10 Questions and Answers about Outdoor Sports Flooring: Cost, materials, financing

outdoor sports flooring cost
What does outdoor flooring cost and what costs do clubs and municipalities have to reckon with when renovating sports flooring?

From athletics tracks to playground basketball courts to street soccer courts, outdoor sports areas need the right surface to look good, play well and handle the weather. Clubs, schools and municipalities have a wide range of products, suppliers and outdoor sports flooring systems to choose from to meet their needs and environment.

The use concept of the venue, a cost comparison of the suppliers and the annual expenses for maintenance and care should be included in the  process of choosing and installing an outdoor sports surface. Alongside the costs should be a plan for how to pay them: facilities should be researching grants, sponsorships, donations and fundraising in parallel with project design and construction.

Types of surfaces and best uses

When building or renovating an outdoor sports complex, one of the most challenging decisions is the surface to use for the playing areas. How the surface will be used is one of the major input factors, and numerous decisions about construction, infrastructure and costs will follow. These decisions must be cost-effective in the short- and long-term; consistent with the community’s preferences for amenities and sustainability; and able to generate interest and revenue for the facility owner.

Some of the major questions are:

  • What is the cost of a tartan running track or an outdoor playing field for the sports facility?
  • How can the club or municipality finance these facilities, and what are the steps in seeking grants, donations and sponsorships?
  • What lessons can they learn from other facilities who have undertaken such a project?

Outdoor sports floor categories

Different types of sports surfaces have their own specifications. One important distinction to note is between water-permeable and water-impermeable synthetic surfaces. A synthetic running track for professional competitions must meet different requirements than a multifunctional playing surface used in the open space. In addition, the duration of use of the sports facility and the main sport play a decisive role in the choice of sports floor surface.

Outdoor sports surfaces can be categorized from “A” to “F.. Types A, B and C are water permeable, while Types D, E and F  are water impermeable. A-C surfaces are less expensive, less durable, and more suitable for training facilities and municipal sports fields. 

Under average amounts of use and exposure to the elements, outdoor sports surfaces should last for 6- 9 years. 

Impermeable surfaces (Type D-F) can withstand a higher frequency of use and are largely resistant to weather and external forces. These surfaces are therefore suitable for multi-sport courts at municipal facilities, as well as for equipping a stadium or high-performance training center.

outdoor sports flooring types

10 questions & answers about Sports Court Flooring

Below we have answered to the best of our ability to 10 of the most common questions sports facility operators and facility managers have when planning to install or renovate outdoor sports flooring.

1. Which outdoor sports floor suits which sport?

Many sports floors can be used multifunctional, and these are ideal for school or public facilities. They work for just about any sport at a recreational or training level. 

If the facility focuses on a few sports, or if the facility will host higher level competitions, then planners will have to select from specialized surfaces for track & field, basketball courts, tennis or any other sport. 

2. What do sports facility operators and municipalities have to pay attention to when purchasing sports flooring?

Facility managers have to start by determining at what level, intensity and frequency sports will be played, and which sports. They need to make this clear to the planners at an early stage. All decisions flow from this initial information, including which surface will best suit the facility’s needs.  Most vendors offer a wide range of floors, from single sport to multipurpose, and can offer useful guidance in the process.

3. What does outdoor sports flooring cost?

The cost depends on several factors such as the thickness of the surface, material, color, product quality and manufacturer, as well as regional price differences and the corresponding construction method. Typically the cost of outdoor sports flooring ranges from $4 to $15 per square meter surface and the lining. Additionally, new construction incurs further costs for site equipment, drainage, base layers and edging. Planning services must also be included in the calculation. 

The following shows the price ranges for some of the common outdoor surfaces:

  • Paved in place polyurethane mat system: $2,20 – $4,20 per square foot
  • Basemat structural spray system with impermeable seal laye: $5,20 – $8,30 per square foot
  • Full-pour polyurethane construction, textured and impermeable: $8,20 – $15,10 per square foot
Renovating outdoor sports court flooring

When renovating a tartan track, there are additional costs for removing and disposing of the surface and base layer. Drainage and edging will also be significant drivers of the final cost.

When rehabilitating athletics facilities, basketball courts and multi-courts sometimes the existing base layer can be reused.

Specialized contractors, architects and sports floor inspectors can advise the facility operator and make an appropriate recommendation regarding the continued use of the substructure.

The costs of court surfaces for outdoor sports facilities can be calculated via the Outdoor Sports Flooring Cost Calculator by entering the dimensions and selecting the floor type. The cost will depend on the intended use, product quality and requirements of the  surface.  After receiving your quote from the calculator, you’ll be able to gauge the estimates from vendors and contractors and make smarter comparisons between prices and options. It is always recommended to request quotes from several manufacturers as prices fluctuate regionally.

Specialists in the industry will be able to provide the details around costs, timelines and processes involved with your project, as well as useful tips to ensure success while staying within your budget.

Tartan track renovation - costs for an outdoor sports floor.

4. Which grants can be applied for when building or renovating a sports facility?

Many sports facilities will be able to apply for grants from foundations or community groups that promote sport, fitness or recreation.The amount and type of funding varies depending on the foundation, the type of sport and the sports facility project. 

As a first step, sports facility operators should research each outlet’s selection criteria and application and approval processes.  After seeing what they are eligible for, they should schedule their application processes in tandem with the timeline for construction and payment due on the facilities themselves. Obviously, the facility managers need a plan for how they will cover costs if the grant applications are rejected.

5. How can a new sports floor be financed?

Facility owners and municipalities must determine how much of their own funds they can put up for the project, how much they can raise through donations and sponsorships and whether they will have to take out a loan to see the project through. Member contributions and fundraisers are another source of money, but often in smaller amounts. Read our sports facility financing and funding guide for more information.

6. Is crowdfunding worthwhile in the context of sports facility construction projects?

In recent years, crowdfunding has become an integral part of numerous sports facility projects. There are now platforms that specialize in sports and sports facility projects. They can even help prepare and manage the corresponding campaigns and support the clubs using the platform.

7. What needs to be considered when cleaning and maintaining outdoor sports floors?

Outdoor sports floors must be cleaned regularly and swept free of  leaves and dirt. Especially in damp and shady areas, moss and other growth can quickly form. Once this happens, it can only be removed with special cleaning machines. Regular cleaning with a leaf blower and a high-pressure cleaner is usually sufficient to maintain the surface’s functionality. In addition, intensive care with the appropriate maintenance equipment should be carried out annually by a specialist company.

8. How do I find the right sports floor supplier?

Numerous builders and contractors  offer high-quality outdoor sports surfaces. Take the time to look at projects they have already completed and ask your counterparts at those facilities about their overall experience and their specific interactions with each contractor. Visit the sites as much possible, and exchange notes at every turn.

What does outdoor flooring cost and what costs do clubs and municipalities have to reckon with when renovating sports flooring?

9. What mistakes should sports clubs avoid when buying an outdoor sports floor?

At the beginning of the project, the use concept of the facility should be defined and thus the choice of playing surface determined accordingly. A detailed cost calculation and a comparison of different suppliers are essential to get a picture of the product and market situation.

Likewise, all parties and stakeholders in the sports facility project should be informed and involved at an early stage. This can include local politicians, the neighboring school, residents and clubs in the city.

10. Information about outdoor sports surfaces

We have compiled numerous background articles on the topics of financing, funding, planning and construction and equipment of sports facilities. In addition, many other articles about outdoor and indoor sports surfaces are published on this site. Using the different cost calculators, you can calculate the costs you can expect, and then contact the leading suppliers from the sports facility construction industry.