Frequently Asked Questions

What We Do

In indoor surfaces, if you run on it or bounce a ball off it, we have a hardwood or synthetic surface that will suit the application. This includes floors for gymnasiums, fieldhouses, racquet and handball courts, wrestling rooms, weight rooms, running tracks, aerobics rooms, performance dance studios, roller rinks, and stages.

We offer free site examination of existing surfaces and free consultation regarding seasonal floor maintenance, repairs, and replacement. For new construction, we can offer advice based on the owner’s needs and over one hundred years of combined experience in our office alone.

Who We Serve

We provide custom guide specifications to architects (in their own format!). Owners, architects and contractors have relied on The Western New York Floor Company for almost 50 years for guidance, quality installations and service. If your facility includes athletic surfacing call for pricing and information.


103 Potomac Street,
Rochester, NY 14611
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Yes. In fact, a major portion of our business is sanding and refinishing, and also annual maintenance recoating.

The best way to determine which floor system best suits your needs is to meet with one of the specialists in our firm to go over the immediate and long-term requirements of your space. Robbins also has a general recommendation list on their website.

Northern hard maple has been called nature’s perfect flooring surface. MFMA maple is produced from trees grown north of the 38th parallel where shorter growing seasons produce maple with closer, more uniform grain. In a floor, northern hard maple exhibits flexibility, resilience, durability, coatability and low-demand maintenance. This maple lumber comes from the Great Lakes area of the United States, and also from Pennsylvania, New York, New England, and Canada.

Fixed wood floor systems consist of strip maple flooring laid on a subfloor that is fastened to a concrete slab. The fixed-system subfloor can be sleepers anchored to concrete, planks fastened to sleepers anchored to concrete, plywood anchored to concrete, steel channels, steel channels with nailing strips, etc. Fixed-system athletic floors are generally more resistant to humidity and water damage than floating-systems because moisture-induced expansion forces must be much greater to make them buckle. They reduce the likelihood of “dead spots” occurring in the floor, making their response under impact of athletes and basketballs more uniform. They are not very resilient, which is a serious shortcoming given what we know today about the physiological needs of young athletes.

Floating floor systems have the same maple playing surface. The subfloor, however, incorporates pads or springs, and the entire system simply rests on the concrete slab, i.e. it “floats”;. Floating-systems are generally less resistant to humidity and moisture damage, simply because they are not fastened to the concrete slab. During periods of high humidity they may “hump-up” slightly in some areas, which results in dead spots. This causes the floor to perform differently from one area of the floor to another, effecting ball bounce and the performance of the athlete. This limitation is balanced by the resilience offered by floating floors. They reduce the likelihood of impact injuries and damage to the joints from repeated performance on a harder surface.

Robbins has pioneered the development of “anchored-resilient” systems, which incorporate the cushioning effect of pads, while still being fastened to the concrete slab. These systems offer the best of both fixed and floating systems in terms of playing characteristics and durability.

There is no definitive study regarding the positive or negative effects of all wood and all synthetic floors. In fact, there are so many different types of maple and synthetic flooring systems that it is unfair to generalize. In many cases, a synthetic is the only option due to the predetermined uses of the floor. Each facility should weigh its needs carefully to decide which surface is best. The specific safety issues of any particular product can be assessed by comparing physical properties, and by getting references.

There is a benchmark for measuring relative safety of sports floor systems: The Deutsche Institut de Normung, or D.I.N. Specifically, D.I.N. Standard 18032 Part II measures six key performance criteria: surface friction, rolling load effects, ball return, shock absorbency, point deflection, and area of deflection. Virtually all maple floor systems can pass the surface friction and rolling load tests, and many pass the ball return test. The big challenge is to devise a system that has good shock absorbency (greater than 53%), good indentation (minimum of 2.3mm), but does not have a large area of deflection. In addition, the floor must be designed with durability and dimensional stability in mind. Some “DIN Certified” floor systems on the market today exhibit questionable structural component arrangements. A resilient, comfortable floor is no good if it cannot withstand humidity swings or hard impacts from athletes.

The D.I.N. standards were introduced to the American market by Robbins in 1987, when they invited the Otto Graf Institute (from Stuttgart, Germany) to visit their facilities and test many different flooring systems. The results of those initial tests led to the development of Robbins “Bio”; floor systems, and ultimately to the “Star” designated floor systems. Robbins is still the only sports flooring manufacturer to have their systems independently tested using a non-profit testing agency (Otto Graf).

