Thursday, April 28, 2016
April 28, 2016 -- Greatmats is a proud new sponsor of the South U.S.A. Grappling Association (SUGA) and Gracie United Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
SUGA, organized by Gracie United BJJ Professor and Black Belt World Champion Rafael Ellwanger, has been using Greatmats martial arts flooring at its events for the past 10 years, noting that Greatmats provides a great product at a great price.
The South U.S.A. Grappling Association currently has four remaining events scheduled for the 2016 tournament season. Next up is the Alabama State Championship in Orange Beach, Alabama, on May 14. Other upcoming events include:
July 23, 2016 – Jucao Cup, Hammond, Louisiana
Oct. 1, 2016 – Southestern Championships, Orange Beach, Alabama
Nov. 19, 2016 – Southern Nationals, Hammond, Louisiana
Welcome aboard Professor Ellwanger, Gracie United and the South USA Grappling Association!
Note: Anyone attending a South U.S.A Grappling Association event during the 2016 competitive season is eligible to participate in Greatmats Photobomb contest for a chance to win one of many great prizes. To learn more about the contest, prizes, and how to enter, visit the Greatmats Photobomb Contest Page.
Thursday, April 14, 2016
National Playground Safety Week is April 25-29. Playground equipment has undergone a lot of innovations in the past 35 years. Gone are the 10-foot high-metal slides that got scorching hot on sunny summer days. No more scary (but fun) merry-go-rounds that sent kids flying off into the dirt. In their place are climbing walls, wobbly rope bridges, wheelchair accessible swings, and more. Today’s playgrounds offer more variety and greater safety than ever.
Just as playground equipment has evolved and improved, so have playground surfaces. In 1981, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued its first safety standards for playgrounds which revolutionized playground equipment and surface standards. But even today, the majority of the 200,000 annual reported playground accidents come from children falling.
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, “The type of surface on the playground is the most important factor in the number and severity of injuries due to falls.”
Old School Playground Surfaces
Back in the “olden days,” equipment was set up on black top, or grass, which could become muddy and hard.
Later, wood chips came into favor, and are still used in many locations. Wood chips, when used properly are considered safe. It is important to use engineered wood chips, and not scrap chips from your local tree service, and they must be installed to a proper depth, and topped off every year or so. But chips, while inexpensive, have certain drawbacks. Splinters, mold, and constant compaction are just of a few of the problems. Wood chips can be thrown or swallowed, and can hide insects, and dangerous, unsanitary or sharp objects. Plus, wood chips need to be topped off every year, and it can difficult for wheelchairs to maneuver on wood chips if they are not the proper type and depth - which is why new surfaces, from rubber chip, to rubber mats and tiles are now found in many newer playgrounds.
One material you may not be familiar with are PVC plastic tiles for use in playgrounds. These tiles are an affordable alternative to rubber, both in cost per square foot and in shipping costs. Plastic tiles are wheelchair accessible, stay in place and clean up easily. Unlike wood chips, tiles stay in place and they can't get kicked out at the bottom of slide exits or underneath swings. In fact, the ConsumerProduct Safety Commission does not recommend loose fill forplaygrounds intended for toddlers.
While rubber playground surfaces are the gold standard and necessary to maintain a safe “fall height,” not every play area needs this much protection. All playground surfaces are rated by the ASTM with a height that a child can fall from without sustaining a serious injury like a life threatening head injury. Daycare centers, and preschools with simple, low-to-the ground equipment can find a safe, and affordable surface option with PVC plastic tiles. No special surface preparation is necessary - PVC tiles can be placed on grass, sand, or dirt. Let’s look at a couple of the popular models:
StayLock Perforated PVC Playground Tiles
One model is StayLock Perforated Tile, which comes in 5 colors and has a 7 year UV stability warranty. Most importantly, they carry an American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) F-1292 Fall Height rating of 20 inches. These Made-in-the-USA tiles are waterproof, and non slip. Water drains right through, and the surface is comfortable for bare feet. The 1x1 foot tiles are also available in any custom color you choose, in addition to the stock colors of light blue, dark green light grey, terra cotta, and tan - and they are guaranteed for 5 years. StayLock Perforated Tiles can transform a concrete pad into a safe, cushioned play area, and can be used safely on rubber roof membranes as the rounded rubber feet on the underside of the tile will not damage the membrane.
In short, these tiles can be used on any outdoor surface, but it is recommended that you lay down landscape fabric on top of dirt or sand areas. You and your children will appreciate a much cleaner play space once the tiles are installed. Installation is easy - just snap the tiles together and use a utility knife to cut the tiles to fit your space. Tiles cost approximately $3 to $5 per square foot.
