Hoover, Thermos, Kleenex, Chapstick, Popsicle, and even Google are so popular that everyday people like you and me use them to describe a type of product. So is the case with Marley, a moniker given to a popular choice in flooring with a wide variety of purposes.
Marley flooring is most closely associated with those in the performing arts community. This flooring option offers a flexible, lightweight, and durable solution that permits portable, semi-permanent, and permanent applications.
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Marley Floorings resulted from the acquisition of Marley Tile Co. and Wallington Weston Co. in the mid-1950s. As the legend goes, the revolutionary dance floor responded to the plea of an early executive’s daughter to have a professional dancing surface while on tour.
The Marley dance floor, marketed initially as “Stageflor” in Kent, United Kingdom, was a success; however, delivery to the United States was a prolonged ordeal.
American companies began developing similar types of vinyl dance flooring in the 1970s to meet the industry’s demand. Although Marley Floorings has since virtually disappeared, it has become a household name.
What does Marley Stand for?
Roll-out vinyl floors give dancers traction, stability, and the spring-back action necessary to support various dance styles. Whether you dance barefoot or opt for hard or soft shoes, an appropriate Marley floor is available.
At its inception, Marley Floorings’ smash hit, the internationally sought after “Stageflor,” delivered a standard black on one side and gray on the other side reversible dance floor. Today a wide array of colors and patterns, including those that mimic wood or marble, are readily available by international retailers such as Stagestep and Harlequin Floors.
Marley roll-out vinyl flooring options primarily act as a performance surface. One benefit to industry performers is that it protects against the risk of slipping and falling.
In addition to providing a controlled surface for dancers, roll-out vinyl flooring typically includes some level of shock-absorbing cushioning. However, adequate injury prevention in the perfect dancing environment requires a wood sprung subfloor.
For now, let’s learn how to use Marley flooring based on your situation. Afterward, we will discuss the importance of having an adequate subfloor in further detail.
How to Use Marley Flooring
It would be best to pair your favorite Marley dance floor with a suitable subfloor for optimal results. Begin by considering the following:
- What are the needs of the venue?
- What dance style(s) will you be performing?
- What is the space usage available?
Let us discuss each of these considerations in further detail.
What are the needs of the venue?
I mentioned earlier that Marley flooring has taken on several purposes. First, its universal popularity goes beyond the performance stage. Roll-out vinyl has become a favorite among dance studios, physical therapy facilities, hospitals, schools with sports activities, churches, yoga studios, and even the home residence.
The type of venue you wish to outfit with Marley flooring may require portability. For instance, the Harlequin Reversible is an excellent alternative for a touring dance company or traveling drill team. It is lightweight and rolls out easily.
Medium-weight Marley flooring with a semi-permanent installation is better suited for a multi-use space. Although still possible to remove, this semi-permanent option will be heavier and harder to roll up to transport.
A heavier-weight flooring is ideal for general stage and theater use. Its more durable build can sustain cameras, equipment, street shoes, and heavier traffic overall.
What dance style(s) will you be performing?
Regardless of the style of dance, there is a Marley flooring option for you. In addition, versatile options such as the Timestep offer a multi-purpose, heavy-duty option suitable for various dance styles.
The amount of friction the dance surface provides depends on the preference of the dancer. When reading the product description of the vinyl floor you are considering, look for keywords such as smooth, stipple, or matte surface finishes.
For example, jazz performers may want the ability to slip and slide across the dance floor, otherwise known as a faster floor. Likewise, flamenco dancers may wish to have sharpened sound quality to make the steps in their dance routine more audible.
As a ballerina, a more slip-resistant surface to help prevent slips and falls is a likely choice. This type of flooring finish would also be known as a softer or slower floor.
What is the space usage available?
I know you want the best roll-out vinyl floor for your facility. Quality and safety for you and your performers are a must-have. Fortunately, the NuFloor #300 offers both an attractive wood-grain finish and an extra high-density foam backing.
