Choosing Dance Floor Finishes

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Dear Rob:

I’m a dance DJ. One of my regular venues is an Elks Lodge. Their parquet floor is in fair shape, but looks terrible and is difficult to dance on-kinda sticky. We’re going to sand off the finish, gum, heel marks, table drag marks and then refinish the floor. I’ve asked 5 different “experts” about what kind of finish to put on that is dancer friendly, i.e. isn’t sticky, but allows shoes to slide easily on the floor, and, I’ve received 5 different answers from oil, to oil based polyurethane, to water based polyurethane to 2 stage lacquers. We don’t have much of a budget. What would be your recommendation for a dance floor finish? Please advise. Thanks for your time.


Dear Thomas:

I love dancing and I hate it when a dance floor just doesn’t feel right.  There are many opinions about what the correct level of friction coefficient (slip resistance) a dance floor should or should not have.  You probably got many answers from your experts as there are many variables that go into it.  If your floor finish is worn down to bare wood, that could also be making your floor feeling “sticky.”

Different dance types lend themselves to different levels of slip resistance.  Waltz dancers, for instance, need to slide a lot and like their dance floors more slippery, whereas ballet dancers need greater slip resistance to help prevent them from falling.

Ballet Dance Floor

Most general purpose dance floors used in bars and nightclubs use a general purpose, commercially rated water base polyurethane such as Bona Traffic that will hold up to the heavy foot traffic, but has average slip resistance.  If the budget allows for it, a premium sport court finish is ideal, but this will offer more slip resistance.

Good Luck,

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