What is the right flooring system for us?
So many choices, companies, claims, endorsements, and recommendations to consider. The more you look, the more confusing it gets. Here is what you need to do. Here is what you need to know to get the flooring system suited to your needs.
So why so many different kinds of floors?
Is one better than another? What do I need to know to figure out what I need? First, there are two very different kinds of floor: wood and vinyl. If only it was that easy! Let's start with wood. Hardwood floors usually come in maple and oak. Stay away from pine as it is too soft for a dance floor. Solid hardwood is just that; solid all the way through. You will need a professional installer if you are going the hardwood route. Then there is composite wood flooring, a thinner layer of hardwood attached to plywood or a similar backing. It is less expensive and lasts about 2/3 as long as hardwood. It is also less likely to be impacted by humidity and temperature change. Both options are good for studio use.
Heads up! Bamboo is not a wood. It is a plant. It can not be sanded or refinished. It usually comes with a factory finish that is too slippery for most dance activities.
One of Stagestep's international customers, Institute of the Arts in Barcelona, Spain with Super Tilmestep.
Key Factors for success: Proper installation with ventilation and vapor barrier
Appropriate floor finish suitable for dance
• Laminate flooring looks great; however, be very, very careful. It is a wood and vinyl combo with a factory finish (too slippery) and a very thin wear surface that can easily be scratched with no option for sanding and repair. Stay away from laminate flooring.
• Vinyl flooring comes in three grades: residential, commercial, and industrial. Stay away from all residential vinyl. They are made for your home, not for your studio. Most dance floors fall into the category range of commercial grade. They are more robust and can take the day to day heavy use.
• Vinyl floors are made in one of two ways: soft and dense. Soft vinyl is pliable. Think of the classic reversible marley type flooring. They are usually light weight, less expensive, and great for all dance styles except for percussive (tap, clogging, ballroom) dance. They make excellent touring and performance floors. If you tap, these floors are not for you. They cut easily. Dense vinyl flooring are a bit more rigid, and are the standard multi-purpose studio flooring option that most studios purchase.
• Some vinyl floors come cushioned backed. They reduce sound and in some cases replace the need for floating subfloors. Sound reduction makes them a less than ideal flooring for tap.
•Vinyl floors can also come with fiberglass linings for stability and better lie flat. Also, there are multi-layer vinyl floors that create the look of wood.
A Stagestep's best seller, Super Timestep flooring, for Joffrey Ballet School in Long Island City, NY. Photography courtesy of Joffrey Ballet School, choreography by Serenade by George Balanchine and staged by Stacy Caddell.
Get samples. If you can, dance on the floor you are hoping to purchase. Find out and secure the necessary maintenance supplies. Set up a maintenance program. Do you want to make the most of the floor you have now? Click Here
Flooring from known dance floor suppliers are not that different from one another, but you do have to compare apples to apples. Floor thickness means almost nothing. It is wear thickness that reflects how long a floor will last. It is also is determined by use and maintenance practices.
Get a written delivered price.
Check specifications. All floors have safety data sheets which reference a number of characteristics, such as fire rating and load bearing (weight it can handle safely).
Flooring is not only a big investment, it impacts your business. In the end, dance flooring systems are about two important things, safety and performance for you and your students.
While this post is about floor surfaces do not forget you need to have a floating wood subfloor as well. Click here for more information on subfloors!
Do the following:
1.Plan months ahead and check out all options.
2. Compare prices, paying more only guarantees you are paying more.
3. Deal with a dance floor supplier who has a track record and is transparent about pricing and guarantees.
4. Flooring should be the last item to be installed in your facility. Schedule it that way.
Do not do the following:
1. Buy material that is not actual flooring.
2. Cut corners…gravity matters. Dancing on tile over concrete is not an option. Safety First!
3. Buy from a company that knows nothing about dance floors.
4. Purchase from a company that will not support your post installation needs or answer questions about maintenance, reinstallation, or moving.
Good luck and if you have any specific questions not referenced above, please call 1(800)523-0960 (U.S.) or 1(866)491-9019 (Canada) for a no obligation consultation.
Learn more at stagestep.com
215-636-9000 ext. 105