How to build a sprung subfloor for your dance studio
By cmdc
On 07/22/2010 09:49:17
*I have to put the pictures in the next post as it's too much to handle for one post! My husband and I built my subfloor by ourselves. You can too! Here are the basics as to what I did to give you an idea for your own studio. The Sketch Up image (pic 10) lists supply amounts – these were approximations, very close to what we actually used. This was for a 21.5ft x 45.5ft studio. You will need lots of time and will power and determination to keep going! This took us 31 days to complete due to our schedules. Husband works full time, and I was still teaching dance at night for half of that time. Tools you will need: • Compound Miter Saw • Drill with various bits • T-square ruler (big one bought at Harbor Freight Tools) • Carpenter’s Pencils • Sharpie (black) • Knee Pads • Caulking Guns • Ear Plugs • Rubber Mallet Supplies Used for the Floor: • OSB – 4’x8’ sheets – tongue and groove • 1x4s – I got the better kind that was more expensive than the ultra cheap pine. These were fairly straight for the most part. • 1x2s – same as above • Deck Screws • Liquid Nails – or similar type adhesive for gluing wood to wood – fits in a caulk gun • Foam Adhesive – mine was some no-name brand from Home Depot that said it was meant for foam – anything else will melt the foam – fits in a caulk gun • Foam – I bought camping rolls from Dick’s Sporting Goods. They are green on one side, white on the other. *I also made my own baseboards which were 1x4’s and mitered the edges and just screwed into the wall to give the whole room a finished look. I did not include the wood for that, just the wood and supplies for the floor only. Foam Cutting Guide I chose to use foam strips to go over my lattice pieces vs. the square foam that many people use instead of lattice. Because of that, I bought the camping rolls to cut into long strips. I got a hot knife from Harbor Freight Tools (around $14) and stuck it in my jaw horse and my husband and I, together, cut the foam. He held one end backing up and I guided it through the hot knife. Very smelly process, so do it in a well ventilated area! We marked the foam to fit the 1x4s and the 1x2s. This is where the T-square ruler comes in and the sharpie. It’s helpful to cut all of your foam, or most of it, before you start constructing the sheets. We didn’t really do this too well as we kept having to stop constructing, and go cut more foam. I’d wear heavy-duty construction worker leather gloves for this – the hot knife gets way hotter than an oven could ever get! (Pic 4) Step 1 Buy your supplies. I went with Home Depot. Since I bought so much, I asked for a discount and they gave me the military 10% discount. When we purchased the OSB, we rented an HD truck and drove it to the studio and unloaded it ourselves. You can do this! Each sheet of OSB is around 80 pounds. Sounds awful and felt awful, but my husband and I unloaded 32 sheets of it in half an hour off of a tall truck, that’s 2500 pounds of wood. I have breadstick arms (no muscle), so if I did it, you can too! The other wood and supplies wasn’t hard to unload at all as they don’t weigh much. Step 2 Start marking and cutting your wood for the lattice pieces. It went easiest when he was marking and I was cutting. The number of cuts was probably in the thousands. We got this done in one day. (pic 1) Step 3 Pre-drill all of your holes for where your screws will go (countersink all screws). I did this myself over the span of a couple days. There was only so much bending over and drilling I could take each day. I drilled holes in equal amounts based on the size of the wood piece, usually somewhere around once every 12 inches. Step 4 The construction begins! As you see in the pictures, we started gluing down and screwing on the outside pieces first. You will have to do some measuring with this to make sure that when you put the next sheet next to this one, that all of the long 1x4s meet together just perfectly. Then we glued and screwed down the long center and edge pieces of 1x2s. Then came time for the small 1x2s. (pic 2, 3) Step 5 Somewhere before you start constructing each sheet, you will need to have cut your foam. In this step, you glue your foam down to the lattice pieces. After adhering, let it dry for a little bit (5 mins), then flip it and put it into place. The less you move this sheet now, the better, as the foam likes to come off when you move it since it’s not fully adhered to the wood yet. (Pic 5) Step 6 Once you get the entire row down and set, it’s time to screw it together. You will do this along 2 edges where the edge 1x4s overlap onto the sheet beside it. Then, once the next row is laid down and set, screw together - Similar to the shape of an L. (Pic 6, 7) Step 7 This is sort of an optional step. Some OSB sheets had a little chunk missing so we got wood filler and