There are many ways to destroy a Marley dance floor. The obvious include acts of nature such as hurricanes and floods. Add vandalism, fire and loose tap screws to the mix and most might think those tops the list. It doesn’t. The simple act of storing your floors incorrectly can result in the dreaded “my floor has bubbles and waves when I roll it out. It won’t lie flat.”
This is what you need to do to prevent waves and bubbles.
- Find the best place where you are going to store your floor? The answer is never outside or in a space that is under 50 or more than 85 degrees. Ideally the temperature should be between 60 – 80 degrees with the humidity around 50%, always in a protected area.
- Never roll up the floor on itself. It should always be wrapped around a PVC 4” diameter tube and taped so it won’t unravel.
- Never store your floor lying down. It should always be stored standing up.
- When you do roll out the floor, let it acclimate to the space prior to taping it down.
Variations in temperature and humidity will soften or harden a Marley floor making it vulnerable to cracking or deforming. A core provides a consistent base and even wrapping pressure which allows the floor to unroll evenly and reduces curling on the edges and the dreaded waves.
Standing the floor on end, instead of it being stored lying down, helps eliminate roll set. Roll set, as seen in the picture, is visually seen as waves in the flooring running across the width. Gravity pressing down on the roll when it is lying on the ground, stretching it at its sides, causing repetitive ripple or waves when the floor is rolled out.
The longer the Marley is compromised, the harder it is to get it back to rolling flat. In many cases permanent damage is done, and the floor is no longer stable.
However, there are two techniques to try before relegating your dance floor to the trash heap.
How to Fix Waves and Bubbles In Your Marley Dance Floor
First, reverse roll your floor tightly around a 4” tube or core. Stand it upright in a warm location for a couple of days. Note prior the extent of the waves. Roll the floor out and see if there is any improvement. If there is no improvement, reroll the floor and repeat leaving the floor wrapped vertically for a week in a warm space. If there is still no improvement, there is probably nothing you can do to fix the problem except, in some cases, glue the floor down to the subfloor using a 100+ pound roller to flatten the waves.
If there is some improvement, your next move is to roll out the floor and, using a hairdryer, very carefully warm a wave then apply a sustained weight overnight. Excessive heat can damage a floor, so proceed with caution.
You can use heavy books, cinder block, free weights, etc. Let sit for 24 hours. Remove the weight and if the floor is now flat to the subfloor, you have a fix. Unfortunately, that means you need to affect the same process for each wave. It is time consuming, but it can be a floor saver.
If the hairdryer/ weight process does not work, your floor will likely never lie flat.
Follow the rules as outlined at the beginning of the blog and waves and bubbles will not be a problem.
Transporting your floor requires similar preparation. Secure the floor around a core and, if possible, protect the floor from dirt, grease and water, using a travel box, bag or shrink wrap.
In theater settings where lights will elevate temperature onstage, roll out floor and let it acclimate prior to taping. Leave a 1/16” gap at the seams. Tape seams and around the circumference prior to your performance.
Stagestep carries PVC Travel/Storage tubes. It’s online at the store. www.stagestep.com.