There are lots of different ways to do this, and floors will usually consist of the below components:
- Structural floor - this could be made of ‘cassette flooring’ or stage deck and can be erected on uneven ground.
- Substrate - so as to get a perfectly flat surface we may lay down a layer of material on the structural floor. This will cover any joints in the structural floor.
- Floor covering - this can be carpet, vinyl, solid wood or plastic and is what the guests will ultimately see
- Protective coat or film - this is often put down to protect the floor until guests arrive - this ensures that the floor is in perfect condition.
- Trim - we may then add fascia, edge trim or ramps to the floor to allow for safe access and egress.
In the case of exhibition flooring, or flooring for retail events, we may simply lay down a substrate and final floor covering on top. What layers are used, the type and how many of them are determined by the original flooring, desired finish, durability needs, aesthetic and budget.
WHAT TYPE OF FLOOR COVER DO I NEED?
This depends entirely on the application. A floor to protect grass from vehicular access will be very different from a floor that is being used to dress a performance stage. The following are factors to consider in your choice of floor:
- Durability and Time - how long does the floor need to stay down for and how does it need to look? A red-carpet entrance only needs to look good for a few hours, whereas flooring for an exhibition may need to withstand many days or months of heavy footfall.
- Environment - is it indoors or outdoors? Is there a risk of wind or water? These factors will limit what materials can be used.
- Safety - Safety is a non-negotiable factor for any flooring system and certain requirements should be considered such as whether ramped access is needed (not always essential) likelihood of damage resulting in safety issues, fire retardancy and more. It is essential that you perform a proper risk assessment for your temporary floor.
- Budget - this is a major factor and many clients need to make aesthetic or practical compromises based on limited budgets.
- Aesthetics - what might be the most practical is not always the best-looking, so a balance between form, function and cost needs to be made.
WHAT TYPE OF FLOOR COVERS ARE AVAILABLE?
There are a vast array of choices for flooring and various suppliers may be limited in what they can provide. Options can include:
- Carpet - this is used for a range of solutions from conference stages to carpet entrances to catwalk runways to exhibition stands. Carpet can be provided in a wide range of grades from basic exhibition carpet to thick pile carpet.
- Vinyls - there are a vast array of vinyls to suit the needs of a project. This includes wood effects, stone effects, custom prints and many others. Some people are put off by vinyl due to its assocation with tacky interior decor. However a vinyl can be a practical and cost effective solution for event dressing, especially when people are not getting very close to it, such as on a theatre set.
- Wood - wood is often a structural component of flooring, however plain sheet material could also fit well with the event’s aesthetic. There are also a range of laminate and engineered wood flooring options available for a high-end finish.
- Plastics - there are an incredible array of plastic-based materials available. These could be high-gloss, patterned or even mirrored. Whilst costly, these can turn your floor into a feature.
- Video Screens - there are now products available that allow you to create a video floor. There are certain features and limitations of this, but it can be an incredible way of displaying content.
- Transparent - see-through floors are impressive when built over an item of interest of interest such as a pond, swimming pool or interesting ground cover.
- Feature floors - there are also a number of other methods to make your floor a feature, including custom print flooring, painted murals on floors, and even a ‘water floor’ which contains a thin covering of water.
HOW DOES THE FLOOR STAY DOWN?
The way in which flooring systems are held down depends upon the application but there are three main ways:
- Self-weight - the weight of the floor itself holds itself down. This is often the case when hard structural flooring is laid.
- Adhesives - sometimes tapes or even glues can be used to hold floors down where there is not risk/issue with damaging the surface beneath.
- Attachments - pins, nails, screws, or stakes may be used to hold down a floor
In all cases careful consideration is required to ensure that the surface below is not damaged.
WHAT SURFACES CAN TEMPORARY FLOORS BE SET UP ON?
Almost any! Each floor type is different and careful consideration must be given to the bearing ratio, safe working loads, load spreading and the potential for damage.
WHAT IS THE BEST FLOOR FOR A FASHION SHOW CATWALK?
Many fashion shows want a feature floor to help communicate the styling and aesthetic of their brand. However more often that not we find that designers want a floor that is plain, clean and does not detract from the apparel. Ideally there should not be any glare or reflections as this can have a negative impact on photography and videography. Many fashion show designers will want a white catwalk, however it should be noted that high durability white vinyl - whilst the ideal solution - can be very expensive, and cheaper options will scuff and look unattractive after a short period.
WHAT IS THE BEST FLOOR FOR PERFORMING ON?
Typically a performance stage needs to be durable as performers and equipment can be quite damaging to a stage. Also performers often want to be able to move around freely when dancing so a floor that has a high level of grip may not be ideal. For performance flooring we often provide "Marley" floor which looks and feels like a vinyl finish but has a little more give in the material.
There are so many flooring options available, but hopefully now you have a better idea of what’s involved in choosing your event floor. SXS can advise on a whole range of flooring options, so please give us a call to find out more.