Swing Discussion Boards > Dance Floor? Your take...

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by TemptressToo, Aug 11, 2005.


What type of floor would you dance on (and why)?

  1. Linoleum

  2. Wood

    0 vote(s)
  3. Marley

    0 vote(s)
  4. Concrete

    0 vote(s)
  5. Tile

    0 vote(s)
  1. TemptressToo

    TemptressToo Member

    An issue has come up recently about various dance venues in my town and the types of floor they have. What is your preference on a dance floor? If you dislike a type of floor, tell me why... Is it because it won't give? Does it cause injury? Pros and Cons?

    Curious to see what you all think...
  2. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    Wood with a little give...a real dance floor. Putting anything right over concrete does not work. Concrete is horrible too, and si one of the reasons that I am not going to the Saturday dance this weekend. Horrible for teh feet and kneees, among other things.
  3. wyllo

    wyllo New Member

    I hear Marley has a new flooring out that will work much better for ballroom than in the past. There is a studio here putting it in so I'm excited to see how they look/feel. But it would be hard to replace the beauty of a well-done wood floor.
  4. DancingMommy

    DancingMommy Active Member

    Have danced on all of the above. With varying degrees of success.

    Here's a tip... DO NOT TAP DANCE on highly varnished linoleum. You WILL FALL. You will make an idiot out of yourself.
  5. hepcat

    hepcat Member

    I've been researching dance floor construction, as I intend to install one in a spare room. I found a comprehensive discussion on the web that someone had compiled from various forums. The consensus (for swing) seemed to be a sprung floor is best. It goes like this:

    Little rubber "thingies" about 2" square and 1/2" thick spaces about 1' apart and stapled to plywood strips evenly spaced going one direction (i.e. North/South). Then another layer of plywood strips going E/W, evenly spaces. A third layer of plywood strips going N/S, but offset from the first layer so that there's no direct route through wood to the concrete. Then either oak or maple tongue & groove flooring on top.

    If you're putting this "subfloor" over a concrete floor and the floor surface is uneven, you will have to level it out with concrete before-hand. I've spoken to a couple flooring guys who say there's other types of sprung floor designs, but I haven't looked into those. All in all, if the plywood is a 1/2" thick and the oak/maple is 3/4, that makes a total rise of: 1/2" (rubber) + 1/2" (plywood) + 1/2" (plywood) + 1/2" (plywood) + 3/4" (oak/maple) = 2 3/4". Oh yeah, there should also be a seal somewhere in there to prevent moisture from coming up from underneath and damaging the wood, probably underneat everything.

    I don't know about the width of the plywood strips, but I'm guessing they should be spaced a foot apart given the rubber thingie spacing mentioned in the stuff I read. They didn't explicitly say and the different posts covered different aspects.

  6. DancingMommy

    DancingMommy Active Member

    Now onto the 411 on dance floors:

    Wood - not waxed or varnished. Can be laminate over floating subfloor. Never laid directly on concrete.

    <note> An easily made wood floor (and I've seen this is some studios) is to do the following:

    1. Frame out the floor area in 4'x4' sections using 2x4s laid on their sides. This makes the floor no more than 2" high and gives good stability. Make a grip with supports every 4' acroos both length and width.

    2. Use "L" brackets to hold the joints together. Use good screws.

    3. Lay a subfloor of 4'x8' plywood. The good stuff please. Do not use the el-cheapola grade. You will pay later. Screw this down every 12" into the grid you previously laid. <---- Some places call it "done" here but I say it looks B-A-D. And if I'm paying out the nose for my kids to take lessons, they better not be dancing on JUST plywood.

    4. Lay a top floor. This can be marley, laminate, or hardwood. Your choice depending on your budget. Under no circumstances should you varnish the top layer. Bad Bad Bad.

    4a. If you use laminate (Pergo, etc) be SURE to use the foam underlayment. It's an extra layer of cushioning and helps to dampen sound a bit. It's good especially if you are teaching a tap class to preschoolers. Either that or get earplugs.

    4b. Bruce makes an awesome real hardwood floor that requires NO glue. It's got sticky strips on the bottom and it comes prefinished. if you don't want laminate or marley, this is the way to go. It's not that expensive in the grand scheme of things.