Robbins Continuous Strip XL maple flooring is Northern Hard maple flooring that is jointed at random intervals in any given strip. Each strip ends up as a 7-foot 6 inch +/- long board that has increased dimensional stability and extremely precise milling. On the surface, it looks just like any other maple floor. It is harvested, inspected, sorted, manufactured and graded to meet or surpass the standards of the MFMA for jointed flooring. Robbins has perfected this process to create stronger, better-looking flooring, while providing owners with longer-lived floors installed in record time.

Technical information and research studies are available to demonstrate the benefits of Continuous Strip XL maple flooring. Please contact us for detailed information.

Maple flooring is made in 2 common widths, 1-1/2” and 2-1/4”, and 2 thicknesses, 33/32” and 25/32”. The thicker profile, 33/32”, is being specified less often due to cost, and also because the theoretical increase in life span of 1-inch thick maple flooring has been called into question by the MFMA. In fact, the MFMA has sent a position paper to Architects urging them to avoid specifying it, calling it a waste of natural resources.

Robbins has introduced a new thickness of maple flooring for athletic surfaces – Continuous Strip XL450. It is a nominally 1/2” thick, but due to very precise milling and special profiling, the wear thickness is roughly equal to standard 25/32” thick flooring. XL450 is environmentally friendly due to reduced consumption of maple in production, and it compares favorably in price.

Of the face widths, 1-1/2” is generally viewed as the preferred dimension due to the increased number of fasteners, and for aesthetic reasons.

The Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association is the governing body for the maple flooring industry. They regularly inspect and mills and establish grading rules and policies. The Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association is the governing body for the maple flooring industry. They regularly inspect and mills and establish grading rules and policies.

Site visits can be arranged, or a trip can be made to one of Robbins Institutes.

An Institute is Robbins term for a single location where many large samples of Robbins floor systems are installed. This gives the owner or architect the ability to actually jump on and bounce a ball off of each surface.

Wood floors expand and contract due to changes in their moisture content. This happens continuously for the life of the floor, although new floors respond much more to changes in humidity than older floors, simply because newer floors do not have a build up of maintenance finish coatings. Typically, a gymnasium that is 70 feet wide has a cumulative expansion potential of 1” per 1% increase in wood moisture content. In Western New York and Pennsylvania (our territory) maple gym floors can measure as low as 4% in the wintertime, and 10% in the summertime. That means that the gym floor’s potential expansion is 6” per season! Fortunately, much of the expansion is taken up by the boards themselves, and intermediate expansion gaps can be incorporated into a hardwood floor to absorb some of this potential.

Many of us have seen wood floors buckle after a flood… that’s because they have become saturated, and have up to 3 times their normal maximum moisture content.

Oil-based or “oil-modified” urethane floor finish is a traditional mineral spirits-based polyurethane finish. There are many finishes of this type approved by the MFMA for application on gymnasium floors. Oil-modified finishes are generally amber in color, high gloss with good gloss retention, and they take approximately 12 to 24 hours to dry between coats. They are relatively inexpensive and durable. They typically amber (yellow) with age. Recently New York State (among others) has issued new regulations regarding the amount of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) allowed in commercial finishes. As of 1/1/05, no finish manufactured after that date containing more than 350 ml of VOCs per litre can be used. Traditional oil-modified urethanes will be unavailable; only very high-solids finishes may used if their primary solvent is mineral spirits.

Water-based finishes have been gaining increasing popularity among building maintenance people, due to their low odor, and relative ease of clean up. In addition, they tend to leave the floor looking lighter and less yellowed with age. They have good initial gloss, although some users have remarked that some products do not have the gloss retention of oil-based urethanes. Water-based urethanes dry very quickly, often allowing more than one coat application in a day. They are expensive (up to 5 times the cost of oil-based urethane) and durable.

The Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association has included a caution regarding water-born finishes in their approved finishes list: “Note: The use of water based finishes has occasionally produced a side-bonding or panelization effect resulting in localized excessive cracks between the boards. MFMA is currently developing test methods to screen products which may produce such an effect.”

Logos and graphics are usually painted on the floor, during the gym line application. Floor finish is applied over them to protect against wear.

Yes, we use GameTime wraps for easy and excellent results.

Do You Still Have A Question Regarding Our Services?

Get in touch with The Western New York Floor Company, today!