Squash Floor: “Solid hardwood or engineered?”
Squash, like no other sport, requires a unique style of movement in a relatively small space, with two players battling to occupy the same position around the “T” in the middle of the court. This requires a safe and reliable type of squash floor. Below, the two main types of squash floors are described and also a small comparison is given to assist you when choosing the correct flooring for your court.
Solid Hardwood Squash Floor
In the 70s, massive planks made of beech and maple with a thickness of at least 22 to 25mm were used in the squash courts. This is called solid hardwood flooring, it is simply made from a solid piece of hardwood. The wood is cut straight from the tree trunk and then made into a plank of flooring by a machine. The majority of solid wood flooring comes with the traditional tongue and groove fitting profile. Solid wood flooring is nailed or stapled down, it is rarely installed on a floating basis. It is known for its endurance, and can be sanded down and refinished multiple times during its lifetime – you must have heard this many times from the floor producers, right? But is this really correct? Please read on.
Engineered Squash Floor
The top layer of the multi-layer sports parquet is made of wood, either maple, oak or ash. Cross layering makes this floor elastic in every direction and no longer as sensitive to humidity. The new elasticity of the whole squash floor construction makes for a lower impact on the player´s joints and muscles. This new floor structure makes the ASB SportsFloor a long-life floor. The floor’s sub-construction is flexible and prevents any breaking through of the upper layer. The whole layer is bedded on rubber pads in intervals of 50cm.
The floor is anti-slip due to its special open pored impregnation and its rough sanding. This structure helps to absorb unwanted liquid such as sweat. The squash floor surface therefore has more grip. Any “creaking” is prevented by a foil between the sports parquet and the counter floor/substructure. Engineered wood can be sanded several times throughout the life of the floor. If you are worried about moisture, humidity, temperature or (and this should be a main task) you are thinking about the players’ health, engineered flooring is the way to go. Its layered construction provides stability against changes of the conditions incl. humidity etc.
And the winner for squash is?
Please allow us to focus on the most important attributes of squash floors which leads us to the following conclusions:
|Engineered Squash Flooring||Hardwood Squash Flooring|
|Elasticity and shock absorption||Designed as area elastic – flexible with a wide area of deformation, therefore HEALTHY||Low elasticity as the planks come in one piece. Permanent use is applying too much pressure on joints and muscles|
|Resistance to humidity and moisture||Engineered floor is more resistant towards humidity/conditions changes due to more layers and smaller element size||Risk of swelling and permanent sports floor damage in case of humidity changes in the court area|
|Sweat absorption||Considerably higher thanks to the structure of the upper layer||The structure of the wood plank does not allow the sweat to absorb and therefore causing the risk of slipping|
|Surface uniformity||Uniform surface with NO GAPS||Gaps are to be expected in solid floors, caused by swelling and shrinking|
|Sanding||Top layer can be sanded several times, renovation needed about once in a decade. Requires only a very gentle surface sanding||Biggest myth is that solid floors can be sanded by far more often than engineered floors. Solid floors need deeper sanding when renovating and sanding is limited only down to the tongue and groove joint of the planks|
Out latest flooring innovation is the ASB GlassFloor.