Ergo Matta Perforated PVC Playground Tiles
Ergo Matta is a another perforated tile that works great for homes, daycare businesses and preschool playgrounds. The tiles come in bright, brilliant colors including blue, yellow, green, red, gray, white, black and beige and cost around $6 per square foot.
They are UV treated and feature a 5 year warranty. They are made from recycled materials and the attractive diamond design offers excellent drainage. Water does not pool on the surface, and children can resume playing once the rain stops. To top it off, these tiles are less slippery than some other brands and models.
Ergo Matta’s perforated design results in a cooler surface than a solid surface in hot sunny areas. You can also order optional border ramps for these tiles. These tiles feature a 20-inch fall height rating to keep your little ones safe during years of playtime. Ergo Matta PVC playground tiles are excellent in high traffic areas where stability underfoot is required.
While rubber tiles and poured-in-place rubber playground surfaces are the top choice for safe playgrounds, often times a playground or play space designed for younger children does not need such a high end system. In these cases, plastic tiles are the way to go. Kids and adults will enjoy the surface; children and indoor spaces will stay cleaner; and children will be protected from everyday mishaps.
Greatmats.com carries both of these PVC Playground Tiles and offers free samples to help you choose which product is best for you. Its knowledgeable customer service reps will be able to help you choose the product that best meets your needs and budget.
Monday, April 11, 2016
As the weather warms, homeowners and apartment dwellers are looking for ways to maximize their outdoor entertaining spaces, and create inviting open air living environments. Similarly, the trend in restaurants is to add seasonal seating areas for their guests to dine al fresco.
In urban areas where space is at a premium, these folks are looking up - to their roofs. A flat roof can make a great patio or deck, but you can’t just put out a bistro set and sit back and enjoy the view. No one wants to hang out on ‘Tar Beach.’ An unfinished roof surface can be dirty, sticky and dangerous. Waterproof membranes on some roofs are easily punctured, and you don't want your roof damaged by moving furniture or high heels. To avoid these problems, make sure to start your rooftop patio design with a solid flooring choice.
Conversely, maybe you already have a nice space like a condo balcony, but you don’t like the look of a drab concrete floor, or your patio surface is damaged or deteriorating.
The solution to these problems is a floor tile system designed specifically for roofs. The number one concern is that the outdoor tile must be UV and weather resistant. Lots of beautiful plastic indoor/outdoor rugs are available, and while durable, they are lightweight and not suitable for all installations.
Another major consideration is drainage. Standing water and water runoff on a flat roof is a challenge as it is - but you don't want pooling water where your family and guests are hanging out. Wet areas can be slippery, and standing water can encourage mosquito growth and damage furniture. Here’s a rundown of some of the choices in flooring specifically designed for use on roofs, patios and balconies.
Rubber Rooftop Patio Flooring
Rubber is one option. Lighter weight than concrete, rubber is durable but won't require roof reinforcement.
Sterling Brand Roof Top tiles, which come in 2X2 foot tiles, in black, terra cotta, green, blue, grey, and brown as well as more than eight different multicolor blends. The tiles interlock, and borders and corner ramps are available to increase safety and give your space a finished look. This attractive and professional quality product also comes with a 10 year limited warranty, and just hoses off with water. At almost 20 pounds a tile, these tiles are heavy enough to avoid lifting in strong winds and won’t fade or curl in extreme temperatures.
Blue Sky Brand Interlocking rubber tiles allow water to flow underneath the tile and protect fragile underlayments like waterproof membranes. The surface is non slip and will not mold or mildew. This brand of tile is suitable for use with rubber roof membranes, and ships from the east coast. With 6 standard and more than 10 mixed colors, you are sure to find a coordinating color that suits your outdoor space.
If you want the durability of rubber, but are on a tight budget, MX Outdoor Rubber Tile 1” tiles might be your option. Available in black, green, grey or red standard colors and nine other premium colors, these tiles run about $6 to $10 a square foot. Made of recycled rubber, these tiles offer LEED points, and are made in the USA. MX tiles are manufactured in the south east. Shipping to nearby areas will be most affordable. They have a superior UV fade resistance and a 15 year warranty.
Plastic Rooftop Patio Flooring
If weight is an issue, PVC outdoor tiles weight around 1 pound per tile and can start at less than $3 per square foot. Interlocking design makes installation a snap. The perforations allow for drainage and the tile itself will not absorb water or get slippery. It's a great option for patios and rooftop in rainy climates., however they are not recommended for rubber membrane roofs.
Greatmats.com, a leader in specialty flooring, carries its own brand of PVC tiles, which are UV treated and come with a 1 year limited warranty. These tiles are available in light grey, blue, and terra cotta.
