Badminton, like any other sport, needs the proper playing surface. It is important that the flooring is both safe and durable. Otherwise, it can affect the game and, in certain situations, even injure players.
A wooden sprung floor with a vinyl impact absorbent covering and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) mat is the best flooring for indoor badminton courts. PVC mats are used in the highest international level badminton tournaments, such as the Olympics and World Championships. Furthermore, the mats are subject to high standards provided by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) to make sure they have great qualities for badminton play. Major badminton brands, such as Yonex and Victor, are trusted to make the best badminton floor mats, such as the Yonex Badminton Court Mat AC364 and Victor C-7051 Floor Surface.
What is the Official Flooring that BWF Requires for an Indoor Badminton Court?
BWF requires wooden flooring, and for a good reason. Because of its elastic surface, the wooden floor is one of the best choices for badminton courts. In fact, according to the BWF’s official rulebook, it is preferable to have a wooden sprung floor along with authorized non-slip court mats.
Instead of herringbone or other distracting patterns, the top surface should be laid out in parallel strips. What’s more, to reduce glare, the flooring should have a matte finish. Green, blue, or natural wood with a translucent seal are acceptable colors.
What Is the Most Common Type of Flooring for an Indoor Badminton Court?
The indoor badminton court flooring features will heavily depend on how often and what age group is expected to play on it. The most common types of flooring are Polyurethane/Polyvinyl Chloride (PU/PVC), wooden board, and acrylic. However, we can notice that the court floors in badminton halls consist of several layers of different materials. For instance, a concrete base with wooden boards on top and PU/PVC mats as the surface layer.
Some sports facilities, particularly those on school grounds, have a smooth liquid PU technology. That ordinarily results in a point-elastic floor. But if we include a synthetic hardening component to produce a layered elastic floor, it may also be appropriate for badminton.
Different Types of Flooring Options
The floor or surface of the badminton court is crucial for players since it directly influences their performance. Generally speaking, there are four kinds of courts based on different types of floors. So, let’s take a look at different types of flooring options and their pros and cons.
Synthetic Floor Courts
The main court feature that every player must request is an anti-slippery surface which is what they get with a synthetic floor. Therefore, a synthetic-floored badminton court is the most popular and best suited for large events and competitions, such as the Olympics.
Synthetic floor courts, besides the material they are made of, usually have two important defining characteristics, the first of which is the thickness of the mat.
Mats can range in thickness, from as thin as 3.5 mm to as thick as 10 mm. Most badminton mats, though, are around 4 to 5 mm thick. This range usually gives enough depth to the mat to help absorb shock while also being thin enough to be responsive for players to push off of easily.
The texture of the synthetic mat comes in second. On the market, there are three types of synthetic textures:
- Snake (the best, used in international tournaments)
- Sand (not recommended)
A wooden basis supports synthetic flooring. In general, this combination is excellent for bounce and is quite anti-slippery. We can classify synthetic floors into two categories: PVC and acrylic.
PVC / PU
Most commonly, we can find PVC/PU courts in the form of mats that come in handy when you need to lay and store them. These mats are classified as surface, middle, and lower mats. The surface mats are anti-slip and long-lasting, the middle mats provide stability, and the bottom mats absorb shock and allow bounce.
Badminton players love PVC/PU courts because their shoes can manage a good grip on this sort of floor. Most tournament courts have wooden flooring with these mats on top. That way, we combine the benefits of both wood and PVU/PU courts, which is probably the best option for an indoor badminton court.
On the other hand, a softer surface might create a higher rolling resistance for players in para-badminton who use sports chairs.
- anti-slip quality
- good bounce
- can be in the form of mats
- offers good grip
- Not popular among players in para-badminton
Acrylic courts are usually composed of solid materials like concrete or asphalt and coated with an acrylic substance. We use this material to cover the surface and indicate the playing lines while also giving some cushioning.
What makes acrylic courts so amazing is the fact that they are available in a variety of styles and colors. What’s more, acrylic mats are less expensive compared to PVC mats; hence, they are economical. They are also similar to PVC/PU flooring but tougher.
On the other hand, the acrylic floor’s shock absorption varies based on the materials beneath it. So, it is generally lower than that of PVC matting. As we walk on this type of floor, we can also notice that it is somewhat uneven.
- available in various colors and styles
- similar to PVC/PU
- more affordable than PVC/PU
- shock absorption can vary
- slightly uneven
Wooden Floor Courts
Wood has a natural ability to absorb pressure and not be too hard on the body at the same time. For this reason, it makes for a fantastic playing surface. We can usually find this type of court in integrated sports halls. Also, local sports federations recommend and praise wooden flooring.
Furthermore, players in para-badminton prefer wooden floors because they can withstand marks their wheelchairs and other mobility aids leave. That way, the players have greater freedom of movement and are not restricted by protective management policies.
Hardwood is the most common form of wooden badminton court flooring. However, not all wooden surfaces are suitable for badminton play. So, in some countries we use special kinds of wood — for instance, teak wood.
But such flooring requires regular care and polishing with a laminate coating to give it a high-quality gloss and longevity. Additionally, if it is not washed periodically with clean water, the court will begin to turn black, degrading its quality. The most recent trend is also pre-polished wood.
Unfortunately, wooden courts absorb less stress than PVC/PU courts, and they are more slippery. So, players might easily slip if the court is wet or if there’s sweat on it.
Another thing to bear in mind is that building a hardwood court is significantly more expensive in terms of installation and materials than obtaining a synthetic mat. Before we can form a court, first, we need to set a layer of wood and cushion in the ground. The whole process tends to be quite costly.
- Good at absorbing pressure but still less than PVC/PU court
- A good surface choice for para-badminton players
- Can be slippery
- More difficult to maintain
Rubber Floor Courts
We usually use rubber mats to cover the flooring in an indoor badminton court. These floorings have a surface that is cushioned with natural rubber, which is why it’s suitable for various sports. Natural rubber preserves the floor while also reducing sports injuries and tiredness. Rubber floorings are also fairly simple to maintain and offer reasonable shock absorption.
- Easy to maintain
- Fairly good shock absorption
- Easy to install and uninstall
- Can have an odor for a while
We can still see solid flooring in older existing halls, such as concrete, screed, or composition floors. Such flooring is NOT appropriate for badminton play, as the surface is too rigid and can cause injuries. Furthermore, cement courts do not provide a good grip and can easily get dusty, which can also lead to injuries.
However, we can enhance these old-fashioned floors by laying laminated timber planks on rubber strips or a foam-backed cushioned sheet material over the current hard surface.
- Not acceptable according to modern standards
- Can cause injuries
Sometimes it happens that a facility lacks the appropriate flooring layout and specification for badminton. In such a case, we can install a portable court mat over a sprung surface to create the necessary playing conditions. This practice is common in major one-off competitions.
However, these mats can be difficult to lay, lift, and store because of their size and weight. It is important to check the interaction between current and portable flooring to ensure that the combination is stable. We also need to evaluate if it achieves the same performance criteria as a proper permanent indoor badminton court floor would.
- Handy if there’s no proper court available
- Heavy and big
- Difficult to manage, lift, and store
- Might interact poorly with the permanent floor
As you can see, the type of flooring for an indoor badminton court can have a big impact on your game. Therefore, it is important to learn what you can about different types of flooring and their features. That way, you can use your favorite indoor badminton courts to your advantage.
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