Are you looking at installing boulder matting or upgrading your existing matting? With a lot of different options on the market these days, it can be hard to know what will best suit you and your gym. That's why we wanted to share a quick list of the 4 things you need to consider for your boulder matting.
1. Meeting The Required Standards
Ensure your matting meets the artificial matting standard and requirements for local building codes - including any grey areas.
2. Minimising Gaps
Does your matting minimise gaps, or the potential for gaps? Safety is a number one priority for any climbing gym, and minimising gaps is one way you can do everything you can to keep your climbers safe and injury-free. Also consider if your matting has a proven track record of not developing any gaps or entrapments through ongoing use over time.
3. Surface Firmness
Consider your options for surface firmness. They both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Matting with a softer surface can have a softer impact to climbers falling from the wall, however the foot will tend to sink in more than on a firmer surface. This can cause a potential entrapment in your matting.
Matting with a firmer surface reduces the risk of entrapment of the body and limbs mentioned above. However, it does give a slightly firmer absorption and won't be as soft an impact as a softer surface.
4. Vinyl vs Carpet Top
Similarly to the firmness of the matting surface, there are a few different material options you can choose from with the top of your matting.
Vinyl top matting is quick to mop and makes it easy to wipe up any spills. When it is initially installed, it will look nice and new and shiny, and can be easier to move than carpet top matting. That being said, vinyl top can develop tears quite easily from sharp objects such as screws (depending on the type of vinyl. It tends to wear faster than a carpet top, and it doesn't help to keep your walls or venue clean as it won't absorb chalk.
Carpet top matting helps to keep your walls cleaner by cleaning climber's shoes when they are walking on the matting. It also entraps dust and chalk, minimising dust particles in your venue - which means cleaner air to breathe. It is easy to vacuum, and will take sharp objects like screws piercing the surface quite well and will rarely show signs of tearing. Although, it can be harder to move carpet top matting around if needed. It won't take as kindly to having spilled drinks on its surface, and there are sometimes tougher requirements with building codes and meeting the required fire regulations.
Whatever your requirements, you'll be able to find a matting solution that fits. Just make sure you do your homework and find out what will work best for your gym.