Marley floors, made from slip-resistant vinyl that rolls out, let you easily turn any floor into a dance floor. If you own a marley floor or are ordering one for your studio or venue, you should be aware of some do’s and don’ts for taking care of your floor. Let’s take a closer look at the don’ts — the mistakes you want to avoid to ensure your floor performs as well as you do.
The Dangers of Using a Shower Pan Liner in Place of a Marley Floor
An essential question to address concerns a possible replacement for a marley floor. Some studio owners have heard of using a shower pan or pond liner as a dance floor. A shower pan liner is a sheet vinyl product designed to go under tiles in a shower to make it waterproof. So, can you use a shower pan liner for a dance floor, as some have suggested? The short answer is an unequivocal “no.”
These liners are not designed for use as a dance floor — they’re not even designed to experience air exposure. You fix shower pan liners into place with PVC glue, which is toxic. In a bathroom, as soon as the liner is covered with tile, the setup is safer for your home. But there really isn’t such a thing as a nontoxic shower pan liner, and that’s a problem if you’re leaving the liner exposed to the air and allowing people to come into contact with it.
As an article in Dance Teacher Magazine points out, exposure to air can lead to other possible problems, such as shrinking, warping and deterioration. It’s difficult to know how these liners would hold up or respond to various sources of wear or cleaners since they just aren’t designed for this application. So, avoid this “hack” — stick to a real marley floor made to be a safe and effective dancing surface.
Storage and Installation Mistakes to Avoid
Installing your marley floor is an essential step and is where some problems can arise if you aren’t aware of proper installation procedures. In some cases, installing your floors is a one-time event. With temporary installations, you may need to reinstall and store your vinyl floor repeatedly. No matter your long-term plans, correct installation is key to make the most of your flooring. Consider some possible mistakes to avoid when storing or installing your vinyl floor:
1. Installing the Floor Immediately
When you get your rolls of flooring into your studio or venue, you should not get straight to work installing the floor. The flooring needs to acclimate to the environment where you’ll install it before installation. Either stand the rolls of vinyl flooring straight up on their ends or unroll them and allow the floor to lie flat, avoiding walking on the material. Leave the flooring to acclimate for at least 24 hours before you install it.
It’s smart to have the room temperature at the warmest point it should ever get during this time. Aim for temperatures between 68-78 degrees Fahrenheit. Like wood, vinyl flooring expands in heat and retracts in cold, so when you’re fitting the flooring in your facility, start warm so you know the material won’t expand in the future and buckle. You can also prevent this issue by leaving a slight gap between the flooring pieces before taping them together.
2. Not Handling Flooring Delicately
A marley floor is sturdy, but you should still handle it with care. Be sure to read the directions for installation if you’re installing it yourself. Relay those instructions to anyone who’s helping you install the floor, too.
You should never flip the roll of flooring edge over edge as this could cause the flooring to crack. You should also avoid bending the flooring or stepping on it while it is folded or otherwise uninstalled. These actions can lead to stretch marks or cracking, which are irreversible. If it is only bent, your marley floor may be able to bounce back, but proper care is still essential.
3. Using the Wrong Adhesive
The right adhesive will keep your vinyl flooring in place over time, so it’s vital to use the correct options. There are two key considerations when choosing your flooring adhesive. You must choose an adhesive that:
- Has the manufacturer’s approval: Always check with the manufacturer to ensure you use an adhesive it approves for your flooring. You can often check online to see approved tapes and adhesives for use with your marley floors. Using an unapproved adhesive on your floor can void the warranty, so it’s worth paying special attention to.
- Is suitable for your installation duration: Know whether you want your floor to be a temporary, semi-permanent, long-term semi-permanent, extended-term semi-permanent or fully permanent installation. Note that only professional installers should handle permanent installations. Each of these options calls for its own method of keeping your marley floor in place. If you want a semi-permanent setup, you should use 2-inch double-faced tape and top tape to secure your floor.
4. Storing Rolls on Their Sides or Without Cores
One of the advantages of marley flooring is that you can roll it up and store it compactly when it’s not in use. The way you store or transport your flooring rolls is critical. There are two mistakes you can make — storing rolls on their sides and rolling them up without a tube at the core.
Both of these mistakes allow gravity to compress the material. You’ll see the effects when you unroll the flooring and see waves running across the floor. It can be difficult or even impossible to get the floor to lie flat at this point.
You can avoid this scenario entirely by storing your flooring rolls properly. Always roll the flooring around a tube — preferably one made of PVC — that’s at least 4 inches in diameter. This support keeps the material from collapsing in on itself and deforming. You should also store flooring rolls on the ends vertically, as straight as possible — never lie them on their sides or stack anything on top of them. It’s also helpful to protect rolls with some sort of wrapping or a box.
