How Do You Build A Stage Inside A Church?
If you want to build a stage, choose between portable and permanent stages. You should also measure carefully and construct the frame using treated lumber to avoid wood rot. However, you also need to consider a variety of additional details based on your specific needs.
Determine Whether You Want a Portable or Permanent Stage
Before you start building a church stage platform, you should decide whether you want a portable or permanent stage. With a portable stage, you can disassemble the platforms and store them when they are not in use.
For most churches, portable stages are the preferred choice. You may already have a pulpit and do not need to change the layout of your church for your regular services.
However, permanent stages require additional work. You need to ensure that the finished project blends seamlessly with the rest of your main floor. For example, you may have intricate woodwork and molding throughout the church. A plain, wooden platform may not match the aesthetics of your church’s main floor.
While you can blend the platform with your existing architecture, you may need experienced carpenters to complete the work.
A portable stage is more convenient and should suit your needs. You can make the stage area large or small. You may even use different coverings for different types of events.
Portable stages are also typically less expensive to construct, as there is less work involved. You may need to worry about ensuring that it works with the existing style of the room. It also does not require the same building requirements, as it is not permanent.
Measure the Area Needed for the Stage Platform
After choosing whether you want a portable or permanent platform, you should decide how big to make the stage.
Measure the space that you plan to use for the stage. Depending on the layout of the church and the preferred size of the stage, you may also need to work around other structures. For example, there may be doors or a gallery that you need to avoid blocking.
Ensuring that you provide proper space between the stage and other structures is especially important when building a permanent stage. You still need to comply with the building requirements for providing access to handicapped individuals. Typically, you need to include at least three feet of space between structures.
If you do not plan on building a perfect rectangle or square, you may need to illustrate the layout and design of the platform. Using a piece of graphing paper with grids to draw out the layout of the platform. Each square on the grid should represent a specific number of inches, ensuring that your drawing is made to scale.
Construct the Frame and Cover with Plywood
The next step for building a stage is to build the frame. If the stage is permanent, you should use 2×4 boards for the frame. However, you can still build a sturdy portable frame with 1-inch boards.
The 1×4 boards are thick enough for building a stable platform. Using the 1-inch boards also helps reduce the total weight of the platform, making it easier to tear down and store when it is not in use.
When constructing a rectangular platform, start with the outer frame. Place a short section of a board in each corner for support. You should also include support beams every two feet across the entire width or length of the platform.
If you are making a portable stage, you may want to divide the stage into two or three platforms. This also helps reduce the weight of the stage and makes it easier to store.
You should also consider the height of the stage. With the basic frame, you should only have a height of four inches. If you prefer an elevated platform, you can add legs to the frame.
The legs can be added to each corner. If any side of the platform is longer than six feet, you may want to add an additional leg. For example, with a six-foot by six-foot platform, you should have a leg in each corner and an extra leg on each side, along with one leg in the center.
If you have trouble determining where the legs should go to provide support for the stage, divide the platform into a grid. Each six-foot corner should have a leg, along with each outside corner of the platform.
The next step is to cover the frame with plywood. The most common size for plywood is four feet by eight feet. It is also available in different thicknesses. 3/4-inch plywood is recommended for most projects, especially if you are building a permanent stage. The thicker material provides more bounce and can withstand more pressure without cracking.
However, 1/2-inch plywood is suitable for a portable platform when you are adding an additional floor covering. If you use the thinner plywood, ensure that the support beams are no more than two feet apart.
After gluing and nailing the plywood on the frame, you should allow the entire platform to dry overnight. The next day, you can carpet the platform to create a more presentable and comfortable stage.
There are several options for covering the platform. If you want to increase the stability of the platform, you can add OSB board on top of the plywood. However, this will dramatically increase the weight of a portable stage.
You can also purchase matting to secure to the top of the stage. With a firm mat, the platform has a little more bounce and feels more secure.
Whether you add a layer or OSB board and/or matting, you can add stretchable fabric on top of the platform. The fabric is typically made from durable material and nailed in place. This helps create a cleaner look for your stage and adds a little more stability.
Before building a stage platform, decide whether you want a portable or permanent stage. Portable stages can be stored when they are not in use while permanent stages can become a part of your church layout.
You should also measure the area where you plan to place the stage to ensure that you have enough room.
When constructing the frame, add support joists no more than 24-inches apart. You can cover the frame with 3/4-inch plywood for a sturdier frame or 1/2-inch plywood for a lightweight portable stage. You should also cover the stage, using OSB board, matting, or both.