Thursday, December 24, 2015

Guide to Specialty Flooring Terminology

Specialty flooring includes such a broad array of materials and applications that it is easy to get confused or overwhelm by all of the terminology and technical jargon. That's why Greatmats has put together this easy guide to specialty flooring terminology. We sure hope its helpful. Enjoy! (This guide can also be found at

Aerobic - form of exercise that improves involves oxygen and improves efficiency of body’s cardiovascular system

Aikido - Japanese Martial Art for self defense, redirecting momentum of attack and finishing with a throw or joint lock

ASTM - American Society for Testing and Materials

ADA - Americans with Disabilities Act

Animal floor - flooring designed for use where animals such as dogs are horses will spend long period of time standing, playing or training

Anti-fatigue - prevention of weariness from bodily exertion

Anti-Static - preventing buildup or reducing effects of static electricity

Artificial Grass Turf - synthetic fibers made to look like natural grass

Ballistic - relating to projectiles

BJJ - Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a martial art derived from Japanese Judo and Jujutsu that focuses on grappling and ground fighting

Bump Top - surface texture with a pattern of bulges

Carpet tiles - modular or temporary sections of carpet that can be used in conjunction with each other

Cheer mats - mats intended for use in cheerleading training and competition

Closed cell foam - foam with individual pores that do not connect

Color fleck - small pieces of color mixed into an otherwise black material

Commercial flooring - professional grade flooring for areas of heavy use

Conductive (static) - allowing electricity to pass through it

Cork flooring - flooring made from the outer bark of the cork oak tree

Court flooring - flooring intended sports such as basketball, volleyball or tennis

Critical fall height - maximum height from which a fall would not be expected to cause a life threatening head injury

Cross fit/cross fitness - a strength and conditioning exercise program which includes an expansive variety of movements

Cross-linked polyethylene foam (XLPE) - flexible, fine-celled closed cell foam

Dissipative (static) - slows electrical charge flow to ground

Dog agility - sport in which dogs run through obstacle courses under direction of a handler

Dojang - training hall for Korean Martial Arts

Dojo - training hall for Japanese Martial Arts

Entrance Mat - Mats usually placed by a doorway or entry intended for people to wipe their shoes on

EPA - Environmental Protection Agency

Ergonomic - providing comfort while limiting stress or injuries

Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) - sudden flow of electricity between two charged objects

Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) - type of durable synthetic rubber

Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) - closed-cell soft and flexible foam

Event flooring - aesthetic temporary flooring

Fall-height rating - maximum height for which the product passed testing for critical fall height, and life threatening head injury would not be expected

Fatigue mat - floor mats designed to encourage subtle movements and reduce weariness due to standing for long periods of time
Floor covers - material designed to cover and protect existing floors

Floor mats - a piece of fabric, rubber, foam or plastic placed on the floor and designed for foot traffic

Foam - material containing small bubbles or pores which provides cushion

Foam rubber - an air-filled spongy material made of polyurethane or latex used for cushioning

Gaga Pit - octagon shaped arena for dodgeball type game called Ga-Ga or GaGa Ball

Garage flooring - flooring designed to resist heavy weight, moisture and/or chemicals associated with automobiles

Green flooring - environmentally friendly flooring, typically made of recycled or renewable resources

Ground protection mats - a mat designed to prevent damage to turf, generally used as temporary road or walk ways

Gym mat - padding used on the floor for athletic training and competition

Gym flooring - Flooring used in areas where sports or athletic activities will take place

Home flooring - Flooring intended for use in residential areas, typically smaller areas than commercial settings

Horse stall mats - mats intended for horse barns to ease fatigue on horses

Incline wedge mat - triangular shaped cushion for gymnastics training, also known as wedge mat, cheese mat or wedge cheese mat

Industrial flooring - Flooring in areas of manufacturing, storage, workshops and similar spaces

Interlocking - connecting together by overlapping or fitting together of projections and recesses

Judo - Japanese unarmed martial art using holds and leverage to unbalance an opponent

