Ghostbusting Marley The Top 8 Myths About Marley Floors


Ballet Theatre UK production of “A Christmas Carol”

Tis the season for A Christmas Carol, and in honor of good old Jacob Marley, we thought we’d tackle some of the most common misconceptions about Marley floors for dance studios.

Myth #1 – The name “Marley Floor”


The vinyl top-surface that dancers perform and rehearse on is often referred to as a “Marley Floor.” However, actual Marley Floors are no longer available.  Marley Flooring was founded in 1948 in Kent, United Kingdom, and it offered a range of floor coverings – including a rolled vinyl floor that ballet dancers like the feel of.  The company stopped offering that range of floor in the late seventies, yet the term “Marley Floor” has stuck around, and it is now a general term that refers to any vinyl top surface for dance, including the full range of Rosco Dance Floors.

Myth #2 – Marley floors can be laid directly onto concrete

While it won’t hurt the Marley, not having a sprung surface under your dance surface might hurt you or your dancers.  Dancing on unsprung surfaces is hard on the body.  It takes a toll on tendons, joints and bones causing fatigue that could lead to stress fractures (also known as shin splints) in as little as 3-4 hours.  It’s highly recommended to lay the Marley floor on top of a proper sprung floor – such as the Rosco SubFloor.

Myth #3 – Carpet padding and other foams can be used underneath the Marley in place of a sprung floor

Sprung floors do much more than absorb impact.  They provide resilience by spreading the impact of leaps and jumps over a wide area rather than just the area where the foot lands.  They also rebound quickly where other materials will compress in a small area and take time to recover, creating soft spots. Keeping your subfloor level is important because areas of your floor that are not properly supported underneath could cause your Marley floor to tear over time.

Myth #4 – Marley floors need rosin

All Rosco dance floors are designed to provide a specific amount of controlled slip without any additional materials, such as rosin.  Each floor in the range allows a different amount slip, which should be one of the factors a studio considers when choosing the floor.  Using rosin can actually make Marley floors more slippery over time.

Myth #5 – Mopping the Marley floor with cola is an effective way to add grip

Coke and Mop
While it is actually true that the sticky cola residue will add some grip to the floor it will also attract dust, dirt and bugs. Cleaning the floor with a neutral pH cleaner, such as Rosco All Purpose Floor Cleaner, will help restore the factory finish and return the floor to its original state of grip/slip.

Myth #6 – Marley floors are only for soft shoes

Different types of hard and soft dance shoes suitable for Marley Floors.It’s true – many of our softer floors (like our original Rosco Dance Floor, which are designed to offer the grip required for pointe, ballet and barefoot styles of dance) are not durable enough for hard-soled dancing, like tap or flamenco.  Plus, these softer floors will muffle the sound desired by those styles of dance.  However, new technology in vinyl production allows us to offer different flooring surfaces for a variety of disciplines. Floors like Arabesque are dense without a great deal of limited slip – making them an excellent choice for hard shoes like tap, clogging or Irish dance.  We’re also able to offer all-purpose floors, like our popular Adagio, that work well for multiple disciplines by combining just the right amount of firmness needed for hard-sole durability, yet the right grip characteristics required for softer shoes.

Myth #6 – My favorite, store-bought cleaner is good to clean my Marley

While some household cleaners might do a decent job at cleaning your floor; many of them will do more harm than good. Ammonia based cleaners will make your floor very slippery, while abrasive cleaners may cause irreparable scratching. Rosco manufactures concentrated pH neutral cleaners that not only clean up dirt, dust and body oils but also helps remove stubborn scuff marks.

Myth #7 –  Marley floors are difficult to install

Installation of Marley Floor inside a studioAll of Rosco’s most popular dance floors can be cut to order, to the nearest whole foot in length.  This eliminates waste and results in a lighter, easier-to-handle roll for transport and installation.  Permanent installation of our floors should be handled by a professional flooring contractor.  However, most customers install their floors themselves with tape, which is much easier.  Using Rosco Double-Sided Tape around the perimeter, and the properly colored Vinyl Tape on top of each seam will lock your floor in place for several years – plus, you’re able to lift the floor up should you ever need to move your floor to another studio or performance space.

