Vinyl vs Hardwood: What’s the difference?

Vinyl sports flooring and hardwood sports flooring have a lot in common. However, there are some distinct differences between the two that are important to note when selecting your gymnasium’s floor. The biggest contrasts between the two products are in cost, durability, customizability, and tradition. These four factors are the most important to consider when looking at vinyl vs hardwood. 

Sports Floor Costs: 

Sports vinyl is a much smaller initial investment than hardwood. Its cost per square foot and installation costs are typically cheaper than a hardwood court. One of the biggest appeals of sports vinyl is its ability to mimic the aesthetic of a traditional hardwood court, but at a lower price. With that being said, it’s important to note that the cost of each floor over the course of its lifespan eventually approaches equal when resurfacing and replacement are factored in. This brings us to the next factor to consider:

Durability for Sports and Activities:

Many consider maple hardwood courts to be more durable than their vinyl counterparts. A well cared-for hardwood sports floor has the ability to last 40-50 years before it needs replacement. You must clean hardwood courts frequently and resurface them when needed in order to reach this potential. Sports vinyl doesn’t require resurfacing like a hardwood court does, but still needs upkeep on a regular basis. Vinyl sports floors last up to 20 years when they’re taken care of. Its shorter lifespan makes sense when you consider its lower costs. 

Floor Customizability: 

If you’re reading this blog, then you’ve probably watched NBA or NCAA basketball before. You’ve seen the incredible designs they put on hardwood courts. Vinyl and hardwood share this customizable ability and both are able to maintain sharp, unique logo designs and colors. The biggest difference between the two in this category is that hardwood colors must be painted onto the floor while vinyl is able to be colored during the manufacturing process. This is another factor that allows the pricing of a vinyl installation to be lower initially. This difference influences the decision-making process for many who want to customize their floor. 

Sports Flooring Tradition:

The biggest difference in the argument of hardwood vs vinyl is the tradition of sports floors that goes back decades. Hardwood has been the traditional standard for basketball for almost as long as the sport has been played. Every NBA franchise uses rock maple hardwood for their floors, with the exception of the Boston Celtics, who use red oak. Vinyl struggles to compete with hardwood’s traditional appeal because it’s relatively new on the sports flooring market. Abacus and Tarkett Sports are looking to create a new tradition for sports vinyl when we sponsor the annual St. James Invitational Tournament at the end of January 2020. This will be the first national high school basketball tournament on Tarkett’s Omnisports vinyl flooring

Keep these differences in mind if you’re choosing between sports vinyl and hardwood for your gymnasium. Both are excellent options, and whichever you choose will be an excellent surface for your athletes to train and play on for years.