Before opening Limitless Yoga in Wichita, Kansas, co-founder Kelsea Wright knew flooring would be essential to her studio’s success. She previously taught at a studio with true bamboo flooring and noticed in the wintertime, regardless if the heater was on full blast or not, there would still be a contraction of the boards. She explained she would see areas where the flooring would separate from the walls and the boards would become a bit looser.
Wright used the experiences there to help make her flooring decisions when creating her own studio. Her choice for flooring was an engineered vinyl plank. The pieces are interlocking, so there is no glue or adhesive required, which Wright explained is important for studio owners who are renting or leasing their space.
“Our vinyl plank looks like a blonde hardwood floor,” said Wright. “Most people assume it is a hardwood floor. They have the texture of wood so even if I’m not on my mat I still can feel that grip from the texture of the wood. I have two studio spaces in my building, one heated and one not, and I have the same flooring throughout. It has been perfect for both spaces.”
Prior to placing the flooring, however, Wright had to go through a detailed process. Because her studio is heated, the flooring needed to be waterproof in order to prevent mildew; bleach proof to remove anything that may stain the floor; and humidity proof so the flooring wouldn’t expand or contract.
Before going to a flooring store, Wright took this list of things she wanted her flooring to feature and compiled a list of questions to ask the staff who would sell her the flooring.
“Don’t let a flooring person talk you into something before you have asked every question,” said Wright. “A lot of flooring people know their stuff, but they don’t understand that yoga is a different ballgame. Yes, they may say that certain floors are great for bathrooms, but when you are talking about humidity and sweat, it’s not just a couple times a year; you are talking heat and humidity for 12 hours a day, 365 days a year. Go into the store prepared with a list of questions and thoroughly explain what your floor needs to go through, what a day looks like and how many people it will see. They are obviously there to sell you the floor and they are going to sell you the floor that they think you need, but it might not be the one your studio needs.”
Amber Hazen, the studio manager at Essential Hot Yoga in Boise, Idaho, echoed Wright’s sentiments. She explained she once went to a studio with carpet on the floors, and she will never return.
“Starting out, just go with laminate floors,” said Hazen. “There’s vinyl out there that looks just like hardwood that’s super easy to clean and super easy to maintain.”
When it comes to maintaining flooring like Hazen addressed, Wright also has found an ease in cleaning because of the vinyl flooring. At Limitless Yoga, they simply use a Swiffer Wet Jet to mop down the hot studio after class, and a soft broom with a cloth pad to wipe down the unheated space.
“The mopping with the Swiffer takes care of the sweat, but there is no harsh chemical smell,” said Wright. “When you are breathing deeply in your studio during classes you don’t want anyone breathing in any harsh smells or anything like that. This leaves the entire studio smelling really good. You can get the entire Swiffer in lavender and a fresh and clean laundry detergent smell. It’s probably the easiest way to take care of the puddles of sweat, disinfect and get everything taken care of. Then you just throw away the pad.”
Hazen also explained because of their vinyl flooring, cleaning after each class has become a simple process. After putting On Guard, a plant-derivative cleaning concentrate, on the floor after each class, the sweat is then mopped up.
“In between each class, there is usually enough time that the floor is dry, so our clients are never fully exposed to that cleaning solution. Since we don’t wear shoes in the studios we make sure it’s dry and they are never walking on it. We do our best to use the right amount of water to make sure everything is dry prior to the next class starting.”
Yoga flooring is a different ballgame than other businesses and it is important to ensure you have the right style. “Do your homework to make sure you have the right flooring for your students,” said Wright.