Need Advice Glossy White Floor

Jon Taylor

Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2018
Location
Big Rapids, MI
I am building a set for Agnes of God and need help with the finish on the platform (I’m a builder for a community theater and I’m kind of ignorant of paint and finishes).

We’re using a 12’x12’ platform on a diagonal with a 3 degree rake running from DS corner (low) to US corner (high). The platform will be built from 9 triscuits, some of which will be new and some which presently are painted brown.

The design calls for a glossy, pure white floor and it was recommended I “put a coat of poly” on it to help with keeping it clean. Here are some of the other parameters of the build:

It’s built in our scene shop and moved across town to the venue. It also will have to be moved US once during hell week for a school assembly. (I’ve got a legging system designed so the completed platform can come apart into 4x8 and 4x4 sections and reassembled.)

I’m planning 1/8” gaps between platforms which I will fill with caulk (I think, is there something better?) on the final move.

This is community theater so we’re on a budget and it's a four show run. I’m okay with labor intensive, but we don’t have any expensive spraying equipment or anything.​

My question, then, is what are the best process and products here for a uniform, glossy white appearance which will also not be too slippery for the actors?
 

RonHebbard

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Premium Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
I am building a set for Agnes of God and need help with the finish on the platform (I’m a builder for a community theater and I’m kind of ignorant of paint and finishes).

We’re using a 12’x12’ platform on a diagonal with a 3 degree rake running from DS corner (low) to US corner (high). The platform will be built from 9 triscuits, some of which will be new and some which presently are painted brown.

The design calls for a glossy, pure white floor and it was recommended I “put a coat of poly” on it to help with keeping it clean. Here are some of the other parameters of the build:

It’s built in our scene shop and moved across town to the venue. It also will have to be moved US once during hell week for a school assembly. (I’ve got a legging system designed so the completed platform can come apart into 4x8 and 4x4 sections and reassembled.)

I’m planning 1/8” gaps between platforms which I will fill with caulk (I think, is there something better?) on the final move.

This is community theater so we’re on a budget and it's a four show run. I’m okay with labor intensive, but we don’t have any expensive spraying equipment or anything.​

My question, then, is what are the best process and products here for a uniform, glossy white appearance which will also not be too slippery for the actors?
@Jon Taylor Hello Sir! I'm a long retired IA sound and lighting person with ZERO painting or finishing knowledge. Since no one else has posted yet, I'll comment and use Control Booth's 'Bat Call' to summon a few of our more knowledgeable posters.
My comment: Have you considered any manner of removable painted floor cloth which you could roll to minimize flaking and cracking? @Van @kicknargel @josh88 Have you any useful thoughts for poster @Jon Taylor
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 
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Colin

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Joined
Jan 23, 2015
Location
Eastern Massachusetts
I like the single piece of linoleum/vinyl approach very much. Double sided tape holds it down maybe, but also maybe trashes your platform lids. I wonder about slipperiness on the rake - only done it flat. Or just start with a fresh hardboard/MDF layer over your triscuits and paint then poly. Regardless of the materials, it really has to be very well executed because under stage light gloss shows all the flaws whether they be in the paint treatment, or the texture of the platform lids, or rolled flooring that doesn't lay perfectly flat. Also, impress upon your costumer the primacy of non-marking soles (and also for crew who may walk on it).

Not knowing the design reasoning I can't say for sure, but would seriously consider whether it might in truth be best to go with flat or satin sheen. Does your lighting designer have the angles to keep that floor from blinding the whole room? How critical is the gloss, really?
 
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Van

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Jul 27, 2006
Location
Portland, Or.
Getting a super glossy finish is easy; Future floor polish. If it gets marred you can simply mop with some windex then recoat. The hard part is going to be getting a smooth, even surface out of a bunch of triscuits without covering them in something else. Obviously the best would be 1/4" mdf, fill the seams with chaulk, clean it as smooth as possible. Attach it to the platform tops with dbl stick instead of screws. Apply several coats of flat, white paint then top coat with several coats of future. This will give you a finish kind of like porcelin. If you want a deeper shine, more like tile then use a gloss paint, seal it with a couple layers of polyurethane, then apply the future.
Apply the future in thin layers with a sheeps wool flooring applicator watch for ridges.
 
Joined
Aug 8, 2012
Location
Villanova, PA
Getting a super glossy finish on a floor *is* easy. KEEPING it super glossy over a tech period and even a short run of performances is really really hard (without a ton of labor DURING all this time devoted to keeping it clean and glossy). Albeit, I'm jaded, but in my experience everyone *says* they want clean, smooth, and super glossy until they see it under stage light (that's being aimed at the super shiny floor) and then they almost always inevitably ask to have it dulled down. That probably doesn't help you initially, though, I'll admit.

3 degrees translates to 5/8" per foot, which I guess isn't super steep, all things considered - but that's still steep. If you can, I'd do a mock-up of the angle and material (AND THE SHOES BEING WORN!!) before devoting yourselves to doing it for real to ensure it's safe.

