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ImageI have been asked this many times: "how can i set up a flamenco studio to practice in my home? what type of flooring do I need and where can I get it?" The answer to these questions will vary based on your space, budget, whether or not you're trying to create something permanent or portable, access to tools, and your building skills. Below, we'll discusss three options - portable, low budget solution for small apartment/home, semi-permanent, medium budget solution that requires minimum building skills/tools, and portable medium to high budget solution for more advanced "weekend warriors". All of the above solutions can be completed in a weekend or two by one or two people.

Solution I: Portable, Low Budget, Low Difficulty 

You will need:

  • 3/4" thick MDF board (Medium Density Fiberboard), standard size is about 4'x8' but you can have it cut to your desired dimensions at your local hardware store. Average price of one of these boards is about $20-$30, depending on where you live.
  • Long mirror (like the ones you can hang on the back of a door). Sizes will vary from 2'x5' and up. Price: $10+.
  • Screwdriver (if you plan to mount the mirror).
  • Optional: if you're planning to use the new "floor" in a room where you're concerned about scratching the original flooring you might want to use a carpet remnant, or an old runner, or even fleece to attach it to the underside of the new "floor".

This one is easy - buy a MDF board and have it cut to your size. You can find very light mirrors that are already framed that you can either lean against a wall or have mounted on a wall or a door. MDF boards are very thick, dense, and resiliant, they produce good sound for Flamenco, they do not warp and are very hard, so, you won't scratch it very easily. They will stain and absorb spills, so, if you're concerned about that, you might want to have it sealed. If you're worried about scratching your floor at home you might want to glue a piece of remnant carpeting  or a rubber mat to the underside of the MDF board.

This solution is very easy and very portable but also not the best if you're serious about your dance. It is, however, better than nothing! So, if you have a very small space and can't afford a permanent home studio, this solution will work for you. Time required to complete this project: several hours at most. Budget: about $40

Solution II: Semi-Permanent, Medium Budget, Medium Difficulty

You will need:

  • 3/4" thick MDF board (Medium Density Fiberboard), 3 sections will make 8'x12' size floor. Cost: $20-$30 a section.
  • Wall-mountable precut mirror(s). These can be found in a decent size at your local hardware store and should come with installation hardware. Cost: vill vary, you should be able to get something reasonable for under $50 a mirror
  • Electric drill/screwdriver with a special bit for pre-drilling holes.
  • Box of 1" flat-top screws (check to make sure they are suitable for MDF).
  • Rubber/felt/foam feet for underside if you're concerned about scratching your original floor.
  • Optional: knee pads (by the end of the weekend you'll appreciate these!)

In addition to the sections of MDF that you're going to use for the flooring, have strips of MDF board cut length-wise about 2" wide. These strips will go underneath the joins of the sections. Build your floor in sections. First position MDF strips on a flat surface, then lay your floor sections on top. Make sure that  MDF strips are directly underneath the joins between the sections. Pre-drill holes for screws, using a special bit that would predrill a larger hole for a  screw cap while drilling a smaller hole for the screw itself (ask for help on finding one of these at your local hardware store). The holes should be spaced about 1 foot apart, with screws near corners of each section. Continue to build on to the completed floor one or two secitons at a time (depending on your desired size).

This solution is easily accomplished over a weekend, provided you have the tools. The result is a very durable semi-permanent solution for a home studio. The floor is extremely heavy, therefore, once built you won't be able to move it. The only way to disassemble it is to take it apart by removing all screws. It makes for an excellent floor for practice if you have a room for it. Time required to complete this project: 2-3 days. Budget: about $250 for 8'x12' floor (prepare to spend about $90 for MDF, $150+ for decent size wall mirrors, and about $10 for hardware.)

Solution III: Portable, High Budget, Advanced Difficulty

You will need:

  • 3/4" thick MDF board (Medium Density Fiberboard), 3 sections will make 8'x12' size floor. Cost: $20-$30 a section.
  • Wall-mountable precut mirror(s). These can be found in a decent size at your local hardware store and should come with installation hardware. Cost: vill vary, you should be able to get something reasonable for under $50 a mirror
  • Electric tool called biscuit joiner. If you have to buy one, it can set you back $100-200 for a decent one.
  • Biscuit joins (these can be found at your local hardware store).
  • Latches or edge clamps to join edges of the sections.
  • Rubber/felt/foam feet for underside.
  • Optional: knee pads (by the end of the weekend you'll appreciate these!)
An excellent floor plan for building this design can be found at this site . The link contains a complete set of instructions and drawings. Excellent and self-explanatory. The result floor will be a lot more portable than the Solution II albeit more expensive. Time required to complete this project: 3-5 days (two weekends.) Total estimate: around $500.
 
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