Versatile flooring over concrete

J MacDonald

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I am looking for a new location for my club and am most likely to lease out an industrial bay. The ones I am looking at all have clean, level bare concrete floors (about 2000 square feet). This will need some kind of flooring/surface/mats, but I have some complicated requirements so please bare with me.

Situation:
This is not a full time club/dojo for me. I plan on leasing the space and using it for my own club a few times a week and renting out the space to a few reliable groups for their own use to make more use of the space and help me cover the rent.
My arts: kenjutsu, iaido, aikido, etc. We like a very clean floor and mats for rolling, break falls, ground work
My potential partner's arts: HEMA - steel long swords, sparring with swords, wearing shoes (indoor shoes),
Potential others: dance, yoga, karate, BJJ, etc

In my head I would like a simple plain firm floor that is suitable barefoot, or shoe-ed activities like dance, karate etc. Something that is easy to sweep, mop and keep clean. For aikido/judo type stuff I am thinking of having some of the Dollamur flexi-roll mats that can just be rolled out on top and then rolled back up and stored.

My general questions are:
1. Is that feasible and practical.
2. What kind of flooring (sub-flooring) should I look at? For example, could I simply cover the bare concrete with some quarter inch rubber mats and then cover that with some linoleum or vinyl sheet or tiles? Or is there way more to it?

Note that I am not looking to make a sprung floor right now, but would like to do that at some point in the future.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts, questions and feedback.
 

dvcochran

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I have worked out on Flexi-roll taped Dollamur mats in wrestling. They are good, durable mats. Our college mats were the 18' wide style, so the seams were not a big deal. But they are a handful to roll up and you would have to store them laying down.
I do not remember working out on the flexi-connect but it should make setup/takedown faster. My concern would be how long the Velcro lasts. I do not know how big of a deal a seam or a gap would be for you.

We have been using 3' x 3' x 1" interlocking mats from Rubber Flooring Inc. with good success. They are left in place so the setup time may be longer than you can tolerate (depending on area, time, etc...). The only issue we have had is expansion/contraction on top of unheated concrete. We had to pull the perimeter pieces up a couple of times and trim them.

What size padder area will you need?
 

jks9199

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You might look into a simple epoxy base floor. You can supplement that with other mats as appropriate, like basic modern "tatami" panels or standard panel-lite gymnastic mats or the Dollamur mats you've already got in mind.

The epoxy floors are even things that can be DIYed. Given your general purpose, you're just looking to provide something other than bare concrete -- so I wouldn't put any grit in for traction.
 

bushido

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I would think that your expectations may outweigh the reality of what is available to you if you want to cover the complete floor in mats...
- Ideally, I would go with an Olympic style wrestling mat. But, the covering on these are not suitable for hard objects, and definitely not swords, lol...
-Judo mats, the 2" thick "blue" folding mats you find in most MA clubs maybe. You fold them up and hang them on the wall when not in use. If you only lay out what you need for the class, you could make them work fine.
-Tatami mats... out of the three, these might be your best option... They will be hard to clean if you are wearing street shoes on them, but, if all students wore a light gym shoe on the mats, that would take care of that problem... they could stand up to the occasional sword tip etc... Maybe something to look at.
 

Buka

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We opened a 6,000 sq ft dojo back in the day, 4,000 feet of it was training areas. One of our guys worked for a carpet company. We bought 4,000 feet of indoor/outdoor carpet, thick, heavy grade. We got it for just over wholesale price.

We drilled standup fighting on it forever, it lasted forty years. Might still be there now, not sure. We also had some mats for grappling.

One of my instructors had a dojo a few towns over. When he opened it he framed the training area with two by fours. Then he bought 8 by 4 sheets of some kind of styrofoam from a building supply place. Glued them to the concrete.

Then carpeted over it with fairly inexpensive carpet. It was a great floor to train on.
 

Steve

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I am looking for a new location for my club and am most likely to lease out an industrial bay. The ones I am looking at all have clean, level bare concrete floors (about 2000 square feet). This will need some kind of flooring/surface/mats, but I have some complicated requirements so please bare with me.

