Scene Shop Floors

Chris Chapman

Active Member
Hey all,

I am battling with a head of facilities who doesn't understand the related mess that comes with doing scenic painting. In possibly the goofiest request you'll see on this forum, can you upload pictures of your scene shop floor, and identify where you are? (City, State, Facility)

They want to buff the shop floor. Seriously. Buff it. Sealed Concrete floor used for set construction and scenic painting. Buffed.




Resident Curmudgeon
Senior Team
Premium Member
I don't have any pictures, but I generally prefer my floor to be on the bottom.;) Seriously, is this a new or existing shop? If it's new, let them do whatever they want, then you can trash it. If it's old, with many layers of scene paint, your facilities director is nuts. Talk about polishing <excrement>!

Perhaps you can make a deal with them to paint it "shop gray" at the beginning of each season?

I once worked in a theatre that had a huge paint frame on the upstage wall. For one production, they hired buildings and grounds to paint the frame and wall flat black, and left it exposed. For the next 5 years, no one could use the paint frame for fear of getting paint on it! Students didn't even know what it was for, or how it worked. I started using it, and of course got overspray on it, but told "management" I would paint it black again if it was a problem. "Better to beg forgiveness than ask permission" and all that.


CB Mods
Have them seal all those paint splatters on your shop floor for future generations to enjoy and interpret. Don't you know, that's modern art right there!

I'll get some pics of our shop floor.

Reminds me how in highschool we didn't have a shop, rather we used the Commons, a large multipurpose room with waxed tiles. The whole crew would get down on their knees with razor blades after a weekend of building to scrap up all the paint. Then, we would sweep and dust mop it all. Often we left it cleaner than we found it.


Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
In my new theater, about 3/4 of the shop floor is just plain unpainted MDF... the corner by the sink is concrete. I keep having the contractor ask me if I'm sure I don't want them to paint the floor I keep saying that it's not "that" kind of floor. It'll get painted soon enough and it'll also get things screwed into it and it'll get trashed and eventually I'll unscrew a section of MDF and put a new one down. The point is I don't want to have to care about the shop floor. It's perfect just the way it is. Sorry no pictures yet, the building isn't finished.


CB Mods
Premium Member
I'll have to grab my camera, but I'd be glad tosend you pics of my floor. If it adds any weight to your arguement feel free to cut and paste the following;
Buffing / Gloss painting a scene shop floor is a recipe for disaster. While it is important to maintain a clean,organized shop, buffing a floor does not fall into the equation. Think of the materials that often accumulate on scene shop floors, the most dangerous of which can be sawdust. A student moving across a scene shop floor which is glossy or buffed, who hits a small patch of sawdust can slip and fall, or merely slip and injure himself. A scene shop at which I was formerly employed moved into a new facility, parts of which had been used as a warehouse and the floors of which had been sealed with a gloss finish. One day, while unloading gear from a truck I hit a small patch of sawdust with my right boot, which went shooting out in front of me. I caught myself before falling but as a result I threw my back out. I missed almost a week of work. We finally got sand spread it on the floor, then drove the fork lift over and over the same spots, until we had ground away most of glossy finish.
Imagine, carpet scraps, muslin, threads from muslin, dust bunnies, all are turned into potential lawsuits by a glossy, slick floor.
Several companies manufacture Epoxy based or even Acrylic based floor coatings, Pitt-Tech comes to mind, all of which can have a glossy look to them but actually have a bit of "grip". I would suggest one of these coatings or even just plain old "Left-over" paint, if one is interested in "prettying-up" a scene shop floor. One place I used to work keept all the left over paint from shows and mixed it up in a big bucket, at the end of the year, that's what color the floor would be painted.

Hope that helps.

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