ASK THE EXPERT: A Q&A ON REFURBISHING YOUR HARDWOOD GYMNASIUM FLOOR
A sand and refinish can get your gym floor looking and feeling brand new; however, if you are not familiar with the process you may have questions. Don’t worry, we are here to help! We sat down with Kevin Price for a second Q&A session to answer the questions we hear most from gymnasium floor owners about sanding and refinishing their gym floors. (You can find our first Q&A session here: Annual Maintenance for your New Gym Floor.)
How often should you sand & refinish a gymnasium floor?
A gymnasium floor should be sanded and refinished every 10-12 years, depending on use and previous floor maintenance, however, this is simply a guideline. If there is chipping or flaking of the finish, it might be time for a sanding. There are also other signs that a professional flooring contractor can look for in determining if the floor needs to be sanded. Finally, at the higher education institutions, typically a coaching change will bring about the need for a sand and refinish as the new coach will often request new graphics.
What is the process of sanding and refinishing a floor?
An authorized Robbins dealer will come with a riding-sanding machine and will sand off the old polyurethane finish and up to 1/16” of maple to create a bare floor. The floor will then be sealed or stained and will have the new paint scheme painted on the floor. In addition to paint, vinyl graphics, such as GameTime Graphics, are becoming commonplace on floors, as they provide dynamic images without the chipping that comes with paint. Once the court layout is complete a minimum of two (2) coats of finish will be placed over the floor.
How long does it take to sand & refinish a floor?
I would say that a typical sand and refinish will take 3 to 4 weeks, this includes cure time for the finish. This, of course, depends on the amount of gameline striping that will be going back on the floor. The more striping, the longer the process. In addition, the type of finish used (oil vs. water) may affect the duration.
What noticeable signs are there that indicate that a floor is ready for a sand & refinish?
Typically, if the existing finish is cracking or peeling it might be time. Another sign is if the floor has deep ambering. From a professional standpoint, ambering should not be used as a sign to determine if the floor needs to be sanded. The key sign is if the floor is chipping or flaking.
What is the range of cost for a sand & refinish?
A good range for a sand and refinish is $2.00 – $3.75/per square foot, and will vary based on the size of the floor, location, paint/stain detail, etc.… The types of finish, court graphics, and time of year also play a role in the total cost. *Note: The cost range should be used for budgeting purposes only. For accurate pricing, please contact your local Robbins dealer.
What is the daily maintenance of a floor after it has been sanded & refinished?
The best course of action is to dust-mop the floor daily and as many times as possible. Make sure that you do not use a dust-mop treatment as they often will have some type of oil. If you have a spill on the floor, you will need to mop it up AND we would strongly encourage you to dry the floor after you mop it. Remember, water and wood do not mix. Some devices are made to help “clean” a floor that have been very effective. If there are scuff marks, you may remove them simply by rubbing your shoe over the scuff mark or by rubbing a tennis ball over the scuff mark. For best results, refer to your finish manufacturer maintenance instructions.
Can you use a scrubber vac on a wood floor?
It is Robbins and the Maple Floor Manufacturers Association’s (MFMA) position that scrubber vacs should not be used on a wood floor, in fact, the use of the scrubber vac on a newly installed floor will void the warranty.
Can you use any hardwood floor contractor to refinish the floor? Or should you choose one that specializes in sports flooring? Why?
It is my experience that you should only hire an MFMA-accredited sports flooring contractor to perform a sand/stripe/refinish to your floor. The reason why is that the flooring contractor is trained, tested, and certified in the processes and procedures set forth by the finish manufacturer for a sand/stripe/refinish. After all, this process takes time and money, if the gymnasium is closed for longer than expected, then the athletic department or the owner is going to be scrambling to find places for the teams to practice and play their games, oftentimes having to pay to use a different facility. More importantly, does an owner or athletic director want to trust the work of someone that is not qualified to protect the safety of their players?
How long must you wait to get back on the gym floor after the floor has been sanded and refinished?
The floor should cure for a minimum of 72 hours if using a water-based finish and up to seven (7) days if using an oil-modified finish. The oil-modified finish will take longer to cure based on temperature and humidity conditions in the room, generally, the more humid the room, the longer the cure time.
(Barton College sold and installed by Foster Specialty Floors)
About the Expert
Kevin Price is the Regional Sales Manager for the Central Region at Robbins Sports Surfaces. He has more than 23 years of experience in the sports flooring industry. Kevin joined Robbins in 2012 and prior to that, he was the Regional Manager for one of Robbins exclusive dealers, the Cincinnati Floor Company (CFC). During his time at CFC, Kevin gained an appreciation and love for the industry, as well as working knowledge of the installation, sanding, sealing, stripping, and finishing techniques of gymnasium flooring. He attended school at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville. He is also an avid fan of all St. Louis sports teams.