Jiu Jitsu (Jujutsu)  - Japanese martial art for close-range combat

Karate - Japanese striking martial art using punches, kicks and blocks to pressure sensitive points on the body of opponents

Kids flooring - Flooring designed to stimulate the mind and/or protect the body of developing children

Laminate - multi-layer synthetic flooring fused together through a lamination process

Landing Mat or Landing Pad - Cushion used in gymnastics or martial arts for training and safety from falls and throws

Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) - a worldwide green building certification program

Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) - vinyl-based flooring the mimics the look of natural material through realistic images and textures

Marley - sheet vinyl dance floor

Martial Arts - combat and self defense sports

Mat - piece of protective material placed on a floor that can be used independently

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) - extreme combat sport using multiple fighting techniques

Modular - standardized units of flooring that fit together for easy construction and flexible arrangement to form a larger floor


Octagon mats - Octagon-shaped pads used for gymnastics and cheerleading training

Orange peel - surface texture representing that of the skin of an orange

Outdoor flooring - Flooring designed to withstand the damaging effects of water, sun and temperature fluctuations

Patio - paved outdoor area adjoining a house, business or other building

Paver - brick-like or stone-like tile used for exterior flooring

Perforated - pierced with holes

Plastic - synthetic material made of organic polymers that can be molded into shape while soft then set into rigid or elastic form

Playground - area designed specifically for children to play

Polyethylene (PE) - common thermoplastic polymer consisting of long hydrocarbon chains

Polyolefin - polymer produced from a simple olefin as a monomer

Polypropylene (PP) - thermoplastic polymer with intermediate level of crystallinity

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) - synthetic plastic polymer

Pool deck - area immediately surrounding a pool

Portable flooring - flooring that can be installed, taken up, transported and re-installed easily

Protective floor coverings - temporary flooring materials designed to reduce wear and tear on existing finished floors or turf


Raised flooring - flooring that leaves an open space between the building’s original concrete slab and the finished surface

Retail flooring - flooring designed for use in commercial and office areas

Roof tiles - outdoor modular flooring intended for use on flat roofs used as patios or other forms of outdoor living spaces

Rosco - an entertainment product manufacturer since 1910 which also offers high quality dance floors

Rubber - tough elastic polymeric substance made from latex or synthetic materials

Rubber roll - large sheets of rubber rubber flooring that can comes in the form of a roll prior to installation

Rug - floor covering made of woven material, typically covering small areas

Sound floor - noise reducing flooring system

Sprung floor - floor that absorbs shock, giving a soft feel

Stage floor - flooring on a raised platform intended for performances

Static conductive - allowing electricity to pass through it

Static dissipative - slows electrical charge flow to ground

Subfloor - foundation for a floor or bottom layer of flooring

Tatami - martial arts flooring texture designed to represent traditional rush-covered straw Japanese floor coverings

Tent Flooring - also known as event flooring, aesthetic temporary flooring

Tile - a single element of modular flooring in which multiple flooring squares are used in conjunction with each other to create a larger flooring surface

Tumbling - the art of performing acrobatic falls or rolls

Underlayment - layer between a subfloor and finished floor, for leveling, adhesion or insulative purposes

Universal interlock - tile connection mechanism that does not require all tiles to be laid in a certain direction

Vinyl - synthetic resin or plastic made of PVC or a related polymer

Wet Area - an area where moisture is commonly present

Workout mats - a mat used for fitness related activities

Wrestling - grappling sport involving throws and holds


Yoga - Hindu spiritual discipline involving breath control, meditation and bodily postures practiced for health and relaxation


Friday, December 18, 2015

What makes good cross fitness flooring?

As the benefits of non-repetitive exercises and motions become better known, many fitness centers are beginning to focus on cross fitness training. While there are set exercise routines that must take place to train in this method, there are still some commonalities among cross fitness exercises that make flooring an important tool in your training.

Most cross fitness exercise areas are equipped with a dense rubber flooring material. Thickness, texture, firmness and tile/mat/roll size of the rubber, however, varies greatly from center to center. Here, we'll break down the pros and cons of each of those categories.


