SXS Events

  • Event Flooring Advice

Event Flooring Advice

What is an event flooring system made up of?

Most event floor systems that we construct for clients have at least two layers depending upon the application and what existing floor is in place. For example if we are making a platform outdoors that needs to have a premium finish the floor might include:

  • Structural floor - this would likely be made of cassette flooring or steeldeck and can be erected on unlevel ground. This forms the structure onto which the decorative flooring is attached. The structural floor may incorporate screwjacks for levelling, as well as bracing and other structural elements to give the required weight load capacities
  • Substrate - so as to get a perfectly flat surface we may lay down a layer of material on the structural floor. This is because the joins between structural elements can create lines in the final product. The substrate is often of a similar style as used in construction
  • Floor covering - this can be carpet, vinyl, solid wood or plastic and is what the guests will ultimately see
  • Protective coat or film - this is often put down to protect the floor until guests arrive - this ensures that the floor is in perfect condition.
  • Trim - we may then add fascia, edge trim or ramps to the floor to allow for safe access and egress.

In the case of exhibition flooring, or flooring for retail events, we may simply lay down a substrate and final floor covering on top.

What layers, the type and how many of them are determined by the desired finish, durability needs, aesthetic and budget.

What type of floor cover do I need?

This depends entirely on the application. A floor to protect grass from vehicular access will be very different from a floor that is being used to dress a performance stage. The following are factors to consider in your choice of floor:

  • Durability and Time - how long does the floor need to stay down for and how does it need to look? A red-carpet entrance only needs to look good for a few hours, whereas flooring for an exhibition may need to withstand many days or months of heavy footfall
  • Environment - is it indoors or outdoors? Is there a risk of wind or water? These factors will limit what materials can be used
  • Safety - Safety is a non-negotiable factor for any flooring system and certain requirements should be considered such as whether ramped access is needed (not always essential) likelihood of damage resulting in safety issues, fire retardency and others
  • Budget - this is a major factor and many clients need to make aesthetic or practical compromises based on limited budgets
  • Aesthetics - what might be the most practical is not always the best-looking, so a balance between form, function and cost needs to be made.

Call us for a chat about your project and we can offer advice on the above

What type of floor covers are available?

There are a vast array of choices for flooring and we have provided many of them. These can include:

  • Carpet - this is the most basic option and used for a range of solutions from conference stages to carpet entrances to catwalk runways to exhibition. Carpet can be provided in a wide range of qualities from basic exhibition carpet to thick-pile carpet.
  • Vinyls - there are a vast array of vinyls to suit the needs of a project. This include wood-effects, stone-effects, custom prints and many others. Some people are put off by vinyl due to its assocation with tacky interior decor. However a vinyl can be a practical and cost effective solution for event dressing, especially when people are not getting very close to it, such as on a theatre set.
  • Wood - while wood may be typically used for installation purposes but this can also be used for live events where this is a suitable aesthetic.
  • Plastics - there are an incredible array of plastic-based materials available including mirror-effects, ice effects and many others. While costly these can form a feature piece for any event
  • Video Screens - with the use of structural transparent materials we are now able to mount video screens under a floor. This is an unusual effect but can be intriguing and exciting when used properly.
  • Transparent - see-through floors are impressive when built over an item of interest of interest such as a pond, swimming pool or interesting ground cover. This has become a common technique for us in recent years
  • Lighting - again, using structural transparent or translucent materials we can integrate a wide array of lighting into a floor system.
  • Custom Print - any graphic can be printed onto durable carpet or vinyl and be used as a floor cover. This is a very good way of getting a brand message across.
  • Murials and Street Art - we have commisioned artists to paint directly onto floors so that clients can have a stunning custom piece of art at their event.
  • Water floors - for a fashion event we once made a floor that had 2" of water over the top. This was a great effect but possibly not the best option for most events!

How does the floor stay down?

The way in which flooring systems are held down depends upon the application but there are three main ways:

  • self-weight - the weight of the floor itself holds itself down. This is often the case when we lay down hard structural flooring and no kentlage is required
  • adhesives - sometimes tapes or even glues can be used to hold floors down where there is not risk/issue with damaging the lower surface
  • attachments - sometimes pin, nails, screws, or stakes may be used to hold down a floor

In all cases careful consideration is given to ensuring that the ground is not damaged

What surfaces can temporary floors be set up on?

Almost any! In our history we have setup floors in venues ranging from palaces, to swimming pools, to ditches, to the roofs of buildings to the inside of mines.Each ground type is different and careful consideration must be given to the bearing ratio, safe working loads, load spreading and the potential for damage.

What is the best floor for a conference?

Typically a conference stage will have relatively low footfall so the floor does not need to have a high degree of durability. Aesthetics is often the main consideration. As a conference stage is a space for deliving information it is important that the floor does not detract from the content being shared. As such it should not glare at people, nor should it be visually dominant (unless this is the desired effect!). Also, the sound ona conference stage is often very important so acoustic reflections are best avoided. As such a light-absorbing and sound-absorbing floor is best. The floor also needs to have a very clean finish with no visible joins. As such a carpet is typically the most suitable to conference stages

What is the best floor for a fashion show?

Many fashion shows want a feature floor to help communicate the styling and aesthetic of their brand. If this is the case see above the list of options. More often that not we find that designers want a floor that is plain, clean and does not detract from the apparel. Further there should not be any glare or reflections as this can have a negative impact on photography and videography. If this is the case with your catwalk runway the following can be suitable dependant upon budget:

  • High quality carpet
  • Painted finish
  • Matt Vinyl finish
  • Or the perfect soluton which is a wooden substrail, covered in glued canvass which is then painted.

What is the best floor for an exhibition?

Exhibition require a balance of cost-efficiency, durability and aesthetics. It is very common practice for exhibitions in the UK to use special exhibition carpet. This material is relatively cheap, has a good finish and easy to lay.

What is the best floor for performing on?

Typically a performance stage needs to be durable as performers and equipment can be quite damaging to a stage. Also performers often want to be able to move around freely when dancing so a floor that has a high level of grip may not be ideal. For performance flooring we often provide "Marley" floor which looks and feels like a vinyl finish but has a little more give in the material.

Get in touch!

Please do get in touch to discuss your flooring needs and we will put together the perfect solution for you.


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