Why Hard Maple is the Best Choice for Gym Floors

It’s that time of the year when students empty out hallways and classrooms and give those gym floors (and teachers) a much-needed break. Whether you wish to replace a gym floor or install a brand new one, we have some practical advice to get you to the finish line with minimal friction.

The Gym Difference

Sports floors suffer from a lot more wear and tear than residential or commercial floors and require special consideration. During peak times, gyms can be used for as long as 16 hours a day for physical activities ranging from basketball to volleyball to dance. Any sports floor you choose has to check off boxes for versatility, shock absorption, ideal ball bounce, resilience and more.

Why Hard Maple?

When you take durability, aesthetics and performance into account, it’s no surprise that maple flooring is the industry standard for gyms. This species accounts for more than 70% of sports floors in the U.S., and of those, Northern hard maple is the most popular choice. In fact, according to the Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association (MFMA), the authoritative voice on sports floor installation and maintenance, Northern hard maple is sometimes called “nature’s perfect flooring surface”.

Durability and Stability

With a Janka hardness rating of 1450, maple is a highly durable, dense wood and is dent resistant. Although hickory has a higher hardness rating, it’s not nearly as stable as maple and is more likely to expand and contract, which could result in cracks.

Performance and Comfort

Maple floors offer high shock resistance and resilience, which provides optimal amount of bounce for the ball and cushion for athletes’ joints and feet. The right finish can also help to enhance shoe traction and grip.


Maple has a light, uniform look with a smooth grain texture. Its consistent appearance makes it ideal for painting lines and logos. Most maple used in gym flooring is second and better grade as it is the most widely available and easiest to source. MFMA provides these visual examples of first, second and better, and third grade maple.


No matter which grade of hard maple you choose, you can be sure that you’re getting flooring that will deliver deliver both on looks and performance. Most gym floors will stand up to about a year of daily use before they need to be recoated. With proper maintenance and care, your sports floor can last up to a 100 years and should only be resanded, resealed and recoated once every 10 years.

If you need to install or update a gym floor, give us a call. The flooring experts at Macon Hardwood are always ready to help you select the best hardwood floor for your needs and budget.