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Replacing stage floor

Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by garyvp, Oct 20, 2015.

  1. garyvp

    garyvp Active Member

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    Replacing theater floor
    Feel free to flip me to other threads on this one.
    We do nine shows a year, two are big musicals. The performance space is about 600 sq ft. Our small theater is in a basement which appears to never have had a really good slab floor (in my opinion). We do nine shows a year, two are big musicals. It seems to be built upon some cunchy slab of unknown and varying thickness, a layer of ¼ hardboard and then lino. and then, 40 years ago, on top this, was installed a 4 mil vapor barrier, 2x2” true sleepers, ¾ ply and then 3/4 Oak. We sometimes cover with ¼ hardboard, but not for dance. The floor is solid in some places but mush in others. It is time and we have some money. Dancers seem more concerned with stability than a fully sprung floor.

    We will seek professional help, but we are looking for practical experience.

    Assume they rip down to dirt and pump in 4” reinforced slab……..our default surface (from two contractors) is weather barrier, 2x4 sleepers(flat), ¾ ply and ¾ HW finish. We may not have room for more than this as we have to integrate/level with the seating and wing floors which are perfectly flat. ( we are three sided).
    Any recommendations?
     
  2. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Just for the thinness issues, I've used 1 x 4 flat for sleepers, and if on 12" centers, a single layer of 3/4" plyron. If you want stripwood, I'd say go ahead with 1 X 4 sleepers and stripwood - no sub floor. 5/4 rather than 4/4 stripwood would perhaps be a slightly preferable choice. Have worked on buildings with the wood sleepers - usually 1 X 4 with beveled edges - set into slab and flooring nailed to them. I'd put in a layer of 15 or 30 pound felt today for a slab on grade as well as vapor barrier under slab.
     
  3. garyvp

    garyvp Active Member

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    Interesting.......especially slab to felt to strip wood to 3/4 finished surface with no additional ply layer. I like that. Regarding the Plyron, our floors get beat up a lot - when they lay a masonite floor for painting, screws are used to hold down a lot of it. how tough is the plyron compared a HW floor? Also the regular HW floor works well for many interior sets. Our audience looks down on it. Will check out plyron anyway.
    Thanks again
     
  4. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    The set angle of the wood floor is indeed interesting and valid. Plyron requires fewer fasteners than plain hardboard by far. I'm working from 16" towards 24" on center so 15 fasteners per 4 x 8 - and specifying Robertson head screws which seem the best at being removable after many coats of paint. But if you can maintain hardwood strip floor - maple is my preferred species for stages (because fewer gouges scrapes and splinters seem to trump nailing and screwing ease IMHO) - I completely understand and agree. If you have stripwood now and it still is presentable, you have mastered the care issue.
     
  5. sk8rsdad

    sk8rsdad Well-Known Member Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    Foundation wrap can also be used as a both a sleeper and waterproofing membrane.
    [​IMG]

    If the budget permits there are sprung floor sleepers made of rubber, although I'm having trouble locating a supplier from a Google search. Our stage uses something very much like a hockey puck and the rehearsal room uses something more like a traditional rib.
     
  6. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    How do you nail to the foundation wrap? The sleepers act to hold the floor together and provide some anchorage. Just trying to figure it out.
     
  7. sk8rsdad

    sk8rsdad Well-Known Member Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    For my basement it is a floating floor with T&G plywood. Others have used Hilti or Tapcons into the slab where warranted.
     
  8. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    OK. To be sure, I did not think the OP was looking for a spring floor so keeping it simple. I usually specify Mason Industries Super W pads for that.
     
  9. garyvp

    garyvp Active Member

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    July 2016 - Update on our floor renovation - We finally did it! We did all that we could afford, but did it right. They removed 900 sq feet of our 40 year old floor (3/4 Oak on 3/4 ply on 2x4 flat sleepers on legacy slab that was 50% solid, and the rest mushed plywood and kentile patches). This explained why it was the most uneven and bouncey floor imaginable! Dancers had to' learn' the floor each time and set pieces were never level or would move and wander during a performance.

    After those two layers were removed, the demolition revealed two legacy (1950 or earlier) slabs about 6" thick total which were in good shape. On top of this we poured a 5" reinforced concrete slab + vapor barrier + two courses of 3/4" ply + 3/4" oak. The oak works for us as we do a lot of plays where it works for the set and is (now) solid for a musical dance floor. We sometimes top this with masonite for some shows.

    Will report back after our first couple of shows - plays and then...42nd Street - that should be interesting. I am curious as to how it will sound with 20 tappers.
     
    ruinexplorer likes this.

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