Dance Teacher Resources

Dance floor care: Scuff marks to ‘dye’ for

There are three nasty floor problems that plague studio owners, taking up their time and money, with very little results to show for their effort. Those ailments are scuff marks, dye marks and the dreaded tap residue from aluminum compound.

Stay calm and read on because below, you can learn how to deal with these problems and even prevent them. Got your attention?

First, repeat after me. It is not the floor. The floor does not make marks or leach dye or disintegrate.

It is the shoes that are the source of all your woe. So let’s start there.

  • Scuff marks – There are shoes and sneakers that do not leave scuff marks, and the manufacturers tout that fact.
  • Dye marks – Quality shoes should never leach dye. Tell-tale signs are marks on feet and socks.
  • Tap residue – Taps are made with different metals. Steel and aluminum will not leave residue.  Aluminum compound most definitely will. They are bright and are usually found on inexpensive tap shoes.

All problems are solved by finding and buying the “right shoes”.

What, you can’t make the kids buy the “right stuff”, and you are not sure what that stuff is anyway?

Scuff marks 

What are they anyway? They are the rubber or synthetic element that comes off the shoe that becomes implanted on your floor. There is a degree of friction and heat involved in the transfer, so scuff marks are not the easiest of marks to remove. There are three factors that determine your success in removing them: time, energy and product.

Time: The sooner you get to the scuff marks, the easier and more likely you will be able to get them up. Over time, the scuff marks will transmute into the flooring, eventually creating a bond that virtually combines with the floor. At that point, we go to Plan B that we will get to later.

Energy: In this case, it could mean elbow grease and a stiff brush, a floor machine with a red pad or a tennis ball at the end of a pole. A tennis ball can pick up a remarkably large number of scuff marks. Game, set and match.

Products: Products such as Wipeout Plus can be your friend. It safely dissolves scuff and dye marks. Spray, wait a minute, and wipe clean with a moist rag. If this does not work, refer to Plan B that we will get to later.

Dye marks

These are marks on your floor that are the result of shoe dye that is not color fast. The dye leaks from the shoe on to the floor when the foot perspires. Dye marks look very much like scuff marks but are harder to remove.

Start with the Wipeout Plus. Spray, wait and wipe up. If the mark remains, you will have to live with it or go to Plan B.

Note: Never try to remove any of the marks with bleach or acetone. If you do, you will be buying a new floor in the very near future.

Tap residue

Tap residue from aluminium compound is perhaps the most insidious floor problem studio owners have. It gets all over the floor, seems impossible to get up, yet manages to adhere to feet, hands and clothing. Soap, water, solvent and pray will not work to remove residue.

Aluminium compound is metal residue from cheap taps disintegrating on your floor. This metal dust “sticks” to the floor and everything else that it comes in contact with.

The best solution is to ban aluminium compound taps from your studio. They still make an aluminium tap that does not fall apart. Good luck in finding the brands that work and better luck to get the kids (parents) to buy them. If you are in control of the shoe situation, problem solved. If not, read on.

First, there is the cleanup. But water, soap and mops stay in the closet. Get some artificial shammy cloth. It’s the sticky material used to clean cars. Put the shammy on the end of the broom or mop and run over your dry floor. The residue will stick to the cloth. Wash out the cloth, and you are good to do it all over again. The second way is to wet down your floor and use a shop wet/dry vacuum to suck up the residue. Both methods are a much more efficient way to handle tap residue, but it does not solve the problem.  Replacing everyone’s taps is an option but is an investment of some time and money.

TapShield is applied directly on the taps. This coating prevents disintegration while not affecting the sound. It is good for the school year and is relatively inexpensive at $1.00 per shoe. It does require four coats and a day to cure. Remember to apply TapShield to new tap shoes before they are used on your floor or you will be back to square one.

Plan B

When all else fails, and marks abound after your most heroic efforts, there is always Plan B.

The first solution is FloorShield Color. You can resurface and re-colorize your floor. All marks will be gone, and your floor will look almost brand new. While it does come at a price (approximately 90 cents per square foot), it is like getting a new floor. You can apply the multi-coat layers yourself, and you can match your new floor color to more than 2,000 color shades.

The second solution is FloorShield, a non-slip clear coating applied to your floor that works for up to two years before re-application. It prevents 80 percent of the residue and allows the residue that does get on your floor to be swept up. It runs about eight cents a square foot and makes all other aspects of maintenance a lot easier to deal with day to day.

Hopefully, we have addressed those daunting floor problems and have provided you a game plan to deal with them.

By Randy Swartz of Stagestep.

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