Laying the Foundation
Flooring is the foundation of your club. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of the latest flooring trends that can help enhance your club’s design appeal and functionality.
At Stone Creek Club and Spa in Covington, Louisiana, the most noticeable trend is versatility — choosing flooring that can be used in a wide variety of space layouts.
“We plan our renovations and expansions with versatility and future use in mind,” said Marvin Gresse, the assistant general manager of Stone Creek Club and Spa. “We want to have the ability to change programs and member offerings as our members’ needs change. We want the flooring we select to work with the current program or equipment, but also be able to work when the need arises to change.”
In Chicago, Midtown Athletic Clubs has seen a shift in the industry from viewing flooring as purely functional to also adding to aesthetics.
“More often, clubs are considering design in addition to function,” said Brad Houx, a general manager for Midtown Athletic Clubs. “Flooring as a design element sets a foundation for the look and feel of a space. Rather than installing a basic rubber flooring, clubs are now defining spaces with materials like wood, synthetic turf or tile.”
Staying on top of flooring trends is important, but it’s even more important to consider what best meets the demands of your members and appeals to them. “Create a space that uses design elements worth talking about and that tells a story,” said Houx.
To accommodate as many of its members’ needs as possible, Stone Creek features functional yet appealing flooring surfaces. “Outdoors, we have six hard tennis courts with World Class surfacing, nine clay courts with Har Tru clay, and a modified Hydro watering system for the clay,” said Gresse. “Our pool deck and event deck space is covered with Sundeck coating.”
Once members go inside the club, they’ll encounter a healthy mix of workout areas and amenities, each with a specifically selected flooring surface.
“Our main group fitness studio has Signaflex rolled vinyl flooring,” said Gresse. “Our basketball court is a Robbins maple wood floor. The mind-body studio has a Duro Design bamboo floor laid over a Robbins bio-cushion classic bio-pad.”
The spa area, the second half of Stone Creek’s namesake, has top-notch flooring design elements as well.
“Our spa has a unique Duro Design cork wood floor in the treatment rooms,” said Gresse. “It helps with sound and has a nice textured look. We have had to update this space over time as it wears with the therapist chair and foot traffic. As a result, we’ve moved to some high-end vinyl plank for high traffic areas of the spa.”
At its newly renovated and expanded club in Chicago, Midtown Athletic Clubs employs cutting-edge design and equipment, including outstanding flooring. “We put tremendous thought into the design elements of each space, including flooring,” said Houx.
At Midtown Athletic Club in Chicago, the flooring was specifically selected in each space to survive the pounding of thousands of various workout routines, while still maintaining its looks. The second floor houses the more traditional workout spaces and equipment. One floor up, members have access to more unique fitness spaces.
“The third floor is entirely synthetic turf and establishes a true transition from the more traditional spaces on the second floor to the gritty plate loaded and sports performance spaces,” said Houx.
A word to the wise: In the excitement of choosing new flooring, it can be easy to forget about potential maintenance challenges. A variety of factors can contribute to difficult floor maintenance, from spatial constraints in your facility to the type of flooring you’re installing.
“The entire third floor of our club is synthetic turf,” said Houx. “This creates some unique cleaning challenges even traditional commercial cleaning equipment can’t always overcome. Each night we vacuum that floor with a walk-behind unit specifically designed for turf surfaces.”
It’s critical to have a qualified cleaning and maintenance team as well. “Anthony Willis, our housekeeping director, is meticulous with the care and upkeep of our floors,” said Gresse. “His team has a schedule and procedure for each type of floor that includes when and how to clean it using the chemicals and tools specified by the manufacturer.”
Moreover, it is important to make sure your staff is educated on the proper cleaning and maintenance protocols for each flooring surface. According to Gresse, consulting your flooring manufacturer is a smart practice. “You want to have a full view of how much time and effort it will take to properly care for your flooring,” said Gresse.
Midtown Athletic Clubs also pays close attention to the quality and longevity of its tennis courts. “To ensure our indoor tennis courts play as true as possible, we resurface each court yearly,” said Houx.
No matter what flooring trend you decide to invest in, ensuring it’s installed correctly is vital. “The best products from around the world can fail if installed incorrectly or without care,” said Gresse. “I vet any new products with their owner before selecting them for our club.”
In Stone Creek’s case, experience is critical for a club-vendor relationship. “We are fortunate to have a local installer that we have used for over 25 years,” said Gresse. “They are experts in their field and provide a quality install.”
In addition, any flooring purchase should take into consideration the fact that the fitness industry is constantly evolving, driven by the changing needs of club members.
“Some of the programs, classes and training space needs we may not even know about right now,” said Gresse. “They will develop and create a demand in the coming years. You need to be ready and able to adapt your clubs to new demands and needs members will expect you to deliver.”