Mat tap dancing is tap dancing using a portable mat, usually made out of plywood or oak, that is attached to a sheet of canvas. These mats allow the tap dancer to practice dancing at home. Many tap dance floor mat vendors offer mats in varying sizes and colors.
While using plywood as a tap dancing mat has the convenience of being the cheapest way to create a portable tap dancing surface, it also has several downsides. Plywood splinters easily, so quality mats must be sanded down. Additionally, plywood mats can't be rolled up like oak mats. Plywood mats also produce an inferior sound quality and do not absorb as much force, thus creating a greater chance for injury.
In tap dance, the dance floor makes a huge difference in the sounds produced and the dancer's safety. Hardwood floors are naturally the best dance floors, such as those made from oak or maple, because softwoods, such as pine, are more likely to splinter. It is also preferable to have a spring floor underneath the hardwood surface, because a concrete floor tends to cause injury to a dancer's back, legs and knees. A spring floor also vibrates more and produces the desired resonance from the tap dancer's movements.