A example of when you don't get theater people to reskin your stage

aeh20s

Well-Known Member
Just got sent these pictures of a school auditorium that got their stage reskinned by contractors back in March/April. I don't know anything about it other than that, but yeesh.

Waddel Floor 2.jpg Waddel Floor.jpg
 

TimMc

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
"We're gonna rename our stage 'Dimples'."
 

gafftapegreenia

CBMod
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I wonder what they even used. 1/8” maso?
 

TheaterEd

Renaissance Man
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Is there an "If you can't tie a knot, tie a lot" equivalent for screws?

My submission is "When you got a job to do, Use All The Screws!!" But I bet one of y'all can come up with a better one.
 

MPowers

Well-Known Member
That was my first reaction, "I don't think they used enough screws"



I'm pretty sure it was maso.
It is obviously maso, the question was what thickness. It appears as if 1/8” was used and 1/4” is more the norm and what most of us recommend. Also, it doesn't look as if the product was primed on both sides and edges or allowed to acclimate prior to priming or painting.
 
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Van

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Premium Member
Wow
 

Mac Hosehead

Well-Known Member
It is obviously maso, the question was what thickness. It appears as if 1/8” was used and 1/4” is more the norm and what most of us recommend. Also, it doesn't look as if the product was primed on both sides and edges or allowed to acclimate prior to priming or painting.
In my years of installation work, I have seen Masonite skinned stages in similar condition. I don't recall ever seeing the panels prepped beforehand. It was usually the case of: lay it down and get it painted so that other installers can finish their work.
 

Rossclan

Member
It is obviously maso, the question was what thickness. It appears as if 1/8” was used and 1/4” is more the norm and what most of us recommend. Also, it doesn't look as if the product was primed on both sides and edges or allowed to acclimate prior to priming or painting.
Spot on with that assessment, Michael. This is just sad. Many people in theatre don't know how to properly install a hardboard overlay. We actually had a contractor contact us at BMI Supply asking for the "specs" on the Masonite stage deck overlay. Since nothing existed, Dave Durbin created it. We subsequently posted the process should anyone like to share it with schools facing similar challenges. Just--please remember that BMI Supply does not sell hardboard, a.k.a. Masonite.:rolleyes:

 
Well, they got the color right.

We had an exact replica of that in our new Center for the Arts. First installation was countersunk and screwed every 8" with no spacing and paint on top after install. Rippled liked an ocean wave within days.

Second round the contractor pre painted both sides of 1/4" Masonite and then installed with staples and appropriate gapping. No real problems since.
 
Willing to bet that sheeting is 1/8" single-tempered hardboard with only the one side burnished like "Masonite" is. The dimpling could be partially the result of the underside being the uneven "hatched" surface of the super cheap hardboard compressing against the subfloor. And I'm sure it's not painted.

Prep & Layout are your friends.... or, at least, they would be, if you used them...
 

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teqniqal

Well-Known Member
Spot on with that assessment, Michael. This is just sad. Many people in theatre don't know how to properly install a hardboard overlay. We actually had a contractor contact us at BMI Supply asking for the "specs" on the Masonite stage deck overlay. Since nothing existed, Dave Durbin created it. We subsequently posted the process should anyone like to share it with schools facing similar challenges. Just--please remember that BMI Supply does not sell hardboard, a.k.a. Masonite.:rolleyes:

Wow. There are so many things about this 'guide' that are out of date and awful. I'd sue someone if they did that to my floor. BMI really needs to consider unpublishing this.
 
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teqniqal

Well-Known Member
The OP's pictures do look like they tried using single-side tempered 'industrialite' (junk grade) hardboard and did not c'sink the screw holes.

Masonite Corporation ceased making 'masonite' and 'duron' about 20 years ago. MDF / Hardboard comes in 5 ANSI grades. You really need to know the difference between them and be specific about the intended ANSI material grade you require when discussing flooring materials, otherwise the discussion is meaningless and you end-up with floors like the OP's. Just asking for 'meso' is a sure way to NOT get what you need because the local flooring contractor and/or lumber yard does NOT stock 'the good stuff' -- it has to be special ordered.

