How to build a dance floor?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by DancingJools, Mar 10, 2007.

  1. DancingJools

    DancingJools Member

    I am planning on installing a dance floor in a room in my (next) house.
    What should I plan for? I want the "sprung" floor, so it is cushiony on the feet.
    The room may already have a w/w carpet, and it's in the basement, so it's probably over concrete. How about just putting wood tiles (the snap and lock type) right on top of that, and using the cushioning effect of the carpet and the padding for the "sprung" feel? I don't care about how the edge seams join the walls. They don't have to.
    Alternatively, how about getting one of those ready-made dance floor kits and laying it over the carpeting/padding?
    You can tell I am no handy-person and have no clue about all this, so please don't laugh if what I'm suggesting is too stupid :confused: :confused:
    I take my hat off to cornutt for the house he built, btw.

    Alternatively, the room I choose as the dance studio could be on the first or second floor, so there is already wood flooring and framing and so on. Is that enough to give the "sprung" effect?
    Or do I have to put on those cross layers of wood to get that sprung effect?
    Of course, I'm not going to be putting anything. I'm going to hire someone to do it, but I need to understand intelligently what I'm trying to do.

    Ideas?

    And, mods, may be you can move this to the "General Dance Discussion" forum? It probably belongs there. Thanks.
  2. grayfair

    grayfair New Member

    DIY Floor

    Well, if you don't care too much about esthetics, I can tell you how we converted our oversized 2 "dump-truck" garage's concrete floor.

    We created a subfloor, which was just 1x4's layed flat across the length of the floor (nailed into the concrete) with cross peices (so we could screw the floor into those).

    Then used the pink poly-foam they use for wall insulation and put those down in between the 1x4s.

    We simply put 4x8 sheets of 3/4 inch tongue-and-groove plywood down and screwed to 1x4s, sanded the hell out of it, and poly-urethaned it. It held up to brutal abuse (dance teams) for years and was easy to maintain.

    The "raised" floor created by the flat 1x4s and ploy-foam softened the floor by giving it a bit cushion.




    .
  3. Merrylegs

    Merrylegs Well-Known Member

    OOOH, girl, I am so jealous! Can I come over and play?
  4. DancingJools

    DancingJools Member

    Hey ML - We're not there yet!!
    But sure, when (and if) it's done, you can come on over and play.
    And bring your friends :)
  5. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Wood has some compressive give, but if you want a real sprung floor you can't have any piece of wood or stack of two pieces of wood filling up the entire distance, meaning you need two crossed layers of sleepers and some posts to lift one layer off the subfloor at spots away from the crossings.

    Or the newer method: compliant rubber pads spaced in a grid supporting the sleepers.

    You might want to look at something like that, sitting on the carpet, and then use one of the clip-based flooring systems on top, reason being that if you move you can take the floor apart and salvage almost all of the boards for reuse.
  6. DancingJools

    DancingJools Member

    Sorry if I sound too dense, Chris. But can you elaborate? I really have very little knowledge about what goes on under a dance floor, and some of the expressions you use mean nothing to me (crossed layer of sleepers, etc.)
    Much appreciated in advance.
  7. SyrU_dancer

    SyrU_dancer New Member

    I would NOT reccomend putting the wood tiles over the carpet. The stress will crack it or possibly flex it to the point where it comes undone.

    If you looking for a floor you can take with you when you leave. I would cut up MDF (medium density fiberboard) and affix 1" closed cell foam to the underside in a 5 point patter on 2'x2' squares. That would be my ideal sub floor. Then lay the hardwood of choice over this, can the be tiles or what ever you prefer.

    You'll also have to be a little handy with a router, I'd use wafers to lock the boards together.
  8. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Biscuits.
  9. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    have put more floors in to my past studios than i care to think about .( couldnt afford to pay others to do it ! )

    Heres the plan-- first, make sure your space is square ( not sq. in area , but from a geometric sense ) select soft timber, 2 x 4 are good and if in a basement, make sure you lay some form of damp course ( plastic sheeting or protective coating )

    Next-- line your 4 walls with the 2 x 4 on their side- this will form a brace for your floor insert.

    Next--- Dont know the size of your space , but for e.g. if 20 by 15. divide the long side by same 2x4 going from short side to short side at 2ft ( some like 18 inches ) intervals .You will be creating a grid effect .

    Next ( do make sure all those a firmly secured ) there are several choices to go with on the type and quality of flooring you are going to place lenghtways down the room . The best is maple but you have to choose to your budget .