Situation:
This is not a full time club/dojo for me. I plan on leasing the space and using it for my own club a few times a week and renting out the space to a few reliable groups for their own use to make more use of the space and help me cover the rent.
My arts: kenjutsu, iaido, aikido, etc. We like a very clean floor and mats for rolling, break falls, ground work
My potential partner's arts: HEMA - steel long swords, sparring with swords, wearing shoes (indoor shoes),
Potential others: dance, yoga, karate, BJJ, etc

In my head I would like a simple plain firm floor that is suitable barefoot, or shoe-ed activities like dance, karate etc. Something that is easy to sweep, mop and keep clean. For aikido/judo type stuff I am thinking of having some of the Dollamur flexi-roll mats that can just be rolled out on top and then rolled back up and stored.

My general questions are:
1. Is that feasible and practical.
2. What kind of flooring (sub-flooring) should I look at? For example, could I simply cover the bare concrete with some quarter inch rubber mats and then cover that with some linoleum or vinyl sheet or tiles? Or is there way more to it?

Note that I am not looking to make a sprung floor right now, but would like to do that at some point in the future.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts, questions and feedback.
If you want it to be durable, epoxy and just polished concrete are about as good as you can get.

If the concrete is flat, you can do commercial vinyl. We see this a lot around here in grocery stores and restaurants. Looks great and feels warmer than the polished concrete.

Not sure what you want for durability, but I think most commercial vinyl has a 25 year warranty on materials, and it can be put right over the concrete as long as the concrete is flat, level, and doesn't have any gaping holes in it. Sheet vinyl is also probably the least expensive option, though I wouldn't take my word for it and hope you do your own market research.
 

hoshin1600

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If you want it to be durable, epoxy and just polished concrete are about as good as you can get.

If the concrete is flat, you can do commercial vinyl. We see this a lot around here in grocery stores and restaurants. Looks great and feels warmer than the polished concrete.

Not sure what you want for durability, but I think most commercial vinyl has a 25 year warranty on materials, and it can be put right over the concrete as long as the concrete is flat, level, and doesn't have any gaping holes in it. Sheet vinyl is also probably the least expensive option, though I wouldn't take my word for it and hope you do your own market research.
When you say commercial vinyl do you mean VCT tile that comes in 1 ft squares? The tile is relatively inexpensive. I would never use sheet vinyl for anything, anywhere. One tear and you end up replacing the whole floor.
 

Steve

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When you say commercial vinyl do you mean VCT tile that comes in 1 ft squares? The tile is relatively inexpensive. I would never use sheet vinyl for anything, anywhere. One tear and you end up replacing the whole floor.
You may be right. What I have in mind is the stuff they use in grocery stores and such. Its sheets and seems to wear like iron. Ive seen it in different patterns and is made for high traffic.
 

dvcochran

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When you say commercial vinyl do you mean VCT tile that comes in 1 ft squares? The tile is relatively inexpensive. I would never use sheet vinyl for anything, anywhere. One tear and you end up replacing the whole floor.
Sheet vinyl can be a cheap underlayment over concrete as long as something was always over it. In the OP's scenario where the padding is being removed, I would not use sheeting.
Costlier than the 12"x12" glue down squares, I really like vinyl plank flooring. About 1/4" thick, it gives a great moisture barrier (with foam backing) and a little padding to concrete. Very durable. I would estimate comparable to a finished wood floor (gym) for traction. I cannot say for certain, but a person may be able to get by with a slightly thinner mat and save a little money plus have a better finished product.
 

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Just a word of warning. I put wrestling mats directly on concrete and after a few years the side that was against the concrete mildewed and molded. It was a complete loss, we had to put the mats in a landfill. If I did it again I would frame up a sub-floor, insulate it, then carpet it with carpet padding, and then put mats on it.
 

dvcochran

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Just a word of warning. I put wrestling mats directly on concrete and after a few years the side that was against the concrete mildewed and molded. It was a complete loss, we had to put the mats in a landfill. If I did it again I would frame up a sub-floor, insulate it, then carpet it with carpet padding, and then put mats on it.
Just curious, were the walls block? Were the concrete/walls sealed? On an unheated concrete floor sweating always seems to be a problem.
 

