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Tools of the Trade: Flooring It

Lay a firm foundation with portable flooring IF YOU'RE creating a formal dance area outdoors, or you simply want to cover the worse-for-the-wear carpet at your event venue, portable flooring is a great solution. With so many products available, which is the right one for you?

RAIN OR SHINE "People have told me their floors have been in floods, snowstorms - and [are] still in great condition," says Phil Maxwell, sales manager and president of the rental division of Camarillo, Calif.-based California Portable Dance Floor. What mystery material can withstand such extremes? Vinyl. Maxwell's company manufactures wood-grain-patterned vinyl floors, as well as black and white vinyl floors, each with a plywood base.

Moisture-resistant materials are important to other manufacturers as well. Jorgen Moller Jr., vice president of Sandy, Utah-based Snap Lock Industries, notes that Snap Lock floors use no wood and thus "can get wet and not warp or stain." Snap Lock's floor panels are designed "to be `self-draining,' allowing water to flow freely under the floor," Moller says.

According to Kevin Chessher, national sales manager of the Portafloor division of Salt Lake City-based Sport Court, his product "performs effectively" in temperatures ranging from negative 20 degrees to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

STAGE MIGHT Owatonna, Minn.-based Wenger manufactures products meant for stage and elevated flooring applications. Gregg Nelson, manager of advertising and communications, emphasizes the versatility of Wenger floors. "Our products are great choices for custom applications where decks will have to be shaped to fit a particular [area], such as an orchestra pit filler," he says.

HAVE FLOORS, WILL TRAVEL Ease of use, lightness of weight and general resistance to chipping and scuffing are just a few of the concerns in the purchase or rental of portable flooring.

Sico America, a Minneapolis-based manufacturer of wood floors, has introduced the Cam Lock positive locking system. Joel Mondshane, advertising manager, notes that the system keeps dance floor panels interlocked, "making setup and takedown easy and convenient," and helps save on labor expenses.

Nelson advises that customers "beware of systems that have many parts and pieces and a specific order of assembly. These systems are nightmares for crews and rental locations renting to inexperienced renters."

Nelson also suggests looking into systems that can "solve multiple applications for you. For example, you can a take a floor you are using in a tent one day and raise the elevation, add back rails and stairways and make a rock `n' roll stage. ... Focus on flexibility."

MAINTAIN YOUR INVESTMENT "Treat your portable flooring as you would any other investment," Chessher says. "Regularly scheduled cleaning and maintenance and proper assembly and disassembly techniques will ensure many trouble-free years of service."

RESOURCES: California Portable Dance Floor, 800/662-2395, 805/383-6262; Portafloor, 800/487-7655, 801/972-0260; Sico America, 800/328-6138, 952/941-1700; Snap Lock Industries, 800/457-0174, 801/233-9360; Wenger, 800/733-0393, 507/455-4100

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