How to choose sports flooring for an indoor volleyball court

The quality of an indoor volleyball court’s sports flooring is vital for player comfort and performance. Therefore, finding sports surfaces that combine uniform support, energy return, elasticity, and minimal abrasiveness when diving and sliding is extremely important.

Underestimating this component can happen since, at the design and construction level, the choice of sports flooring is often not determined until the final phase. A state-of-the-art sports hall is built with structure and finishes in mind first, and the most important element for the quality of the game—the flooring—is often considered later. In fact, not only will the comfort and safety of the athletes depend on the technical characteristics of the playing surface and its biomechanical behavior, but the duration of the flooring itself will, as well.

In this article, we will further explore the different types of sports flooring for indoor volleyball courts, showing their characteristics and advantages in terms of functionality and performance.

Synthetic flooring for indoor volleyball: PVC and vulcanized rubber

The most common flooring for indoor volleyball courts are those made of PVC or vulcanized rubber. Here are the distinctive features of each.

PVC

Indoor PVC flooring is the most frequent choice for professional volleyball courts or for high-level competitions. This material is recommended when excellent performance is required, but faster wear of the flooring is accepted. The welding joints necessary for the installation of the PVC surfaces are a fast-wearing weak point. The biomechanical performances of the flooring are the combination of the individual layers from which it is made.

Thickness and multilayer composition of the surface are the most important factors behind the performance guaranteed by the flooring. The surface finish is designed to minimize the risk of friction burns and abrasion during player dives, defensive actions and rolling ball recoveries, which cause impact with the ground. The lower layers are usually made of differentiated density PVC foam to ensure a rapid reaction to impact of different densities with a progressive deformation.PVC flooring offers ranges with solutions in category P1 and P2, according to the EN 14904 standard, both for fixed and removable systems.
 

Vulcanized rubber

Vulcanized rubber sports flooring for volleyball courts are suitable for intensive surface use.

They are ideal solutions for schools and multisport or amateur indoor facilities. The elastic underlayment ensures the right biomechanical reaction and shock absorption while the surface finish ensures the correct grip for movements.

Rubber sports flooring for volleyball combine shock-absorbing and stabilizing underlayments to the rubber surface layer, which guarantee different levels of shock absorption, from P1 solutions to those of category P2, according to the EN 14904 standard, both for fixed and loose-laid systems.

The flooring of a vulcanized rubber volleyball court has numerous advantages, including:

  • Durability. The vulcanization process waterproofs the rubber and slows the hardening process that is typical of other synthetic materials, helping to maintain the biomechanical properties of the sports surface over time
  • Ease of installation. Heat sealing of the welding joints of the rolls is not necessary, thus eliminating the welding beads that often are the first elements to be damaged by wear and to become dirty.
  • Greater resistance to wear and tear. For the same performance, vulcanized rubber offers greater wear resistance than PVC due to the absence of welding beads and the delayed hardening process.
  • Sustainability. The rubber can be disposed of as solid urban waste in a normal landfill with significant economic savings when replacing the flooring.
  • Eco-compatibility. The rubber flooring for indoor volleyball facilities has received GREENGUARD Gold Certification. This recognition is awarded by UL Environment (the independent laboratory responsible for GREENGUARD Gold Certification) and certifies that the product meets the highest world standards for low emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Indoor volleyball flooring: the difference between fixed and removable solutions

Both PVC and vulcanized rubber sports flooring can be installed by gluing the surface on a floor foundation (fixed solution), or they can be installed using adhesive tape (removable solution), depending on whether a temporary solution is desired or not.

Following are the main differences between fixed and removable flooring to help with understanding which is the best choice per the facility’s intended use.

Removable flooring

Removable surfaces are widespread in multipurpose sports halls intended to host high-level sporting events and non-sporting events (concerts, public performances, etc.).This type of solution allows a facility to have top-quality flooring that can be dismantled and stored without damaging it to allocate space for other events.

The removable flooring for indoor volleyball courts can be laid both on a wooden substrate as well as directly on the floor foundation. At the time of installation, the surface, which comes in rolls, is not glued to the substrate, but adhered with a special adhesive tape that allows the surface to be removed once use is complete.

After the event or the competition, the flooring can be dismantled and stored for future use.

Permanent flooring

Permanent indoor flooring is the most used solution in schools, and multisport and amateur facilities, or in structures dedicated mainly to sports use.

These are prefabricated synthetic surfaces (PVC or vulcanized rubber) whose installation requires being laid and glued directly to the floor foundation or on a waterproofing and stabilizing membrane. In both cases, the flooring will be fixed and cannot be removed except when being replaced.

The use of waterproofing membranes as a substrate insulates the flooring from the floor foundation, effectively improving its durability over time. Sports halls may have rising moisture problems, which could damage the glues used to install the flooring and the flooring itself.

Fixed solutions guarantee excellent biomechanical reactions not only for volleyball but for numerous team sports and are an excellent choice for multisport halls and multipurpose structures where the budget to purchase and maintain removable solutions is limited.

They can also be covered with special protective flooring when the space is to be used for non-sporting events.

Technical standard UNI EN 14904 “Surfaces for sports areas”

The UNI EN 14904 standard "Surfaces for sports areas - Multisport indoor surfaces - Specifications" is the European reference standard for all sports flooring for indoor facilities.

This standard was developed to indicate the performance parameters that surfaces must meet to be suitable for sports use according to their different biomechanical behaviors. For example, among these aspects are:

  • Shock absorption
  • Vertical deformation
  • Friction coefficient
  • Ball bounce
  • Load and impact resistance

In vertical deformation, i.e., the level of deformation of the surface subjected to a load, much will depend on the type of surface substrate. Depending on the vertical deformation, the EN 14904 standard classifies surfaces into 3 types:

POINT ELASTIC
This category includes PVC or synthetic rubber sports flooring where the deformation occurs at the force’s application point. These types of floorings are ideal solutions for every level of volleyball and can adapt, according to the regulations in force, to high-level competition facilities.

AREA ELASTIC
This category includes the wooden sports flooring installed on the elastic sub-bases. The surface deformation during the force application affects a larger area than the point of impact. This type of flooring is the ideal solution for basketball or for multisport facilities where volleyball is not the prevailing discipline.

COMBI ELASTIC
This category includes sports flooring that combines an area elastic sub-base with a point elastic surface finish. This kind of flooring guarantees excellent shock absorption and outstanding surface versatility.