Build your own dance floor.

> Finishing with Duraseal

v Sprung floors

From: Description: Ballroom Dance Floors-care cleaning & construction Dear John D. and other dancing colleagues Over the years , ballroom dancing (dance) floors have been a topic of endless concern and discussion to both beginning dancers as well as advanced dancers. I have danced on surfaces (represented as dance floors) ranging from wood, black top, bricks, slate, cement and kentile. The best dance floor I have danced on was referred to as a "sprung" floor. This type of floor I'm told provides some resiliency to the dancers which resiliency is not provided by other surfaces. Tongue and groove hardwood(maple or oak) are best for durability and comfort to the dancing feet. I'm told that the wood is laid over a base of plywood and the plywood is laid over a variety of wood firring strips that all contractors do not agree upon. Most were in agreement that laying the wood surface directly over a concrete slab would cost the least but would be the floor least likely to survive heavy traffic or maintenance. I will not question their logic. I do know from experience that the ideal situation is not always attainable when it comes to finding comfortable dancefloors. When I have danced for any length of time (over and hour or two) on a floor laid over concrete I get what is known as "shin splints". The ailment occurs the next day (or at least the symptoms) up the front of my lower legs where the muscle (s) attach to the "shin bone". I have found the same problem when dancing on "beautifully kept" gym floors used for "sports" and ballroom dancefloor alternatively. The wood on gym floors is usually laid on end (as opposed to the flat side) and then the surface which is usually very beautiful to the eye is provided with a protection of some nonskid polyurethane lacquer. For basketball players in "sneakers" or "other rubber soled foot gear" it is ideally suited. For my thin soled capezios I find the floor a bit too slow and too "hard"..A FLOOR , BARE OF LACQUER AND/OR WAX "POLISHED BY THOUSANDS FEET OF BALLROOM DANCERS" SEEMS THE BEST SURFACE TO DANCE ON. THE LESS WAX YOU PUT ON IT THE BETTER IT FEELS TO THE DANCING FEET OF BALLROOM DANCERS. I have encountered beautiful "to the eye" highly polished floors with silicone wax protectant that is very dangeroous to ballroom dancers. I SUPPOSE YOU NEED TO VACUUM IT AND PERHAPS KEEP IT FROM "MOISTURE" WHICH WARPS THE WOOD AND "CUPS" THE INDIVIDUAL PLANKING. THE LESS MAINTENACE THE BETTER IT SEEMS. I have tried various resins (ROSINS) on my leather soled dance shoes but I have found it to be trublesome and "messy". I havbe also tried balloroom shoes with "suede leather" on the soles. Although they inhibited "slipping and sliding" on a fast floor somehow I didn't like the feel of the floor so I went from what Capezio called "a ballroom shoe" to a "character" shoe. Until I discussed this difference with the vendor I wasn't totally aware of the difference it would make in my dancing comfort. Hope I have helped with this rambling contribution. sincerely A

Description: Re: Ballroom Dance Floors-care cleaning & construction In article writes: > >>>The best dance floor I have danced on was referred to as a "sprung" floor. >>>This type of floor I'm told provides some resiliency to the dancers which >>>resiliency is not provided by other surfaces. Tongue and groove >>>hardwood(maple or oak) are best for durability and comfort to the dancing >>>feet. I'm told that the wood is laid over a base of plywood and the plywood >>>is laid over a variety of wood firring strips that all contractors do not >>>agree upon. > >>And for added comfort, you can put rubber strips beneath the firing strips. >>I was looking into getting a dance floor for the basement of the house >>I just bought -- until I discovered the entire upper floor is all hardwood. >>So the joists should provide natural springing, especially since it's >>on the upper level! > >And for an added little bit of fakelore: > >A friend of mine, WHO SWEARS THIS IS TRUE ;-) , says he danced on a floor >constructed with used tires salvaged from a junk yard. The construction is the >same as above except the firring strips (I assume that is what they are called >although he didn't use that expression) are in a grid pattern -- two layers, one >laid out north-south over another laid out east-west. The two layers were >separated by a layer of tires placed strategically at every grid intersection. > >I suppose if it doesn't work as a dance floor, it would make a great indoor >trampolene. > Tires sound too springy. Any arrangement where there is a vertical line from the surface of the floor entirely through wood to concrete will have zero spring at that point, since the compressibility of wood is too small to matter for this purpose. Here is what I posted a while back about what I got done in the back room of my house. It is definitely good. Some other people have used this method, and agree. (Should this be in the dancing-FAQ?): >From (Dave Golber) In article <1lbjuuINNt03@darkstar.UCSC.EDU> (Brian Sutin) writes:

