This is the third part of a four-part article about a partnership between the birthplace of college basketball and the founders of gym floor finish.

For help with the damaged floor, Kiger turned to his distributor sales rep, Bill Allen, territory manager for Fagan Sanitary Supply in West Elizabeth, Pennsylvania. Allen recommended the services of Sports Floors Inc., Koppel, Pennsylvania, to start rebuilding the gym floor.

Since the water damage seeped into the subsurface, the entire floor had to be removed. The team at Sports Floors used skid-steer loaders to remove the wood floor to access the damp concrete surface below.

Fans were needed to completely dry the concrete before nailing in new maple hardwood. With the new floor in place, workers began sanding using two large, 12-inch-wide riding drum sanders.

Sanding readied the floor to receive the floor care chemicals. First up were two coats of an oil-modified sealer. Following each coat, the floor was allowed to dry overnight, and then workers abraded it with a 150-grit screen.

After the seal coats dried, the new gym floor was painted with its court lines, logos, lettering and graphics. Once the paint dried, workers abraded the floor again, but now with a finer, 220-grit screen before applying two finish coats.

Once again, an oil-based product was used. Everyone involved on the project preferred using an oil-modified finish over a water-based product since it was a new floor. Fresh wood still has a lot of life, or movement, in it.

“Think about wooden doors in an older home — they stick in the summer and in the winter flow freely,” says Brent Kelosky, president of Sports Floors. “That’s because the wood is expanding and contracting with the gain and loss of moisture. Wood athletic flooring is no different.”

Oil-modified finishes allow the wood to still move. Water-based finishes have a tendency to restrict the wood.

“Using water-based finishes essentially glue the flooring boards together, resulting in a problem known as panelization, where the floor moves in big chunks,” says Kelosky.

To put down the finish at Geneva College, workers used a T-bar in a “snowplow effect,” where the chemical is poured in a line and a worker drags the bar up and down the floor, pulling the finish into dry areas, says Kelosky. One gallon of finish typically covers 500 square feet of gym floor. As with the sealing process, workers abraded the floor in between the two finish coats.

From a cosmetic viewpoint, using an oil-modified finish adds a little richness to the floor because it gives it a slight ambering.
“If you start with a water-based [product] right off the bat, there’s more of a blond, almost fake look,” says Allen.

previous page of this article:
The Birthplace Of College Basketball And The Founders Of Gym Floor Finish
next page of this article:
How To Maintain A Gym Floor For The Ages