Groove: Outdoor & Tent Flooring


Weddings began returning in 2021 and picked up steam as the year wore on. In 2022 they’re really making a comeback. It’s been a long two years both for the excited bridal couple their families and everyone associated with weddings, including the tent and event rental industry.


Tent companies report solid bookings all summer of 2022 with he delayed COVD-era nuptials combined with the annual summer push. There is big demand coming from tent rental companies for the preferred outdoor weddings and all of these tents need dance floor.


Tented outdoor weddings allow people to exercise control over all the details, creating an event more closely matching their vision, she says. Additionally, the COVID restrictions on indoor gatherings still in place in many areas make inside events less appealing. These factors have merged to escalate not only the demand for tents, but with it the need for flooring.


The Groove® Semi-Permanent Outdoor Flooring from Palmer Snyder allows crews to cover an entire tent with hardwood flooring. Because it is semi-permanent, it can remain in place for months. Shown here is the flooring in the American Barnwood option, a popular choice for weddings. Photo courtesy of Palmer Snyder Furniture Co.


Also pushing weddings outdoors is that the more traditional indoor spaces are booked solid, thanks to the COVID-related pent-up rush, says Kevin Lococo, rental market sales director for Palmer Snyder Furniture Co. Headquartered in Mequon, Wis., the company manufactures and distributes dance floors, tables, chairs and other items for tent and event rental companies.


“Weddings drive the demand [for flooring] always. Right now, customers are looking for new and different locations due to restrictions, so demand is higher than ever. Brides want beauty and elegance—often wood/barn-style colors with a warm feel,” says Lococo, adding that the company’s barnboard-style patterns are its most popular flooring products.


But flooring and staging are also becoming must-haves for indoor events. Ken Puff, president of Party Line Rentals, a party rental store in Elmsford, N.Y. (“We’re one-stop for most customers”), says nearly every social event includes a dance floor, with some also incorporating staging.


“Bandstands or stages are a staple when there’s a band, although some DJs are now requesting a stage,” Puff says. “Most people just want a dance floor and can be steered into what you have available, while others have a theme or plan in mind, such as an all-white or a black-and-white checkered floor.


“Our Groove® flooring is getting quite popular, not only as a dance floor but as a tent floor,” he continues, mentioning he added the dark barnwood color in 2021. “What’s nice about this type of flooring is that not only can you make it a dance area, but the whole tent can become a dance floor.”


Puff also carries the SICO® Starlight II outdoor dance floor in various colors including cherry rose (its “workhorse” dance floor), white and black. For staging he primarily uses the Bil-Jax Multi-Stage, describing the potential configurations as “endless.”


Bil-Jax offers three flooring and staging options for the tent and event industry: the ST8100, a steel staging system (the aforementioned Multi-Stage) with 4-by-4-foot gray-painted plywood decks; the AS2100, an aluminum staging system with 4-by-4-foot or 4-by-8-foot HDPE decks, snap-in legs and guardrails; and the TF2100, an engineered tent flooring system. Designed to integrate with clearspans, it is able to accommodate challenging terrains at any elevation.


Flooring products from Palmer Snyder include the EventXpress™ Seamless Portable Dance Floor and the Groove Semi-Permanent Outdoor Flooring. The EventXpress Seamless comes in 3-by-3-foot, 3-by-4-foot or 4-by-4-foot sections, in 11 different colors, with camlock connections and can be installed outdoors (there is also the EventXpress Acrylic Portable Dance Floor for inside use only). The Groove is available in 4-by-8-foot and 4-by-4-foot sheets. It can cover an entire tent floor and remain in place for extended time periods.


Something many smaller rental shops aren’t aware of is the need for subflooring, says Cerasi, and Puff carries plastic and plywood subflooring. Although unnecessary when the floor is laid down on concrete or asphalt, if the tent flooring is elevated, or if the facility has a solid floor, it can be a good idea if the floor is going down on top of grass or gravel (especially under a dance floor to keep it stable) and to help prevent water intrusion onto the floor from rain. Any type of subflooring can be installed under any kind of finished floor.


Although plywood has a long history in the industry, plastic subflooring offers several advantages over wood, says Cerasi. Because it’s lighter, it’s less costly to transport (his product is 2¾ inches thick, 4 by 4 feet and weighs about 50 pounds). It also doesn’t require inside storage as does wood. Depending on how the subflooring connects, it’s faster and easier to install than wood and lasts substantially longer, he says, although it’s a comparatively more costly initial investment.


“Plastic subflooring will run from $6 to $12 per square foot; it varies by the manufacturer,” Cerasi says. “But on average, ROI can be achieved in about 10 months, depending on the part of the country.”


Groove Semi-Permanent Outdoor Flooring can provide walkways and paths over less-than smooth terrain, creating an attractive entrance to this wedding event while sparing guests and their wedding finery from dirt. The Groove panels are designed for strength and speedy install, requiring minimal labor. Photo courtesy of Palmer Snyder Furniture Co.