Do you really need to treat your wooden floors with kid gloves?

Two perceptions of durability: Our Technical Manager Richard Aylen discusses the case for NOT treating your hardwood floor with too much care.

Some people can afford to be a bit meaner to their hardwood floors.

We are all interested in what customers think of our floors, but when I found out for the first time how the same floor type can be perceived so differently when laid in different types of building, I was surprised.

Same floor, different uses

Take for example two different sites; one, a sports hall and the other a shopping centre, both fitted with similar solid hardwood floors. From daily conversations with clients and architects I can say that the shopping centre floor will be perceived as durable, hard wearing, long lasting, repairable – a beautiful but dependable “workhorse” of a floor that can also be refurbished many times over. The client knows that it will take any number of tables and chairs, any amount of foot traffic and stand up to the variety of footwear that the public choose…. all the things we like to hear. A good example is the food court at the Trafford Centre Retail complex in Manchester, a Junckers 20mm solid oak floor over 20 years old and still going strong.

Junckers solid Oak flooring installed at Aeroville Shopping Centre outside Paris. Floors specified and installed in shopping centres will generally be perceived as hard-wearing, durable and able to withstand heavy foot traffic. Hardwood floors are an excellent choice for high traffic areas.

Can I put tables and chairs on my sports hall floor?

The sports floor will also be seen as long lasting and durable, but this will ONLY be so when it is used specifically for sports, and the client may become quite nervous at the prospect of using it for anything else. The floor is often a lot more versatile than they assume it is. School premises managers will often ask if their sports hall can have tables and chairs put on it. They are going to fill the hall with chairs – will it bear the load? Can they use the floor for an open-day or fill the hall with diners? Often they assume it will need protection for all activities apart from sports, and will ask us what the manufacturer recommends for protection. Some clients are keen to allow roller skaters and tap dancers on their hardwood sports floor, but fear that the surface will be damaged. Both activities are usually fine on solid hardwood floors and manufacturers will often have some simple guidelines for users to follow. It’s always good to be able to reassure them that the floor will be OK for all those activities without using protection – so avoiding the cost of buying a temporary covering and finding somewhere to store it.

Junckers solid Beech sports flooring installed at Oriam, Scotland. Photo: broad daylight. With a technically advanced sport flooring system, clients can express worry when it comes to non-sport use, seeing their high performance floor as ‘fragile’, which is not the case at all.

The village hall – a true multi-purpose floor

Community halls are a very good example of the best of both worlds because they can cross over into sports use but are often used for social functions as well. Community hall committees often depend upon a full booking schedule to keep revenue flowing. They tend to give their floors a hard time by getting as much use from the floor as it will give – and still a solid hardwood floor will last them for decades given proper care and maintenance. They really make their floors work hard, but that’s what a solid hardwood floor is designed to do. Of course, the floor will show signs of use, the surface finish will wear, dents and scratches will appear, but solid hardwood floors are actually quite hard to destroy and can be refurbished many times over.

Junckers Oak Golden Pear flooring installed at Warwick Hall community hall. A solid hardwood floor installed in a community hall makes perfect sense. It’s a true multi-purpose surface that can be used for anything from large functions, kids’ parties and sports activities.

Putting your floor to good use

So why do we see the “kid gloves” approach in the sports hall market? Could sports floor manufacturers and the way they sell their products be partly responsible?

Sports floors are usually heavily promoted on their technical performance. If we, as manufacturers, talk about critical surface friction levels, special “sprung” batten systems that have scientifically proven performance and the like, then we are perhaps inviting clients to think that a thoroughbred floor may not be suitable for the knockabout treatment that can happen with everyday multi-purpose use.

The limitations of other types of floor covering may also lead customers to think that hardwood has similar shortcomings; e.g. if a thick cushion vinyl floor needs to be covered up for some types of “non-sports” use, then they may assume that the same will apply to all types of sports floor.