Most cross fitness floors use rubber flooring ranging from ¼ to ¾ inches thick. Generally speaking the thinner the rubber, the less expensive and lighter weight it will be. However, thinner and lighter rubber floors will not absorb nearly as much shock as the thicker varieties and may have more tendency to curl or shift, creating potential hazards.

While most rubber floors are quite dense and hard, they still provide a certain level of impact resistance which is good for the floor beneath the rubber and the bones and joints of athletes. The thicker the rubber, the better it will protect both, especially during exercises where jumping or weight dropping is involved. In many cases, dropping weights, especially from overhead is safer for the athletes than trying to lower them.

Surface texture
Generally speaking, the smoother the surface of rubber cross fitness flooring the better. Many exercises involve contact between bare skin – especially hands and chest – and the floor. Overly textured surfaces can cause the exercises to become uncomfortable and possibly cause floor burns.

In most cases, the firmer and the flatter the floor the better to ensure consistent footing. A small amount of cushion in the floor is handy for jumping exercises, but most movements involve pushing against the floor with a great need for maximum output. The more cushion the floor provides, the less efficient the movement becomes. Noticeable cushion is too much.

Rubber Tiles, Mats, Rolls
No matter which form of rubber flooring you choose, it is important to make sure all tiles, mats, or rolls fit tightly together and can be secured to avoid separation.

Roll rubber flooring is a great way to cover large areas with
minimal seams and lend to competitive cross fitness lanes.
In most cases rubber flooring rolls are the least expensive option for cross fitness gym flooring – especially in large spaces. The rolls cut down on the number of seams and potential tripping hazards and are commonly used to create lanes for competitions. The the downside of rubber rolls is that the rolls are very heavy and require multiple people to install. They also are more difficult to find in thicknesses greater than ½ inch. For thicker rolled rubber floors, it may be necessary to roll out multiple layers.

Rubber mats are commonly offered in 4 foot widths and 6-8 foot lengths. These mats give you a broader range of of thicknesses – typically ¼ to ¾ inch. They can feature either straight or interlocking edges and offer more versatility than rolls. Rubber cross fitness mats can be used independently or combined to cover larger areas. 

Rubber mats are commonly used under barbells for olympic lifts where heavy weights will be dropped from overhead. Depending on the thickness and density of the mats, they may be able to be installed by a single person with a reasonable amount of effort, but in most cases, a two or more person installation team is recommended. There will be a fair amount of seams if installed in large areas.

Rubber gym tiles offer the greatest thickness and versatility
for cross fitness training.
Rubber gym tiles provide the greatest versatility and, in most cases, can be installed by one person. One of the biggest difference between rubber tiles and other rubber cross fitness flooring options is thickness options. With the smaller, 2- or 3-foot squares, it opens the door for much greater thickness. Some rubber tiles exceed are more than 2 inches thick.

Nearly all of these tiles will interlock in some form, keeping them from separating. The most common method is puzzle style interlocks, but for higher end rubber tiles, the locks are hidden. This rubber flooring also creates less waste in wall-to-wall installations than the larger mats and rolls and can offer a much larger variety of design and color options. The disadvantages of rubber tiles are that there are more seams and they are generally more expensive than rubber rolls or mats.

Whether you are a gym owner, trainer, competitor or recreational cross fitness athlete, the right rubber flooring will be your friend.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Top 9 Myths about rubber, plastic and foam flooring debunked!

There are many common misconceptions regarding rubber, plastic and foam flooring. Here are the top nine specialty flooring myths and why you should shouldn't believe them.

Myth #1: Rubber flooring will add cushion and spring to your floor.
Rubber used for flooring is generally a very dense material. While it does provide excellent protection for your base floor, as well as sound and thermal insulation, most rubber floors are quite hard in comparison to foam or plastic floors. Keep in mind that most of these floors are made from recycled truck tires. Truck tires must be fairly rigid to withstand the rigors of tens of thousands of miles of travel. A material soft enough to feel cushion would fall apart or wear through extremely quickly under automotive stresses.