    Next, before you lay your " top " ., felt strips , should be secured to the foundation timber,--- suggest glueing same .probably no more than a qtr to 3 eights thick . Give the adhesive plenty of time to dry .

    As far as the top is concerned, tongue and grooved would be best but it will work with straight planking. Secure your top with very fine nails. ( nail gun would be good idea, you can rent them . Tell the person from your timber supplier what you are doing, and he should advise you on the best nail size for the type of wood you select ( hardness comes in to play )
    Once laid-- treat the surface with a qualty paste wax, buff and leave for 24 hrs to let wood absorb wax .

    N.B.-- make sure you allow for opening and closing of any doors in the area
  10. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Ordinary non-dance flooring is usally installed with the boards perpendicular to wooden strips called sleepers - these would often be 2x4's on their sides. To create spring, you would actually need two layers of these, thinner, so that they can flex. And to do it right, you would need blocks under the lower layer, placed in between the points where the upper crosses, so that there are no solid wood stacks between the concrete and the dance floor which would create areas with no give.

    Today though, you can replace most of this with special rubber blocks that hold up a single layer of sleepers across which you place your floor.

    Modern flooring systems no longer use nails, instead they use a system of clips which has the benefit of letting you recycle the entire floor, except perhaps for one board which you may have to cut to have a place to start taking it apart.

    It also means that you can make the floor slightly smaller than the space, completely unattached to the supports, and thus the risk of it bulging as it changes size with humidity.

    Best idea would be to talk to one of the dance flooring companies. Even if you try to wing it with stuff from Home Depot, figuring out first exactly what they would do should be a good starting point for designing your approximation.

    And don't go anywhere near MDF... the stuff is the wood equivelent of cement, and prized for speaker cabinets specifically because it is dead. It will also warp over time if exposed to uneven pressure, and comes apart in the presense of moisture.
  11. saludas

    saludas New Member

    fiberboard is terrible for this use, since it is not wood and does not flex...
  12. DancingJools

    DancingJools Member

    You make it sound so easy :)
    I had to spend about an hour googling "flooring wafers MDF" etc. just to figure out what "wafers" meant in this context. I finally found a site that referred to them as "biscuits".
    Not that it helped me much in figuring out how they would be used.
    But thanks for your help, everyone. Please keep it coming.
    I did google this subject plenty, and didn't get much help going from one site to another, each one trying to sell me "their" unique dance floor. I need to understand what makes a dance floor and what possibilities are there to construct it.

    Thanks - Tangotime and Chris. Though I am still trying to visualize all of this, it seems there are three options, similar in theory but different in details:

    1- A grid (a series of parallel lines) of 2 x 4s laid on their side and running parallel to the short side of the room, with felt pieces on top, and the actual flooring laid perpendicular over that. (Tangotime's method). Total layers: 3 (grid, felt, floor planks).

    2- The same principal as above, but instead of felt pieces on top of the "sleepers", rubber blocks are placed under the sleepers. (Chris's modern method). Total layers: 3 (rubber blocks, grid, floor planks).

    3- One gird of sleepers, as in choice #1, topped by another grid of sleepers perpendicular to it, and in between these two layers, at the contact points, some kind of a flexible material (not sure what type). Then the flooring is laid on top of that. Total layers: 4 (grid, flexible material, grid, floor planks).

    Did I get it right?
  13. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    If you are seriously planning to install a floor, I'd suggest you contact one or more of the vendors and get their full explanation of why their floor is the best. Then you have a basis for questions you might ask others... These are big enough ticket items I bet they'd talk to you at lenght, send pictures, referrals, could probably even get them to send you a short sample board if it's clear you are going to be buying a floor from someone soon.

    I know that if I had the space I'd start my research by learning as much as I could about dance vision's system beyond what's on the web page, going back and talking to the studio owner who mentioned installing it, etc - but obviously that would only be the start and might not be what I ended up buying. Which is of course a rather academic question for me at the moment (actually the wood floor in my apartment is fine... its just a bit on the small side for standard)
  14. DancingJools

    DancingJools Member

    DanceVision's system seems to be nothing more than the pre-finished easy-to-install planks. They "recommend" that you lay them on top of a foam pad covering the entire floor.
    It sounds good enough for me, but also too simple.
    You're right, though. When the time is right, I will need to talk at length to the people selling these things. I want to have as much information as I can before doing that.

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