It was a little over a year ago when one fateful morning a small group of volunteers help tear the worn green carpet from the stage and painted the wood decking beneath black. Now granted we did some research to figure out what actually was under the carpet on the stage – nothing worse than planning all this only to find out what lies beneath would be worthless and you’ll have to spend a lot of money you didn’t plan on. I had always like the look of the black stage but couldn’t figure out how it would work for us, if there was something I was missing like a special type of flooring rather than just painting the wood black. It was after a friend of mine pulled the trigger at his church and I was able to pick his brain I decided to do it.
How we did it:
Basically, we pulled up the carpet (cutting the edge at the top of the stairs that surround the stage), pulled all the staples, and well painted it black. We used a patio and decking paint because it was thicker and were told it would hold up better to traffic. We used a rubber stair tread trim to transition from the wooden stage to the carpeted stairs. We used basically THIS but found a company that would sell it to us in an uncut roll. It looks great.
Why we did it:
1. Visual Aesthetics – We had a green carpet, that just look old and outdated. This gave us a fresh modern look with minimal cost (thankfully we had the perfect wood decking below our carpet).
2. It hides cables so much better. We all have to run a lot of cables for our stages and unless you find those strange neon colored one… they are all black. Now they visually disappear making the stage look much cleaner. also black gaff tape disappears. You can see in this picture a little before and after (both are mid stage design so it’s not completely set but you get the idea).
3. The people on the stage pop more. Your speakers, singers, or basically whoever is one stage will just visually stand out better. That helps put the focus where you want it when you design your lighting and moments in worship. This is why most theaters have a black stage – the actors stand out better.
4. Upkeep is a breeze. Spill something on the stage? Vacation Bible School spill stuff on your stage? Paint over it. Need to drill something down for support for your stage set? Do it. It sweeps up real easy, mops up real easy, basically it’s an upkeep dream.
5. Believe it or not, your lighting will look better. The black stage doesn’t absorb colored lights like carpet does. It has a nice reflection (you can probably see a little bit from the pic above – note that reflection on the floor is with just lights shining on the back wall – we have since added RBG lights and it looks even better.)
The issues we’ve had with it:
Other than minimal negative feedback from the church – honestly for us it really was minimal. – much worse was removing the grand piano… Another story, another day. The only issue we had to deal with was sound. Obviously having carpet underneath your band, drums, singers, speakers, helps absorb sound. Knowing that we cut a portion of the carpet and pad to keep under our drums just to be safe. The bass seemed more present in the room after removing the carpet from the stage but that actually was a good thing for us. You can get a good look at the stage as it is currently in this post from last weeks set list.
If you think you can do it – Do It! it’s been a wonderful advance for us not just visually but functionally too.