the standard for major competitions.

Advantages of Synthetic Tracks

There are a few reasons why synthetic tracks became so popular so quickly. Runners and athletes like them because they offer good shock absorption, like grass and dirt tracks do, but they also do not make runners lose speed, as soft natural surfaces do. There is enough give to allow for comfortable running, but an underlying firmness that prevents a loss of speed. This quality has earned synthetic tracks the reputation for being “fast tracks.” These surfaces also offer good traction, even in inclement weather, which is not the case with natural surfaces that change depending on the weather. This all-weather quality made training and competition more consistent, allowing athletes to pursue uninterrupted training for longer periods of time despite the changing of the seasons.

Professional Performance

Competitions have taken to relying on synthetic tracks because they offer an even and dependable surface. These tracks can also be used for either indoor or outdoor applications, providing a consistent surface for runners, stadium designers, and event planners to utilize. For constructing major venues, such as those for the Olympics, which are designed to last for years on end, synthetic materials are also now preferred for their durability, resistance to weathering, and relatively low maintenance requirements.