What type of flooring should I install in my home gymdance studio — doityourself Ask MetaFilter

What type of flooring should I install in my home gymdance studio - doityourself Ask MetaFilter

What type of flooring should I install in my home gym/dance studio?

I’m building an addition to my home which will include a dance studio/gym area. Looking for advice on what sort of flooring to install. Activities will include pole dancing, might include ballet, yoga, tae kwon do and falling down a lot. I want cushiony floor for the falling, but floor that I can spin around on and slide across for the actual moves. Do you have any experiences/advice to share on flooring?

I think you’re looking for a sprung floor .

Remember to test how grippy or slippery your intended flooring is when wet.

I was doing some martial arts training the other week on a cushiony floor in a studio, and this particular one became very slippery when wet with sweat. I have no idea what the flooring was, but hey, it’s some experience/advice.

The dancers and dance studios I know seem to consider that a hardwood sprung floor is the way to go.

As with a gym or dojo, for sparring/falling, you would put large thin mats on the wood floor.

You know I thought about doing this and asked around. One suggestion was to use flooring used for horse stables. Take a look here. It is soft so it might meet some of your needs and be durable.

Maybe do a standard wood floor to accomodate the dance & tae kwon do, and use the space to set up folding mats for falling as needed. The only downside I can see are 1) the need for storage of the mats, and 2) price of mats.

You may want to look in to recycled rubber flooring.

posted by QIbHom at 10:51 AM on February 11, 2011

Dancers will tell you that a sprung wood floor is the way to go, and it IS, especially if you don’t mind the high initial cost and upkeep over time. A hardwood sprung floor that is DANCED on, (rather than lived on), will need a yearly oil, which is smelly and time consuming. It can’t have liquids on it, and whilst it is hardy (for high heels), will need to be kept dry and clean all the time. Parquetry is better than planks, for its spring and hardiness, but is again, more expensive.

There’s NOTHING like dancing for long hours on a sprung wood floor, and it can accommodate different sport/uses as you require above. Your knees and back will thank you for it, and it’ll have that softness you want for lolling about on it.


Many dance schools simply cannot afford a sprung wood floor. A few years ago I opened my dance school, and researched floor options thoroughly.

Other acceptable alternatives to hardwood sprung floor include:

What type of flooring should I install in my home gymdance studio - doityourself Ask MetaFilter

- Laminate, the best quality you can afford, laid on at least a 5mm thick insulation (for softness and no echo when walking on it). More hardy than wood, and less ongoing maintenance.

- Linoleum. Yes! You heard me right! Lino has a FABULOUS soft/hard surface, is super hardy, is affordable, is easy to clean, and you won’t cry every time sweat goes all over it. Many dance studios use it for all these reasons, especially if they have a short term lease, or don’t own their property.

- Cork. Cork flooring is affordable, easy to maintain, and soft to dance on. BUT if you’re planning activities on it that may injure the floor, don’t bother.

- Another option is a kind of plywood — I’m not sure what it is, but my current studio has it. It is large rectangles of what looks like plywood, laid and nailed carefully together, and then sealed with what looks like a few good layers of polyurethane. It’s fabulous. I’m sure it’s not plywood, but would be happy to show you pictures if you want.

Whatever you do, if laying ANY of the above floors on a concrete slab, ensure you make it a floating floor and lay it on top of insulation material (like batting). Otherwise, any softness/give you seek will not be there. I used to teach dance at a studio with plywood flooring laid on concrete, and after a few hours of dance, my knees, back and neck would feel increasingly impacted. My current studio has exactly the same floor, in exactly the same sized planks, and it lies on top of insulation. The difference is incredible.

You’ll probably want mirrors as well — I’ve given some advice on this previously !

I put Costco laminate flooring over the thickest/densest carpet padding I could find in my garage for dance practice and it’s held up fine for several years now. If I could dedicate this space to just dancing I would probably go with bare plywood since I think it feels better to dance on, but given that this area doubles as workshop/project space the durability of the laminate has been a plus.

posted by doctord at 8:40 AM on February 15, 2011

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