StayLock Brand PVC interlocking tiles allow water to drain through their perforated surfaces, making it a great choice for locations with heavy rainfall. The soft PVC plastic feels good to the touch and is comfortable to play or stand on. The tiles are available in 5 colors that are UV stable for 7 years. This brand features a 5 year warranty and is suitable for roofs with rubber membranes.
Treated Wood Patio Flooring
If you like the look of wood without the maintenance, a new product called GreatDeck Outdoor Hardwood Deck tiles are made of thermo treated wood which resists rotting, decay and fungal growth. The process also prevents the wood from warping, chipping, shrinking or expanding. Made from North American White Ash from well managed forests, this product comes in several wood tones and will withstand the harshest climate, with an expected lifespan of 25 years or more. These 2X2 foot wood tiles are installed without adhesives or fasteners, which makes them easy to move. The PVC connectors allow the wood to flex and contour to surface irregularities which make these tiles a great solution for transforming your roof or patio.
Synthetic Turf Patio Flooring
If you are looking to create an outdoor oasis without the mowing, consider Outdoor Deck Turf Tile. The artificial grass top is soft on bare feet, but the treated lumber surface underneath conforms to uneven surfaces, and is safe for rubber roofing membranes. Water can drain through the 2X2 foot tiles. The grass itself is made from recycled plastic, and is suitable for use with tables. The wood base is warrantied for 25 years.
Whether you chose rubber, perforated PVC, wood tiles or simulated grass, your new roof or patio floor will give your outdoor space project a solid footing. Make sure to get some free samples from an online retailer to really get a feel for what surface you like.
Do some more research on the pros and cons of each material to make sure it works for your specific project, or save yourself some time and talk to the experts at Greatmats.com, or check out the product lines at a home improvement store.
Summer is short in many parts of the world - so get started now to make sure you can enjoy and make the most of those lazy days of summer on your new roof deck or patio.
Friday, April 1, 2016
So you want to take your fitness quest to the next level and outfit your own home gym? Having a dedicated space for weightlifting, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), P90X or Yoga can help you stick to your fitness goals and make your workouts more convenient.
Whether you are starting with new construction, repurposing an existing space, or renovating an area in your basement, it is best to start from the ground up by making sure you select the right gym flooring for your needs. Existing home flooring is rarely appropriate. Wood, carpet, vinyl and laminate can splinter, shred, dent, and may be slippery. Suitable flooring for home gyms includes interlocking foam and rubber floor tiles and mats, rolled rubber, plyometric rubber, plastic tiles and carpet tiles.
Start your planning by asking yourself a few questions:
1. What kind of fitness equipment will you be putting on the floor?
2. Will you be moving equipment around? Treadmills and elliptical machines can weigh several hundred pounds.3. What kind of exercise will you be doing? Yoga… Zumba… Weightlifting? Dumb bells or deadlifts?
4. Will you be dropping weights?
5. Do you need something portable? Are you a renter or planning to move, or is this a dedicated exercise space for the long term?
Assess your Location
6. Is it wet or dry?
7. What is the existing floor - carpet, wood, concrete, or something else?
Rubber Flooring for Weightlifting and Exercise Machines
If you are primarily interested in weightlifting or exercise machines, rubber is one of the most popular options. Unlike most foam, rubber is tough enough to protect the floor underneath from heavy equipment like treadmills and weight racks, and from dropping weights.
Rubber won’t be compressed by heavy equipment, or damaged by moving equipment. It is relatively affordable, very durable, and pretty easy to install.
The challenge with rubber floor installation is the weight. Tiles are lighter weight, but rolled rubber results in fewer seams. Because rubber is heavy, it tends to stay in place, so adhesive is generally unnecessary except for maybe some double sided carpet tape around the the perimeter of your space. Another benefit is that rubber will deaden sound, whether from a noisy elliptical machine or dropping weights. Rubber is also easy to keep clean, with regular vacuuming and a damp mop. With proper care, rubber will perform effectively for decades.
|Geneva Interlocking Rubber Tile Gym Floor|
One example of rubber tiles is the American-made Geneva Interlocking Rubber tile.
The 2x2 foot tiles are popular for home gyms and easy for homeowners to install. These tiles are available in several thicknesses, with 8 mm being the most popular choice for home gyms. Tiles are made and shipped from Wisconsin. Geneva tiles are made from a combination of recycled scrap rubber and virgin rubber, keeping millions of pounds of tires out of landfills, and qualify for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) points in five different categories. These tiles have low odor and carry a 5 year manufacturer’s warranty.