The fact is that a solid hardwood floor has a lot more to offer the client than simply being a technically advanced sports surface, and the life span will often be many times longer than say a synthetic or engineered wood floor. A case in point is a 22mm Junckers Beech floor that we supplied in 1964 to a secondary school dance studio not far from our offices in Essex. It is still giving good service, and we are told it is hired out annually for a local beer festival, so no kid gloves here!

You don’t have to treat a solid hardwood floor like a fragile or delicate surface. Just enjoy it, make it work for you. Be sensible, but don’t be over-sensitive. It will take some hard treatment, it is designed to, and when the battle scars appear you can refurbish it… time and time again.

This article first appeared in Contract Flooring Journal magazine

Richard Aylen, Technical Manager, Junckers Ltd

Have a technical question? Contact Richard on ria@junckers.com

MOD St George’s Barracks – a new sports hall floor

Our Approved Contractor Courtcraft was selected by Amey, a facilities management services company to the Ministry of Defence, to replace an old and worn out sports hall floor at the MOD base St George’s Barracks.

The old floor had been badly damaged through heavy and incorrect use. Following rip up and removal of the old floor, Courtcraft installers laid 458m2 of Junckers Ash Club 22mm solid board on 57mm BluBAT battens to achieve an area elastic floor according to EN 14904 class A3.

Our Ash Club floor has a silvery light colour with a characteristic darker grain pattern. The Club grade offers a rustic, lively look with substantial colour and graining variation. Our solid wood sports floor can be sanded back and re-sealed 8-10 times, giving it a very long lifecycle. The floor installation was completed without having to remove all the PT gym equipment. The line marking was completed by Courtcraft’s partners at MJ Courtmarkers.

Find out more about our sports flooring options here

Junckers Ash Club UnoBAT flooring at MOD St George’s Barracks installed by Courtcraft
Junckers Ash Club UnoBAT flooring at MOD St George’s Barracks installed by Courtcraft
Junckers Ash Club UnoBAT flooring at MOD St George’s Barracks installed by Courtcraft
Junckers Ash Club UnoBAT flooring at MOD St George’s Barracks installed by Courtcraft
Junckers Ash Club UnoBAT flooring at MOD St George’s Barracks installed by Courtcraft

New partnership with England Squash

We’re delighted to announce we’ve become an England Squash Approved Supplier. Our SylvaSquash solid beech floors and undercarriage systems have featured strongly in the UK squash market for many years, in both new build courts and refurbishments, it seems only natural to have a formal partnership with England Squash.

England Squash offers squash court related technical and design advice and its clients are directed towards the sport’s governing body Approved Suppliers to help choose products and installers.

England Squash AJ Bell National Squash Championships 2020

Junckers is partner to this year’s British Squash Championships. Through our links with England Squash the Junckers name and logo will appear on the main show court at the A J Bell British Squash Championships which takes place at Nottingham University 13-16 February. The Junckers name will have high profile exposure not only to audiences at the venue but to wider audiences via TV and online coverage.

To find out more about our SylvaSquash Beech floors & undercarriage systems , please click here

Courtcraft installs professional sports flooring system in new sports hall at University of Hull

Our Approved Contractor Courtcraft has installed a gigantic sports floor at University of Hull’s new sports facility, one of the largest in the country. Working in collaboration with Henry Boot Construction, Courtcraft supplied and installed 2600m2 of our SylvaSport Premium sports flooring system.

The multi-purpose hall has been fitted with an A4 rated, sprung solid timber floor, in accordance with the specification recommendations issued by Sport England and the ESFA, the Government’s Education & Skills Funding Agency. The solid wood floor boards were laid onto our New Era cradle and batten system, with double battening installed underneath the area where retractable seating was to be positioned in order to spread the loading weight. Courtcraft’s partners MJ Courtmarkers line-marked the floor for badminton, basketball, netball and volleyball use, sealed with a topcoat of Junckers HP Sport lacquer.

With the correct care and maintenance, this floor will last for a lifetime. Our floors are known for their exceptional longevity – they can be sanded and re-finished eight to ten times without losing their looks or performance. With 12-year intervals between sandings, a typical lifespan of 60 years will comfortably be exceeded. Compared with a typical 15-year life of a synthetic or “engineered” floor, there really is no comparison in terms of life cycle cost – the numbers speak for themselves.

