Gym Floor Finish PeelingDecember 2, 2013
Gym floor finish peeling in a very moderate form, occasionally occurs in new maple installations that experience large swings in temperture levels and is often seen over the painted areas of the gym floor. Gym floor finish peeling can be a result of expansion and contraction of the floor system due to season changes. In older flooring systems the finish sometimes breaks at the seams of the boards.
During the first heating season, a new maple floor will typically contract more than in subsequent years under the same environmental conditions. Assuming drier than average conditions exist in a facility during the first heating season, above-average shrinkage may result in some paint fracture over maple joints and subsequent peeling or chipping of surface finish in these areas, regardless of the application methods used with the floor sealer, game marking paint and finish. With the use of tape or decals, floor finish may experience similar conditions.
Maple flooring adjusts to its environment over its lifetime. Typically, the most expansion/contraction is experienced in the first 18-24 months of a floor life. Its recommended to maintaining indoor relative humidities between 35 percent and 50 percent, and air temperatures between 55 degrees and 75 degrees year-round.
By limiting wide swings in atmospheric conditions inside the facility, flooring owners and facility managers can reduce the expansion and contraction of the flooring system. If flooring materials are properly acclimated, a 15 percent fluctuation in indoor relative humidity will not adversely affect the maple. Excessive shrinkage and/or expansion may occur with indoor relative humidity variations in excess of 15 percent.
In buildings where air conditioning or humidification/dehumidification equipment is not available, many facility managers make use of circulating or venting fans. Other facilities have vent windows or corridor doors available to open as needed to improve air circulation. Facilities without adequate HVAC equipment to regulate the indoor atmosphere, or those facilities that are “closed up” with no ventilation for long periods of time (summer breaks) are more likely to develop flooring problems directly related to environment. Floor finish peeling and/or chipping as a result of expansion/contraction cycles can be minimized by carefully monitoring and adjusting the indoor environment in the facility, particularly during the first year after installation.
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*Pictured below is an area where the gym floor finish peeling occured due to gym floor tape. Never place any kind of tape on a gym floor, it will most likely remove the top layers of finish when removed.