KAT Tire “Floating Floor”
A new state of the art tire floor was designed and installed in the KAT South location on November 4th, 2007. This floor is one of few like it in the United States, and believed to be the first in Colorado for a Taekwondo school.
The floor is made up of a layer of used tires. Studs are mounted on the rows of the tires to disperse force equally to each tire and add support. Plywood is secured on top of the studs and puzzle mats finish off the floor.
The benefits of the tire floor are numerous. The design of the floor allows for firm movement and any Taekwondo drills to be executed without interference, and it has the added benefit of reducing chronic wearing of the ankle, knee and hip joints. The tire floor will absorb and disperse some of the force of each step through the tires that would otherwise wear on the student’s joints.
One of the largest benefits of the tire floor is added safety. For any tripping, falling or throwing, a great deal of force that would otherwise recoil into the body is dispersed through the tires. Where concrete would be solid, the tires momentarily deform and then reform after the force is dispersed.
The floor also provides a great bounce for demonstration and gynmastic techniques.
Here are some pictures from the construction. Although we had the basic idea from similar floors, there were no detailed plans available, so we had to experiment during construction to understand the best way to go about things.
First, lay all the tires down in rows. Some of the diameters will be different, but it is key that the height of each tire be very close. Varry the spacing so that all the diameters line up.
Make sure to test out a small section first. Keep in mind that each section anchors the others.
Lay 2 by 4 studs down across the diameters of each row of tires. Longer studs are better, as you will have less joints. Screw the studs into the tires. This helps dampen sounds from the tires.
You will have some overlap in studs, unless your space is very small. The overlap is key. Make sure you give at least 8 inches and make sure both studs are screwed to the OSB (or plywood). Otherwise, you may feel a weak spot in the floor.
Next you want to screw the OSB pieces to the studs. We used tongue and groove pieces to make the fit better together. Keep adding pieces and then screwing them down to the studs. We used 3/4 inch to make the floor as strong as possible because if one panel breaks, it will be difficult to fix. We screwed old puzzlemats onto the edges to avoid damaging the walls.
Finally, replace your mats on top of your great new floor! Depending on your location, you may have to do a lot of finishwork on the edges. Also, check ADA requirements, especially if you have a bathroom or exit that can only be accessed by going on the floor (as we do.)
Please contact us for more precise information if you are planning to construct your own floating floor. The whole project took about $1000 and 200 manhours.