    5. Make sure the edges of your floor are finished nicely and have either reflective and/or bright colored paint/tape so people don't trip. It's always good to NOT have injuries. :)

    Marley - can be tough for ballroom. Good for ballet/musical theatre/etc. Can muffle taps unless you get the one for taps/Irish dance.

    Linoleum - Iffy. If you are talking about the "no wax" variety, it can be slightly ok but is also somewhat sticky depending on the shoes you are wearing. Not so hot for ballet/jazz/etc. Regular street shoes OK. For the individual linoleum tiles, it's OK for limited social use if laid over a decent subfloor. Never ever wax or varnish a linoleum floor if you want people to dance on it. It's like glass.

    Cement - not now. Not ever. Not good for any application.

    Tile - I'm assuming ceramic/terrazo here and not linoleum type. Same concerns as cement or linoleum. Very hard on the knees, hips, other joints. You WILL notice pain after dancing even a short time on this type of floor. I promise.
  7. TemptressToo

    TemptressToo Member

    What sort of injuries can you get from dancing full out on concrete or tile? I'm assuming shin splints here...
  8. DancingMommy

    DancingMommy Active Member

    Knee injuries. You try spinning on concrete and it just isn't a good spinny surface. You can sriously injure the meniscus. Ask me how I know this? My sports med doc told me so! Heheheh.

    Shin splints, too. And you can fatigue your back as well. It's just an all around bad idea to dance on any non-flexible flooring surface.
  9. luh

    luh Active Member

    best experiences on wooden floors, that's why.

    i also danced on stone. (inside a house). That was very slidy, but it still was a too hard. Outside it s*cks anyway. (i mean the floor). We had a dance few weeks ago. Everyones knees were sore, because all the spins were not really doable on that floor.
  10. Ms_Sunlight

    Ms_Sunlight New Member

    Concrete, tile or stone doesn't absorb any impact when you step either. It just reflects right back up your legs. If I dance much on such hard floors, I'll have sore hips and knees the next day, unless I have been wearing sports shoes to absorb the shock.
  11. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    I am far too old to dance on anything other than a good sprung wood floor.
  12. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    I try and stick to that tooa s I'm showing my age.
  13. kdogg

    kdogg New Member

    Nothing beats a well maintained wood floor.
  14. dickda

    dickda New Member

    Concrete - Oh No!

    I assume that concrete was added for completeness.

    However, I can't imagine anyone wanting to dance on such a surface. Concrete can be laid very smooth, but even the best are really tough on the knees and on dance shoes.

  15. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    Re: Concrete - Oh No!

    Some people just do not know the difference dickda. I know many people from Cuba who danec everwhere in normal sneakers...even concrete!
  16. dickda

    dickda New Member


    You're absolutely right.

    Just about a minute after I made my earlier post, I started to think about all the places I have been in the world. I thought about all the places I had been that were not as wealthy as some others. Thanks for reminding.

    By the way, how does one do a spin, let alone multiple spins in (not dance) sneakers?

  17. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    Re: Concrete

    It's amazing...I know. I just watch them doing it in boots and my feet ache.
  18. hepcat

    hepcat Member

    Unless I'm not understanding your instructions correctly, it sounds to me like the perimeter of each 4x4 section has a direct route through wood to concrete. This would create hard spots on the floor where there is little to no give. The construction I researched (earlier post) has no such hard places anywhere. There is nowhere you can step that will not have some give. If I'm misinterpretting your instructions, let me know.

    Good tip about the type of plywood though.

  19. sanityhaven

    sanityhaven New Member

    Re: Concrete - Oh No!

    While it's not the ideal floor cement can be danced on. When you sprinkle sand over the cement it allows you to slide a bit if you're wearing sneakers.
  20. bjp22tango

    bjp22tango Active Member

    It is amazing how many " multi-purpose" rooms in rec centers, etc. are Linoleum over Concrete.

    I refuse to dance on this stuff. I can't move the next day.

    I keep thinking I should just invest in a removable wood floor and start holding dances in Hotel banquet rooms, there are certainly enough around where I live.

Share This Page