Your floor gets installed and everything looks and feels great, but somewhere down the line (it could be a couple of weeks, months or years) seams separate, the floor develops waves or becomes slippery.

What is going on? Was it the installation, defective material, or those who clean the floor? There are a number of reasons why the floor goes bump in the night. For every reason or cause, there is a solution. The problem is finding out what has been causing the mischief.

Let's start with the installation. Were all the appropriate and approved materials for the job utilized or did someone try a short-cut to save money? If the slab (usually concrete) was not prepared prior to installation, that could be one indication why there is a problem. The slab needs to be level, smooth, and have a vapor barrier, either liquid or vinyl.

Floating wood subfloors need to be a rated underlayment grade plywood or engineered wood. The subfloor needs to be installed at least ½ inch from the walls to vent moisture that would otherwise collect under the subfloor. If the installer used nails or dry wall screws instead of wood countersink deck screws, those nails will eventually pop up, causing floor damage. Some subfloor systems require no screws, but can still be installed incorrectly resulting in failure.

Manufacturing defects can usually be seen, or will reveal themselves, in very short order after installation. Defective tape and adhesive are usual suspects if the top floor separates or bubbles up soon after installation. However, other factors could be the root cause.

Discolored flooring or floors with cuts or holes should never be installed in the first place. Take pictures and call the company that sold you the floor.

Feeling a bit overwhelmed with your flooring issues? Visit us here and we can help you work through it!

So let's assume that all the proper materials and techniques were used and you still have the aforementioned problem or problems.

There are three areas of cause to be explored.

First is the physical studio itself. Have a skylight, windows, leaking pipes, sliding glass doors in the studio? Have a door that opens directly to the outside? These are all red flags that contribute to flooring systems failure. Direct sunlight has UV radiation that ages and shrinks flooring resulting in the floor cracking. Excessive heat will cause vinyl flooring to expand and create "waves" when installed with tape. Close the windows, and doors, and use drapes, or use blinds to block the sun.

Second, incorrect maintenance procedures cannot only contribute to floor problems, they can be a direct cause. Use of products not recommended for flooring can result in failure. Do not use ammonia, vinegar, alcohol, bleach, acetone, coke, or house cleaning products. Since most dance floor surfaces do not have a factory finish, these products can literally dissolve the flooring, cause the flooring to age prematurely, and become rigid, and/or cause the surface to pit and scratch. Check with the manufacturer about setting up a maintenance program with the recommended products floor maintenance.

All tape has a shelf life. Usually you have two to three years for double-faced tape and three to four months for top tape. Leave the tape down longer and it will eventually fail and when it does, the floor can fracture as it expands and contracts under variable heat conditions.

Moisture is an enemy of dance floor systems. Humidity, spillage, flood mopping, and leaks, even small ones, can impact the viability of your installation. Wood absorbs moisture. When it does it swells and expands. Since vinyl is not impacted directly by moisture in the same way, it tends to remain stable. The effect of moisture is the appearance that the floor is shrinking and gaps appear at the seams. The floor is not shrinking, it's the moisture being absorbed by the wood. This can be confirmed by a moisture meter with readings more than 10%. A dehumidifier and proper maintenance procedures can address these problems. Repairs can also be made to the seams by adding a thin piece of flooring or by heat welding the seams.

The third cause for failure is environmental. With semi-permanent floor installs, extremes in temperature and/or humidity can negatively impact coefficient of friction (floors get slippery) installation, tape can fail, wood will swell, and flooring surface expands, creating waves. Stabilize the environment, and then reset/reinstall your flooring.

There are a variety of ways to address installation issue that occur down the road, but first identify the problem, then it is possible to right the ship and get back to dancing.

If you have questions, please feel free to give us a call for a consultation, or visit

Randy Swartz | Stagestep
(800) 523-0960 ext. 105

The Conversation
Dance Teachers Trending
Photo courtesy of Hightower

The beloved "So You Think You Can Dance" alum and former Emmy-nominated "Dancing with the Stars" pro Chelsie Hightower discovered her passion for ballroom at a young age. She showed a natural ability for the Latin style, but she mastered the necessary versatility by studying jazz, ballet and other forms of dance. "Every style of dance builds on each other," she says, "and the more music you're exposed to, the more your rhythm and coordination is built."

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Success with Just for Kix
Bill Johnson, Courtesy Just for Kix

Running a dance studio is a feat in itself. But adding a competition team into the mix brings a whole new set of challenges. Not only are you focusing on giving your dancers the best training possible, but you're navigating the fast-paced competition and convention circuit. Winning is one goal, but you also want to create an environment that's fun, educational and inspiring for young artists. We asked Cindy Clough, executive director of Just For Kix and a studio owner with over 40 years of experience, for her advice on building a healthy dance team culture:

Keep reading... Show less
Just for fun
Via Instagram

Happy Father's Day to all of the dance dads in the world! Whether you're professional dancers, dance teachers, dance directors or simply just dance supporters, you are a key ingredient to what makes the dance world such a happy, thriving place, and we love you!

