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Squeaky platforms

Printed From: Community Theater Green Room
Category: Producing Theater
Forum Name: Set Design and Construction
Forum Discription: Post your questions or suggestions about designing or building a set here.
Printed Date: 5/18/24 at 10:18pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 8.05 -

Topic: Squeaky platforms
Posted By: 75director
Subject: Squeaky platforms
Date Posted: 9/13/07 at 5:09pm

We make extensive use of large wooden platforms in our black box theatre.  The problem is that they have progressively become louder and louder.  When someone walks across them you hear "squeak squeak squeak".  Is there a simple fix to this or is it time to send some of these platforms to the great scene shop in the sky and start over?

Posted By: pdavis69
Date Posted: 9/13/07 at 5:51pm
Put new screws in the top and tighten down any old screws.  If you put them together with nails, use screws.

Patrick L. Davis
Fort Findlay Playhouse

Posted By: Nanette
Date Posted: 9/13/07 at 9:36pm
Fix it the same way you fix a squeaky floor in your house.  Find the squeaky spot and tighten it up (shim from below for a wooden floor or screw from above for platforms).

In a world of margarine, be butter!

Posted By: Spectrum
Date Posted: 9/14/07 at 12:14am
Something else you may want to try;  Take the top off the platform and cover all top supports with sheet foam (noise damping) or even fabric or old newspapers (TWO layers - as they did in the 30's) and put the top back on with screws (as has been suggested).   The squeaks come from wood rubbing against wood with very LITTLE movement.  If you buffer the two wood surfaces, no more squeaks!

Growing old is mandatory. Growing up is optional.

Posted By: MartyW
Date Posted: 9/14/07 at 7:50am
All good... As Nanette said find the squeek point. I find toe nailing one platform to the one next too it with a three inch screw helps when using multiple platforms.

Marty W

"Till next we trod the boards.."

Posted By: Gaafa
Date Posted: 9/14/07 at 1:34pm
With wooden frame rostra, all of the suggestions posted by everyone are good quick fixs, try the lot.
But what your probably experiencing is whats called 'lateral frequency vibrations' on a small scale, at the moment.
Look at the structure of the rostra frame & it's  jionts, how are they put together?
As they are used quite a bit the rosra is suffering from fatigue & starting to losen up from being constantly performed on.
Any movement from being walked on will generate a lateral frequency causing these squeekers.
This is normaly not a problem with unit rostra, if they have good jionts & diagonal bracing.
All the reasons given are probably happening to them & becoming more pronounced as time goes by.
they are probably 2.4m (8') x 1.2m (4') units which are normal & stable enough, depending on hieght.
But as the squeek is becoming more of a problem, this may be a warning  or  just as the previous posters have suggested, an easy remedy problem.
If you have a Chipy on hand who can give them the once over to ensure there is not a major problem lurking with the structure & how they are put together.
I'm not trying to alarm as it may be just lack of general maintence & a fiew ruddy jionts are the problem. But it would be a compfort to asses the risk that is not a safety issue.
It is quite surprising how much & quickly lateral frequency vibrations can build  as you add the  warm prop factor.ShockedEmbarrassed


Western Gondawandaland
turn right @ Perth.
Hear the light & see the sound.
Toi Toi Toi Chookas {{"chook [chicken] it is"}
May you always play
to a full house}

Posted By: Mr. Lowell
Date Posted: 9/14/07 at 4:13pm
I use standard 4'x8' plywood platforms built with drywall screws.   After several years the plywood tops get squeeky, warped, full of holes and cracks, and covered with paint and staples. 
For a cheap way to get extra life out of these platforms, I sometimes pull out all the old screws and flip the top sheet of plywood upside down.  You get nice clean flooring for a few more years.   And when you put NEW screws into NEW holes, the squeeks go away too!
Good luck.  -Dana

Mr. Lowell,
Lighting/Set Designer & Tech Director,
for the Linda Sloan Theatre,
in the Davison Center for the Arts,
at Greensboro Day School

Posted By: Gaafa
Date Posted: 9/14/07 at 9:54pm
Desqueeking is normally as simple as you Dana & Patrick have suggested, thru rescrewing & general maintenance.
Especialy when the ply starts to delaminate  with yawns & smiles appearing along the edges of the ply.
That's a good idea just to flip over the plates & rebedding, with new new tek screws for a fresh top is worth the effort.
If you get your hands on some marine ply, the type they use on building sites, for concrete form work. It is expensive to buy off the shelf, but it can be obtained cheaply via salvage & industrail waste recyle yards.
There again if you know a friendly builder or a new building site. A few comps can procure a heap of gear, besides skip diving before the boards are normally broken up to chuck out.
In other cases wood on wood rubbing, as mentioned by spectrum is a source for the squeekers to exist. which for the most part can be dampened by the method posted & also mentioned by the others.
 In a lot of venues where nails seam to be the diet of mechs, techs & helpers. I try to  get them to  change thier feeding habits & relish the delights of tek scewing. Whereby posi drives & the tek gun becomes thier very bestest play thing. untencil & toy.
Nails have thier place in the other world, but only spariingly in the reality of back stage. It can be very difficult to ween them off & an ardious task, if withdrawl kicks  in - well worth the effort though in my opinion!
Nailed jionts, as Patrick pionted out are a pime suspect, with constant flexing & cavorting of unglued jionts.
Flapping, drumming & bumping. Are easy visual & audable things to fix with the excelent methods suggested by Martw, Nanette & Spectrum. But squeekies can drive you round the twist tracing them. They breed like rabbits & mysteriously as wire coat hangers populate in a wardobe or closet.
But even with a stock of rostra 75director they will return as fast as a crook smell.Wink


Western Gondawandaland
turn right @ Perth.
Hear the light & see the sound.
Toi Toi Toi Chookas {{"chook [chicken] it is"}
May you always play
to a full house}

Posted By: avcastner
Date Posted: 10/24/07 at 11:24pm
If you used screws with a large unthreaded shank (like 2 1/2"s or 3"s), then you'll want to rescrew with shanks that are almost all threaded.  Take out the old screws when you finish putting in the new ones.  Also, you might want to consider gluing the joints.


Posted By: vickifrank
Date Posted: 10/25/07 at 1:56pm

If you choose to fix with nails consider using ring nails or the type that have a lacquer that makes them stay in better or longer. (Joe or Patrick probably know what they are called, I've forgotten) Either will stay put longer.

I was a little surprised that you heard 'squeak' and not the echoing footsteps that plague large patforms.  Has anyone done sound dampening to these already? 

Posted By: avcastner
Date Posted: 10/28/07 at 1:43pm

I get used carpet padding and staple it underneath the platform.  It helps a bit.


Posted By: JoeMc
Date Posted: 10/29/07 at 2:28am
I have only had limited results with applying a silencer to rostra. Besides muffling under the rostra plates, they are a large drum anyway. Applying calico/muslin to the top of the plates, cuts down foot noise from prancing about.
But it is still there especialy with twirlies & it actualy sounds better with plain board tops for tap dancers.

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