Friday, May 26, 2017

Dance Subfloor Options for All Budgets

Softening a Hard Dance Floor with a Subfloor

By Julia Nass

Greatmats dance subfloor options infographic foam rubber plastic wood
As with every sport, safety and self-care are of the utmost importance in staying injury free in dance. Of course this includes the basics, such as warming up and stretching. What may not be as obvious, however, is the role a dance floor plays in a dancer's health and safety.

Dancers spend countless hours on dance floors turning, leaping and moving. Each movement may not feel much different than the last, but for lower extremities, small impacts with the floor add up. Over time, high-intensity connection with the floor can create damage to muscles and joints.

Studies have shown that a softer dance floor with higher shock-absorption reduces the impact of movement on muscles and joints. At the same time, a dance floor can't be so soft that one's movement is altered. It's important to find the right balance between cushion and hardness in a dance floor.

There are a ton of different dance floor options on the market, ranging in stiffness, quality and price. Although reduced stiffness floors are recommended for dancers, many of them cost a fortune to purchase, not to mention the cost of installation. Fortunately, there are money- and time-saving options.

Dance Subfloors Options

Greatmats recommends a few difference dance subfloors, all of which are meant to be installed under an all-purpose marley dance flooring. Greatmats has a large selection of budget-friendly subfloors and top-of-the-line subfloors. Read on to learn which subfloor might be right for you.

High Density Foam

Greatmats foam dance subfloor floor tiles
If installing a dance floor over concrete, utilize a high density foam as the base layer. Greatmats recommends Sports Plus Designer Foam tiles, which are 2x2 feet in size and ⅜ inch thick. These economical dance subfloor tiles create the right amount of separation between the unforgiving concrete and the marley surface.

Foam tiles are easily installed with a puzzle-piece style interlocking system. With this system, it only takes minutes to have the dance subfloor complete. From there, simply lay the marley surface on top for a complete multi-purpose dance floor. No adhesives are necessary for the creation of the dance floor. However, you should tape down the sides of the marley surface.

Be aware, a foam underlayment is not the choice subfloor for advanced ballet and pointe. The flooring is a bit too soft and slow to respond for pointe. If the dance floor will be mainly used for pointe, use a plyometric rubber underlayment instead. Rubber rolls provide a firmer base and are also extremely economical.

Plyometric Rubber Flooring

Greatmats plyometric rubber budget dance subfloor
Dance studios have found been very happy using plyometric rubber flooring with marley floor installed directly on top. The plyometric rubber provides cushioning but firmness. Dance studios have used this flooring for ballet and various types of dance. The plyometric rubber is in a roll and can be installed without glue. Marley flooring can be taped down to the rubber. Since glue is not required, this rubber flooring can be used as a portable dance subfloor for special events and demonstrations. Take a look at how this flooring is used at the St Cloud School of Dance and Ballet.

Greatmats plyometric rubber flooring dance underlayment

Plastic Court Tiles 
Greatmats plastic dance subfloor floor tilesIf you're wanting to install a dance floor over carpet, there is no need to tear up existing carpet. Instead, you can use the carpet to your advantage. By installing hard plastic tiles over it, carpeting acts as the cushion layer for the dance floor. Greatmats recommends Flat Top Court Tiles as the firm surface over carpet and under the marley layer.

These dance subfloor tiles are made of high-quality polypropylene plastic. They are designed with a supreme, tight-fitting loop and hook connecting system. All you have to do is snap tiles together for an installation you can count on. Once tiles are put together, simply lay the marley layer on top, and tape down the sides.

Installing a dance floor over carpeting is not recommended for professional dance studios.

Greatmats Court Floor Tile Flat Top Dance Floor Underlayment

Combining Foam and Plastic
Greatmats dance subfloor foam plastic floor
Another option for installing over concrete or other hard surfaces is to layer plastic court tiles on top of foam tiles. This type of dance subfloor layering achieves cushion and support. Install foam tiles first, then place plastic court tiles directly on top. Because of the grip of foam tiles, plastic tiles will not shift around. Layering foam tiles and plastic tiles is a cheap subfloor alternative to sprung dance floor systems. This subfloor system is recommended for home dance use and portable dance subfloors. St Paul Ballet uses this dance subfloor for traveling to theaters and other event centers for performances. Northwoods Dance of Pequot Lakes, Minnesota uses this type of subfloor in their dance studio.

Combining Rubber and Plastic

Greatmats budget dance studio subfloor system
If you are installing over concrete or a hard surface, you can use plyometric rubber flooring rolls with plastic court tiles on top. The plyometric rubber provides the cushioning while the plastic tiles provide the flat, supportive surface. Marley flooring is recommended for installation on top to provide a finish dance floor surface. Another benefit of this floor is that it is portable for events or moving to a new studio. No glue or hardware is needed for installing this floor. Our Dance Studio Subfloor Elite is an excellent alternative to a wood sprung floor for commercial dance studios or home use.

Sprung Dance Floors
Greatmats Sprung Dance Subfloor floor
Sprung dance floors are a highly sought-after option, as they provide just the right amount of flexibility to help prevent injuries and accentuate movement. At the same time, sprung dance floors also provide enough resistance so movement stays seamless.

Typically, sprung dance floors are one of the pricier dance subfloor options. Greatmats' sprung floor panels can save you loads of money down the line because of their portability. Almost anyone can install panelized sprung floors themselves, and they are just as easily deinstalled and transferred to a different home or studio.

Greatmats offers sprung floor panels that feature a wavelock connecting system, which eliminates all soft and hard spots across the floor. If you already have marley and wooden panels, there is no need to start over with an entirely new floor. Greatmats also has DIY sprung subfloor panels that yield the perfect underlayment for any marley surface.

Greatmats Rosco Sprung Dance Floor DIY Wavelock Technology

Final Note

Dance floors are subject to so much wear and tear that it's of the utmost importance to install a high-quality, durable floor. When you choose to invest in a dance floor, it should be an investment that will last you. Greatmats understands that higher price doesn't always mean higher quality. That's why at Greatmats, you can invest in a dance floor that won't cost you an arm and a leg, but will yield all the quality you could possibly hope for.

For more on this topic please review our Dance Flooring product page.

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