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Stage Repaint or Replacement?

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by carsonld, Apr 15, 2019.

  1. carsonld

    carsonld Active Member

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    Hi all,

    My stage is in ROUGH condition. I don’t know the history of it as I’ve inly been here for two out of the 11 years. I think it goes something like:
    2009: Theatre opened
    2014: stage sanded and repainted by maintenance
    20??: stage repainted by drama teacher multiple times
    2018: stage repainted by maintenance

    So here’s the thing... the stage is flaking up and tape pulls up the paint. Any type of cable taping? You’re screwed unless you make it 4” wide. When we roll the grand piano across the stage you can literally hear the paint bucking and chipping off. Most of the time is just chips and shows a new layer of paint. However, dance competition season butchered my stage with all the Marley floor. It is now to the point where tape is pulling up all the paint and showing the maso. This past competition event pulled some of the maso particles up.

    I’m not sure what to do here. I don’t think I can get the entire stage replaced. If I need to... I’m sure I can bring that discussion up. I would like to see if there are other option before doing that.

    I have read BMIs article on painting a stage and have read quite a bit about what I need to do if I had new meso. My question is how screwed is my meso? The painter suggested sanding the entire stage and painting the stage with Rosco tough prime. I like that idea but I’m not sure about sanding the maso. I feel that if you sand too far you’ll ruin the sealer. Can it be resealed?


    Another question,

    Our orchestra pit is used as the judges location for these dance competitions. Currently the floor is not painted. How can I paint it to protect it from the coffee stains, rolling chairs, etc. that is down there during these competitions? Rosco tough prime? Not sure what material the pit is made of. It needs to be mopped but the floor doesn’t look sealed so I haven’t tried anything. I don’t want to ruin that too!


    Thanks in advanced! Keep the stage in your prayers. She needs it :(


    PS: I have attached some pictures so you can see what’s going on. I can take more if it would be helpful! This was last weekend. It’s in a bit tougher shape after the competition this weekend.
     

    Attached Files:

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  2. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    You have a million options. If the Masonite has been down for ten years then by all means replace it. If the paint is peeling with tape, and the masonite has been down for 10 years replace it. Sanding that amount of fllor will A. Make a HUGE mess. B. Gum up a TON of sandpaper because you would have to do it with a random orbit floor sander rather than a drum style.
    Pull the Masonite, repaint it with three coats of Tough Prime, or other floor paint of your choice.

    I don't know what the covering of your pit cover is. it could be plyron, ABS, Masonite etc, etc... best bet for it is Tough prime as well. If it is being used as a seating area that often then you will probably need to re-coat every couple years.
     
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  3. teqniqal

    teqniqal Well-Known Member

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    From what you describe, it sounds like the original floor was not high density MDF, but instead the low density variety which behaves as you described. Consider the information in prior threads about this. A reference for materials acquisition is posted here: https://www.controlbooth.com/threads/stage-floor-problems.42336/page-2#post-366336 I recommend pulling-up the top sacrificial MDF layer and then replacing it with a good quality dense product. This should last a very long time and is a good investment. Be aware that you can't just drive screws into the high density MDF - you will probably need to have all the screw holes drilled and countersunk at a CNC shop. For this reason, I've moved away from screwing the sacrificial layer of the floor down -- instead I specify 3M VHB (Very High Bond) double-sided sticky tape (AKA 'Hurricane tape' - because they use it to bond decorative facade panels to the exterior of buildings). You are inside a building and the floor is on the ground, so there are not loads trying to peel it up. If you need to remove a damaged section, you can still release it by slipping a piece of piano wire under the edge and slicing the bond.

    The paint reference in the above link is out of date as the Madison Chemical no longer makes GemThane. I've gone to spec'ing 2-part epoxy type paints for floors (be they wood or concrete) as this holds-up the best long-term. The Rosco ToughPrime is a temporary paint, only use it if you fully expect to repaint it over and over and over and over and over . . . The constant repainting you mentioned is part of the problem, not part of the solution. Eventually, everything is just relying on the bond of one layer of paint to the other. Develope a strict 'NO PAINTING THE STAGE FLOOR' policy and enforce it. Make everyone use drop cloths if painting a set while it is on stage, and better yet, make them paint it in the shop -- only touch-up painting allowed on the stage. If you need the floor to look different for a show, then lay down a ground cloth and paint on it. Clean-up is simple - just pull it up and toss it!
     
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  4. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    How much or what pattern is the tape?
     
