A Field Day In The Field House

It’s no wonder people do only the minimum to maintain field-house floors. After all, when there’s grass to mow, leaves to blow away and weeds to keep in check, why go inside to tend a surface that is supposed to be resilient?

Maintaining field house floors is important.

In a way, a sport-surface’s resiliency is its greatest weakness because it fools facility managers into thinking it doesn’t need much care. Actually, the key to its continued strength and durability is maintenance. And while nobody likes to hear about cleaning or upkeep (how boring are those topics?), it’s the best way to keep a field-house floor looking good.

Be Proactive

Start by doing what you can to keep dirt and debris off the floor.

“Mats at all entrances are extremely important for good floor appearance and durability,” says Norris Legue of Synthetic Surfaces Inc. in Scotch Plains, N.J. “Mats that fill up quickly with dirt are preferred because that means the mat is removing the grit on shoe soles before it reaches the floor.”

Just having mats is not enough, Legue adds. “Mats should be regularly cleaned because when they’re full of dirt, they actually become counterproductive, and actually cause dirt to be tracked onto the floor.”

In general, industrial mats are made of heavy rubber and cloth, and are too much for a regular laundry machine to handle. Many municipalities have contracts with services that regularly clean and replace mats. Foam or rubber-backed doormats should be kept off the playing surfaces because they can stain the floor; if used, they should be positioned just outside the room.

If you have a concession stand or snack machines, monitor what is sold. By not selling gum, and by posting signs asking users not to chew it in the facility, you’re staying one step ahead.

Removing gum from the floor, bleachers or handrails is not rocket science, but it is time-consuming. Similarly, not selling in-the-shell nuts or sunflower seeds will keep even more debris off the floor.

A regular walk-through of the facility and a daily (or after every event) cleaning with a vacuum, a soft brush or dry cotton mop (not a mop or broom that has been treated with oil or any other chemical) will also help you stay on top of any developing problems. Spot-clean spills, and make sure puddles and other liquids are mopped up so as to avoid falls.

If a facility is used for multiple sports, the floor may feature a number of different markings in different colors. It is essential to keep the surface clean so that the marks are always clear and visible to athletes, no matter what game they’re playing.

On The Surface

Once the sports surface has been cleaned of all loose or particulate material, do a walk-through for any developing problems. Look for stains, scuffs or dings in the surface and any other imperfections or flaws, both large and small. Don’t ignore a small problem, either–unlike a divot on a natural field, it won’t repair itself. It’s up to you to put in the effort.

The playing surface of a field house may be either wood or synthetic. Wood floors are generally (although not always) made of maple, a low-splintering hardwood.

A synthetic surface may be any of the following:

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