5. Storing Flooring in a Hot or Cold Place
Another issue that can arise when storing your floor is the storage environment. If it’s too hot or too cold, your floor could get damaged. Humidity is also a factor, with 40%-60% humidity being ideal. It’s best to store your marley floor in a climate-controlled environment so it remains close to a typical room temperature and doesn’t experience any extremes.
Even if you store your floor at the right temperature, you should still allow it to acclimate whenever you move it to a different facility before you install it. Subtle differences in temperature and humidity can cause the vinyl to slightly expand or contract, so it’s best to let it adjust to the new environment before taping it down and using it.
6. Stretching the Floor
If you weren’t aware of the right way to store your floor and it gets warped, do not try to force the floor to lie flat by stretching it. Even if this seems to flatten the floor, it will distort the seams, making it impossible to properly align and connect pieces of flooring.
So, what should you do instead? There are a few solutions you can try to remove wrinkles in your floor:
- Allow the floor to warm up on its own: First, try leaving the floor unrolled in a warm environment overnight, and see if the wrinkles in it relax. Sometimes, this measure is enough to solve the issue.
- Heat up and weigh down the floor: If there are still waves in the floor, use a hair dryer to carefully warm up the areas that need to flatten. After warming the area, use something heavy to weigh these areas down and let that sit overnight. It’s best to try this technique in one spot first to see if it’s successful. If so, try the same procedure on the rest of the floor.
- Reverse roll the floor: If your floor is still not lying flat, try reverse rolling it around its core and standing it up vertically. Allow it to sit like this overnight, then roll it out again.
If these solutions don’t flatten the flooring material, it’s probably time to replace your marley floor. Prevent these problems by storing your floor the right way.
Maintenance Mistakes to Avoid
Maintaining your marley floor helps you keep it clean and safe for your dancers to use and lets it last as long as possible. As you maintain your marley floor, you may end up doing more harm than good if you aren’t aware of the proper maintenance products and procedures. Look at three mistakes you should be careful to avoid to keep your floor in great shape:
1. Using Harsh Cleaning Products
No one wants a dance floor that’s covered in grime or scuff marks, so you may try to reach for the nearest cleaning product when your floor needs freshening up. But many cleaning products you might use on other surfaces are not safe for a marley floor, like:
- Household cleaning detergents
All of these products can end up damaging your floor rather than rejuvenating it. Instead, stick to cleaners specifically designed for your marley floor. The right cleaners can help you improve the safety, cleanliness and hygiene of your flooring material. Disinfecting your marley floor calls for ProClean D No-Rinse, for instance. You can also use a simple dry mop as a daily cleaning method in between using products.
There’s no need to use harsh cleaners that can hurt your floor when you can use products that are safe and effective on vinyl.
2. Steam Cleaning Your Floor
Steam cleaning is a popular cleaning method for some floors, but is this a good way to clean a marley floor? It may seem harmless since it doesn’t involve any chemicals, but the answer is no — you should never use a steam mop to clean your marley floor. Steam mops boil water inside and penetrate the floor with the steam they produce, which is at least 212 degrees Fahrenheit.
Vinyl floors aren’t designed to withstand high temperatures. Cleaning up a mess with some warm water shouldn’t be an issue, but if you try to use steam, you can end up melting the vinyl. On permanent floors, you can soften the adhesive underneath the floor, as well. With any vinyl floor, you’ll likely void the warranty by steam cleaning the surface. Instead, stick to approved cleaning methods that don’t use high heat.
3. Forgetting to Replace Tape
Another mistake in maintaining your marley floor is failing to replace the tape used to hold the floor together and in place. The frequency of tape replacement will depend on factors like wear, but generally — unless it’s called for sooner — you should change out:
- Top tape every three months
- Double-faced tape at least every two years
- Seam tape at least every three years
Also note that, when changing top floor tape, you should clean the area with an adhesive residue remover before putting the new tape down.
Leaving tape for too long can lead to tape failure, which in turn, can cause your flooring to ripple or crack. Make sure you use a system to remind you or your staff when it’s time to change out your floor’s tape to avoid damage and keep your floor in great shape.
Start With a Quality Marley Floor From Stagestep
A great experience with your marley floor all starts with getting a high-quality floor from a company you can trust. For many dance studios, theaters and schools, that means getting their marley floor from Stagestep. With more than 45 years in the industry and a proven track record of excellence, Stagestep is the best source for marley floors. Stagestep also offers the most competitive pricing on the market, so you can be sure you’re getting the best value.
As long as you avoid the mistakes and properly care for your marley floor, you can enjoy many years of dependable performance. If you have questions about how to properly care for your marley floor, contact us today.