Bridge Gaps
Film Studio Flooring, Part 2
Posted on: 01-01-2022 by Elizabeth Yokel





Not all but some of the film studios around the world may occasionally require custom made surfaces in certain situations, especially when the studio owner faces flooring problems, typically after reluctantly acquiring aging buildings with unsuitable spaces. Imagine the dilemma! Maybe you don't have to imagine it. As a studio owner, have you ever dealt with such an undertaking?



If you've faced the task of leveling rough, rotting and uneven surfaces, you may also remember the pounding headache. Such tasks are necessary and critical to ensure smooth production activity on the set. Once you've leveled the surface, it's time to choose the flooring. You've ruled out residential flooring, a surface made for light foot traffic (family, pets and invited guests). You've additionally ruled out commercial flooring, even though it's a stronger surface made to withstand moderate foot traffic (customers and vendors).



You require a more durable surface. Fortunately, industrial flooring for film studios is engineered to routinely endure a punishing amount of production activity on the set. This flooring bears an enormous amount of weight. It resist dents and can survive a host ancillary production activity involving carpetry tasks, continuous set changes, proaim vangards, stage and speech prompters, ladders, scissor lifts, audience risers, lighting equipment, camera equipment, grip equipment and all other studio equipment on your checklist.



Even the proper flooring that's installed improperly is vulnerable to damage.



The way flooring is bonded to the substrate must be secure; so the floor bonding doesn't sink when suffering under the weight of projection equipment.



The installation must be level.



This is important for camera wheels that must glide and truck around without unwelcome bumps, dents and vibrations. Camera dollies and pedestals require level, seamless sufaces to properly display what's seen on screen.



Another pressing issue the film industry faces is disbondment over coat failure (Crane structures faced similar issues). Suggested fixes for such structures? Cathodic protection is a fix with Gantry crane structures and oil pipelines.




What about floor bonding issues commonly experienced in the film industry?  Consider removing the surface. Resurface it with an epoxy build system; ideally an epoxy build system with high definition chemical resistant coating.



Or you could install double overlayed plywood floors; preferably, ones that are floated on a hard foam base. Plywood and gypsum sandwiched floors might be another effective way to address this particular type of common issue.  You can certainly top the wood with a self-leveling resin. But this isn't an easy task especially on a busy studio floor. Nevertheless, it is a popular solution.



Any other ideas? Concrete. It's a weighty alterntative. You must consult with a structural engineer about feasibility issues. Considering concrete? Ardex supplies a self-leveling portland based concrete topping that's specified for film studio use. Ardex has an extensive line of products. Look for K-500, which could be applied 1/4 inch to 1 1/2 in thick and then tapered down to 1/16 inch for thresholds. Mixed with pea gravel, this concrete topping can go up to 5 inches thick presuming it's coated with a quality floor paint/sealer. What's the time frame? Typically, the job could be completed in 24-48 hours.



SD-T is the “fast track” version and could be applied 1/4 inch to 2 inches thick and coated with recommended floor paint; in about 2 to 4 hours. Prep, prime and let dry. Pour the topping and let it cure, then cover with the appropriate floor paint. The floor screed must be able withstand constant paint application and removal, as studio sets require floor repainting. Applying a quality, high chemically resistant paint should ensure against unwelcome problems; production activity causes. Do not skimp on price. Purchase the paint with excellent impact resistance, corrosion resistance and abrasion resistance.






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