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 (https://www.facebook.com/Greatmats/) 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 http://www.greatmats.com/dance-flooring.php.

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 (https://www.facebook.com/Greatmats/) 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. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

What are the advantages of roll out martial arts mats?


Why should I choose a rollout martial arts mat when they can run around double the price per square foot of puzzle mats you ask? --- No seams and portability.

No Seams
Roll out mats are available in 6 foot widths at custom
lengths, greatly limiting the number of seams in large
installations.
The biggest advantage to roll out martial arts and exercise mats compared to smaller puzzle mats is the fact that you will keep a nice level training surface with few or no seams. Roll out mats, which generally come in 5x10 foot portable rolls or 6 foot wide custom length rolls can offer in individual skill training area with no seams for toes or fingers to get caught in. Puzzle mats, while very popular, inexpensive and fully functioning martial arts mats, can leave areas that are inconvenient for barefoot training, as you can feel the seams under your feet. These seams can inhibit spins and, in worst-case scenarios, cause injury when an appendage slips down between the tiles. With roll out mats that risk is gone.

Should you need larger than a 5x10 foot area, but don't want to deal with large rolls, simply push two or more mats together and tape them at the seams with resealable vinyl tape. This again eliminates the risk of toes or fingers getting caught or twisted in a seam while grappling or spinning.

Roll out martial arts mats are a popular solution for national and international martial arts tournament venues where large areas of competition flooring is necessary. Laying down the 5x10 foot mats and taping them together is a quick, easy and quality option for these events, but custom length rolls should be considered. At 6 feet wide and near endless length possibilities, you drastically reduce the need for taping in large tournament venues and permanent installations.

Portability
5x10 foot roll out mats are great for temporary training
and demonstration areas.
Made of lightweight cross-linked polyethylene foam, 5x10 roll out mats are easy to transport, making them ideal martial arts flooring solutions for temporary installations. The 50 square foot area is big enough for most basic demonstrations at fairs, parades and festivals. These demo spaces can be laid out in seconds and packed up again in less than a minute, taking much of the stress out of demonstration setup and takedown. Depending on the thickness of your roll out mat, a 50 square foot mat can weigh less than 25 pounds.

Thickness
Roll out martial arts mats can also provide a greater thickness than most puzzle mats, which is helpful in throwing martial arts. In general, thicker mats provide more cushion and shock absorption during falls and throws, reducing the risk of injury. While puzzle mats often range between 3/4 and 1 5/8 inch thick, rollout mats generally run between 1 1/4 and 2 inches thick. Anything less than 1 inch is not recommended for throws.


If you are looking for quick and easy installation with limited seams, roll out martial arts mats may just be your answer.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Why are Taekwondo and Karate Mats so much thinner than Grappling and MMA mats?


When looking into martial arts flooring, you'll find that there is a pretty good range of thicknesses. You may also notice that mats for the striking arts, such as Taekwondo or Karate, are much thinner than those intended for Grappling or MMA. Why is this?

The simple answer is - fall impact.

Generally, unless you are knocked out, you won't be falling much when participating in Karate or Taekwondo. As a rule, thicker mats are designed to absorb more impact from falls and throws.

Taekwondo mats generally range from 3/4 to 1 inch thick.
Karate and Taekwondo training halls need flooring that will reduce impact on joints while jumping or running - as their moves are designed to be executing from a standing or upright position.

MMA mats range start at 1.25 inches and can be in excess of 1.5 inches.
For martial arts such as BJJ, Judo, Hapkido and Jujitsu, the body-to-floor impact level is significantly increased during the process of throwing and fallings. For that reason, foam flooring designed for these arts can be up to twice the thickness of those intended for striking arts. In many cases, studios for the throwing arts will often use landing pads or crash pads during throw training. This adds significantly more cushion to the landing process – a helpful tool for beginners just learning to break their falls.

High density foam is often the preferred material for martial arts flooring as it provides cushion without losing stability. The 1 inch thickness tends to be the crossover point between mats for striking and throwing arts.

Between ¾ inch and 1 inch thick, most high density foam martial arts mats can provide the necessary joint protection for Karate and Taekwondo and are less expensive than the thicker varieties.
For throwing martial arts, the recommended bare minimum is 1.25 inches thick with 1.5 inches and above being preferred for shock absorption without injury.

It is important that the flooring be made of closed cell foam which will not absorb moisture and is easy to clean and disinfect. Most foam martial arts flooring of this kind comes in interlocking, puzzle style tiles. They are lightweight, easy to install, and easy to remove. Often times they are also reversible.

Note: Should an interlocking martial arts mat become damaged at a seam (example: missing a tooth), this tile should be replaced, especially if the flooring is used for barefoot training. Toes can slip into these holes and become trapped during spins.