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Today's Preferred Sports Surface

Sports flooring differs immensely from floors designed for any other purpose. Because the needs of athletes come first, performance, safety and comfort are inherent characteristics.

Floor design can focus on a specific activity, say aerobics versus basketball, or on multiple purposes to suit the exact need of a facility or application: gymnasiums; handball, squash and racquetball courts; basketball courts; health and fitness clubs; international Olympic facilities; professional sports arenas; aerobic/dance exercise facilities; dance floors; auditoriums and convention centers; church and religious facilities; primary and secondary schools; colleges and universities; corporate exercise facilities; YWCA/YMCAs; family life centers; roller skating rinks; theater and performance stages; or commercial, industrial and residential applications.

Time and again, athletes, performers, coaches, trainers, owners and architects who design floors cite maple as their preferred sports surface. In fact, maple shows up on 70 percent of the sports floors installed in the U.S. The most preferred variety, northern hard maple from MFMA manufacturers, accounts for 58 percent of all U.S. sports floors — more than 17 million square feet — installed each year.

Northern hard maple has been called nature's perfect flooring surface. MFMA maple is produced from trees grown north of the 35th parallel where shorter growing seasons produce maple with closer, more uniform grain. In a floor, northern hard maple exhibits flexibility, resilience, durability, finish ability and low-demand maintenance.  

We are very pleased with the athletic performance on our MFMA floors in our varsity basketball arena, intramural gym and dance studio...we have found MFMA maple to be very aesthetically pleasing.

—Barbara Bickford, Associate Director of Athletics, Brandeis University 

Athletic performance is enhanced by its hard-but-resilient character. Subfloor systems enhance maple's natural shock absorption and area elasticity. And the surface provides dependably uniform grip and traction to athletic footwear. 

Northern hard maple was first used in sports flooring nearly 150 years ago. From the beginning, it was evident, however, that even "nature's perfect flooring" needed a little help if consistently outstanding floors were to be built.

Consistent quality became the mission of a handful of producers who, in 1897, formed the Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association — the MFMA. Their purpose was to research and develop the best procedures for the selection and grading of the wood. Over time, a set of strict, self-imposed manufacturing standards evolved for members, which they adopted in pursuit of consistent quality.

The association established itself as the authoritative source of technical and general information on sports flooring. Equally important, the MFMA established installation and maintenance standards to help its sport floor contractor members deliver and assure a product that lives up to its promises.

More than 160 MFMA sports floor contractor members and distributors worldwide follow procedures affecting the handling, storing and installation of MFMA maple. MFMA manufacturers continuously test and develop various subflooring systems in order to maximize athletic performance on maple sports surfaces. To top it off, the MFMA publishes a list of tested, recommended floor finishes that are designed to optimize athletic performance while enhancing the legendary durability of the maple playing surface.

MFMA associate member contractors are uniquely equipped to assist architects and facility owners with the design and construction of new athletic facilities, renovations and sports floor replacements.

An MFMA mill number is displayed on the back of every strip of MFMA maple. It is your guarantee that strictly enforced MFMA grading rules and quality standards have been painstakingly followed in the production of each strip of flooring. It assures the wood has been kiln dried to 6 to 9 percent moisture content which makes it dimensionally stable before manufacturing begins. It assures that the finished maple strip has been milled to consistently exact tolerances as mandated by the MFMA.

MFMA Manufacturers

MFMA maple flooring is manufactured to the highest standards in the flooring industry, by these manufacturers only:


In over twenty years of specifying hardwood gym floors in schools, I have never had to reject a single piece of MFMA flooring for any reason.

—Joe Elliott, Little & Associates Architects, Charlotte, North Carolina 

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