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  5. teqniqal

    teqniqal Well-Known Member

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    1" wide VHB tape around the perimeter (inset about an inch) and then 16" o.c on the interior. Have to make sure they blow-out the dust before they apply it. Tape doesn't stick to dust (or dirty / oily fingerprints).
     
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  6. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    i was thinking of trying it with plyron and maybe just one strip of center. 3/4" plyron shouldn't budge. I wonder how the tape does when run over by a scissor lift or fork truck?
     
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  7. DrewE

    DrewE Member

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    VHB tape (at least some variant of it) is often used to build semi trailers in lieu of rivets these days. I think it should hold the floor just fine when a scissor lift or whatever is run on the other side of the flooring. Obviously you don't want to run the lift on the tape itself or you'll end up with a more or less permanently positioned lift. (This is a double-sided tape; it doesn't go on top of the finished floor at all.)
     
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  8. TimMc

    TimMc Well-Known Member

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    I think the issue is overpainting over the years. Our PAC is home to a very well done summer musical theatre company and they prep the permanent stage in 3 layers, IIRC (I've avoided the floor laying calls the last few year!): polyethylene sheeting over perm stage, covered with 3/4" OSB/MDF screwed to deck, with a top layer of 3/16" Masonite with seams offset from the OSB seams, screwed into the OSB and Maso seams taped with conventional masking tape. The painters come in overnight and do a base coat of flat black.

    This company does 5 shows a season and typically gets 2 seasons of service from the Masonite before it is recycled. I'm guessing the majority of the shows have painted floors and when the paint pulls up or cracks they replace it.

    Ten years is a good long run and it's past time to replace your sacrificial layer.

    The PAC's permanent floor (wood, probably maple or oak) gets a full re-painting every couple of years depending on condition; it gets touched up after each summer theatre season (screw holes filled, etc). It's been down at least 30 years and the venue turns 50 this year, it may be original construction. Symphony, touring Broadway shows, corporate events, summer theatre, opera company, ballet... it sees a fair amount of use and I attribute the longevity to the summer theatre company taking good care of it (probably most intense use) and the PAC for maintaining it.
     
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  9. teqniqal

    teqniqal Well-Known Member

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    It gets squished 'more flatter' (much like a foot would be if run-over by a scissor lift or fork truck). It is between the sacrificial layer and the underlayment, not on top of the floor like you might seam a roll-up dance floor.
     
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  10. teqniqal

    teqniqal Well-Known Member

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    Although you don't mention the quality (density / class) of the decking, I think the 3/16" thickness i'Masonite' (note: it doesn't actually exist - Masonite Corp quit making it years ago - it's actually tempered MDF), is a fairly brittle product and won't take much abuse. 1/4" (6mm) thickness is a typical minimum, and some consultants specify much thicker product. I've seen it up to 1" thick, which, IMHO, seems a bit of a waste of money for something that is supposed to be 'sacrificial'. Properly supported high density MDF with good maintenance and no water damage will last 20-50 years.
     
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  11. RickR

    RickR Well-Known Member

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    Lifts also apply significant horizontal forces to the floor when starting and stopping.
     
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  12. teqniqal

    teqniqal Well-Known Member

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    To date, have had no problems with lateral movement of the floor panels when using VHB tape. They call it 'hurricane tape' for a reason . . .
     
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  13. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    I was wondering about the thickness of the tape and if there was any problem with the surface span between tape and either noise or noticable dishing. I like the concept for plyron though. No screws.
     
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  14. teqniqal

    teqniqal Well-Known Member

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    I have not seen any 'telegraphing' of the tape through 1/4" high density MDF. Floor looks flat. The tape is really thin. It's not like foam-backed double-sided tape.
     
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  15. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    Whats the underlayment? I use 1 1/8" sturdi-floor. I sure the tape adheres to smooth hardboard but underlayment ply?
     
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  16. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    VHB will stick to Damn near anything. I've used it to hold aluminum to steel, plastic to aluminum, wood to wood, wood to plastic, Gel to gel, Gel to inkies... Erich is correct, it does not like dust but if a wood surface is clean VHB will hold a floor down. I've laid many a floor made of 1/4"MDF over Tile, Plywood and painted flooring. It will tear the heck out of the underlayment if you are not careful when removing it. just treat it like that "command Tack stuff from 3M.
     
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  17. teqniqal

    teqniqal Well-Known Member

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    Man .. .giving away all my trade secrets . . . I spec two layers of 3/4" AC plywood, A side up, sealer on the top. Tape sticks to the sealer, not the bare plywood.
     
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  18. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    That's something like i suspected . Thanks.
     
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