Painted Stage Floor Issues

Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by carllib, Jan 9, 2014.

  1. carllib

    carllib Member

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    Hello All,

    I am not sure if this is the correct forum, but couldn't really figure out where to post this.


    Our stage floor is covered in Masonite and painted black. We generally paint the stage floor for every production and use a variety of different paints. We exclusively used Glidden Flat Black for a standard on our floor, but due to cost issues with a production, the paint purchased was America's Finest. There was a coat of White that went down and the floor design. We have since had about 5 coats of paint re-applied to the floor, both Glidden Flat Black and a variety of America's Finest/Glidden for stage floor designs. We found that despite the numerous coats, when we remove gaff tape, spike tape, or simply scratch the floor, it is pulling off the layers all the way down to the America's Finest White. We never had this problem before and are wondering what we can do to prevent this.

    A) Do we need to re-paint the floor in a higher grade of paint and put a coat of sealant over it?

    B) Do we need to sand the Masonite down and start from a layer before the White?

    C)) Do we need to start completely from scratch?

    D) Is there another option that I have not listed?

    I will be grateful for any advice or suggestions that the Forum can offer. Thank you in advance.

    - Carl
     
  2. josh88

    josh88 Remarkably Tired. Fight Leukemia

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    It might be worth putting down a Bonding primer before the next repaint. It will help with adhesion of the new layer. Also a higher sheen paint will be more resilient than flat but being theatre that's not always an option.
     
  3. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    We recommend Rosco Tough Prime. That said, I don't think you'll stop the peeling without at least getting everything above the white off as clearly nothing is bonding to that. Once you have the failure to bond to one coat, anything on top is unlikely to bond.
    Plan to replace (or flip) hardboard as soon as you can. I suppose if you could remove all the paint above the white - a lot of students and a lot of tape maybe - the right coating might bond. I'd try a spot in the wings (if that has the white) - maybe 2 to 3 ft square - and try the Rosco Tough Prime.
     
  4. Floobydust

    Floobydust Member

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    Ive had the same results as Bill Conner above with the Rosco Tough Prime. I was lucky enough to inherit a virgin stage and rolled Tough Prime once a year for 8 years.
    And kept drama from painting the stage for their shows: simply not needed was my argument and it resulted in a very clean smooth and durable surface.
    Dancers loved it and I refused to Coke it for them; all they got was a rosin box.
     
  5. StradivariusBone

    StradivariusBone Custom Title Fight Leukemia

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    Did you sand before rolling the primer on? If so, did you take it down to bare wood or just rough it up some? Tongue and groove here.
     
  6. carllib

    carllib Member

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    I don't believe it was sanded. We went through a renovation back in the summer of 2012 and they purchased all new Masonite. In the wings there has been little damage done to the black coat they put on. It was a higher grade paint with a better sheen than flat. The White Coat was put on top of that original black coat with the better sheen. We have not pulled all the way back down to that, but it always stops at the White coat.
     
  7. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    I don't think you'll ever get a good bonding until you get back to the white where the interlayer failure begins. Sorry.
     
  8. StradivariusBone

    StradivariusBone Custom Title Fight Leukemia

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    My neighbor is a professional painter who has given me a good deal of advice on paint and how it adheres. He was explaining to me one time about the issues with painting too frequently, if the paint is too new and fresh, it doesn't have the proper texture to accept a new coating and that's where the peeling occurs. I'm not sure how Masonite would take to sanding though, I've never worked with the stuff. I agree with Bill though, the white needs to be 'roughed up' somehow to bond properly with the new paint.

    Our T&G stage is in dire need of a repaint and I'm trying to determine if I need to sand, if so how much, and what type of paint to use. Would you recommend the Rosco Tough Prime for that type of surface too?
     
  9. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    Yes sand - some at least - and yes - i have RTP on new maple and oak floors and seems to perform well.

    Stage floors - and the finish - is by number the most common problem that comes back to me after a project is complete.
     
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  10. lwinters630

    lwinters630 Well-Known Member

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    You will need to sand all the way rto wood. Trying to evenly remove part of the layers will not work.
     
  11. MarshallPope

    MarshallPope Well-Known Member

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    From my (admittedly not as vast as yours) experience, I don't know that it would be entirely necessary to sand all the way back to wood. For the TG deck, I personally wouldn't sand at all unless it was just to smooth out any tape marks or whatnot. (Ditto on the Tough Prime. Its wonderful stuff. Expensive, but it is worth it.)

    For the maso deck, my instinct would be to sand down to the white and then at least scuff it up really well, trying to just barely get down to the black below it. I would be hesitant to sand down into the maso itself, as it starts to get fuzzy and loses its inherent smoothness.

    Just my two cents, though.
     
  12. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    I suspect that either Larry's or Marshall's experience could result. Depending on how many coats and what types of coatings you might be able to basically sand to the white coat or it could become an unholy mess of gummy crud.

    I'm not sure you can sand hardboard like one can stripwood floors. I think the hardboard core is not the same as the skin. If you can't quickly and easily remove all coats above the white one that is likely the point of failure, replace the hardboard. If you do want to try sanding, try a little test area with a belt sander and if it seems promising, hire a floor company to sand. Hopefully they'll have one they ride on and be done in a few hours. Do plan to remove all soft goods and all lighting and electronics from the space. Something you don't have to do if you replace the hardboard.
     
  13. lwinters630

    lwinters630 Well-Known Member

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    The reason that you will need to sand all the way down is that a drum sander, used by professionals to not only remove top finish of wood floors, it also levels it. As it cuts through the paint it will heat the layers and soften them, sometimes making a gummy mess. Your stage floor is probably not perfectly flat and it is not possible to just stop at one layer, unless you plan on doing this by hand.

    A professional floor finisher will start with a coarse grit, passing at diagonals. Then switch to a medium and finish with a fine (180 to 220). You may want to ask one to come in and quote the job, even if you will put on the RTP.

    My experience is that at a certain point the layers of paint becomes to thick and unstable. Rollers on wagons then start causing layers to lift.

    So I think you have to either sand down or replace. IMHO
     
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  14. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    Is the floor single sided or double sided Masonite? If double, you could flip it. I would suggest against sanding Masonite, it's just not worth the time, money or mess. If its that bad, I'm afraid replacement is the best option, and to ALWAYS use the best paint in the future. I've learned the hard way NOT to go cheap on floor paints.
     

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