filled those spots in. Then, I painstakingly went on my hands and knees and sanded each and every seam to make sure they were extra smooth before Marley laid over it. We also sometimes went a little too far with the screws (too deep) and you could feel screw tips sticking out, so we cut those off with a Dremmel. Step 8 Vacuum the heck out of the floor. Do this several times. There will be a ton of sawdust, but tons of other debris that like to hide on the OSB. If you don’t get every last bit up, whatever it is will poke through the Marley. We had to go back a couple of times while laying Marley to vacuum AGAIN. Step 9 Lay your Marley. I don’t know how, but 3 of us moved 2 giant rolls that had been dropped off by freight in the back, all the way into the studio. It was so awful. I don’t recommend that. Get 5 guys and a great dolly/rolling cart things to move it. The Marley was 1000 pounds by itself. We rolled it out and let it relax over 3 days. Then we cut and taped it down. (Pic 8) Step 10 Enjoy your floor! Add baseboard if you want. We also added mini ramps to each door entrance and laid the Marley over the ramps and taped it to the regular floor and put a big sticker that said STEP. (Pic 9) In all, there is over 4000 pounds of flooring there that my husband and I laid! The cost of the subfloor is around $2000. You could do it for cheaper when the wood prices are low (our OSB went from $11 to $17 to $22 per sheet in the span of about 4 weeks – they say due to a natural disaster in the other part of the world that’s what spikes lumber prices). Also, finding a cheaper source for foam would work. I paid around $20 per roll and used around 22ish rolls. I chose not to try to find another source due to limited time and general aggravation. This floor is completely portable as there is nothing actually screwed into the original flooring of the facility – it’s all floating.
re: How to build a sprung subfloor for your dance studio
By cmdc
On 07/22/2010 10:00:37
See above post - pics 1 - 5
re: How to build a sprung subfloor for your dance studio
By cmdc
On 07/22/2010 10:03:32
Pics 6 - 10
re: How to build a sprung subfloor for your dance studio
By BurntHombre
On 07/22/2010 10:14:05
Thanks for the detailed writeup, cmdc. For some reason most of your image links are broken when I try to view them, but I'm hoping it might just be a temporary connection issue on my end. A couple of questions: How much space did you leave between the wall and the floor to allow for expansion? In the same vein, how much of a vertical gap did you leave between the floor and the baseboard?
re: How to build a sprung subfloor for your dance studio
By cmdc
On 07/22/2010 10:26:12
In terms of marley? Not much, basically right up to the wall. The wood went right up to the wall as well. The baseboard went right on top of it, barely any space at all. Maybe a piece of paper could fit in.
re: How to build a sprung subfloor for your dance studio
By Hornpipe5
On 07/22/2010 10:32:23
THANK YOU for sending this, cmdc!! Our floor has never been quite right, and I'm going to look this over really carefully. This year I need to decide if we are going to stay in our current studio or move, but either way I need to redo the floor because it has never work for Irish dance. Thanks again!
re: How to build a sprung subfloor for your dance studio
By CherryBee
On 07/22/2010 10:33:33
Since she's building during the most humid part of the year, there probably won't be much expansion, only shrinkage during the cooler months. Generally, when building up to a way, you should leave about 1/4" to 1/2" for expansion. Your base moulding will cover it (moulding is attached to the wall only, not the floor).
re: How to build a sprung subfloor for your dance studio
By i_am_me
On 07/22/2010 10:58:55
I have always adhered the subfloor to a grid that was attached to the original floor. Why it never occurred to anyone to connect the furring strips directly to the subfloor is beyond me. The portability would make it such a smart choice and preserve your initial investment every time you move. Thank you.
re: How to build a sprung subfloor for your dance studio
By tinydancr
On 11/06/2010 14:45:10
We did a very similair thing and bought our sheets of foam from a heating/air condition supply house (every state has them) we bought it in big huge sheets and cute the the foam into strips!
re: How to build a sprung subfloor for your dance studio
By dancingwithhope
On 05/27/2011 08:09:19
This is an awesome post. THank you so much. I will be starting demo on our new space in two weeks. On my current floor we did pretty much the same thing but we found thick rubber pads to put under the floor. I will have to look for the info but I found it at a building supply store and it has held up so well. Good luck to everyone building. It is an exhausting process.

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