Hot yoga flooring

If you’re opening a hot yoga studio right now and are looking to outfit the place and do a search on the internet for “hot yoga flooring”, you come up with results that range from concrete to carpet to wood flooring.  Problem is that there’s a down side to every one of those alternatives.  Concrete is unyielding and take a lot of heat to get warm.  Carpet gets wet and stays wet and then you have to address problems like molds and mildew.  Wood can get damaged by the high temperatures, fluctuating humidity and pooling perspiration. 

So, what’s a hot yoga studio owner to do? 

Well, we have three practical solutions to their problem.

In this post, let’s just look at the bamboo alternative.  We’ve talked a lot about bamboo, but really haven’t addressed its usefulness for yoga.  Certainly its Eastern aesthetic and green renewable properties fit right into the yoga motif.  But its physical properties make it equally appropriate.

See, as we’ve discussed, bamboo is a grass, and not a hardwood.  As such, it does not have the expansion and contraction to the degree that wood does.  When wood gets wet or is exposed to high humidity, the grain will absorb water and cause the board to expand and this expansion can cause boards to cup.  Of course the opposite occurs when it dries out and the contraction can cause boards to gap and even crack.  Not so with bamboo.  Yes, the boards will expand with moisture, but not to the same degree.  It will also move back in place much faster when it is dried out.  Since it is not moving as dramatically, it is also less likely to crack.

Same goes with water from perspiration on top of the boards.  This can often cause cupping of the boards in a wood floor, but it is unlikely to affect bamboo much at all.  In fast, we have done lab testing where we have taken a board and laid a soaking wet towel on both bamboo and hardwood and left it there for an entire day.  In the hardwood samples, we found significant damage to the face of the board, even after the board was allowed to dry.  In the bamboo sample, we saw absolutely no effect.

So there are some points in favor of bamboo for your yoga flooring.  In the next post, we’ll look at some of the other new alternatives for yoga rooms.

15
May
posted in blog by
11 Responses to Hot yoga flooring
  1. Do you know anything about PEM flooring? What are your thoughts on it? their website is http://www.hotyogaflooring.com WE are installing a welness clinic and it has two yoga studios. One hot…one not. Which type of flooring do you recommend for the hot studio? Is bamboo good for dance and would it be approproiate for the noon-heated studio? Thank you so much for your help. Sunny

    • Fitness Flooring May 21, 2012 at 1:45 pm Reply

      Sunny:

      I’ve only heard of PEM flooring and have not seen a sample of the material, so I honestly don’t know enough about it. Bamboo is good for dance and would be appropriate for either studio, but certainly for the non-heated studio. On our website, we have several alternatives for the heated studio under our yoga category. Let us know how we can help you! And thanks for your post.

  2. Sunny,
    PEM floor will leave you with mildew on your subfloor. Its hard to keep clean and will carry a nice shade of green after time.. Check out Zebra Yoga Floor, it is the best floor for your hot yoga needs.

  3. We’re opening a hot yoga studio and trying to determine the optimal flooring.

  4. We are beginning our search for flooring for our hot studio. I have practiced on Zebra Yoga flooring, however, I wonder about the sustainability. Also, as our studio grows it may necessitate a move. Could you compare the expense of bamboo to Zebra flooring and any other comparable alternatives?
    I’m new to your discussion, sorry if you’ve already done this on a previous communication.
    F

  5. Hi. I opened a new studio in June. I had Cali HD Bamboo installed in my studio in two colors. Natural with Dark planks every 24″ for as a guide for mat placement. My heating system is infrared radiant heat panels in the ceiling. The bamboo is tongue and groove and layed over a pad and glued along the edges.

    After the first two weeks, there was noticeable cupping of the planks.quite a few of the natural color planks started cracking at the ends and now thee are 1/4 to 3/8 inch gaps at several places in the room.

    However, not one of the dark planks has started cracking. I started looking real close at a couple if natural planks I had left (3) and one of them exhibited a hairline crack at one of the ends.

    The manufacture states that both colors went through the same process and says that the extreme heat and moisture is causing these concerns. I keep the room at 90 and 20-35 % humidity when not in use

    I have been to studios that have a bamboo floor but are heated by hot air furnaces. Their flooring looks great.

    Do you think there is a problem with the radiant heat or a manufacturing defect with the natural planks?

    • Fitness Flooring March 12, 2013 at 2:28 pm Reply

      Typically, the cupping that you describe has more to do with humidity than heat. Cupping typically is caused by excessive moisture beneath the flooring. With heat coming down from the ceiling, it’s easy to see why the top side would be drier than the bottom of the wood. Do you have the ability to raise the humidity in the room to something more along the lines of 45-50%?

      How thick is the pad that it is laid over and is it a foam pad?

      The manufacturer is correct – there is little difference in how the bamboo is made based on color. If one is cracking, the other one should crack as well. It may simply be that the darker boards are not under as much as the direct heat as the darker boards are. Is this at all a possibility?

      Please keep us posted about any of these possibilities.

  6. I am looking at builing a new studio myself. I have researched flooring somewhat. I wonder if you are having the problem because the floor you installed is floating and not glued down. Not sure. Just a thought.

  7. I am researching yoga studio flooring as well. We are leaning towards bamboo because of the eco-friendliness of it.And no formaldehyde. I don’t see any mention of cork. We found bamboo for 1.99 sq ft and figured out that cork, which is also eco-friendly, would only cost a bit more. Any thoughts anyone? Thanks~

    • Fitness Flooring May 20, 2013 at 9:15 pm Reply

      Cork is an excellent option as well. The only time it becomes any type of a problem is if it is also used in group exercise, where a lot of sliding motions take place. But if you are using it solely for hot yoga, it should work well, especially if it is a prefinished cork.


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