It is where the tires meet the road. Your floor surface is critical to your success as a dancer, teacher or choreographer, yet sometimes people go with the untried, untested and inappropriate, for reasons that range from trying to save a buck to “it looked like a dance floor”.
Knowing what to do is as important as knowing what not to do. Following is a list of stay away surfaces and the reasons why you should avoid them.
- VCT is a rigid tile which is fine over a solid slab but will crack over a floating wood subfloor. This product has a factory finish which makes it almost impossible to make less slippery.
- Laminate looks like wood, but it is not. It is a vinyl impregnated wood with a sealed factory finish. Very slippery, scratches easily and is virtually impossible to repair.
- Finished Concrete is hard as a rock and will not only wear the dancer out it will also wear out their shoes.
- Bamboo is lovely to look at but it is not wood. It is a plant. It cannot be sanded or refinished. Tends to be too slippery for dance and is resistant to finishes to make it more non-slip. Repair from scratches are difficult, at best. Can be used as an individual practice mat for tap.
- Plywood. Some think painting plywood makes an appropriate dance floor. It does not. Plywood will break down and dent and is very sensitive to water (swelling, delaminating and warping) so the surface is difficult to keep clean. Short term use and constant replacement is not a very economical way to go.
- Stone or Terrazzo, hard and unforgiving. Can be slippery when sealed. Not repairable. Stay away from at all costs.
- Shower Pan Liner. Looks like a marley floor but puts everyone at risk to exposure to cancer causing chemicals. Instructions say “do not expose to air”. Perhaps the biggest mistake you can make in identifying as a dance floor.
- Masonite. Very temporary at best. Water can turn it into mud. Really an underlayment.
Now you know what to avoid. So where to go and what to use is up next.
Vinyl (PVC) sold by dance floor companies or theatrical retailers. Specifications describe them as dance floors with examples on how they are used. Stay away from residential retailers, big box stores and anyone selling product not specifically designed for dance or theatre. Some fitness outfits offer “dance floors”. They are fitness floors. They are not going to make you happy. You don’t buy a motorcycle from a bike (bicycle) shop. Ask about maintenance products and dance styles good for the floor. Lack of knowledge indicates they don’t know what they are selling.
There are all types of PVC dance floors, some with foam, some solid, some reversible, some for ballet and others for everything.
PVC stands for Poly Vinyl Chloride. It is a by-product of oil when making gasoline. It is the base product in all roll out dance floors. Because it is made from a by-product, it is green. So celebrate the planet.
Wood Traditionally dance floors were made from wood, usually oak, maple or birch. Usually a permanent install that lasts a long time, but demands a good deal of maintenance.
There are two key components to a successful wood installation. The first being an appropriate floating wood sub-floor. The second is a finish that is non-slip for dance. Best bet is to get professional installation from a company that’s know what dance studios need in a wood floor. Gym finishes, waxes and residential coatings are usually too slippery.
There are so many questions regarding flooring that is may seem a bit confusing. Before buying, talk to a few experienced companies and see what they have to say. Narrow your choices and make a well informed decision. Stagestep is happy to assist.
Please contact us through our website www.stagestep.com or call 800-523-0960 Ext 118.