How to Install a Marley Dance Floor

ballet image by huaxiadragon from

Things You'll Need

  • Broom
  • Mop
  • Tape measure
  • Drywall square
  • Utility knife
  • Flooring tape

Marley is a term used to describe any of a variety of rubberized vinyl roll flooring that is used as portable performance and rehearsal flooring for dance. Marley flooring can be installed over almost any stable, level, smooth surface to improve the give and texture of the surface for dancing. It can also be used over wooden stage tops as a protective layer. With careful handling and proper treatment, a marley floor can be laid and taken up literally hundreds of times while remaining usable.

Examine your proposed installation space to ensure that it is level and smooth. Repair any loose or raised flooring. Remove nails, screws, staples and other obstacles before laying your floor. Sweep and mop the space thoroughly to remove oil, dust and debris that could adhere to the back of the floor and be transferred to the face when the floor is rolled.

Measure the installation area to determine how much flooring you need to order. Marley floors are typically manufactured in 6 by 60-foot rolls. Plan to lay your floor in the direction that is most easily divided into 6-foot wide strips to prevent waste.

Roll out a strip of flooring long enough to reach across your space. Use a tape measure to mark the flooring to the correct length. Use a drywall square to mark a line across the marley at that point and cut along the edge of it with a utility knife to size the piece. Roll out and cut enough strips to cover the area completely.

Roll out full width strips of flooring as far as possible. Lay the strips side-by-side with a 1/8-inch gap between pieces. Measure the distance from the last full row to the wall and trim a strip of marley to fit. Allow the flooring to set in your space for at least 2 hours to allow wrinkles and kinks to relax.

Use marley floor tape to tape the joints between the flooring strips, locking them in place. Stretch the tape tightly enough to smooth wrinkles, without pulling the floor, which causes puckering. Press the tape smooth and check all edges to ensure that none are folded or lifting.

Sweep and mop the floor as needed with a soft bristle broom and a non-residue water-based cleaner. Avoid ammonia, which degrades the floor's surface. Sweep and mop at least weekly and prior to rolling the floor. Allow the floor to dry thoroughly before using or rolling. Peel the tape from the seams and roll up strips for moving or storage. Use a large cardboard tube, such as those found in carpet rolls, to roll the floor onto.