Oily Dragon

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Just an off thought, you might want to consider looking into past use of the bay. Those records should be public.

I once stored a ton of kung fu school gear there only to find out later part of the site had been flagged by the EPA for toxic chemical waste. You don't want that, especially if the concrete isn't sealed, and most especially if you're going to be kicking up dust (containing lead, mercury, uranium...).
 

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Just curious, were the walls block? Were the concrete/walls sealed? On an unheated concrete floor sweating always seems to be a problem.
Block walls up to waist level, unsealed. The rest of the wall was stick frame construction. Yeah the space was unheated.
 

lklawson

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Just a word of warning. I put wrestling mats directly on concrete and after a few years the side that was against the concrete mildewed and molded. It was a complete loss, we had to put the mats in a landfill. If I did it again I would frame up a sub-floor, insulate it, then carpet it with carpet padding, and then put mats on it.
Many mats you can buy now are anti-fungal pre-treated. And I suppose it wouldn't hurt to roll them up once in a while and bleach or use an anti-fungal spray on the underside.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

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Many mats you can buy now are anti-fungal pre-treated. And I suppose it wouldn't hurt to roll them up once in a while and bleach or use an anti-fungal spray on the underside.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
No doubt. My mistake was buying wrestling mats, in future I will always buy something that can be folded or rolled up with relative ease.
 

dvcochran

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Many mats you can buy now are anti-fungal pre-treated. And I suppose it wouldn't hurt to roll them up once in a while and bleach or use an anti-fungal spray on the underside.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
True. But keep just about anything soaked in stagnant water enough and it is going to mold. Think of something with a solid surface like a boat. They still (attract) mold even when in moving water for any length of time.
Concrete sweats about as bad an any surface I can think of if it is not maintained at a consistent temperature.
 

jks9199

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True. But keep just about anything soaked in stagnant water enough and it is going to mold. Think of something with a solid surface like a boat. They still (attract) mold even when in moving water for any length of time.
Concrete sweats about as bad an any surface I can think of if it is not maintained at a consistent temperature.
Concrete is actually porous; that's one reason why you don't want to put structural wood in direct contact with it.
 
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J MacDonald

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What size padder area will you need?

training area is about 2000 sqft. It would be nice to be able to have all of it covered in mats, but not necessary for most of my classes.
1 inch rubber mats seem pretty thick to me. I imagine that would be the kind of rubber mat you would use in a weight lifting gym. What are they like on bare feet?
 
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J MacDonald

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I would think that your expectations may outweigh the reality of what is available to you if you want to cover the complete floor in mats...
- Ideally, I would go with an Olympic style wrestling mat. But, the covering on these are not suitable for hard objects, and definitely not swords, lol...
-Judo mats, the 2" thick "blue" folding mats you find in most MA clubs maybe. You fold them up and hang them on the wall when not in use. If you only lay out what you need for the class, you could make them work fine.
-Tatami mats... out of the three, these might be your best option... They will be hard to clean if you are wearing street shoes on them, but, if all students wore a light gym shoe on the mats, that would take care of that problem... they could stand up to the occasional sword tip etc... Maybe something to look at.

Yes tatami mats are ideal, but I think my requirements for cleanliness and my fear of damage from HEMA training would make permanent tatami mats untenable I think. This is why I was thinking to have the roll out dollamar mats. But maybe the set up is not as easy and quick as I think.
 
OP
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J MacDonald

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If you want it to be durable, epoxy and just polished concrete are about as good as you can get.

If the concrete is flat, you can do commercial vinyl. We see this a lot around here in grocery stores and restaurants. Looks great and feels warmer than the polished concrete.

Not sure what you want for durability, but I think most commercial vinyl has a 25 year warranty on materials, and it can be put right over the concrete as long as the concrete is flat, level, and doesn't have any gaping holes in it. Sheet vinyl is also probably the least expensive option, though I wouldn't take my word for it and hope you do your own market research.
Thanks! That might be a good option. Do you think I could first put some 1/4 inch rubber under the vinyl to provide a little give?
 

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