Soaking up mud in short order
May 31, 2013 1:24 PM   Subscribe

How can you get rid of sloppy muddiness in a relatively large area quickly?

Asking for a friend (so I'm pasting this question):

"Please get in touch if you can offer a creative solution to the problem of ground cover for 800-1,200 sq. feet of muddy grassiness that is presently the floor of a huge rubberized canvas tent.

Something porous enough to drain and tough enough to withstand the punch-through power of stilletto heels (or those "looks like a pump, feels like a sneaker" shoes).

3 potential solutions and drawbacks that occurred to me:

1. Waterproof modular snap flooring/low pile astro-turf (cost prohibitive).

2. Wood chips/mulch/hay (messy).

3. Plywood and tarps (not fancy enough). "

Any ideas? I think this is for an outdoor wedding tomorrow, so I'd assume it would be best if this area were walkable/danceable (and that's also why I assume that the tarps aren't quite fancy enough). I was personally thinking that some combination of sand/lime/gravel might do the trick, but I don't know enough about mud or engineering to know how much would be necessary/effective.

Any advice would surely be useful at this point (I'll point my friend to this post). Thanks!
posted by antonymous to Grab Bag (7 answers total)
I have no idea if this would work, but you could secure a truckload of shipping pallets (craigslist is good for this usually) and use those as your base. Then put something solid like plywood or chipboard atop them for uniformity. If that's still super ugly then you could cover with a floating laminate floor or tack down stretched painter's canvas. By the time it's finished though, it could be expensive and exhausting. Good luck!
posted by smuna at 1:35 PM on May 31, 2013

Instead of tarps, canvas drop cloths? They aren't fancy, but they are a step up from tarps (and depending on the decor can fit in well with a shabby chic theme). I would not do sand/lime/gravel. It sounds dangerous for women in heels and it is also likely to ruin the shoes.

This may sound like a crazy idea, but if it works with the decor and the crowd, what about asking guests to bring rain boots to change into? (Or even provide them as a favor if it's within the budget?)
posted by payoto at 2:01 PM on May 31, 2013

Probably you want to rent temporary event flooring like this.
posted by Riverine at 2:08 PM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

Plywood and tarps would be mank, but whitewashed plywod screwed down to 2x4s to form a temporarily sturdy underpinning grid would look tidy and neat. The whitewash will dry quickly enough. (By whitewash I just mean watered down interior paint. You probably don't have time to fully dry traditional paint.)
posted by DarlingBri at 2:52 PM on May 31, 2013

This is tomorrow? You're going to have to find someone and pay them to put in whatever you are doing. I see the first option is marked as being too expensive.

Move the tent to somewhere that isn't muddy.

Even if you had the budget to build a floor the size of a small house that won't sink by tomorrow, do you really want to be trying to get this done an hour before the guests arrive?
posted by yohko at 4:39 PM on May 31, 2013

So how did it go? What did you end up doing (besides getting married)?
posted by DarlingBri at 11:36 AM on June 1, 2013

Oh! I wasn't actually there! I'll see if I can talk to someone and find out what they did
posted by antonymous at 12:50 PM on June 10, 2013

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