Myth #8 – Marley Floors are expensive

expensiveAs Scrooge would say – Bah Humbug!  In fact, we’re pretty sure the old miser would appreciate the affordability of our floors.  Not only are Rosco dance floors a lot more affordable than you think, they’re also available anywhere in the world. Contact us to get a quote on a Rosco dance floor for your studio.



About Matt DeLong

Product Manager: Matt DeLong has been at Rosco for 15 years, having started his career at Rosco in Technical Support. Matt later moved into Sales covering the North-Atlantic region before the opportunity came for him to work in Product Management for Rosco's Floor, Fog and Motion Effects product lines. Matt has a background in Lighting Design, Special Effects, Pyrotechnics and Technical Theatre. Matt's stories will take you behind-the-scenes of theatrical productions and themed environments.

8 thoughts on “Ghostbusting Marley The Top 8 Myths About Marley Floors

  1. Ashley B

    Hi Matt! I have been hired as the director of a theatre and dance academy that has a Roscoe vinyl floor in the dance studio. I was told by the outgoing director that the current floor is “about 7 years old.” It gets heavy use during the school year, but over the summer gets stored. What’s the typical lifetime of a vinyl floor? Am I facing buying a new floor in the near future? Sorry, I don’t know the model/type of vinyl!

  2. Bob Aldo

    Need to know best options for 1200 sq foot floor in Massachusetts for dance studio. It will go on concrete floor.

  3. Joel Svendsen

    Bob –
    Thanks for the response – we are excited to help you!
    We have an excellent resource in Massachusetts named Wooden Kiwi. They are dealers for our flooring products and a true expert in the field of dance flooring. They can talk to you about choosing the right floor for you and get you specific pricing to fit your dimensions.
    Wooden Kiwi
    (617) 625-9663

  4. Joel Svendsen

    Hi Ashley –

    Matt is out on the road today, so I contacted him to get the right response for you. We typically recommend evaluating a Rosco floor between 7-10 years. So, if you’re at the seven-year mark, now is a good time to take a good look at your floor. Here are a few things to look for: A good-performing vinyl floor should have some calendar, or texture. The older a floor gets, the smoother/glossier it will get. Another thing to evaluate is how easily does it lay down? If the edges are scalloping (not laying down flat), this is also a good indication that your floor is getting “tired.”

    If you have any more specific questions about our floors, please contact our flooring sales specialist – Pierre Bordeleau

    Thank you for reading and responding to our blog – and thanks for your interest in Rosco Floors.

  5. Peter

    I am looking to purchase floors for a 1500 sq ft studio. Are there any areas in north Georgia that would sell direct so I could avoid shipping charges? I could travel into the Atlanta area.

  6. Joel Svendsen

    Hello Peter –
    Unfortunately, I’m not aware of any retailers in Georgia that stock our floor. You might try Barbizon, who have offices in both Atlanta and Charlotte, NC (since you’re in North Florida). Contact Esthere Strom there (tell her Joel from Rosco sent you) and see if she has the floor you’re looking for in stock:

    Otherwise, the closest stocking point that I’m certain of is Stage Lighting Store in Jacksonville, FL
    Which puts it pretty close to you and should keep your shipping costs relatively low.

    I hope that helps,

  7. Phyllicia

    Hello, I am working with a dance troop, and I am told we have a Marley floor. What is the best sole for my dancers with this floor? They will be dancing the Lindy hop- and I was told s suede sole was better. Is this true? I have a shoe repair guy that suggest dance rubber sole. Please advise. Thank you!

  8. Joel Svendsen

    Phyllicia – I’m afraid that’s a rather subjective answer. A rubber-soled shoe will have more grip on the vinyl marley surface, while the suede-soled shoe will have more slide. The Lindy-Hop has aspects where both grip and slide would be advantageous. Me personally, I’d rather have the slide of the suede shoe that I could learn to control and stop. In my opinion, it takes more effort to make a grippy shoe slide than it does to make a sliding shoe stop. But that is just my opinion – yours may vary.

    – Joel

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