LBWA — Indoor Court Surfaces

“There is certainly a lot of maintenance to keep them clean, but it’s really not too bad,” he adds, noting that the center just purchased a new scrubbing machine that washes and dry-vacs the floors in one sweep. “It’s a lot better than going around with a broom and mop,” he quips.

All-Occasion Flooring

One of the most common types of indoor sport courts is used for basketball. There was a time when various types of wood were the only option, but now other materials are being used. Modular, interlocking, suspended, high-impact polypropylene tile systems boast better shock absorption, a quick installation, and lower maintenance costs.

Basketball purists maintain that the player traction and ball action are different on wood than on the newer systems, which is arguably true. However, with today’s emphasis on budget-conscious, revenue-producing, and multi-purpose facilities, wood is not always the best option.

The Folsom Sports Complex in California, for example, has two wood, full-sized, high school regulation courts that are also used for volleyball. The facility’s Recreation Coordinator Cody Bateson says that with users ranging in age from youth to mid-50s, the courts are in constant use, and annual maintenance is required.

“We pay a contractor to come in annually and essentially take the top coat of wax off and re-wax and buff the surface,” he explains, adding that the lines for basketball and volleyball embedded or painted into the surface do not have to be touched.

The Folsom facility, which opened as a private enterprise in 2004, and was taken over by the city in 2006, now also hosts special events throughout the year. This is a practice that many departments are employing to help generate revenue from facilities that weren’t originally designed to accommodate them.

“For special events or trade shows, we use a vinyl floor covering that comes in rolls to protect the two basketball courts,” Bateson remarks. “It works very well to protect it—we have had no issues with damage to floors as a result of the shows.”

Call On The Pros

Whether retrofitting an older facility, or having the luxury of being a part of the planning team for a new indoor sports complex, parks and rec professionals should call in the pros from the industry to help sort out all of the variables.

“It’s always a good idea to contact representatives from the industry who are happy to work with people to make sure they understand the different products on the market and choose which one will meet their needs,” says Mary Helen Sprecher, technical writer and marketing coordinator with the American Sports Builders Association, a non-profit trade group that serves as a centralized source for information on tennis courts, running tracks, fields, and indoor sports facilities.

Sprecher notes that with more than 300 member companies, the organization can be a wealth of information for parks and rec professionals who are looking to educate themselves.

But another important educational tool is guidance from parks and rec pros in the field that have personally had good and bad experiences with indoor sport courts. In an effort to help others learn from your experience—or your mistakes—take a minute and write to PRB or email me to share your story, and we’ll get the word out.

Randy Gaddo served for 15 years as a director in municipal parks and recreation after retiring from 20 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. He developed, wrote, administered, and presented maintenance plans as well as recreation master plans during that time. Gaddo earned his Master’s in Public Administration, and now lives in Beaufort, S.C. He can be reached at (678) 350-8642 or email

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Related posts:

  1. Athletic Facility Awards
  2. Order On The Court
  3. LBWA–Multi-Use Natural-Turf Fields
  4. LBWA–Let Sport Lights Shine Bright
  5. Liquid Assets — LBWA

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