Courtcraft will be back at University of Hull working with Henry Boot Construction in the summer to refurbish and existing maple hardwood sports floor as well as a multi-purpose studio floor. The job will involve replacing damaged boards, sanding both floors back to a smooth, open grain and sealing the floors with Junckers PreLak followed by Junckers HP Sport lacquer.

All images courtesy of Courtcraft

A note about the environment:

A hardwood floor is one of the most environmentally friendly sports floor finishes you could hope to find. All Junckers’ timber is from properly managed forests with FSC and PEFC chain of custody certification. Timber is harvested from old, established forest areas, which are constantly replanted. Junckers floors are BREEAM A+ rated in the BRE Green Guide and have EMAS 111 and ISO 14001 Environmental Management Certification. In addition, they have low (E1) formaldehyde emissions under EN 14342. Junckers timber floors are carbon neutral and at the end of their lives they are very easy to recycle, in contrast to materials made from fossil fuels.

University of Hull – Junckers SylvaSport Premium sports flooring fitted over New Era battens by Courtcraft
University of Hull – Junckers SylvaSport Premium sports flooring fitted over New Era battens by Courtcraft
University of Hull – Junckers SylvaSport Premium sports flooring fitted over New Era battens by Courtcraft
University of Hull – Junckers SylvaSport Premium sports flooring fitted over New Era battens by Courtcraft
University of Hull – Junckers SylvaSport Premium sports flooring fitted over New Era battens by Courtcraft
University of Hull – Junckers SylvaSport Premium sports flooring fitted over New Era battens by Courtcraft
University of Hull – Junckers SylvaSport Premium sports flooring fitted over New Era battens by Courtcraft
University of Hull – Junckers SylvaSport Premium sports flooring fitted over New Era battens by Courtcraft

Junckers hardwood flooring for multi award-winning building

A feat of architectural innovation, Storey’s Field Centre & Nursery by architects MUMA has won multiple awards, including RIBA East Building of the Year, the regional Sustainability Award, Architect’s Journal ‘Design of the Year’, a shortlisting for the Stirling Prize as well as top prize at the 2018 Wood Awards. Built with sustainable, high quality materials, the building features nearly 400m2 Junckers Oak Classic flooring.

The new facility serves the community on the North West Cambridge Development, with a nursery school for 100 children and a large community hall complete with acoustics that can be adjusted to cater for a multitude of events.

The large, triple-height space in the hall is realised in wood, where the tones of the timber gradually lighten from the floor upwards. A sprung floor utilising Junckers’ 22mm Oak Classic flooring was installed over underfloor heating, derived from the district’s own combined heat and power plant. Ideal for use in a large public space, Junckers’ solid wood flooring is durable and easy to maintain, as well as FSC and PEFC certified, contributing towards the building’s environmentally sustainable profile.

The flooring contractor was Capital Floors Ltd.

Junckers 22mm Oak Classic at Storey's Field Centre by MUMA 3 low res
Junckers 22mm Oak Classic at Storey’s Field Centre and Nursery by MUMA Photo: Alan Williams

Junckers 22mm Oak Classic at Storey's Field Centre by MUMA 1 low res
Junckers 22mm Oak Classic at Storey’s Field Centre and Nursery by MUMA Photo: Alan Williams

Junckers 22mm Oak Classic at Storey's Field Centre by MUMA 4 low res
Junckers 22mm Oak Classic at Storey’s Field Centre and Nursery by MUMA Photo: Alan Williams

Junckers 22mm Oak Classic at Storey's Field Centre by MUMA 2 small
Junckers 22mm Oak Classic at Storey’s Field Centre by MUMA Photo: Alan Williams a caption

Junckers solid wood flooring at Storey's Field Centre 5 low res
Junckers 22mm Oak Classic at Storey’s Field Centre and Nursery by MUMA Photo: Alan Williams

Storey's Field Centre and Nursery (exterior) low res
Storey’s Field Centre and Nursery by MUMA Photo: Alan Williams

New ESFA specification guidelines – are you up to date?

