Special Events

TOOLS OF THE TRADE: FLOORING LETS YOU STEP ON IT

Reaching for the stars is fine for event design, but smart event pros make sure guests have their feet firmly on the floor — wherever that floor may be. Here, top manufacturers talk about today's forward-thinking event flooring, and explain why sometimes surface is everything.

PARQUET AND LOCK

Describing his company's oak parquet event flooring as “stronger than wood,” Jorgen Moller, president of Murray, Utah-based Snap Lock Industries, says the product is a top seller for special events.

Moller explains that along with its strength, its weight wins over event pros impressed with the product's easy setup. “A 3-by-3-foot panel of our flooring only weighs 18 pounds,” he says. “Because it is lightweight, the flooring is easy to assemble and requires no tools.”

While Moller extols Snap Lock's ability to keep guests comfortable “by keeping them off the cold, wet ground,” he adds that indoor use of his product offers as many benefits. “During the 2002 Winter Olympics, a large corporation wanted to change the look of a portion of their hotel,” he recalls. “Orange carpet in a large computer room was completely covered with our oak parquet flooring, giving the look of a permanent floor. The flooring was snapped around pillars, under storage cabinets — it covered the whole room.”

Heidi Niesen of Edina, Minn.-based Sico America says parquet has proven popular with her company's clients as well. A particularly bright spot in Sico's current parquet catalog, she notes, is the Lite Step floor. “Each 3-by-3-foot panel contains 20 lights that illuminate in up to 48 different patterns,” Niesen explains. “The master controller box is compatible and can be hooked into any DJ control panel to illuminate with the beat of any music.”

WEATHER OR NOT

According to Niesen, the versatility of Sico's vinyl laminate Starlight All Weather floor gives it an edge in unpredictable climates. Made up of 4-by-4-foot panels that require no specific panel sequence and are easy enough for one person to set up and tear down, she says, Starlight All Weather floors “require virtually no maintenance and are waterproof.”

Phil Maxwell of Camarillo, Calif., manufacturer California Portable Dance Floor Co., agrees that vinyl is a major advancement in event flooring. “An overnight change happened in 1990,” he says. “Every party rental store, event planner and hotel property moved from inside to outside venues.” His company responded with an R&D push that resulted in the creation of California Portable's weather-resistant wood-grain vinyl flooring. Following development of the product, the company put the new vinyl floor to the test. “We soaked it in water for 24 hours, and for one year gave it every ‘bad’ job that came our way — rental stores know what I mean,” Maxwell recounts. “Success, success. The wood-grain vinyl floor became our No. 1 seller to the rental industry.”

NICE TO NATURE

Salt Lake City-based Portafloor has brought to the arena a range of event flooring options that cater to challenging surfaces, says sales manager Kevin Chessher. Among them, he cites Portafloor EX, which features a non-slip surface with drainage channels and ventilation lots. Chessher says the EX's special features have made “a huge difference” in portable flooring by protecting live grass underneath while allowing it to continue growing.

If it's ice that event planners need to cover, Chessher recommends the Portafloor IPC, which is “designed to transform ice arenas into multi-purpose facilities without damaging or melting the ice layer underneath.”

Ultimately, Chessher says, event flooring is about expanding options for venue, planner and guests alike. “With the right flooring, thousands of spectators can attend, including those that need wheelchair access,” he asserts. “With the wrong portable flooring or without portable flooring, arenas and stadiums are limited and cannot bring in their full potential in revenue.”




RESOURCES

California Portable Dance Floor Co., 800/641-9960; Portafloor, 800/487-7655; Sico America, 800/801-0317; Snap Lock Industries, 800/457-0174

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