The roar of the crowds, the squeak of sneakers, and the bounce of the ball—gym flooring is iconic, carrying stories singular to the floor and to anyone who grew up cheering for the home team. It’s often this history and familiar recognition that makes Original Gym Flooring appealing to project designers, retailers, builders, and homeowners alike. Of course, the ‘confetti’ effect of mixed up planks that occurs with reclaimed gym flooring also carries its own appeal.
Recently spotted running up the walls in a few locations, we connected with Rachel on a sports store project and Sarah on a growing eatery:
Original gym flooring with reclaimed bleacher boards add character to the Ashley McGraw office in Syracuse, NY.
We teamed up with a local architectural and interior design firm in Syracuse, NY to make their workspace a little more playful for employees. Ashley McGraw Architects collaborated with us to bring reclaimed gym flooring and bleacher boards into their snazzy, newly remodeled office space.
The material was sourced from Geneva Middle School, just 55 miles from Ashley McGraw and 28 miles from our headquarters in Farmington, NY. “Sourcing this so close to our headquarters, from a gym I played sports in, was remarkable,” shares Jered, one of our reclaimed wood experts. “When Ashley McGraw reached out looking for reclaimed wood for their office remodel, I knew immediately that we had the right product. It is a great fit and it feels good when a local company gives reclaimed wood a second life.”
Tony de-nails the gym flooring on-site as we reclaimed it from Geneva Middle School in Geneva, NY. While the planks are checked again at our mill, this initial de-nailing made packaging and shipping much more efficient.
Our friends at Ashley McGraw specialize in school design and were excited to bring iconic school building materials into their space. (They cherish their memories of sometimes winning a game of dodgeball and finding an okay square dancing partner.) The office remodel utilized Geneva Middle School bleachers and gym flooring. Original surfaces were maintained allowing the mixture of court lines and varying school-spirited colors to be celebrated. “It looks like confetti!” said Susan Angarano, Interior Designer with the firm. Tonal differences in the wood from the various schools helped create a border from the circulation spaces into the office areas at the company. Bleacher boards (sans bubble gum) were incorporated as screen walls and ceiling accents.
We salvaged the hard maple flooring and Douglas fir bleachers from the 1920s gymnasium during the building’s deconstruction last spring. As always, special attention was given to maintaining the original appearance of the wood, including surface finishes, bolt-holes, colors, and milling.
Reclaimed from educational institutions across the country, gym flooring can be re-installed as is, with the color schemes creating a random and playful reminder of its source.
“Gym flooring is one of our most colorful reclaimed products with a history most folks quickly relate to,” says Jered. The painted planks from the gymnasium were sorted from the others and used in the circulation spaces of the office, while the remainder of flooring from two other schools was used in the materials library. The old gym flooring has varying lengths, some up to five feet long while the bleachers boards are up to sixteen feet long.
Reclaimed oak boards were used for wall cladding in the break room.
We’ve certainly found likeness in our commitment to sustainability and conserving the world’s resources. “Every day, we challenge ourselves to embrace the possibility of a fully sustainable world,” states Ashley McGraw. “Our contribution is schools and campuses that respect, support, and nurture the learning experience and work in concert with the earth and its resources.”
David Ashley and Ed McGraw founded Ashley McGraw Architects in Syracuse in 1981. Their work includes classrooms, laboratories, recreational, and residential buildings, as well as sustainability strategies and master plans for public and private primary, intermediate, secondary, and high education facilities.
Reclaimed oak boards were used for wall cladding in the entry way.
With our trusted friends Walter and Eric of Veteran Wood Floors, LLC., I witnessed, and lent a hand in, the laying down of over 15,000 square feet in a little over 3 days.
Three days was about how long I spent laying my studio floor. It was a very casual experience as I hand picked each piece and the whole floor was assembled like a precious puzzle.
Walter and Eric did not have that luxury. Time was of the essence. Aided by a crew of a dozen men working round the clock, the installation process was a relentless hustle where choices were made instinctively, on the fly.
Along with the original finish, various accent colors ranging from black to white, grey, yellow, green, orange, blue, purple, brown and red are left intact on this extremely durable grade.
Reclaimed Gym Floors require both a skilled hand during installation and an acute visual sensibility. Because the flooring is reused as-is (without any additional milling), gapping and irregularities are to be expected and the installer must be attentive to keep the rows straight. In addition, an effort must be made to keep the original paint markings evenly dispersed during installation.
Layout, sorting, nailing.
Walter’s crew were installation pros. As one man nailed the flooring down, two guys would work ahead of him sorting and laying the pieces out. At the end of each day, what had been installed was then screened, vacuumed and coated with single application of protective finish.
We installed a heavier mix of painted boards on the first floor.
The finished floor looks pretty wicked. It’s sporty, playful, durable, and one of a kind!