Our Technical Service Manager Richard Aylen’s expertise when it comes to combining our solid hardwood floors with retractable seating systems is second to none. Find out what to bear in mind and how installing one can be a lucrative investment.
Retractable seating offers schools and universities more flexible use of their halls and significantly increases opportunities for lettings and generation of income. The benefits of installing a retractable seating system are numerous: schools are able to stage their own performing arts productions in a more professional way with the audience having a better view that sitting on chairs “on the flat”; retractable seating can transform a sports hall into a lecture theatre or more flexible teaching space, both for school/university use and as a hire facility. The potential to generate income by letting the space to outside organisations for arts, sports and other events is usually a lucrative prospect and schools and universities usually see a quick return on investment.
Increasing numbers of clients who are fitting new flooring are opting to install retractable seating systems in their multi-purpose and activity halls. Therefore, the choice of flooring is very important so as to ensure that the surface will not be damaged and the floor is sufficiently loadbearing. Junckers floors have been proven over several decades to be very suitable for this type of use and we use our extensive experience to give the client valuable and well place advice on how to partner the floor system with their choice of retractable seating.
Types of Seating Systems
There are two main types of retractable seating system – fixed and mobile. Fixed systems, which are by far the most popular, are attached to the wall and extended out from the wall when needed. The seating is folded back against the wall when not in use. Fully mobile systems may be stored in a separate area, if full and unrestricted use of the hall is needed. Mobile systems offer the most versatility as they can be located anywhere in the hall, which means that the client can place the seats in one location e.g. for a drama production, and a different one for a basketball tournament for example.
A third option, but only rarely used because of the cost, are so-called air castors. These are used with fully mobile systems and use a cushion of air to move the seating unit around. They spread the seating load very evenly across the floor.
Benefits of Using Junckers Solid Hardwood Flooring
There are thousands of square metres of Junckers solid hardwood flooring in daily use with retractable seating, in buildings ranging from community centres, schools and colleges, through to Olympic venues.
Junckers offers a huge range of solid hardwood flooring, the majority of which may be used together with retractable seating. This versatility stems from the fact that there are a number of Junckers sub floor systems and installation methods to choose from, and so it is usually possible to find a great match between the hardwood flooring, the seating system, and what the client is looking for.
With a Junckers flooring system, there is no need to worry that the “sprung” quality of the sports, dance or performance floor will be disabled by adding strengthening which makes the floor completely rigid under foot. Junckers has extensive technical expertise in this area and, although the sprung batten system may need to be strengthened, it is possible to do this and to leave the sprung quality of the floor unaffected. It is not unusual for under floor heating to be needed as well, and it is possible also to include this beneath the floor boards, again leaving the “sprung” quality of the floor intact.
The surface of a Junckers sealed hardwood floor is very resistant to the type of wear and tear which may occur with retractable seating systems. Seating wheels will not mark or indent the Junckers floor whereas vinyl and other synthetic floors are often impossible to use because the wheels cause permanent “tracking” marks and scuffs. Some types of engineered hardwood floors may initially be OK if a retractable seating system is built upon them, but in the longer term the high loads may cause the core material of the engineered board to deteriorate and the boards will fail.
At Junckers we are able to assess the loads the seating unit will impose on the floor and from this we can offer a suitable design for the complete hardwood floor system- and we will guarantee the results. Many of the sports and performance floor suppliers in the UK are unable to offer equivalent guarantees and technical service, and in fact many do not have direct manufacturer representation in the UK.
Junckers solid hardwood flooring installed with retractable seating at BBC Auditorium, Wales. Images courtesy of Capita Architecture