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Types of Sports Flooring

Feb. 14, 2023

What sports flooring is best for you? To answer that question, you need to understand how sports flooring works, and the different types available to you.


Resilient. Sprung. Cushioned. Supple. Flexible. Elastic. Absorbing. No matter what term you use, they all mean "to spring back into its initial shape after bending, stretching or being compressed", all highly desirable features when looking for a sports floor. It is fair to say that these floors are engineered first and foremost for safety and high performance in sports or athletic settings. However, these flooring systems also work well for recreational sports activities and competitive sports, but can even welcome many other applications.


In the field of floor covering, there are many types of materials that are made to flex under a load and to recover quickly afterwards. They are mainly sought after due to their capacity to absorb shocks and for the much needed softness provided during physical activities. These surfacing products contribute to your body's health and safety by cushioning your movements, therefore reducing stress from force impact on your joints.


PVC flooring

Indoor PVC/Vinyl Basketball Sports Flooring

PVC/Vinyl flooring that is engineered for sports activities commonly integrates a cushioning foam sub layer in its configuration. Few people realize that this foam's dense cellular structure also offers acoustic properties by allowing a reduction of ambient noise, and this feature is especially useful in large spaces. This layer also provides the necessary flexibility and cushioning for greater shock absorption and it ensures natural ball bounce levels. Besides, PVC flooring comes in many different thicknesses in order to complement different activities and to comply with many requirements. Even today, the flexible covering material remains the most effective for shock absorption performance per millimeter of thickness.

Rubber sports flooring

The properties of rubber are naturally elastic, which ensures its capacity to absorb shocks. This material is also extremely tough, making it more resistant to vibrations, abrasion, and tearing. Its extreme strength also allows it to also withstand repetitive force impact, such as when dropping weights and dumbbells. The durability factor explains why this surface is generally preferred in fitness centres and arenas.

What you care about: 

1. The difference between PVC and a rubber sports flooring


ㆍHarder than rubber



ㆍSuited to court games

PVC is short for polyvinyl chloride, a synthetic plastic polymer. You may be confused because this is the same material used to make plastic pipes by name. However, PVC flooring is a flexible variant of the plastic that mimics rubber. Flexible polyvinyl-chloride is made using a range of elastomers to make it flexible.

PVC sports flooring offers excellent performance for sports surfaces in gyms and halls. It feels hard underfoot but absorbs impacts very well. When paired with a soft underlay, it's suitable for functional fitness zones and sports halls.


ㆍSofter than PVC

ㆍShock absorbing

ㆍNoise insulating

ㆍSuited to lifting zones

There are two types of rubber: natural and synthetic. Rubber sports hall flooring is made from a synthetic rubber called EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer). EPDM is made from ethylene, propylene, and a diene comonomer. These components are vulcanised with heat and pressed to form rubber sheets.

EPDM rubber sports flooring is softer and less stiff than PVC. This makes it a better choice for free weight and power lifting zones in a gym. EPDM is used to make rubber rolls, rubber floor tiles and interlocking rubber floor tiles.

2. PVC VS rubber, which sports flooring is right for you?

PVC sports flooring

Sports halls are best-served by a hard material. PVC fits the bill better than rubber. It's stiffer, harder and suitable for ball games. You can play basketball, netball or badminton on a PVC sports hall floor with no problem.

When your sports hall transitions to free weight areas, that is the time to use rubber flooring. Rubber is softer and thicker than PVC, so it protects the subfloor a lot better. Heavy weights dropped on a rubber floor will do no damage.

Overall, the choice between PVC and rubber sports flooring depends on a variety of factors, including the specific activity, budget, and desired level of durability and shock absorption.

Hardwood and engineered wood surfaces

In order to provide cushioning and flexible properties, these wood floor systems function quite differently. They generally integrate subfloor shock pads under their plywood sub-structure or foam strips directly under the planks of wood. However, this type of resiliency is very different from many other surfacing products because the flexibility is more widespread over a larger area rather than limited to a concentrated local compression or impact. Nevertheless, wood remains the most sought after option due to its classic look and feel.


Pad & poured polyurethane system

Before pouring a polyurethane top layer, a recycled rubber shock pad must first be installed on the subfloor. This rubber layer provides the cushioning effect and shock absorbing factors, the two essential aspects that are much needed in any athletic floor covering system. Since the surface includes a layer that is made of rubber, as opposed to foam, this type of flooring can generally offer some shock absorption, but stands out by its capacity to excel at handling heavier loads.


In conclusion, it is important to note that floor coverings engineered for sports and athletic needs can, depending on their thickness, also support other recreational or leisure activities. So make sure to stay informed about the resiliency performance of each sports surface, as this study will help to determine which one is best for your project. We are a PVC sports flooring manufacturer. If you are interested in our products, please contact us now!

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