For even lower cost, go with a rolled rubber floor. Rolls come primarily in 4’ widths, with lengths from 10 to 25 feet, and up to 200 feet. Again, the 8 mm thickness is available, along with 1/4-, 3/8-, and 1/2-inch thicknesses. Using rolled rubber will result in fewer seams, giving your space a custom look, and can be laid over concrete, ceramic tile, or any smooth, hard surface.
|Horse Stall Mats for Heavy Lifting|
A popular flooring option amongst body builders and power lifters is horse stall mats. They are designed to protect the joints of horse weighing a thousand pounds or more, so what are a few dropped weights?
On the plus side, these are affordable, and readily available locally, which eliminates shipping costs. Since rubber is heavy, shipping can add a substantial cost to what is otherwise an affordable flooring material.
On the down side though, horse stall mats are designed for horses. Horses who aren’t too particular about odor. Stall mats can have a strong odor, somewhat akin to rotten eggs or asphalt. Some people have success with washing the mats, or airing them out in sunny locations, but there is no sure fire way to make the odor go away.
Stall mats are also heavy (commonly around 100 pounds each) and can be cumbersome to move, especially down narrow basement stairways.
Stall mats can also vary widely in thickness. It can be hard to find two mats that are an exactly the same, even after digging through a whole stack of mats at the farm supply store. The uneven appearance of seams can be unattractive. Thinner mats may not protect the floor or your weights completely from drops during olympic lifts, so many powerlifters and bodybuilders also use plywood underlayments in addition to stall mats.
|Plyometric Rolled Rubber Gym Floor|
While rubber is durable, it doesn’t add much cushion for aerobic activities like zumba, cardio activities, tumbling, grappling or floor exercises. The one exception is plyometric rolled rubber which can be a good, affordable option, offering enough cushion for a safe cardio workout, whether it is HIIT, P90X, Tae Bo or “Sweatin’ to the Oldies.”
This is highly shock absorbent material is available in 4 foot rolls starting at lengths of 25 feet. 3/8 inch, 1/2-inch, and 8 mm are standard thicknesses. While less dense than standard rubber, plyometric rubber still comes with a 5 year guarantee.
EVA Foam is an affordable option for cardio workouts. Foam is not a good choice for serious weight lifting as it will dent, may not decompress, and may cause weights to bounce back, which could be dangerous. However, foam won’t break the budget for a simple home gym with a few machines, light weights, where you want to do cardio activity or yoga.
Less expensive than rubber, it is also less durable and won’t withstand dropped weights or heavy exercise equipment. Since it weighs less, however, it is also cheaper to ship, easier to install, and is durable enough for many home applications.
|Home Mixed Martial Arts Mats|
Foam mats are readily available at big box retailers, mainly in black or mixed packs of bright primary colors. But for thicker, more durable mats in a wider range of single colors, check the big box stores’ websites or a specialty flooring company like Greatmats.com.
Foam flooring is available in different hardnesses. What’s available at your local retailer will probably be soft - a standard hardness best for multi use areas. High hardness foam tiles are better for karate and aerobic activities, specifically standing and kicking drills. There are softer martial arts mats for home Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), judo and grappling with a durable tatami no-burn surface that provides grip for groundwork with enough cushion for takedowns and throws.
Foam flooring can be used with specialized treadmill mats to protect the foam.
Another option is plastic flooring which can protect flooring and offer cushioning at the same time. Unlike foam or rubber, some plastic tiles can be used on top of existing carpeting without the risk of the tiles separating or sinking into the carpet pile at the seams.
|Staylock PVC Bump Top Gym Floor|
StayLock Bump Top tiles are an example of plastic gym flooring that is durable like rubber, with the cushion of foam. These tiles are made from soft PVC and are flexible and pliable, yet non-absorbent. The underside of each tile has little feet that elevate the tile above the floor surface, providing cushion but also airflow beneath the tile, an important feature if you are using in a damp basement area.
For intense aerobic workouts like P90X, Crossfit and Hip Hop Dance, soft PVC gym floor tiles can provide superior cushioning and durability. They are tough enough for light and medium weight lifting and are easy to clean and disinfect.
Gym Carpeting for multi-purpose areas
|Gym Carpet Tile Gym Floor|
Carpet tiles can be a good compromise in a multi use room. They offer the cushion and warmth of carpeting with the convenience of modular flooring. The surface of a gym carpet tiles is more durable than residential carpeting, and damaged tiles can be replaced. Some carpet tiles, however, can be ruined in basement floods, take on odors, or become unsanitary due to absorption of sweat and other bodily fluids.
There are a lot of gym flooring options on the market. Take some time to think about how you will train. Find a reputable retailer, and ask questions. Do your own research; read product reviews; and make sure you order some free samples to get an actual feel for a product.
Once you choose and install your floor, then the real work begins!