Learn the features that make wall padding a safe and stylish gym accessory
By Kim Butler
The primary purpose of wall padding is to provide a safe level of absorption for a person making impact with an established object. Often these objects are walls (hence ''wall padding''), but these pads also protect against impact with bleachers, stage fronts, I-Beams, goal posts, columns and fences.
Wall Pad SizingTypical indoor wall panels are 24 inches wide by 72 inches (2x6 feet) high. In recent history, however, many newly-constructed schools and universities have made a push for 84-inch-high (7 feet) padding in their basketball facilities, where athletes are often elevated in motion. In grappling and wrestling facilities, pads are regularly 60 inches (5 feet), since most movement occurs on the ground.
Outdoor stadium padding is 48 inches wide by 96 inches (4x8 feet) high. However, when working with a skilled manufacturer, all dimensions can often be easily customized to fit the unique needs of your facility.
Foam used in manufacturing wall padding is typically a polyurethane based foam, but can vary based on a specification written, or simply customer preference.
Vinyl CoversVinyl ranges from 14 oz. to 18 oz. in weight, and typically has a light leather emboss pattern ingrained into the good side of the material. Greatmats features phthalate-free vinyl. There are a variety of standard colors to choose from and your school or team's digital logo can be custom printed on the mat. Vinyl is often treated to be anti-fungal and antibacterial. Vinyl should also be expected to meet fire retardant test NFPA-701 and ASTM E84 .
Installation MethodsA couple common installation methods are using a nailing margin, lip top and bottom pads, or z-clips. Lip top and bottom or nailing margin is a process in which the manufacturer will intentionally leave 1 inch of foam off the top and bottom of the panel. This 1-inch area is meant to allow the installer to drill directly through the panel, without damaging, or compromising the pad. If the surface the pads are being installed on is capable of being screwed into, pads will often be mounted directly to that surface. However, if the surface is unable to be drilled into, like cinder block, then firing strips will be mounted first, and the pads mounted to them.
Z-clip is a process in which the panels are hung with male/female aluminum channeling. An installer will first mount the female side of the aluminum clip to the wall (typically in 6-foot lengths). The installer will then mount the male side of the clip to the panel (typically 22-inch lengths). To hang the panels, the installer will drop the panel with the male clip into the female clip on the wall. These pads will appear the same as standard method pads on from head on, but can also be removed from the wall because of the male/female clip.
What's different about outdoor versions?
Padding designed specifically for use on chain link fence is also available for use in ball fields, fences and gates and outdoor track arenas. Composed of 3-inch thick foam, these pads are attached with a bolt and plate method. Z-Clip attachments are also available. Imprinting your pads with your logo will give a custom look to your outdoor sports facilities.
Column and Pole PadsColumn or pole pads are also available in a range of colors, in a standard height of 72 inches. Three sizes are available to fit 4-, 5- or 6-inch diameter poles. If your facility has I-Beams, there are four standard sizes of 72-inch high I-Beam pads with a channel design which wraps around the face and the edges of the beam. The padding attaches with hook and loop fastening strips. Or consider our Pilaster Square Flexible Wrap which is available in various sizes for square posts or beams.
Budget and Temporary Wall Padding
Regardless of what type of padding you chose, work with a reliable company like Greatmats to help you through the ordering process. You will need to work around outlets, doors, windows, etc. so having that knowledgeable resource is invaluable.