Despite all the attention you give to your lobby design, front desk staff and check-in process, an often unavoidable first impression will be made by your floors. To elevate prospective and current members’ perceptions of your club and create a safer, cleaner environment, flooring maintenance is critical.
“When a member or guest comes into your club, most likely one of the first things they look at is the flooring,” said Mike Alpert, the CEO of The Claremont Club in Claremont, California. “If it is dirty or worn, it will set the perception of what their experience is going to be.”
Nothing creates a negative perception for a member quicker than seeing their favorite area of the club roped off while flooring repairs are being done. However, there’s an easy fix: a steady schedule of flooring maintenance and cleaning.
“We attempt to make the customer experience at our club as frictionless as possible,” said John Peoples, the general manager of Hockessin Athletic Club in Hockessin, Delaware. “So maintenance must be done on a consistent basis. Areas of the club that are put out of service for floor replacement or repair due to neglected or deferred maintenance causes member frustration and dissatisfaction.”
Member satisfaction is also a strong motivation for consistent and comprehensive floor maintenance at West Wood Clubs in Ireland. “Members have high expectations of us,” said Conor Caulfield, the general manager of the brand’s Leopardstown location. “Maintenance and cleaning standards are extremely important. We utilize an online member feedback portal, and these areas are identified as a major contributing factor in member satisfaction.”
Due to the importance of flooring quality in enhancing the member experience, following are insights from four facilities on how they prioritize and diligently practice flooring maintenance.
The Claremont Club prioritizes the member experience. As a result, it prioritizes maintaining and extending the life of its flooring as well.
“Flooring does not last forever, but what you want to do is extend the lifetime of your flooring,” said Alpert. “There are health issues that can be caused by flooring that is not maintained well, such as allergic reactions to dust and certain cleaning products. And poorly maintained flooring loses its longevity and vibrancy.”
Here, Alpert shares his best practices for specific flooring types and general maintenance tips:
Wood floors. “Wood flooring can be cleaned easily using Bona, a recognized cleaning product for all types of wood flooring. It does not clog the pores of the wood and it takes out scuff marks.”
Rubber floors. “For rubber flooring, there are a couple of products — Diversey Profi Floor Cleaner and Ecore E-Cleaner — that work well. One thing to be aware of with rubber is to keep the PH at seven, just like in pools.”
Turf floors. “Think blood, sweat and tears with turf — all are found from time to time in turf flooring. The best way to clean turf is via hot water extracting (steam cleaning) with a cylinder brush and bar.”
Porcelain floors. “Porcelain tile is extremely resilient and can handle the volume of traffic flow. It is also very easy to maintain. We just put this in our club and it is really fantastic.”
West Wood Clubs focuses on three factors when choosing its flooring types: safety, aesthetics and functionality. Each fitness area uses a different flooring type, which requires a variety of maintenance procedures.
“At West Wood Clubs, we use differing types of flooring depending on the function of each specific area,” said Caulfield. “To guarantee flooring lasts a lifetime, our most important considerations are: What will the area be used for? Is the flooring fit for purpose?”
Below, Caulfield shares his clubs’ best practices:
Turf floors. “Turf flooring is typically designed to acquire a high level of resistance, grip and comfort, and requires very little upkeep. Turf’s polyethylene fibers assist with impact resistance, while the polyurethane surface provides high resistance to general wear and tear, and abrasion.”
Laminate floors. “Laminate flooring has many advantages. But your choice should always be fit for purpose. Our mind-body studios all have hardwood laminate flooring, which is perfect, as it is resistant to impact, scratching and water. The tight packing of the flooring does not allow for a build-up of dirt, and therefore needs little maintenance and cleaning. Generally, these types of flooring also have fire-resistant properties due to their multi-layer structure.”
Rubber floors. “Rubber flooring is extremely easy to install, is long lasting because it’s resistant to large amounts of wear and tear, and most rubber flooring options are antimicrobial — they do not allow for the growth of mold or mildew. Most importantly, rubber flooring does not absorb water, allowing for an efficient cleaning time, as the flooring only requires surface dry time. In our Fitness by Light studios, we use PAVIGYM Extreme flooring. PAVIGYM flooring is highly resistant to wear and tear, acts as a shock absorber, and incorporates noise reducing properties. It’s perfect in an environment where heavy weight training is the norm.”
Slip resistant floors. “Slip resistant flooring is extremely important for health and safety. The majority of our flooring in wet areas — changing facilities, spa area and swimming pool area — is slip resistant. For ‘anti-slip’ maintenance in our wet areas, our tiled floors are regularly treated and maintained with Grip Kleen. This industrial-grade cleaning agent uses a powerful bifluoride penetrant, which dissolves the surface’s upper layer of built up dirt, restoring the tile back to its resistant state.”
Elite Sports Clubs recently installed a two-part flooring system into its multi-purpose room called “The Quad” at its River Glen Elite location. According to Greg Bowler, the club’s general manager, the space is used by hundreds of members per week.
Here, he shares how maintenance has been made easy by making the right flooring choices for the facility:
Urethane surface: “Our multi-purpose area is made up of a urethane surface that’s durable, versatile and reliable — and on top of that, it looks good. This flooring is designed to provide performance characteristics for all athletic abilities with the right mix of durability and robustness. Its design makes it easy and inexpensive to maintain. Each day we use a T5 floor scrubber with water, bringing back the flooring to its original finish.”
Turf: “If the urethane surface isn’t enough, our members have a choice of utilizing our AT740 turf. This non-rubber, in-filled turf has a high durability rating. The non-rubber surface makes maintenance a breeze. Vacuum for any debris or wipe away liquid with a towel.”
Hockessin Athletic Club sees a lot of traffic from youth and families, so the safety and maintenance of its flooring is extra important.
“We have an off-hours night crew whose primary responsibility is floor maintenance,” explained Peoples. “All floors are given a surface cleaning at least once a day, depending on use. According to the condition of the surface, additional attention is given on a quarterly or annual basis.”
Here, Peoples shares how Hockessin practices quarterly and annual cleaning and maintenance regimens for its floors:
Wood floors. “Our hardwood floors are sanded and given a new coat of polyurethane annually.”
Rubber floors. “If the rubber floor is designed to have a sealer, a fresh coat is applied quarterly. We have rubber flooring in our shower areas that is disinfected daily.”
Vinyl floors. “In our childcare and preschool rooms, the vinyl tile is stripped and a new coat of sealer is applied annually.”