Rolled Vinyl Flooring

Rolled vinyl flooring certainly seems to be an attractive sports flooring choice for many architects.  We run into it in a lot of specifications, but in the hundreds of clubs that we have all been in, we’ve seen it actually used very seldom.  Still, in many public use facilities, it seems to be recommended almost invariably.

To explain a bit about this type of product, it has a dense vinyl top, which has simulated wood planks on the top surface (although it is also available in solid colors) and this is bonded to a less dense layer of foam, which allows for shock absorption.  The material comes in wide rolls, which are cut and put into place when it is installed and then these sheets are heat welded together for a virtually seamless look.  The padding underneath is available in a number of thicknesses depending on the shock absorption required – thinner for sports like basketball to allow ball bounce, and thicker for rooms like group exercise, where more shock absorption is needed.

The real difficulty in installing the material is at the seams, which require heat welding.  An installer who is really good at heat welding gives you that virtually seamless look and the seams will hold together for years.  But if heat welding is not done by an expert, it can cause the seams to be unattractive and they will easily separate.

We have no issue with rolled vinyl floors in performance.  In fact, they are great floors for areas where the humidity simply cannot be controlled or where there is regular exposure to moisture.  We’ve even sold a few of them ourselves.  But it’s not something we feature because the installation component must be absolutely perfect.

Really, our main argument about rolled vinyl is its expense.  Sure, the material is cheaper than a wood floor, but when you add in the installation factor, it’s actually not.  So it’s hard to see the value of a rolled vinyl floor, when for about the same price, we can supply the actual wood floor that rolled vinyl is trying to mimic.  A wood floor can be sanded and refinished after many years of use, whereas a rolled vinyl must be ripped out and reinstalled.  Additionally, rips in rolled vinyl often occur over time and are expensive to repair.

As I said, we’re not opposed to these floors, and if they were considerably cheaper than wood, we’d like to offer them more regularly.  We’re always looking for alternatives.  This one just doesn’t seem to be all that viable – despite what many architects seem to believe.

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2 Responses to Rolled Vinyl Flooring
  1. Is Vinyl what is used on most basketball courts?

    • Fitness Flooring March 12, 2013 at 2:29 pm Reply

      Actually, most basketball courts are wood – typically maple. Many vinyl manufacturers do make a vinyl surface that mimics wood though.


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