 

small Richard Aylen, Technical Services Manager, Junckers

Meet Richard Aylen, our Technical Manager. In a new series of technical articles, Richard will be sharing his expertise and keeping us up to date with all things wood flooring. First up, he explains the new set of guidelines set by the ESFA, The Education and Skills Funding Agency, crucial knowledge for architects, specifiers and contractors involved in building and refurbishing schools.

For schools and education facilities, there are usually three overwhelmingly important factors to consider when it comes to flooring: performance, longevity and cost. This is true for sports floors as well as for floors throughout a school, and a balance between those three factors is of crucial consideration to specifiers. If a school or education facility is applying for funding to upgrade or build new facilities, there is a new set of guidelines to follow as part of the specification process. Familiarising yourself with these new guidelines means you are well equipped to advise clients in the education sector on how best to secure funding, and crucially, end up with a high quality, high performing floor.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency, (ESFA), is an executive agency sponsored by the Department for Education. It is responsible for £58m of funding for the education and training sector, a proportion of which is dedicated to improving sports and activity facilities. To ensure public funds are properly spent, deliver both value for money and safe, high performing sports flooring, the ESFA has recently changed its design standards and of particular interest here is how their changes relate to floors for sports and multi-purpose halls.

Prior to the current phase of education spending any activity or sports hall in a school had to have a point elastic “P3” rating under EN 14904. However, the ESFA now requires Area Elastic category A3 or A4 systems. Also, the types of school hall have been more clearly defined and there are new rules relating to retractable seating.

Point Elastic P3 floors, though of low initial cost, have been deemed to be lacking in performance and safety. The softer surface can tend to “lock” the foot in place, which may result in tendon strains. The harder surface of most area elastic floors offers a “controlled slide” which allows the user to stop, but not so abruptly that the body is over-stressed. There has also been some dissatisfaction from wheelchair athletes about the higher rolling resistance of point elastic floor surfaces compared with the harder top surface provided by area elastic floors.

Area Elastic systems offer the best in terms of safety, longevity, performance and cost. They will typically have a “sprung” undercarriage of some kind with either a synthetic, engineered wood or solid hardwood playing surface.

An area elastic floor has high levels of shock absorption and vertical deformation making it a safe surface for sports, PE, dance, performance and multi-use, allowing freedom of movement and protection from injury. Users of the floor can perform at their best as they will have good ball control and consistent ball bounce. The correct friction rating allows players to move rapidly over the floor and reduces the risk of falls and strains. A floor with a timber surface is able to withstand rolling loads such as trolleys and retractable seating or if the floor is to be used for performances or exhibitions.

Junckers Sports Flooring at Kirkmichael Primary School photo Andrew Lee
Junckers solid wood sports flooring at Kirkmichael Primary School Photo: Andrew Lee

The ESFA requires the main halls in all secondary schools with 900 or more students to have retractable seating. Solid hardwood floors are very suitable for this however careful choice may be needed with other surfaces in order to avoid permanent indentation, rucking, delamination and permanent wheel “tracking” marks. Retractable seating systems create the possibility to host revenue-generating events and functions.

For many clients a solid hardwood floor offers the best in terms of performance, longevity, exceptionally low life cycle costs and ease of maintenance. Solid hardwood is one of the most durable surfaces available and with a typical lifespan of 60 years, it is virtually unbeatable in terms of lifecycle costs.

Whilst not a stated ESFA requirement, this choice also offers the opportunity to have a floor that is very environmentally friendly, recyclable, low carbon and makes little use of resins, adhesives and plastics. Increasingly, the final choice will often be made with some consideration as to how easily the old floor can be recycled or disposed of at the end of its life.

