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Painting the Stage Floor

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by DaveySimps, Jun 16, 2008.

  1. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Occupation:
    Performing Arts Center Manager
    Location:
    Macomb, MI
    Has anyone ever used the GemThane AquaTech STC floor coating on their stage floor. We are redoing the floor in one of our spaces (toung and groove maple over 2 layers of plywood with sleepers), and this came recommended by our paint supplyer. I have yet to find anyone who has used. If you have, can you please comment on its durability, how it stands up to gaff tape, etc. We are absolutely resanding the entire floor as part of the process. Thanks in advance.

    ~Dave
     
  2. TechSooth

    TechSooth Member

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    Two thoughts Davey,

    1. I don't care what you paint the floor with, it will always have to be touched up and completely repainted periodically. It only takes a couple of hours to completely recoat a floor with a roller, and it will be dry enough to walk on in two hours. If you've only got an hour before curtain, crank up the lights and the stuff will dry in 30 minutes, and the fumes won't kill the people in your first three rows. I suggest you use a stock flat black latex that is readily available from your local paint store (We use Sherwin Williams best flat black for everything) so that there are no problems matching the color.

    My old man, who was a tech director at the college level for 32 years, told me, "there are two kinds of technical directors. Those who have bought paint at a paint sale, and those who will." Meaning, "black" on the can don't mean the "black" that you painted three other things with and ran out of.

    Find a good black and keep five gallons on hand. Use the same paint for everything. Someone is going to spill something, drag a platform with a screw sticking out of it across center stage, or drop a stage weight down left, or a fixture from a ladder, and you might as well accept it and just be ready for it when it happens.

    2. Using hard maple for your floor will only cause you pain. Screws will have to be pre-drilled or they will break off or split the boards. And don't even try to put a stage screw in it...

    Most people don't understand how important the stage floor is for securing scenery. They think that the beautiful floor in the gym is just what the doctor ordered. Wrong. The best stage floor is tongue and groove fir. Its resilient, tough, quiet and accepts screws without splitting or pre-drilling. Sure it gouges, but it also accepts bondo extremely well, and it won't give your dancers shin splints. It's typically cheaper than maple and can be sanded smooth with a belt sander if you get a cup.

    Think of your floor as a living thing, that will have to be maintained and cared for. It is not a shrine, but an ally in the process. And just expect to patch and repaint regularly. And pull your gaff tape up at a 45 degree angle.

    I realize they probably didn't ask your opinion on what material should be used, but you might suggest consulting a theatrical architect on the finished surface. Whomever made the decision to use maple may be surprised by the response.

    Good luck.
     
    StradivariusBone likes this.
  3. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Thanks for your thoughts. I agree with many of them. We do regularly touch up and ALWAYS have matching paint on hand. This floor needs a good sanding to be put back in check (to many layers of stuff on it). The product I listed is not too much more than a good black paint, so I was just curious if anyone has used it, and what their results were. Since we have to repaint anyway, why not start with the most durable product.

    ~Dave
     
  4. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    To do your initial "seal", go for the good stuff. Beyond that, whatever is available. Personally, I cant stand wooden decks, maso is best as far as I am concerned. The theatre I am currently working for we lay a 3/4" OSB deck with 1/4" maso on top just so we don't have to deal with the slatted deck.
     
  5. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I agree with you, but we are stuck with the originally installed floor. I would much rather have the masonite.

    ~Dave
     
  6. TechSooth

    TechSooth Member

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    Maybe you can slip a line item into the refurb budget to recover with maso. If no one notices...
     
  7. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Occupation:
    Project Manager, Stagecraft Industries, Inc.
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    You might want to look at Pitsburgh paint's "Pit-tech" it is a water clean-up acrylic Urethane coating. I have begun using it in the audience areas of our theatre. It is incredibly durable, and the application time just can't be beat. When dried < cured> the gloss version seem to be just as durable and nice looking as an expensive oil-based enamel but without the smell, cost, or clean-up issues.
     

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