What is a dance floor? It is a floor surface that is easy and comfortable to dance on. The characteristics of a good dance floor will depend on the type of dance to be performed on it.
One thing common to all the different dance styles is that floor needs to have some give and some spring. This is normally satisfied by a sprung floor.
According to wikipedia,
As indicated above, a dance floor can be divided into the performance surface, that part the dancers are touching with their feet, and everything underneath the performance surface, the subfloor. The subfloor can be further divided into base, cushioning, and surfacing. In a commercial setting, and in single story structures, the base will typically be poured concrete. On the upper levels of wood frame buildings, the base will typically be plywood over wooden joists.
Cushioning can be mechanical, or resilient materials. Resilient materials are rubbers or high-density foams, and can be in continuous sheets (covers the whole floor surface) or various schemes where the resilient material does not cover the whole floor space, such as rubber feet, foam blocks, or other shapes. Mechanical cushioned will typically consist of criss-crossing wooden slats (usually 1x2in cross section).
Choice of performance surface will depend on the primary dance to be performed on the floor. As indicated above, ballet, modern, jazz, tap, and other similar forms require a smooth, non-slip surface, which is normally best accomplished with a marley floor (vinyl). Ballroom requires the ability slide the feet smoothly across the floor, so it requires a faster surface. It should be a floor on which one can easily slide the feet in socks, but not so slick as to require extra care to walk.
Probably the best surface for ballroom dancing is a smooth hardwood floor (joints between panels can't be felt by the feet), unfinished, and polished smooth. However, this is also a surface extremely vulnerable to staining. We have seen recommendations to seal the wood with tung or linseed oil, having the least impact to the smoothness of the floor for dance. Today it is quite common to buy prefinished hardwoods. If it is to be used for a ballroom dance floor, it is advisable to assemble a sample, and test it out with dance shoes on.
While hardwood floors are considered the standard for ballroom dance, they may not be appropriate for all environments. Some examples include venues that are relatively open to the elements, or moist basements. In these cases, one might consider portable ballroom floors (assemble as needed) or laminate flooring. Again, as in the case of prefinished hardwood flooring, it is advisable to test out laminate samples with dance shoes to make sure they are suitable for dance.
These dance floor provider comparison notes were assembled in the course of planning and installing a ballroom dance floor as part of finishing a basement area as a dance studio. All tests indicated the space had little issue with moisture, however the decision is to play it safe and very high quality laminate flooring is used. Dance Floor Provider Comparison The finished dance floor consists of the following layers, going from top down:
The installation is done by professional contractors. Pictures below show the result of the final look of the ballroom.