An all-in-one option like the NuFloor #300 is a good solution for you if your facility already has a non-sprung subfloor or if a wood-sprung subfloor is simply out of your budget.
Whatever your case, accurate measurement of your space will be critical when placing an order for your Marley dance floor. Rather than providing square footage, please measure your usable space by width and length.
What is a Subfloor?
A well-paired dance floor and subfloor will determine safety and performance. Stagestep offers several solutions, yet their most popular combination is the Timestep dance floor and Springstep IV subfloor.
A subfloor acts as a barrier between the performance surface and any hard building surfaces underneath. Subfloors work by “ensuring proper absorption of impact, safe return of energy, lateral foot support as well as quality design for stellar performance.”
Dancing on unsprung surfaces is hard on the body, likened to long-distance running on pavement. A dancer places significant physical stress on their bodies, causing fatigue to joints, bones, and tendons, which can cause stress fractures if adequate point elasticity is not present in a well-sprung subfloor.
The Harlequin Allegro features the “thickest roll-out dance floor available worldwide.” It is a popular choice when faced with either limited space or a constrained budget as its either portable or permanent 8.5mm thick application offers a semi-sprung alternative.
Previously we noted that an available Marley surface is available for you depending upon the venue, dance style, and space usage. Portability is a practical option for on-the-road types.
Semi-permanent applications will additionally require double-faced tape around the perimeter and halfway point of each roll of Marley flooring on its underside.
You may clean tape residue on the dance surface or subfloor with a safe solvent that the manufacturer recommends.
Removal of a permanently installed Marley dance floor would require you to demolish the subfloor. On the positive side, a permanent installation is virtually maintenance-free and is the most secure option.
Permanent installation requires you to glue down your Marley dance floor. You should hire a professional floor installer to do the job using an adhesive recommended by the floor manufacturer for best results.
Be sure to read Stagestep’s article on “Installation Mistakes to Avoid” before proceeding to my cleaning and maintaining tips found below.
Cleaning and Maintaining your Marley Floor
Weekly cleaning of your Marley flooring will increase its longevity, therefore maximizing your investment. In addition, regular cleaning is critical to the health of your dance floor as dust and dirt will make the surface slippery.
Furthermore, sweat and body oils may not always be visible, but they are present nonetheless. Therefore, you should give your performance surface a daily mop after the floors have been well-swept.
Most importantly, it would be best if you refrained from using household cleaners as they may cause the performance surface to become slippery or even cause “irreparable scratching.”
Damaging cleaners that you must refrain from using include bleach, vinegar, cleaning detergents, acetone, ammonia, and rosin. And lastly, under no circumstance should you mop the floor with cola as a method to add grip.
Instead, stick to a cleaner designated for your specific dance surface as approved by its manufacturer. For example, the industry’s leading Marley floor manufacturers all recommend pH-neutral floor cleaners.
Adhering to the above advice will clean your dance floor from dust, dirt, and oils and help remove stubborn scuff marks. Additionally, following the manufacturer’s cleaning regimen will restore the factory surface and return your dance floor to its original level of slip or grip.
Stagestep provides an in-depth maintenance guide along with several tips for moving and storage instructions for those of you who have a portable or semi-permanent installation of Marley dance flooring.
As with your car or home, regular maintenance is key to protecting your investment. Similarly, you can expect your Marley dance floor to last for approximately 15 years if properly maintained.
Marley Flooring is Sticking Around
Roll-out vinyl floors are both aesthetic and functional solutions to performance venues of all calibers. From well-known talent shows like the X-Factor to ballet and theatre stages around the globe and everything in between, the Marley Flooring concept lives on.
When you need a residential or professional dance floor system that looks great and offers hygienic, safety, and performance advantages, be sure to contact the industries leading manufacturers of the Marley namesake dance floor system.
Please comment below with any questions or concerns about choosing the perfect roll-out vinyl Marley dance floor for your specific situation.