If the proper grade of material is used it is VERY dense (hard) and nails & staples will just bend if you try using them; and if screws are used, then you have to pre-drill countersink holes because the material won't just mash out of the way of the screw body / head as you try (and fail) to drive a wood screw into it. There are better ways to secure the top deck that don't involve holes and the associated labor.
 
Wow. There are so many things about this 'guide' that are out of date and awful. I'd sue someone if they did that to my floor. BMI really needs to consider unpublishing this.

Curious, Erich, what you think is "awful" about this guide? Certainly there are other, likely better, materials than what used to be known as "Duron" available these days and I don't think I'd brad nail anything, even if it did penetrate the hardboard properly, as I'd want to be able remove sheets individually if they became damaged or if they're covering a trap cover, etc. Still, seems like Durbin covered a pretty basic & effective process for most of us to be able to give our stage a "burn deck" for a decade or so for likely less than $2000. Likely, if someone's looking at BMI's guide to Covering Your Stage Floor, they're looking to do it within that kind of budget with similarly limited labor- and time-frames.

I'm not trying to start a fight - god knows there are enough of those out there these days - but remember that not everyone here is working with even a large budget to resurface their floor much less an unlimited one.

Every stage I've ever worked on needed to accept screws for securing scenery, LX booms, etc. A lot of the denser stuff you suggest above, the stuff that won't take brad nails or narrow-crown staples without bending, will also snap screws like nobody's business and that's not what most of us need on a Theatre stage floor. Maso "burn" floors are about finding a balance between usability and durability that'll allow us to put down scenery and pull it back up a couple of dozen times before it's replaced.

"One and Done" floors just don't exist without massive trade-offs in day-to-day / show-to-show usability, in my experience anyway.

Now, if you're talking about a PERMANENT-permanent install (for a dance floor, conference hall, etc.) that would never get screwed into then that's a TOTALLY different animal than what I took the OP's needs to have been. In that case, yeah, spend some more cash on something ANSI-standardized and research where & how to get it; press it down w/ a mastic-type glue or something or whatever and never think on it again. That just doesn't look to me like what that space needs or wants to be.

Good luck,
 

teqniqal

Well-Known Member
My biggest concern is that Time = $$. School personnel and show staff have plenty to keep them busy (2020 being, hopefully, an aberration), so for basically the same time and money, one can build a good quality floor that will last decades by using the proper materials. If you assume your deck is just going to get torn-up, then you'll treat it that way; but if you don't want to spend time ($$) and materials ($$) rebuilding / repainting it on a regular basis, then good materials will last longer, and good stage practices will minimise the abuse.

A top brand 2-part epoxy floor paint will stay in good shape for many years if you don't allow tap dancing and painting on it, and if you keel-haul anyone that drags stuff across it instead of putting it on a wheeled dolly you can train staff to respect the floor like they would a TV or a microphone. Taking care of your equiment should include the floor, then the surface won't get scratched as fast. USE PAINT DROPS under set pieces that need touch-up painting, and USE PAINTED FLOOR DROPS if you need a 'yellow brick road' or a carpet appearance. DON'T PAINT ON THE STAGE. Include severe penalties and damage deposits in your contracts to cover floor damage. Invoice them and they will learn due the pain in their wallet.

For anchoring things to a floor, use improved stage screws or threaded inserts and bolts. They can be removed and a hardwood dowel glued back into the hole after your are done (and that is a lot safer than a wood screw of unknown origin), and/or use canvas bags filled with steel shot to hold things down (steel shot is much heavier than sand, per volume). Also, canvas bags hurt a lot less when dancers in slippers kick them in the dark (and the audience may hear a dull 'thud' in lieu of a hard strike and cursing).

Work smarter, not harder.
 

kicknargel

Well-Known Member
It's almost as if different types of venues have different needs. A roadhouse may want a very durable permanent floor that stands up to a lot of load-ins. A high-end producing house may replace a sacrificial layer of floor for every production, so it can be customized with tracks and traps. For many theatres it makes sense to have a layer that can survive a few years of repainting and screwing down sets every few months. A concert hall may have a hardwood floor.
 

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