Myth #2: Plastic flooring is hard.
Many people believe that in order for a flooring material to be soft and flexible, it must be made of rubber. Not true. The beauty about plastic materials is that their hardness and flexibility options are nearly endless. Most plastics used for flooring provide significantly more cushion than rubber floors and are commonly confused with rubber, due to their pliability.

Myth #3: All foams make good anti fatigue flooring
While foam does provide excellent cushioning and adds comfort to your flooring surface, not all foams are created with the same density, which is key for anti-fatigue benefits. Standing on hard surfaces over long periods of time definitely takes its toll on your body, but the same can be said for standing on surfaces that are too soft. Some foams are so soft that they provide very little resistance between you and the hard floor below. Others will keep you off the hard floor, but provide very little stability, increasing the risk of you losing your balance when standing on it. You want to be sure that whichever flooring or material you use for anti fatigue purposes will provide enough cushion to encourage shifting of position, which increases blood flow, while still providing enough support to make standing on it easy.

Myth #4: Rubber flooring is great for all athletic purposes.
It is true the rubber flooring is commonly used in athletic flooring applications. Rubber flooring is an excellent solution for for gyms where the floor must be able to support heavy weights and equipment and absorb the shock of dropped weights. It isn't a great plan to use rubber flooring for areas where people will be running, changing direction and spinning however. One of rubbers best features is that it is slip resistant, but with activities such as basketball or dance, a certain level of slipping is necessary for safety, and rubber floors are usually too grippy to allow much slippage. When used for these types of activities, rubber flooring can lead to knee or ankle injuries.

Myth #5: Foam floors contain rubber.
The majority of all foam flooring is made of of EVA or Polyethylene foam. Although these materials are extremely pliable, much like rubber, they actually do not contain rubber. Foam rubber is a spongy material in which rubber has been manufactured with a foam agent to add air to the material and lesson its density. This “foam rubber” material is used in mattresses and furniture cushions but is not durable enough to be used as flooring.

Myth #6: Plastic floors are slippery.
The surface texture makes a world of difference in how slippery a floor can become when wet or dusty. The smoother the texture, the higher the risk of any floor becoming slippery. Plastic floors often feature leather or orange peel type textures to provide traction as well as diamond and raised bump, non-skid patterns.

Myth #7: Rubber floors are 100% waterproof.
Rubber is extremely moisture resistant. However, most rubber flooring is made of ground automotive tires and can be slightly porous, allowing water to ever-so-slowly permeate through the rubber. If power washed, the water is blasted into these tiny pores and forces them open, allowing the water in. With repeated power washings, this can cause water to become trapped within the flooring and possibly even damage the floor.

Myth #8: PVC and Vinyl flooring are completely different.
Vinyl is often the shorthand way of referring to Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC). The term “vinyl” actually includes a broad range of thermoplastic chemical compounds that includes EVA, PEVA, PVA and PVB as well as PVC. What makes PVC unique from the other vinyls is the addition of the chlorine molecule, which makes the material extremely fire retardant.

Myth #9: Rubber flooring is just as good as plastic for garages

Rubber flooring is commonly used as an inexpensive alternative to PVC or Polypropylene garage flooring. This is fine if your garage isn't used for automobiles. There are some downsides to using rubber flooring when, cars, trucks and even trailers are involved, however. While rubber is strong enough to handle the weight of vehicles, some rubber floors can sometimes experience chemical reactions to some automobile tires, oils and other chemicals associated with internal combustion engines. This can cause the rubber to break down and drastically shorten its life span.

While rubber, plastic and foam are great flooring materials, make sure you use them appropriately to get the most out of your specialty flooring.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

2015 National Dance Instructor of the Year Finalists named

Karl Barbee, Heather Walts, Kristen Nicolaisen, Tina Singer, Brandy Berkley,
Miranda Evans, Rosanne Vavasis, Heather McNew, Danielle Hughes, and Christi Leonard
have been named 2015 finalists for the National Dance Instructor of the Year Award.

