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Help Please -- home dance flooring
Posted by Ralph
5/14/2009  10:48:00 AM
I am trying to create a small practice area in my home, and could use some insights from someone with experience in this area! My house is a modest split-level. The carpeting is shot, which is what lead me to start investigating options. Another concern is my dog, who is getting old and a bit wobbly on his hind legs a floor that he would find slippery would not be good. My main problem is trying to sort out conflicting advice from contractors. Partly I'm writing this out to organize my own thoughts, but Id gladly welcome insights from anyone who has actually gone through a similar situation!
Dogs have always been a part of life, and will remain so. The problem of their toenails seems a strong argument against hardwood flooring. Laminate seems the next best option for a dance surface. Residential-grade laminate seems prone getting nicked and scratched, but industrial-grade is much sterner (and more expensive) stuff. My veterinarian has had such a floor for years, and there's not a scratch on it, despite much nervous skittering by her many patients!
In terms of location, there are two main options: an upstairs living room, which is fairly square in shape and in which furniture would present minimal restrictions on movement, and which also has a large TV/home theater: given where I live, I rely heavily on videos for learning and reviewing dance steps, etc. The house was built in the 1970s, so I understand there is probably ply-board flooring under the existing carpet.
Because of the layout of the house, aesthetic and re-sale considerations have the contractors (and also some disinterested friends I have asked) saying I should not just put laminate down in the living room: I should do the living room, dining room, the hallway down to the bedrooms, and if I want it to really look nice, the kitchen as well. Most contractors are also saying I should put laminate down on the stairs and in the split-level entry room as well, but a dog-lover who installed my veterinarians floor says that would be a bad idea for the dog, and my vet agrees. The others contractors either disagree, or suggest some kind of laminate-carpet or laminate-plastic runners combination.
So, for the living room option, what started out as a relatively simple project idea has mushroomed vastly, in terms of scope and expense, as well as having safety concerns for my dog. This led to consideration of a second option: a downstairs family room, which has some odd dimensions, but which is basically long and somewhat narrow. I suspect the present flooring there is probably just carpet and padding over poured concrete, based on what else is in the house. Because of the rooms configuration, furniture becomes a bit more of an obstacle in this room, and there is at present no TV. The length of the room -- I haven't measured it, but its about the length of my living room and dining room combined -- would also make placing a TV an issue, if the desire was for it to be easily visible everywhere in the room, and the TV would also probably have to be a fairly-large screen. Moving my TV from the living room is not a viable option, so this option means buying another good-sized TV. A huge advantage to the room, however, is that in terms of canine traffic, it is pretty much out of the way. Visually, it is also isolated from the rest of the house, meaning I dont think there would be a need to laminate other rooms as well. Of course, I havent heard from the contractors yet on that issue. ;)
From a purely financial/pragmatic point of view, the family room seems a more viable option, but its layout seems more problematic, and I havent decided yet if Id be happy with the end result. I am also trying to anticipate problems and have good questions before talking to contractors again for instance, Ive gotten mixed information about placing a laminate dance floor over poured concrete: there would be padding underneath the laminate to help it float, but a web site I came across described such a combination as distinctly being less-than-desirable for dancing (I no longer recall the details).
Does anyone have insights/personal experiences they are willing to share? Certainly the contractors in my area dont have much knowledge about dancing, so I dont feel comfortable relying on their say-so. Are there other types of flooring I should consider, something I havent thought of/heard of yet? Every time I try to get answers, I seem to be confronted with a mishmash of conflicting facts and opinions. It is sufficiently frustrating that despite having to do SOMETHING about replacing the existing carpeting -- I am considering just giving up on the idea.
Re: Help Please -- home dance flooring
Posted by kaiara
5/14/2009  2:14:00 PM
Another thing to remember is that the contractor is going to have a large motivation to direct you to whatever will feed his bottom line the very best. He wants it to look good because that is good for business, but I've never met a contractor who will be totally objective in giving advice.

I would hop on down to a large city bookstore and spend some time looking at the many magazines to see what looks good to you.

If you are going to be there for many years, then think first about your desires. Where do you want to have your dance area?

My dogs have managed on tile and other "slick" flooring forever with no problems.
Re: Help Please -- home dance flooring
Posted by Ralph
5/18/2009  8:12:00 AM
Thanks for the feedback....
Re: Help Please -- home dance flooring
Posted by belleofyourball
5/19/2009  12:43:00 PM
Ralph,

I have four little dogs and one is 11 with arthritis.....so my thoughts based on that...

I have a mix of marble and hard wood floors. I don't have any laminate because it just doesn't perform like real wood does. In face I have Cam Xe (I think that's how it's spelled) and spent less for it than most laminates but its still one of the top ten hardest woods they make floors out of. I looked around and found it at a wholesale place. So if money is a concern and you want good stuff, start looking and surely you will find something that will stand up to Fido, the stuff I have actually sparked when we were running the tiny finishing nails in and hasn't ever scratched. I really like it, and I laid it down myself.

If you are worried about transitions, don't. Just make sure you buy good transition strips.

Also....if you want to go less permanent you can buy the stuff that a lot of hotels have. The ballroom floors most of us compete on are actually pieced together and lift up in 24X24 inch squares that run on top of carpets. I would think if the hotels can buy it...it has to be available somewhere.

As far as my dogs are concerned they like to be able to lay down on the cool of the floor and they have temperpedic pillows, etc. If you are really worried get an oriental carpet and roll it up when you are dancing and then unroll for the dog to walk on.

There are tons of solutions....just look outside the box :~}

Belle
Re: Help Please -- home dance flooring
Posted by Ralph
5/20/2009  8:23:00 AM
Hi Belleofyourball,

Thanks for sharing. From what you wrote, I assume Cam Xe is a type of "real" wood? I'll try to find out about it. When you say it has never scratched -- how long have you had it?

I know about the "temporary" floors, and even talked to a salesperson. She actively discouraged me from pursuing this option. Besides the expense, there are two main issues: 1) storage when not in use, and 2) put-down/take-up time (at least with the floors I was inquiring about, some care was required to make sure things went together correctly -- and then stayed that way during use).
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