I like Seanandkate's linoleum idea, though you may discover finding a material that doesn't look like a kitchen floor difficult.... Tried and True might ultimately be your best shot. Paint 1/4" tempered masonite glossy white (you might try garage or patio Epoxy Paint for thickness) and cover your triscuits such that the platform seams are offset from the maso seams and, so long as your subfloor of platforms is nice and level and even, your maso seams should all but disappear.

Good luck.
 

MarshallPope

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Joined
Nov 10, 2009
Location
Auburn, New York
Another option might be white bathroom paneling/whiteboard material. Just paint the sides of the sheets before install and double-stick them down.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/1-8-in-x-4-ft-x-8-ft-Eucalyptus-White-Hardboard-447562/204727075?keyword=white+hardboard&semanticToken=223t0001011_20190918175129951822_8f2w+223t0001011+>++cnn:{0:0}+cnr:{7:0}+cnb:{3:1}+st:{white+hardboard}:st+oos:{0:1}+rt:{white+hardboard}:rt+dln:{569917}+tgr:{Product+Info+match}+qu:{white+hardboard}:qu

edit: Upon looking at it again, I'm not absolutely certain that link is the product I was thinking of, but Home Depot/Lowes do usually carry it.
 

Jay Ashworth

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Joined
Feb 7, 2014
Location
St Pete FL USA
The stuff Marshall's talking about *used* to be called Marlite, and it was basically tempered hardboard with a gloss finish on one side.

I'm not sure that brand's made anymore.
 

Jon Taylor

Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2018
Location
Big Rapids, MI
Getting a super glossy finish on a floor *is* easy. KEEPING it super glossy over a tech period and even a short run of performances is really really hard (without a ton of labor DURING all this time devoted to keeping it clean and glossy). Albeit, I'm jaded, but in my experience everyone *says* they want clean, smooth, and super glossy until they see it under stage light (that's being aimed at the super shiny floor) and then they almost always inevitably ask to have it dulled down. That probably doesn't help you initially, though, I'll admit.

3 degrees translates to 5/8" per foot, which I guess isn't super steep, all things considered - but that's still steep. If you can, I'd do a mock-up of the angle and material (AND THE SHOES BEING WORN!!) before devoting yourselves to doing it for real to ensure it's safe.

I like Seanandkate's linoleum idea, though you may discover finding a material that doesn't look like a kitchen floor difficult.... Tried and True might ultimately be your best shot. Paint 1/4" tempered masonite glossy white (you might try garage or patio Epoxy Paint for thickness) and cover your triscuits such that the platform seams are offset from the maso seams and, so long as your subfloor of platforms is nice and level and even, your maso seams should all but disappear.

Good luck.
I agree that the super-glossy finish is probably too much, and the glossy appearance under the lights is what we're after. We did a mockup of the angle of the platform already, but maybe will do again when we have the finish figured out. Thanks for the paint suggestions.
 

Van

CBMod
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Premium Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2006
Location
Portland, Or.
Another option might be white bathroom paneling/whiteboard material. Just paint the sides of the sheets before install and double-stick them down.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/1-8-in-x-4-ft-x-8-ft-Eucalyptus-White-Hardboard-447562/204727075?keyword=white+hardboard&semanticToken=223t0001011_20190918175129951822_8f2w+223t0001011+>++cnn:{0:0}+cnr:{7:0}+cnb:{3:1}+st:{white+hardboard}:st+oos:{0:1}+rt:{white+hardboard}:rt+dln:{569917}+tgr:{Product+Info+match}+qu:{white+hardboard}:qu

edit: Upon looking at it again, I'm not absolutely certain that link is the product I was thinking of, but Home Depot/Lowes do usually carry it.
I hadn't thought about this. I used this once as a super glossy floor. The director also wanted a 0 coefficient of friction as well so one actor could "easily slide the other two actors standing on cube across the floor to a new area..." I't's basically a melamine coating over a hardboard substrate. It does not have squared off edges. They are eased, like with a 1/8-3/16" radius. The area of the radius is brown like the substrate, trimming it without the with melamine chipping is a PITA. It's normally held together on the edges with a plastic strip which covers the cracks and chips. I bet you could cover them with little touches of enamel white model paint.

Oh as to Tape; If you are going with thicker or hard covers then use dbl stick carpet tape, the fabric kind. If you are using Vinyl or soft cover then use the really thin stuff. It's more like a plastic tape. The thicker fabric tape will show through and leave a bump through vinyl
 

Jon Taylor

Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2018
Location
Big Rapids, MI
Never used it, I'm sure it's expensive, but
http://www.gamonline.com/catalog/gamfloor/index.php

Actually not much more expensive than cheap sheet vinyl at $1.28 sq. ft.: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/835776-REG/Gam_VFGF212HR_GamFloor_Roll_48_x.html

The smallest roll is well more than we need, though, and it looks like it's not reusable, and the leftover roll would have to be stored in a climate-controlled space (i.e., not our scene shop: we only heat it when it's being used and we're in Michigan).

Looks like a nifty product, though, if it actually does everything they say it does!
 

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