Prioritise your floors above all else!
Article in consultation with Martin O’Neill & Linda Pritchard from STM Studio Supplies.
The heart and soul of the dance studio is the floor. Independent of the best sound system, acres of mirrors and miles of barres, it is the floor from which everything begins.
Concrete floors and other solid surfaces are an absolute “NO” when it comes to dance. They have no resilience and are an invitation to permanently damage growing bodies. Insufficient shock absorption is a major cause of activity related injuries to ankles, knees and hip joints.
Correct shock absorption reduces fatigue and significantly reduces the potential for shin splints and other common injuries. Importantly, a correct top layer increases foot stability, reduces rollover and other injuries to dancers, as well as reducing the strain from rotating and pivoting movements.
STM Studio Supplies are seeing a growing trend of studio owners choosing particle board for their dance floor. This is not recommended because chip or particle reconstituted material is very dense, and compared with plywood feels “dead”, with a much-reduced energy return.
Plywood, strand-board, sprung battens, or a combination of them are the only way forward. The effective return on the investment in plywood is more than rewarded with the improved quality of the finished floor. Also, a dance floor shouldn’t have screws or nails that can work their way up and into your vinyl. Further, such a floor can ultimately be salvaged and taken with you if you move, with a minimum of fuss.
Not all budgets and circumstances – such as the temporary nature of a tenancy – allow for the expense of a fully sprung floor and so sometimes an existing timber floor simply needs a little sweetening. In this case EVA Underlay works extremely well with conventional floating floors in both domestic and commercial applications and is far superior in performance to standard foam underlays in its softness and feel. However, EVA is not suitable over a concrete subfloor.
Not all budgets and circumstances allow for dance floor vinyl either. Our secret weapon in place of vinyl for a dance floor is Juju® Performance Floor Finish. This is an industrial coating that we’ve adapted to resemble that of dance floor vinyl by adjusting the slip factor.
Juju® Performance Floor Finish works extremely well on most prepared and sealed surfaces and can also be used to correct the slipperiness of timber floor surfaces that have been finished in a manner not necessarily suited to dance.
Most often, Juju® Performance Floor Finish is compatible with polyurethane finishes and serves the dual function of toughening them up whilst correcting their slip factor. It’s important that the floor is not too badly worn as the solvent in Juju will react if able to get underneath the existing coating.
Having a slippery floor usually means that the floor needs a thorough clean with Sadie Suds, or Dirty Di. And did you know that it might be the build-up of Rosin on your dancers’ shoes causing your dance floor to be slippery? STM Studio Supplies have a great liquid alternative to Rosin called, Rozzie, which is much safer for vinyl floors.
Yet like any product even Rozzie can still build up if the floor isn’t cleaned regularly. If your floor is chronically slippery after being cleaned well, and Rozzie was applied, the dancers’ shoes may be the culprit. Keep a small wire brush in your studio so that dancers can scrape off the accumulation of any grime and goo. It’s not just Rosin or Rozzie that builds up on their shoes; anything from dirt, body lotion or hair spray can accumulate and cause trouble. Left too long, you may require the services of a Stanley knife. Clean soles will equal no more slip!
- Always get a quote.
- When installing vinyl, you’ll need help from at least 4 strong Dads.
- Allow 2-3 weeks for your floor to arrive yet remember if you’re installing over Christmas many manufacturers close during this time period.
- Make sure you get a builder to measure the space before you order, as they will take doors into consideration and length/width of ramps required to clear those doorways.
- Most reliable suppliers will be happy to communicate with you for as long as it takes to get the product you need and that works best for the space you have.
- Be realistic about the cost of your dance floor.
- Get the floor first, everything else can come later.
Give Emma at STM Studio Supplies a call about your flooring needs. A dancer herself, she speaks your language: 0459 976 744.