Flooring provides more than a stable foundation
By Connie Lannan
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Flooring provides more than a stable foundation

Photo courtesy of 12 By Event Flooring

Flooring has taken on more prominence. Not only does it offer a strong foundation for a tented event, but it also enhances the ambiance and provides an area for everyone to dance the night away, rental operators and manufacturers say.

“We are finding that we are receiving more requests for the entire tent to be floored,” says Amanda Jones, CERP, owner, Tyler Tents and Events and Mirabella Décor, both in Tyler, Texas.

“We typically use plywood, but we recently bought some Dura-Trac Flooring for smaller jobs. It is a hard floor — 4-ft-by-4-ft. squares that slide and lock together. It makes for a really solid ground,” she says.

Jennifer Gullins, senior vice president of sales, PEAK Event Services, based in Woburn, Mass., also has seen increased demand for extended flooring.

“More customers are asking for the entire tent to be floored and adding on Astroturf, custom carpeting or hardwoods. We are seeing the full gamut of options. We have seen a 30 percent uptick in requests. The way the economy has been healthy these last few years, our clients have more robust budgets to spend on some of these extras. It is more for aesthetics, and people are seeing it as a real value for them to upgrade to this for their wedding,” she says.

Manufacturers have been busy trying to keep up with the flooring demands of their event rental operation customers.

“About 90 percent of our business clientele is within the rental industry. Now that things are opening back up, we are doing whatever we can to fulfill orders. Much of our flooring is being shipped all over the U.S.,” says Mark Cerasi, owner, Dura-Trac Flooring, Kearneysville, W.Va.

Dura-Trac Flooring is made out of a “high-density polyethylene. It is structurally foam-molded. This process allows our flooring panel to be lighter and maintain its strength. It is 2.75-in. thick — about the thickest product in the industry — and is considered a subfloor. It comes in 4-ft.-by-4-ft. sections that slide and lock together. While we have it available in multiple colors, our predominant color is charcoal gray. Those who use our translucent floor can keep the grass growing for more than 90 days. Most people will put a floor covering on it, either Astroturf, carpet, vinyl or plank flooring, but you don’t need to put anything on top of it,” he says.

Photo courtesy of Tyler Tents and Events

Cerasi has found that “most of the time rental operators want the flooring to fall within the footprint of the entire tent. Sometimes they want the base plates from the structures on top of the floor so they can stake through it. We have seen an increase in sales every year because it is fast and easy to install — just slide and lock together. It also can be easily sprayed off to clean and can be kept outside, not accumulating a lot of warehouse space,” he says.

Cyndi Shifrel, CERP, general manager, EventWorks, Lake Mary, Fla., uses the Dura-Trac Flooring.

“The kind of Dura-Trac Flooring that we have is black. Ninety-nine percent of the time our clients are fine with us laying down our flooring and not putting on any type of carpet to cover it. If customers want carpeting, we will subrent that out. We don’t get a lot of requests for that, however,” she says.

While Astroturf is the most economical cover, many rental operators are adding rollable vinyl flooring to their mix.

“We offer carpet, Astroturf and sheet vinyl,” says Tim Manning, president, 12 By Event Flooring, Baltimore. “Typically, we see complete covering inside the tent. The vast majority by square footage is the Astroturf, but the vinyl has been growing the fastest. We’re seeing a lot more of the sheet vinyl for the event rental companies as it gives the look of a hardwood floor and is by far the most cost-effective way to get that look, with the most popular being the wood-plank finish. The sale of our vinyl has been doubling year over year since we opened in 2015. It is getting much more popular.”

Jones also has seen many of her clients request the vinyl. “We have typically put down Astroturf on top, but we recently got a rollable vinyl. That has been by far the most popular, using it for almost everything. There are so many patterns to choose from. We have white, black, shiny black, shiny white, wood grain and concrete,” she says.

Gullins has seen “a split between a hardwood floor or a vinyl. They have similar looks, but they are slightly different products. If you want a coloration difference, some of the vinyl works well for that,” she says.

The decision whether to put flooring under the entire tent boils down to budget, says Kathy Newby, CERP, vice president, major accounts, Abbey Party Rents SF, Daly City, Calif.

“Ninety-nine percent of our tents are put on grass. Most do not ask for flooring under the entire tent because it is cost-prohibitive. If they do put down flooring, Astroturf is still the most cost-effective to go over our subfloor, which we create with beams and then lay plywood on top of the beams or use a Bil-Jax stage and cover the top of that. Again, budget determines whether or not to use vinyl,” she says.

If clients go with the vinyl flooring, they usually will not request a separate dance floor, rental operators say.

“If we use the rollable vinyl, my clients are putting their money in that with the subfloor and not putting their money into a dance floor. We did one wedding in which they chose a rollable vinyl that looked like concrete. They wanted that concrete pattern as it was silver and went with all their colors. They shined a gobo light on top of where the dance floor was supposed to be,” Jones says.

Photo courtesy of Abbey Party Rents SF/Mandy Scott

Another instance in which rollable vinyl was used in place of a dance floor was for a recent big event she and Taylor’s Rental Equipment Co. in Fort Worth, Texas, worked on. “Taylor’s Rental handled the plywood flooring — almost 22,000 sq. ft. — to go under three structured tents. We laid down the black vinyl on top of it. The guests danced on it and did not use a dance floor. What we did was put a custom black-and-white stripe on the vinyl in the center and then put a thick white Astroturf in the dining tent,” Jones says.

However, if they use another type of cover, such as carpet or Astroturf, they add a dance floor, rental operators say.

Debra Shipper Morse, sales/marketing manager, Event Equipment Rental & Sales (EES), Hodgkins, Ill., has seen demand for portable dance floors increase so dramatically that her company has “expanded our rental option for the dance floor nationwide to support our customers who have a smaller dance floor and need a larger one for one event. We can ship additional pieces without adding it to their inventory,” she says.

EES offers the Multilok® dance floors, which are commercial-grade vinyl wood plank. “Our most popular dance floor is the Bracken, which is the brown wood grain. It is 100 percent waterproof and installs without any tools. It is very labor-saving, which is a key benefit to the rental industry,” she says.

EES also offers the Publok®, an acrylic dance floor in white, black, and black-and-white that can be used indoors and outdoors. All of the company’s dance floors are manufactured in the United Kingdom by Portable Floormakers. “We have seen an incredible demand for the acrylic high-gloss white flooring. That is the trend now,” Shipper Morse says.

“Dance floors are always popular,” Newby says. “Which color of dance floor depends upon the event and the look and feel of that event. A lot of people like the white if it is a very contemporary event. The black is popular if it is a more formal event. The black-and-white has more of a retro look to it.”

Mike Tatum, owner, Majestic Tent & Event, Shreveport, La., also has a high demand for dance floors. “We do a lot. We have three different styles that come in dark wood, a light wood and black-and-white. They are popular and the return on investment is very fast,” he says.

Whether it is the need for end-to-end flooring or just a dance floor, it boils down to “people wanting to create their own space and different looks. I am seeing my clients’ money going into different places. Flooring is definitely one of them,” Jones says. 

Connie Lannan

Connie LannanConnie Lannan

Connie Lannan is special projects editor for Rental Management. She helps plan, coordinate, write and edit ARA’s quarterly regional newsletters, In Your Region. She also researches, writes and edits news and feature articles for Rental Management, Rental Pulse, supplements, special reports and other special projects. Outside of work, she loves to bake for others, go for walks with her husband and volunteer for her church and causes she believes in.

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