My daughter’s dance floor is held together by screws and glue, and love, and sweat, and dreams. It’s surrounded by mirrors and the ghosts of every Feis she has attended.
A kangaroo helped to build it.
My daughter prefers to practice in hardshoes and ghilles and her feet would take quite a pounding if I allowed her to dance on cement. There are some wonderful dance floor manufacturers out there, but none of them were within my budget for the size floor my daughter wanted (12 x 16 feet).
So I built her basement dance floor myself using plywood, lumber cross-braces and closed cell foam which creates a rather impressive “sprung wood” effect and at considerably less cost than comparable floors in a studio.
She is the only one using the floor and weighs less than 80 pounds so I went with the following:
On top: 1/2 inch plywood in 4×8 feet sheets.
Underneath: 1″ x 2″ cross braces (actually measures 3/4″x 1.5″) 1″ x 4″ cross braces where plywood sheets were joined. 1/2″ closed cell foam (I used the foam bedding rolls available from camping or surplus stores)
Additional Supplies: Screws Wood Glue and Plastic/Foam Glue Harp Lager (estimate two beers for each full plywood sheet if two people are building the dance floor).
The materials listed above are fairly light-weight and offer extraordinary stability and shock protection. In lieu of the foam, a full carpet or carpet padding offers some shock protection, but not to the same degree as the foam. In either case, a lattice system under the plywood sheets is still recommended for consistency and stability.
If multiple dancers or large kangaroos are using the floor, you may want to consider heavier grade lumber or plywood.
Oh, and hide your beer from the kangaroo, they can get rather nasty “under the influence”.
I would recommend using full sheets of plywood in whatever geometrical pattern is appropriate for your basement size and daughter’s dancing dreams (two, three, four or more whole sheets.) It eliminates cutting and keeps the measurement math for the lattice to a third or fourth grade level. Besides, a kangaroo with a power saw is not a pretty sight.
We created a support lattice with 16 inch by 16 inch squares using the 1″ lumber (for the most part, you’ll use 1″x 2″ lumber to make the lattices, but on the edges where you are joining two plywood sheets overlap the sheets with the 1”x 4” lumber).
Here is how an 8 foot x 8 foot stage (using two, 4 x 8 plywood sheets would look from underneath). The lattice was glued and screwed to the bottom of the plywood using screws, standard lumber adhesive and caulking guns. I highly recommend the screw/glue combo as it makes for a very stable floor. In addition, after a few beers, glue-squirting caulking guns have immeasurable entertainment value.
We cut the foam pads into long, 1.5 inch strips and glued them to the bottom of the lattice using the same caulking gun with a different glue appropriate for plastic and foam.
I built the floor in 4×8 foot sections and assembled them together all at once. Make sure you allow the glue to dry for at least 24 hours prior to using (you also want to let your dance area air out a bit too, or your dancer may be a little light on her feet from glue fumes).
One more thing, don’t ever, ever, let the kangaroo put a beer can in the caulking gun….trust me on that!