Practice Field Flooring

I have a FIRST world problem. We’re in process of getting space for a full size field at the school. It’s a brand new facility and we need to spec out flooring for the contractor ASAP. I’m wondering if anybody has recommendations for carpet tile that or something similar to the competition field?

I’m going to reach out to the carpet vendor FIRST uses directly but construction is way ahead of schedule so we’re unexpectedly under time pressure --so any ideas that teams use are welcome. I’m torn between carpet tile the whole building or polished concrete and roll the carpet out every year (but that creates a storage problem).

The context is that this will be a shared space as part of a STEAM building. So, the robotics arena will be a “multi-purpose” building that the performing arts students will be allowed to use in times other than build & competition season. So, we’ll be taking down the field every year. My concern is that we’ll tear apart the carpet after a few years and it’ll look like junk / be a trip hazard for the performing arts kids and tours of the facility.

Definitely try to get a full carpet roll if possible. We have used 3’x3’ tiles in the past and they are a nightmare. Simple turning, stopping, and changing directions would shift them around. Carpet tape would fix this but then simply rolling it out would be much faster. Wouldn’t you also have to store the carpet tile?

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Is it something that you can lay down carpet later? You may be able to get some if your team helps tear down after the last event that a carpet roll is needed for.

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If you really don’t care about a specific brand, generic low pile office carpet is what I would ask for. Admittedly, I’ve never felt the field carpet in all my years of FRC, but that should be close enough if you want it now. I’d try to get the field carpet if you can though.

You may be able to reach out to a local event if that happens and ask for the field carpet from that event. IIRC they use a new carpet for every event so the first team to ask usually gets it.

I wouldn’t make a field carpet your permanent flooring, something like a basketball court* would be ideal so you can put the carpet over that and have the closest characteristics to the actual field at most district events.

*if you’re actually crazy(?) enough to do this, don’t mention it to the school district. They’ll paint lines on it any you’ll quickly be out of a practice space.

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I think that’s the correct answer. Then roll field carpet out every year and tape just like it’s done for events.

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I feel like that seems to be the recommendation from this thread!

Contact the Texas district folks and see if they have any available from last season.

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My advice, go for polished and densified concrete. And then get your local event carpet for the field.

I would never willingly choose carpet for anything other than an FRC field, in which case I would use FRC carpet.

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You’re sure this is actually possible? I’ll believe it when I see it.

Don’t cover it with carpet directly, use your own. Robotics won’t be the only one who screws up the floor.
As with the general consensus before this post, use a hard flat surface like concrete or polished concrete - Polished concrete will however make the carpet bunch up and be not flat more than regular concrete unless there are weights or tape holding it down. We have enough space for a full field - outside. Our carpet still bunches up unless we put weights AKA old robot batteries on the corner.

At our practice field at our buildsite we just have the regular carpet under the field carpet because with only 1 or 2 robots running on it at a time and very occasional it is fine but at the west Michigan district and WMRI we use masonite to protect the floors of the gyms they are in so it all depends on what your setup is

The official fields are built on a 8x8 grid of 4’x8’ Masonite, shiny side up, taped together. So if you are trying to match exactly I would start with the concrete, but then add the masonite before rolling out the carpet.

Another reason not to use a “permanent” carpet as the field is the robots will chew it up and eventually it will need/want to be replaced, and this is a lot easier when the carpet is separate.

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I believe that’s a FiM spec, not necessarily a FIRST spec. You don’t see it under the fields at Palmetto, Smoky Mountains, or in Houston.

But if you’re playing on top of a basketball court, it’s clutch.

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Ask around to see who has carpet to give away. Someone gave us a half field recently.

We bought 5 (13×30) rolls of the recommended Shaw Neyland III carpet, which is just big enough for the area inside a full field perimeter. It allowed us to host 2 off-season events this summer, but it was definitely not seamed in quarters like regulation field carpet.

I think this is a good idea just for another level of protection for the permanent flooring.

The biggest concern I get push back on is that we have hosted off-season events and are a team that is usually helpful for field setup/tear down. We used to have a half field worth of carpet and I think some of my colleagues have PTSD of the heavy carpet rolls we used to deal with (like I said this is a first world problem I’m dealing with). There’s a more to the story about why that was an issue previously but I have an idea to get around that. Plus, I think the reality is that we’ll be able trim up the carpet nicely (if needed) and tape it down in a manner that is tactful and probably leave it out year-round.

We’re not so worried about acquiring the carpet or flooring as we are the right solution. The school is going through $30M+ in renovations so the donor and school are fine with putting in whatever we need.

We got a new facility in 2013 (first used for the 2014 season), and it includes a multi-purpose classroom/half-practice field. Essentially, the desks are on rollers so we can wheel them into the hall easily and set up for practice whenever we want. We routinely put tape down to mark where field elements go, since those have to be stored away when we’re done each day. We used the official FIRST carpet (from the 2012 season, since that was current at the time we needed to pick out carpet), and it’s showing it’s age at this point… but with a little care and attention (cutting of strings that get pulled up) it hasn’t become any sort of hazard. We’re looking to replace it sometime soon, though.

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Assuming that you divide your space into three regions, this is how I would floor it:

  • Shop Space - tools etc (polished concrete)
  • Classroom & testing space (Nyland official carpet, permanently installed) (I’d do this for some easy testing of the robot for programmers (vision testing), plus I just like the carpet)
  • Practice field space (some form of traditional flooring (probably concrete) with Nyland carpet rolled out on top of it.)

I’d stay away from permanently installing your field carpet, as you will likely damage it over time and it might be nice to be able to replace it as it deteriorates.

If you don’t have the space to have the three very separated zones, I’d go with what has been suggested above - concrete everywhere, with the official carpet on top of the concrete for the field.

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Congratulations on having the resources for a complete field!
You should probably make the cost of carpet a part of your annual or biennial budget. We have a 1/2 field and have used the same carpet for 2 seasons. I don’t expect the carpet to last past this season. A robotics field receives far more action than your typical flooring.
Our carpet stays in place throughout the year, which is adding to its wear and tear (we also use the field as part of our shop/build area)

Regulation is 2 rolls, generally speaking, run end to end and out under the driver stations. Not quarters. I think FIRST uses 70’ rolls, though.