To celebrate, here are our four favorite Instagram dance dads. Prepare to say "Awwwwwwwweeeeeee!!!!!!"

You're welcome!

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by Insure Fitness
AdobeStock, Courtesy Insure Fitness Group

As a teacher at a studio, you've more than likely developed long-lasting relationships with some of your students and parents. The idea that you could be sued by one of them might seem impossible to imagine, but Insure Fitness Group's Gianna Michalsen warns against relaxing into that mindset. "People say, 'Why do I need insurance? I've been working with these people for 10 years—we're friends,'" she says. "But no one ever takes into account how bad an injury can be. Despite how good your relationship is, people will sue you because of the toll an injury takes on their life."

You'll benefit most from an insurance policy that caters to the specifics of teaching dance at one or several studios. Here's what to look for:

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Owners
Getty Images

If you're a studio owner, the thought of raising your rates most likely makes you cringe. Despite ever-increasing overhead expenses you can't avoid—rent, salaries, insurance—you're probably wary of alienating your customers, losing students or inviting confrontation if you increase the price of your tuition or registration and recital fees. DT spoke with three veteran studio owners who suggest it's time to get past that. Here's how to give your business the revenue boost it needs and the value justification it (and you) deserve.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by World Class Vacations
David Galindo Photography

New York City is a dream destination for many dancers. However aspiring Broadway stars don't have to wait until they're pros to experience all the city has to offer. With Dance the World Broadway, students can get a taste of the Big Apple—plus hone their dance skills and make lasting memories.

Here's why Dance the World Broadway is the best way for students to experience NYC:

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teachers Trending
Margie Gillis (left); photo by Kyle Froman

Margie Gillis dances the human experience. Undulating naked in a field of billowing grass in Lessons from Nature 4, or whirling in a sweep of lilac fabric in her signature work Slipstream, her movement is free of flashy technique and tricks, but driven and defined by emotion. "There's a central philosophy in my work about what the experience of being human is," says Gillis, whose movement style is an alchemy of Isadora Duncan's uninhibited self-expression and Paul Taylor's musicality, blended with elements of dance theater into something utterly unique and immediately accessible. "I want an authenticity," she says. "I want to touch my audiences profoundly and deeply."

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Tips
Getty Images

Teaching arabesque can be a challenge for educators and students alike. Differences in body types, flexibility and strength can leave dancers feeling dejected about the possibility of improving this essential position.

To help each of us in our quest for establishing beautiful arabesques in our students without bringing them to tears, we caught up with University of Utah ballet teacher Jennie Creer-King. After her professional career dancing with Ballet West and Oregon Ballet Theater and her years of teaching at the studio and college levels, she's become a bit of an arabesque expert.

Here she shares five important tips for increasing the height of your students' arabesques.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Tips
Photo by Jennifer Kleinman, courtesy of Danell Hathaway

It's high school dance concert season, which means a lot of you K–12 teachers are likely feeling a bit overwhelmed. The long nights of editing music, rounding up costumes and printing programs are upon you, and we salute you. You do great work, and if you just hang on a little while longer, you'll be able to bathe in the applause that comes after the final Saturday night curtain.

To give you a bit of inspiration for your upcoming performances, we talked with Olympus High School dance teacher Danell Hathaway, who just wrapped her school's latest dance company concert. The Salt Lake City–based K–12 teacher shares her six pieces of advice for knocking your show out of the park.

Keep reading... Show less
Getty Images

Q: I'm looking to create some summer rituals and traditions at my studio. What are some of the things you do?

A: Creating fun and engaging moments for your students, staff and families can have a positive impact on your studio culture. Whether it's a big event or a small gesture, we've found that traditions build connection, boost morale and create strong bonds. I reached out to a variety of studio owners to gather some ideas for you to try this summer. Here's what they had to say.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Tips
Sam Williams and Jaxon Willard after competition at RADIX. Photo courtesy of Williams

Self-choreographed solos are becoming increasingly popular on the competition circuit these days, leading dance teachers to incorporate more creative mentoring into their rehearsal and class schedules. In this new world of developing both technical training and choreographic prowess, finding the right balance of assisting without totally hijacking a student's choreographic process can be difficult.

To help, we caught up with a teacher who's already braved these waters by assisting "World of Dance" phenom Jaxon Willard with his viral audition solos. Center Stage Performing Arts Studio company director Sam Williams from Orem, Utah, shares her sage wisdom below.

Check it out!

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Owners
Getty Images

Dance studios are run by creative people with busy schedules, who have a love-hate relationship with props and sequins. The results of all this glitter and glam? General mass chaos in every drawer, costume closet and prop corner of the studio. Let's be honest, not many dance teachers are particularly known for their tidiness. The ability to get 21 dancers to spot in total synchronization? Absolutely! The stamina to run 10 solos, 5 group numbers, 2 ballet classes and 1 jazz class in one day? Of course! The emotional maturity to navigate a minefield of angry parents and hormonal teenagers? You know it!

Keeping the studio tidy? Well...that's another story.

Keep reading... Show less


Get DanceTeacher in your inbox