Gym Floor Renovation Resolves Moisture Problem

The Gillespie Group uses UZIN flooring for the Passaic High School gym flooring project.

The Gillespie Group uses UZIN flooring for the Passaic High School gym flooring project.

A high school gymnasium is more than a room where sports, meetings, and activities take place; it’s also thought of as the heart and soul of educational communities across the nation. When Passaic High School, Passaic, N.J., lost use of its gym last due to a moisture-soaked, buckled floor caused by steam emanating from the boiler room below, it rapidly became a crisis scenario. A roof leak further complicated the situation and contributed to the rapid deterioration of the gym floor. The Gillespie Group was able to remedy the problem.

Barry Stein, business administrator for the Passaic School District, needed a replacement flooring solution that could address the moisture problem, be installed quickly, and achieve a level gym floor. The Gillespie Group, a member of the New Jersey State Approved Co-Op of The Educational Services Commission of New Jersey (ESCNJ), was recommended, and based upon the suggested approach, was subsequently awarded the project.

John Gillespie, vice president of operations for The Gillespie Group states, “We know how critical the gym is to a school from a functional standpoint, and its connection to school pride and spirit. It puts a logistical strain on the entire school when the gym cannot be used.”

The Gillespie Group recommended UZIN Flooring, a self-leveling base floor that spreads evenly, and is designed for moisture control conditions like the one at Passaic High School. UZIN had been utilized by The Gillespie Group for several similar school-based flooring projects in the past. The firm has experience with flooring installations for schools and educational facilities throughout New Jersey. Gillespie adds, “We work with UZIN regularly, as the product is consistent in terms of installation and performance.”

The Approach

A logistics plan was created by Gillespie and Stein to address the challenges and complete the project within a six-week timeframe. The approach required the removal of the existing gym flooring, shot blasting, working around the bleacher areas, and a schedule that allotted three weeks to cure the 2.5-inch UZIN base prior to the finished floor installation. In addition to installing UZIN, The Gillespie Group managed the entire new floor installation as a turnkey project.

Maintaining an Ideal Balance

Wood expands and contracts based upon the amount of moisture in the air. If excessive moisture gets into a wood floor, it will cause the floor to either cup or crown. Cupping occurs when individual boards bend upward at the edges because they have run out of space to expand horizontally due to moisture intake (a U shape). Crowning is the opposite – the center of the board bends upward, making the middle higher than the edges (an upside down U shape).

The Gillespie Group suggests the following regimen to maintain gymnasium wood floors:

  • Daily: Sweeping with a dust mop coated with approved maintenance products will keep the floor surface free from dust, grit and abrasive particles. Keep all walk off mats clean.
  • Monthly: Remove foreign debris and clean entire floor with approved floor cleaner.
  • Annually: Inspect the surface and re-coat with a new coat of finish at least once a year.
  • Ongoing: Maintain the gymnasium HVAC system at a temperature range of 55-80 degrees, and 35-50 percent relative humidity.


The Passaic High School gym flooring project was completed in the six-week timeline, and the school district was delighted with the results. “The UZIN flooring provided a moisture-absorbent base to solve our problem, and the gym was ready in time for the first volleyball game of the tournament,” Stein concludes. Kimberly Kenny, athletic director for Passaic High School also noted favorable feedback from parents and athletes of various sports as to the quality of the new floor.

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