MILLTOWN, WI -- Dance instructors can make or break the will of their students by their actions on and off the dance floor. As a way of honoring those dance teachers who provide their customers with the proper tools for success and happiness, Greatmats has chosen to sponsor an annual Dance Instructor of the Year Contest. 2015 marks the first year of the contest. This year's finalists have all been nominated by their peers and students for the outstanding integrity, service and quality they have shown both on the dance floor and in their respective communities. The 2015 field of finalists come from all over the United States, including the states of Florida, Virginia, California, Illinois, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania

Making up the 2015 field of Dance Instructor of the Year field of finalists are:
(Name, Studio or Instruction Facility, City, State)
Rosanne Vavasis, Just Gotta Dance, Hudson, Florida
Heather Walts, Just Dance Academy, Tarpon Springs, Florida
Christine (Tina) Singer, Amyclae Dance Academy, Stafford, Virginia
Brandy Berkley, Brandy's Mystical Inspiration, Peoria, IL
Kristen Nicolaisen, Balance Dance Studios, Austin, TX
Christi Leonard, Dance Academy, Miami, Oklahoma/Carl Junction, Missouri
Heather McNew, Evolution Arts and Athletics, Rogersville, Missouri
Miranda Evans, Elite Dance Studio of the Performing Arts, Rocky Mount, NC
Danielle Hughes, Scranton Dance Center/Wilkes University Conservatory/Marywood University, Scranton, Pennsylvania
Karl Barbee, N/A, Moscow, PA

Voting will take place on Greatmats' Facebook page ( now through Nov. 30, 2015 and the winner will be announced Jan. 4, 2016. The Dance Instructor of the Year Contest is one of four simultaneous contests honoring instructors and trainers from various industries for their commitment to making a positive difference in the lives of their students, clients and community.

Greatmats is a national dance and specialty flooring industry leader based in Milltown, Wisconsin, since 1999. Identified as one of the top 3,000 fastest growing companies in the USA three times since 2008, Greatmats has earned an A+ Better Business Bureau rating and 9.5 TrustPilot rating through its Golden Rule customer service practices. Greatmats gives back to its local community by donating 5% of its annual profits to local non-profit organizations. It also supports green initiatives through the use of solar energy at its Wisconsin headquarters and by offering a large variety of products made from recycled and renewable resources. View all of Greatmats' dance flooring options at

2015 National Horse Trainer of the Year Finalists named

Andrea Datz, Andrea Fappani, Jessie Baillargeon, Maria Borell and Sid Zacharias
are 2015 finalists for Greamats' National Horse Trainer of the Year Award.

MILLTOWN, WI – Horse trainers get in the business for a variety of different reasons. For some its a personal therapy. For others its a soft spot in their heart for the animals or their owner that drives them to work with horses. Greatmats wishes to honor those trainers that are in it to make a positive difference in the lives of the horses and their owners through integrity, outstanding customer service and quality training. That's why it created the National Horse Trainer of the Year Contest. The following horse trainers have been nominated by their peers, clients and community due to their commitment to these values.

(Name, training facility, city, state)
Sid Zacharias, Rockin Z Ranch, Spooner, Wisconsin
Maria Borell, Beacon Hill Farm/Borell Racing, Lexington, Kentucky
Jessie Baillargeon, Victory Farms, Amery, Wisconsin
Andrea Datz, Integrative Horsemanship, Fruita, Colorado
Andrea Fappani, Fappani Performance Horses, Scottsdale, Arizona

Voting is taking place on Greatmats' Facebook page ( now through Nov. 30, 2015 and the winner will be announced Jan. 4, 2016. The National Horse Trainer of the Year Contest is one of four simultaneous contests honoring instructors and trainers from various industries for their commitment to making a positive difference in the lives of their students, clients and community.

Greatmats is a national horse stall/barn and specialty flooring industry leader based in Milltown, Wisconsin, since 1999. Identified as one of the top 3,000 fastest growing companies in the USA three times since 2008, Greatmats has earned an A+ Better Business Bureau rating and 9.5 TrustPilot rating through its Golden Rule customer service practices. Greatmats gives back to its local community by donating 5% of its annual profits to local non-profit organizations. It also supports green initiatives through the use of solar energy at its Wisconsin headquarters and by offering a large variety of products made from recycled and renewable resources.