The Basics: Wall Pad Attachment Methods

An athlete’s safety has never been more important than it is today; thus, wall pads have become more popular in gyms and rec centers across America. Many facilities are having their facility managers change out their old, worn down wall pads or add more wall pads to the current set to make their gym safer. Often times existing pads have been there since the facility opened and were installed by the construction crew the entire facility. This leads to many facility managers asking which is the best way to install new wall pads. Luckily, installation is fairly easy once you understand the two most popular methods of attachment which are nailing margin or of z-clip.


Image depicts a 2′ x 6′ wall pad with nailing margin – cut out is reference only and shows the form and wood components beneath the vinyl outer layer.

Nailing Margin

The nailing margin attachment has been an industry staple and is a very popular option for the budget conscious. This simple method entails a 1” wood lip on the top and bottom of the pads that is covered in vinyl. Installers then use the appropriate attachment hardware (depending on the type of support structure) and attach through the lip to the wall. Some benefits of this method are the decreased cost and time of installation compared to the z-clip method.


Image depicts a sample wall pad hung with z-clips.


There are a few variations of z-clips that can be used to install wall pads; by far the most popular of these are the hidden z-clips. The pad will look very similar to the nailing margin pad but will have not have the 1” wood lip on the end. Each unit will have clips in two locations (top and bottom) of the wall and pad. Wall clips are installed first, generally supplied in long lengths to help installers line up pads as well as speed installation time. Once those have been properly installed, then the individual wall pads are placed. These clips are sold configured for one pad each so replacement can be done without disrupting the whole set. The Z-Clip method has grown in popularity with many facilities due to its clean look and design.

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