When choosing the flooring for multipurpose indoor sports facilities, several factors must be considered because each area is unique. What are the characteristics of the system? What sports will be played on it? What sports equipment will be used? How heavily will the area be used?
Those responsible for selecting and purchasing indoor multisport flooring must know that Standard EN 14904:2007 specifies the minimum requirements for such floors.
This regulation guarantees the correct biomechanical behavior and long-term resistance of certified sports surfaces.
It defines criteria such as shock absorption, vertical deformation, friction coefficient, ball bounce, impact resistance, footprint resistance, rotational load resistance, and fire resistance among other factors.
The three types of indoor sports floor listed in Standard EN 14904:2007 are described below. The characteristics of each depend on the materials used to produce them because the materials determine elastic behavior:
Point-elastic floors (usually synthetic): Upon impact, deformation is limited to a small area around the point of impact. Synthetic floors stand out for their versatility and because they don’t require a great deal of maintenance.
Area-elastic floors (usually made of wood): Upon impact, deformation extends to a wider area around the point of impact. “Area-elastic” generally refers to floors with a wooden surface finish installed on an elastic base. These floors offer excellent impact absorption and a good level of protection for athletes. Because they’re wood, they require more care and maintenance, and the venue’s temperature and humidity must be controlled.
Combination floors: An area-elastic base (which guarantees excellent impact absorption) and a point-elastic surface finish (which offers versatility for multisport applications).
When choosing flooring for sports facilities, venues must consider what sports will be played on it, what type of markings will be painted on it, what equipment will be used (such as goals, basketball hoops or spectator stands), and what anchoring systems will be installed underneath.
Some sports—especially during official competitions—must be played on floors that comply with the regulations for those sports:
High-level basketball: fixed or removable wooden flooring
5-a-side football: wooden or synthetic flooring
High-level handball: wooden or synthetic flooring
High-level volley: synthetic flooring, portable
The choice of a sports surface must take into account the relevant regulations, the sports that will be played on it, the level of the competitions, and the non-sporting activities for which it will be used. Everyone that will be involved with the surface (maintenance staff, professional trainers, athletes, owners, etc.) must be consulted to ensure that the choice is suitable for everyone.