Ask the Expert: A Q&A on sanding and refinishing your gymnasium floor.
Is it time for a gym floor makeover? In part 2 of our Q&A session, Kevin Price answers all the questions gym floor owners have about sanding and refinishing their floors.
1. How often should you sand & refinish a gymnasium floor? A gymnasium floor should be sanded and refinished every 10 years, however, this is simply a guideline. If there is chipping or flaking of 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 well as often times the new coach has his own thoughts and ideas for graphics.
2. 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 striping. The more striping, the longer the process. In addition, the type of finished used (oil vs. water) may affect the duration.
3. What noticeable signs are there that signifies 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 is 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.
4. Just because a floor is ambered, does that mean that it needs to be re-sanded? See answer above.
5. What is the range of cost for a sand & refinish? A good range for a sand and refinish is $2.00 – $3.00/per square foot, and will vary based on size of floor, location, paint/stain detail, etc… The types of finish, court graphics, and time of year also plays 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.
6. 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 as many times daily 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, you may need to mop it up but we would strongly encourage you to dry the floor after you mop it. Remember, water and wood do not mix. There are also devices that 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.
7. Can you use a scrubber-vac on a wood floor? It is Robbins and the Maple Floor Manufacturers Association (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.
8. 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 because 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 are going to be scrambling to finds places for the teams to practice and play their games, often times 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?
9. 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 water-based finish and up to seven (7) days if using 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.
About the Expert
Kevin Price is the Regional Sales Manager for the Central Region at Robbins Sports Surfaces. He has more than 14 years of experience in the sports flooring industry. Kevin joined Robbins in 2012 and prior to that, he was the Regional Manager for Robbins exclusive dealer, 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 at Edwardsville. He is also an avid fan of all St. Louis sports teams.