> >What exactly is the construction of a "sprung wood floor" -- does it >really have springs, how big are they, and is there some kind of damping >used? > Sometimes, I think, "sprung" means the floor is on wood beams above an open space ... So if you want one, all you gotta do is dig a basement underneath ... More seriously: we had a wood floor put in our back room (16'x24') for dance. We had it "sprung". Here's what goes down, starting from the bottom: Original cruddy concrete slab. Special very-liquid (and expensive) concrete to level slab. Plastic film vapor barrier Little rubber thingies, about 2" square and 1/2" thick, specially made for this sort of thing. 1/2" plywood running THIS way 1/2" plywood running THAT way 3/4" oak strips. Finish. It was rather expensive ... the special concrete to level the old slab was a good part of it. Apparently some architects and floor people know all about this stuff, if you just say "dance floor" or "sprung floor". On the other hand, we had some floor guys come over to look at it to bid on it, and they weren't interested enough to give us a reply of any kind! The result: when you jump up and down, someone can see the floor give under you. The result to you: no pain! As for finish: gettinng the finish you want may be hard. The typical "dance" floor is much too slick for folk-dancer types. My suggestion is to get a cooperative contractor, and have him do samples until you like that sample. Give me a call if you want to talk more. I could look up my records. Dave Golber 310/391-1269

From Fri Mar 12 17:15:56 1993 Posted-Date: Fri, 12 Mar 93 14:15:08 PST From: (Dave Golber) To: Subject: Re: Dancefloors * I am assisting in the construction of a dancefloor. The space is a large * commercial storefront (used to be a Kinko's copies) with a concrete slab * floor. If you could answer a coupla questions, I would be grateful: * * 1. How far apart were the rubber thingies spaced? Since you used * plywood running in both directions, I assume they were spaced the * same in both directions. ...One foot on centers in both directions. The plywood was one layer running parallel to one wall, one layer running parallel to the other wall. No necessary relation to the spacing of the rubber thingies. Call me and I'll give you the brand name of them. The whole thing is known to the right kind of architects as a "dance floor", I believe. * * 2. How were the edges of your plywood sheets connected to one another? Not at all. The whole thing is held together (I think) by the nails which hold the strips to the plywood. They go through both layers. (I'm not sure of this point. Call me and I'll check the records. If they don't indicate, I could call the guy who did the work.) * * 3. How bad (how do you quantify this sort of thing?) does the slab have * to be to require leveling cement, and what are the consequenses if * it is not used? In my case, the slab was really tilted. Had to be done. The floor guy cared enough about flatness (as opposed to tilt) that he used roofing felt, cut to fit, to even up depressions that were perhaps 1/8" deep across several feet. I can't tell you just _how_ necessary this was. * * 4. What would be the consequences of leaving out the vapor barrier? My impression from what I've read is that the vapor barrior is real important, since moisture from/through the slab can do awful things to the oak. Like making it expand, and rise up like there were gophers underneath. * * 5. Your opinion of this design: * * 3/4" oak flooring on 3/4" plywood running only one direction * over 2"x4" studs laid directly upon concrete slab. (possibly * anchored ?) Studs to be spaced more or less at standard joist spacing * for 3/4" decking both THIS way and THAT way. The studs would lie with * the 4" face vertical, giving (nominally) a 4" clearance between slab * and decking. * * This will of course be springier between joists and stiffer over them. * My comments: (1) Yes, you need a vapor barrier. (2) You will have NO spring over the joists. Wood doesn't compress. (3) You've used 4+3/4+3/4 inches of vertical space in your room. It you have a high ceiling, it doesn't matter. (In my case, it did.) Total height in my case: 1/2+1/2+1/2+3/4 inches.

