You have a new gym floor. Now what? We sat down for a Q&A with our resident expert, Kevin Price, to get answers to the questions we hear the most from new gym floor owners. Kevin had so much great advice to keep your gym floor looking great, that we have broken our Q&A session into 3 parts. In Part 1, he answers all your questions about screening and recoating a floor.
1. What is a screen & recoat? A screen and recoat is when the contractor comes in and slightly abrades the floor and applies 1 to 2 coats of finish to the floor. This method simply cleans up the floor. There are a few ways to abrade the floor but the most common method is to screen it with 100 grit screen, this is called a dry-screen. There are a few companies that will use a scrubber-vac to “clean” or abrade the floor and will then apply finish over the floor, this is called a wet-screen.
2. Which method do you recommend and why? Because we do not recommend the use of a scrubber vac, our preferred method is a dry screen.
3. How often should you screen/recoat the floor? Depending on the use of the floor, it should be screened and recoated at a minimum of every year. There are certain instances where a floor can be screened and recoated every other year. The advantage is that it adds a new luster to the floor but also increases the friction characteristics of the floor, making it safer for the end user.
4. How long does it take to screen/recoat a floor? There are a few different processes that can be used for a screen and recoat but a typical screen and recoat should take 1 to 2 days. The finish will then need to cure, which will take 3 to 5 days depending on the finish (oil vs. water) chosen.
5. What harm is there if I only screen/recoat the floor every other year or every third year? Will it have an effect on performance of the floor, and the athlete? The harm with not screening the floor is that the friction characteristics of the floor will break down over time, making the floor slippery. This can become a safety concern. Often, lack of use and/or the owner’s finances plays a role in the decision making process, however, the key ingredients are to protect the athlete and to protect the floor. Screening a floor annually, addresses both of these issues.
6. Can refinishing or recoating actually extend the life of the floor? Absolutely! Just like a car, if you do the preventative actions, the car will last longer. The same holds true with the floor, the more that you protect the floor, the longer the floor will last and perform.
7. What role does safety/comfort play in decision to screen/recoat? As addressed above, the big safety concern is friction characteristics. If the finish is dull or fading, the floor will become slick. When the floor becomes slick, the possibility of injury increases.
8. What is the daily maintenance of a floor after it has been screened and recoated? 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 wax, which may contaminate the finish. 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. Daily maintenance includes dust mopping the floor. All finish manufacturers have their own protocol in regards to maintenance. Please consult the finish manufacturer as needed.
9. 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.
10. Can you use any hardwood floor contractor to screen & recoat the floor? Or should you choose one that specializes in sports flooring? Why? It is my experience that you should only hire a MFMA accredited sports flooring contractor to perform a screen & recoat on your floor. The reason why is because they are trained, tested and certified in the processes and procedures set forth by the finish manufacturer. After all, the process take time and money, if the gymnasium is closed for longer than expected, then the athletic department or the owner will 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?
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.