No amount of matting will eliminate 100 percent of dirt and debris, so a proper maintenance program is essential for extending the life of gym floors. The most important part of the plan is daily dust mopping.

Mopping is critical because any debris left on the floor can act like sandpaper and scratch the finish.

“You get sweat and body oils on the floor, along with lint slough off from uniforms and clothing, and it really demands dust mopping frequency at multiple intervals throughout the day,” says Ben Uselman, president of Bruco, Inc. in Billings, Montana.

Uselman recommends using a microfiber dust mop first thing in the morning, in the afternoon, and before and after games or practices. It’s a good idea to have a dedicated dust mop for use only on the gym floor.

Between laundering, some distributors suggest vacuuming the mop heads at the end of each shift, hanging them wick down on the wall when not in use, and changing the mop heads altogether, about once a week.

In addition to daily dust mopping, custodial staff should also plan on frequent wet mopping. Though water can be harmful to floors, autoscrubbing is a common practice and safe in most cases, says Uselman.

“Our experience has been that if the floor is well-sealed and it is tight with no significant gaps, water is unlikely to penetrate into the wood,” he says. “Autoscrubbers have gotten much better and, if the floor is well-sealed, there’s no reason not to use it.”

Depending on traffic or use, janitors should autoscrub the floors one to three times a week. The key to success is outfitting the machine with a properly diluted neutral pH cleaner and a low-abrasive pad.

“Some neutral pH products have a slight amount of surfactant to help with cleaning power without stripping off layers of gym finish,” says Evan Ghen, vice president of sales/operations and managing partner at Scoles Floorshine Industries in Wall, New Jersey. “The biggest mistake we see is using a too-aggressive pad, something with higher grit than a red pad.”

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Gym Floor Mats Are First Line Of Defense
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