Give me a call, and I can look up names, etc. 310/391-1269. Los A,CA evenings. Also: there are lots of do it yourself books about floors. They don't much talk about making them springy, but they'll tell you about vapor barriers, etc. I don't do floors myself, but I consider myself a fairly experienced wood worker. I was considering an arrangement maybe like this: 1/2x2 inch, on flat side, running north/south 2x4 on flat side, running EW 1/2x2, on flat side, running N/S plywood oak. The idea would have been that the 1/2x2s and 2x4s would be arranged in such a way that in no place was there a straight line entirely though wood to concrete. But then one has to figure out spacings, so as to get the right amount of spring. And the loss of vertical space would be 1/2+2+1/2+3/4. Having seen what my floor guy did, I think it's better, with the possible caveat that some arrangement like the one I was thinking of might be less sensitive to flatness of the underlying slab. Dave Golber

From: (Thomas Power) Description: Re: Ballroom Dance Floors-care cleaning & construction (I am having editing problems on the machine that I get news on, so I wrote this elsewhere; please forgive the non-standard attribution.) --(stuff deleted about sandwich floor over cruddy concrete...)-- This was originally a reply to a query of mine asking for dancefloor information, because I was about to be involved in the construction of a ~1500 s.f. ballroom floor. We followed this plan, after having gotten *exactly* the same story (as well as a nice discount on the "little rubber thingies") from a local floor builder. Fortunately, the leveling concrete was not necessary in our case, and we used tar paper as our vapor barrier. The rubber thingies are stapled to the bottom of the bottom layer of plywood. I believe we placed them on 1' centers both directions, but check with a knowledgeable authority to be sure. The whole sandwich is held together with the staples or nails which are shot into the tongues of the flooring strips with a special pneumatic gun. Our floor guy suggested the staples, which did work very nicely. (these are very serious staples.) You must leave space (we were told to leave a half inch) between the floor structure (plywood as well as flooring) and all walls in order to accomodate swelling. We were also told to let the flooring sit for some time (seems like it was > 1 week) in the room to allow it to shrink or swell in response to the usual level of humidity in the room, which may be quite different than that where the flooring was stored before. This makes for a very nice floor. We were very pleased with it; it was not squishy by any means, but it was certainly a far cry from dancing on tiles laid directly on concrete. I say "was" because not long after we built this floor, the studio was flooded by a plumbing accident in an adjacent business and our floor was ruined. The whole thing was torn out and rebuilt (exactly the way we had done it) by a professional flooring company (paid for with insurance $.) My only regret is that the floor was finished with what I believe was a polyurethane type finish. This made a O.K. dancing surface, because it was not put on too thick -- the texture of the wood was still apparent.(unlike the very glassy appearance of modern maple gymnasium floors) Nevertheless, I was hoping to follow the suggestion of another person who replied to my query and just saturate the floor with linseed oil after sanding it down. Once the floor has soaked the oil in for a couple of days the excess is wiped off, and the floor can apparently be used in a matter of days. I was hoping for this kind of finish because I am in agreement with the person who mentioned here that his (her?) favorite floor was bare wood worn smooth by dancing, and I figured this was as close as we could get and still take proper care of the wood. -- Thomas Power \ Buy the best mousetrap. Dept. of Engineering Mechanics \ University of Texas at Austin \ Opinions courtesy of myself only. \

From: (Eileen C Bauer) Description: Re: Ballroom Dance Floors - construction (Victor Eijkhout) writes: >In article The Wilde One writes: > Tis isn't intended as a flame, but ANY arrangement which > consists entirely of wood (and air) MUST necessarily have some > point at which there is a straight line entirely though wood to > concrete. >This is not intended as a flame either, but I think you are wrong. >Make a 3-layer arrangement as follows: >layer 1: strips running NS at x-coordinates 0,2,4,6, ... >layer 2: strips runing EW at unspecified y-coordinates >layer 3: strips running NS at x-coordinates 1,3,5,7, ... >It is obvious(*) that this will be a springy arrangement. Now >the only problem is that the NS strips have to be close enough that >the EW strips will not crack. It may be wise to make layer 2 out >of a tougher material. And putting the NS strips closer together >makes the springiness tougher, putting them further apart makes the >spring action looser. >(*) layer 1 makes contact with layer 2 at even x-coordinates, >layer 3 makes contact with layer 2 at odd x-coordinates. Hence >there is no point where *3* layers touch. Saw the above setup described in Dance magazine. Strips should not be placed so that longest side is vertical, because this would give very little bounce. Placing the longest side horizontal lets the wood give way more, but also puts the most weight on the weakest edge of the wood. Therefore you would have to interleave the strips closer than you would otherwise. Maybe every 6in? Normal floors have beams ever 1 foot or so... -eileen

> Dance wax

> Cleaning floors

> Buy a floor

> Marley for ballet / jazz

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Last modified on: Saturday, October 9, 1999.