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Case Study: St. Mary’s High School

How Premium Maple Athletic Flooring United with Proper Installation for a Long-Lasting Gymnasium Floor

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Action Floor Systems delivers exceptional service and superior surfaces for nearly any facility. Our commitment extends from the first product selection meeting to the final stripe of game line.

A Canadian high school was determined not to make the same mistake twice: investing in a gymnasium floor that only lasted 15 years and was loaded with headaches. A wise choice was made (this time).

The Problem

Nearly 17 years ago, the school board at St. Mary’s High School in Kitchener, Ontario, thought they were doing the right thing. Agreeing to purchase a new gymnasium floor for student athletes to enjoy for decades to come. Instead, a hardwood floor that should have lasted 50 to 60 years, failed. The wood boards were breaking, splitting, cracking, and in need of constant repair.

St. Mary’s significant, six-figure investment was now a hazardous eyesore, causing much frustration. And, the pressure was mounting to make an informed flooring decision this time. An expert was needed to uncover why the floor failed and provide assurance it wouldn’t happen again. In fact, the school board was demanding long-term assurance that the new floor would perform as promised.

The Process

St. Mary’s contracted Advantage Sport, a 40-year-old provider of versatile, high-performance sports surfaces, who had local success stories to share. However, St. Mary’s wanted more than a new hardwood sports floor; an explanation was needed as to why the floor failed and what had to be done next time to ensure those failures wouldn’t happen again.

“When we examined the failed floor, we could tell a few things immediately,” says Advantage Sport Vice President of Sales, Jim Tremble. “The design was flawed, with gaps in the subfloor system, so no amount of maintenance or repairs could have saved it.”

This under-designed system also suffered from concrete slab variations,” he adds. “Concrete conditions were pretty bad: not level, peaking, pooling. We did a lot of prep work that should’ve been done initially,” he adds.

“We had to tear out the initial surface completely … next, the concrete slab had to be fixed by filling in all low areas to meet levelness requirements.”— Jim Tremble, VP of Sales of Advantage Sport

The installers of the previous flooring system failed to consider all the various stresses a gymnasium floor needs to withstand. “Of the previous floor failure, I’d say 20 percent was the concrete floor, and 80 percent was the design of the system. Just not a very durable floor system,” Tremble says.

“To begin with, we had to tear out the initial surface completely because it was not correctable,” Tremble explains. “Next, the concrete slab had to be fixed by filling in all low areas to meet levelness requirements. Pouring concrete is an art, and it’s tedious. Not a lot of people can do it properly,” he says.

It’s essential for a new hardwood surface to be installed on a proper concrete slab. It’s the foundation for a floor. If the concrete slab surface isn’t correct, the flooring cannot function at its highest performance level. Or worse, fail only 15 years after installation.

Obviously, because of past experience, St. Mary’s wanted a quality sports system that would last. And, they knew from other projects within the school system that they didn’t want an anchored system.

That’s why Advantage Sport selected ProAction Thrust from Action Floors. Tremble knew the system’s solid, consistent construction and proven performance were right for the project.

“ProAction Thrust uses a subfloor composed of natural, rubber pads for high shock absorption and two layers of plywood for dimensional stability and durability,” he explains. “It’s my favorite floor.”

“We now had a reliable slab of concrete and a subfloor we could trust,” Tremble says. “Our expert installers were able to swiftly and attentively ensure the proper process for the hardwood installation. As St. Mary’s witnessed, a properly installed sports floor should provide a quality surface that lasts a lifetime, not fifteen years,” he adds.

The Results

Ron Fenhaus, vice president of sales at Action Floors, explains the importance of preparation, from design to a proper concrete slab to installation. “We take tremendous pride in our flooring systems, yet we understand it takes a comprehensive team effort to achieve start-to-finish excellence,” Fenhaus says.

At last, St. Mary’s High School has the sports flooring they’ve always wanted. Yet, they’ve taken steps to ensure their students have reliable flooring for years to come: a 5-year warranty from Advantage Sport.

“A common warranty is one year,” explains Tremble. “Understandably, because of the previous flooring system’s failure, St. Mary’s wanted something more. Well, not only are we confident in our work, we know the ProAction Thrust system’s high quality,” he says. “We’re quite comfortable with the five years.”

Fenhaus added his opinion on the warranty. “When a partner such as Advantage Sport commits to that length of time, at least in part because of Action Floors’ quality, it inspires us. We just want to keep living up to, and exceeding, his expectations,” he adds.

“Working with Action, and Ron, is always a confidence boost,” Tremble says. “Any questions I have, I can always go back and ask him anything about any product.”

For the past year, St. Mary’s High School’s new flooring has delivered high quality, high performance, safety, and comfort. Best of all for school board members, no maintenance has been required. Wise choice, St. Mary’s.

“Working with Action, and Ron, is always a confidence boost. Any questions I have, I can always go back and ask him anything about any product.”— Jim Tremble, VP of Sales of Advantage Sport

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