There is some confusion regarding exactly what is a sprung sub-floor and why it is so necessary to have one for all dance activities.
If you are dancing directly on concrete or on a surface directly attached to concrete (wood, vinyl, tile, carpet) the direct impact to the body is approximately three times your body weight.
Over time you first experience fatigue and thereafter you are likely to experience shin splints, lower back and knee issues and possibly hairline fractures in your feet. All painful, debilitating and not productive dance-wise. Hardwood floors installed on concrete may look attractive but they are no better than dancing on concrete.
I have heard “We only have little ones, what harm can they do?” Growing bodies with soft bones are even more vulnerable to injury than adults or older students. It is important to reduce the impact on the body to prevent injury. This is done with a floating wood sub-floor.
If you put 2 x 4’s spaced apart on the concrete and plywood on top that is called a raised sub-floor. It is not a floating wood sub-floor. Wherever the wood touches the concrete slab, you are still on the concrete. This creates a hard/soft environment that only aggravates the problem. Likewise putting plywood directly on concrete changes nothing.
A floating sub-floor is a flooring system where at any point on the surface if you go straight down you will hit air before you hit concrete. This can be accomplished utilizing cross link, close cell foam in the form of cubes, blocks, sheets and “L” shaped forms.
Another way to create a floating floor is called basket weave. This construction involves a lattice work of 1” x 1” wood struts off set from one another running in opposite directions at least three runs high. There are hybrid combinations of both approaches using foam and offset wood.
The rule of thumb is air everywhere so the wood can flex and the foam can wick away energy, compress and return.
It is also important to consider lateral foot support. The sub-flooring system needs to provide lateral (side to side) support for balance. Roll a dance floor directly over foam and the dance floor will compress under the weight of the dancer as the foam compresses below. You sink into the floor and have no balancing support. It is like trying to dance on a trampoline. The solution is that you must have a wood substrate between the foam and the dance floor surface. Stagestep offers both prefabricated sub floors and build it yourself options.
A floating wood sub-floor is a necessary tool to maintain the health and wellbeing of students and teachers. Floating sub-floors also provide an environment for dancers to excel, take more classes and feel good about dancing.
Additional information is available online on www.stagestep.com or call to discuss your options.