When it comes to maintenance, every type of floor finish suffers wear and tear and occasional damage. The specifier is faced with the choice either to specify a floor which can be refurbished or one that must be replaced when it is worn. Solid hardwood floors will often need to be refurbished by sanding and sealing after 15 years or so, which is very similar to the service life of a synthetic or engineered floor. Manufacturers will often help designers with life cycle cost information and weighing up initial cost against the cost of maintaining the floor through its life. The differences between one type of product and another can be considerable.

For more information please contact Richard RIS@junckers.com

Junckers solid hardwood floor at Harraby Community Campus mid cropped
Junckers solid wood flooring at Harraby Community Campus

L’Alquería del Basket / Valencia Basketball Club, Spain

Today’s post comes to you from Spain, where over 6200m² of our solid Beech SylvaSport flooring has been installed. The 15,000m² facility comprises 13 basketball courts, nine of them indoor courts.

Designed by ERRE Architecture, L’Alquería del Basket is the largest sports complex dedicated to basketball in Europe. For the indoor training courts, our 22mm Premium solid Beech installed on a Unobat 62+ sub-construction was specified. This particular sub-floor is a batten based solution which also features a unique adjustable and locking wedge system making it easy to level and accommodate the flatness of the hardwood flooring to all types of uneven subfloors.

A leading manufacturer of solid hardwood sports flooring, Junckers has a long-standing track record in providing professional sports flooring for basketball courts. Most recently, in a partnership agreement with FIBA, the International Basketball Federation, Junckers served as Official Technical Supplier of FIBA EuroBasket 2017. In the past, we have also teamed up with FIBA to provide sports floors for EuroBasket 2009 as well as the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

ERRE Architecture

Valencia Basket Club

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Junckers 22mm Beech SylvaSport flooring at L’Alqueria del Basket

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Junckers 22mm Beech SylvaSport flooring at L’Alqueria del Basket

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Junckers 22mm Beech SylvaSport flooring at L’Alqueria del Basket

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Junckers 22mm Beech SylvaSport flooring at L’Alqueria del Basket

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Junckers 22mm Beech SylvaSport flooring at L’Alqueria del Basket

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Junckers 22mm Beech SylvaSport flooring at L’Alqueria del Basket

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Junckers 22mm Beech SylvaSport flooring at L’Alqueria del Basket

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Junckers 22mm Beech SylvaSport flooring at L’Alqueria del Basket

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Junckers 22mm Beech SylvaSport flooring at L’Alqueria del Basket

 

 

Folding Floor at Newry Leisure Centre, Ireland

Have you ever seen anything like this before? This four-court sports hall at Newry Leisure Centre in Ireland has a a fold-away Junckers sports floor housing a trampoline pit. This clever construction was designed by Kennedy Fitzgerald Architects and constructed by Felix O’Hare & Co. Ltd.

Kennedy Fitzgerald Architects of Belfast won the commission to create the new multi-purpose regional leisure centre in a design competition held by the Royal Society of Ulster Architects. The centre includes an eight court sports hall, a four court hall, a handball court and several squash courts with a total of 2500m2 of our Beech SylvaSport Premium flooring, fitted over New Era Cradles.

The project has been designed to meet exemplary sustainability and low carbon principles and will embody the goals set out in the Newry 2020 Low Carbon City targets. The building design is on target to achieve ‘Disability Sports Northern Ireland’s Inclusive Sports Facility’ Accreditation and the centre has been shortlisted for the RSUA Design Awards.

Kennedy Fitzgerald Architects

Junckers Sports Flooring

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Junckers SylvaSport Premium flooring at Newry Leisure Centre. Photo: Donal Mc Cann

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Junckers SylvaSport Premium flooring at Newry Leisure Centre. Photo: Donal Mc Cann

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Junckers SylvaSport Premium flooring at Newry Leisure Centre. Photo: Donal Mc Cann

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Junckers SylvaSport Premium flooring at Newry Leisure Centre. Photo: Donal Mc Cann

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Junckers SylvaSport Premium flooring at Newry Leisure Centre. Photo: Donal Mc Cann

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Junckers SylvaSport Premium flooring at Newry Leisure Centre. Photo: Donal Mc Cann

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Junckers SylvaSport Premium flooring at Newry Leisure Centre. Photo: Donal Mc Cann

 

 

 

 

New from Junckers: A Vinyl Sports Floor with Sprung Undercarriage System

When Bradford Academy needed a replacement for its sports hall floor they looked for guidance from Junckers. By going to the leading sports and dance floor systems manufacturer the academy knew that they would receive the right kind of advice and guidance to help them to steer their way through the overwhelming number of sports floor systems available on the market.

We worked in close partnership with the client, main contractor BAM and our local  Approved Contractor Harmony Contract Flooring, to deliver the floor completed and on time. The client wanted a sprung floor which looked good and was easy to look after, and it needed to meet the performance standards for multi-purpose sports; EN 14904. The floor system selected meets category A4 standard, which means that the academy now has a floor which is recommended by Sport England and the Education and Skills Funding Agency (EFSA).

The site constraints required a floor system with minimum construction height and Junckers’ EliteFlex 49 system, at only 49mm high was found to be ideal. The system is made from laminated foam-backed battens and 22mm timber deck with the 4mm vinyl layer bonded and welded on top. This provides a sports floor suitable for a range of activities from general education use through to elite levels of sport, dance and the like.

Over the many decades since our company was founded, we have dedicated a significant amount of resource to developing the best sprung sports floor systems on the market. This, and our “cradle to grave” technical and customer support and maintenance programmes sets us apart from other manufacturers, where the choice is often limited to a basic undercarriage system and various options for gluing a vinyl sheet to screed, an option which is no longer accepted by the ESFA as a suitable surface for sports.

In the UK, Junckers has become a by-word for high quality sports and activity floor systems, and for providing the technical and customer support needed to make every new Junckers floor one that the installer and client will be proud of. As part of continuous work to develop new products and constantly improve the ability to offer customers a broader choice of floor systems, we have developed a range of vinyl sports and activity floors, based upon the established success of our undercarriage systems.

One of our main strengths is the variety of undercarriage systems we offers. Not only do these give different sprung performance characteristics with some suited to basketball, others for dance etc., thanks to experience and technical expertise we are also able to take care of the less glamorous aspects of the installation, such as dealing with uneven sub floors or those where there may be drying out problems. Junckers’ floors are all tested and certified to EN 14904, category A3, A4 or C3. In addition, our own
in-house testing and development centre assess the wider aspects of the floor’s performance such as point load bearing ability and lifespan issues such as fatigue testing.

Our new vinyl floor systems are aimed at the education sector, sports halls, leisure centres and dance and fitness centres. When it comes to installation, vinyl floor customers have the same assurances that they currently have with our solid hardwood floors because there is a network of fully trained Junckers Approved Installers on hand to make sure that the floor will be fitted properly.

For more information on our new Vinyl Sports Flooring, please contact our offices tel 01376 534 700 or email sales@junckers.co.uk

Junckers Bradford Academy Jan 2018-2-HighRes
Junckers Vinyl Sports Flooring at Bradford Academy photo: Jake Fitzjones

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Junckers Vinyl Sports Flooring at Bradford Academy photo: Jake Fitzjones

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Junckers Vinyl Sports Flooring at Bradford Academy photo: Jake Fitzjones

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Junckers Vinyl Sports Flooring at Bradford Academy photo: Jake Fitzjones

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Junckers Vinyl Sports Flooring at Bradford Academy photo: Jake Fitzjones

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Junckers Vinyl Sports Flooring at Bradford Academy photo: Jake Fitzjones

Junckers Bradford Academy Jan 2018-9-HighRes
Junckers Vinyl Sports Flooring at Bradford Academy photo: Jake Fitzjones

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Junckers Vinyl Sports Flooring at Bradford Academy photo: Jake Fitzjones

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Junckers Vinyl Sports Flooring at Bradford Academy photo: Jake Fitzjones

Junckers New Vinyl Sports Flooring System at Bradford Academy 1-LowRes

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