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  • Ideal shop flooring - Help me choose.

    I'm at the point where I need to figure out what I want for flooring in the new shop. Right now it is bare concrete which does have a vapor barrier under it. I've thought about everything from plastic garage tiles to engineered hardwood.

    Constraints are as follows:
    • I can't build up the floor e.g. 2x4 sleepers. realistically the flooring solution needs to be not more than an inch thick or so.
    • Durable, I don't want to have to replace it in 5 years.
    • Suitable for a basement (new 2020 construction so assume no water in the basement)
    • Reasonable cost. <$6.00 / sq ft and I might go a bit over that if it is a truly glorious solution. HVAC came in under budget so I have a little wiggle room.
    Based on that, if you could have any floor in your shop you wanted, what would it be and why?

    Chr's
    __________
    An ethical man knows the right thing to do.
    A moral man does it.

  • #2
    Epoxy

    Comment


    • #3
      Epoxy paint and anti fatigue mats where machines are. However if laminated hardwood is warmer in the winter I might go with that. My concern with it is how durable it would be in a shop.FWIW my shop is just bare concrete. With a woodstove for heat.
      just another brick in the wall...

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      • #4
        I would recommend ignoring the big box stores offerings of residential garage coatings with a handful of glitter thrown in. I will admit they do look when new but I doubt they would be durable enough for your shop. (Although in your shop they will not be subjected to car tire scuff, leaking fluids and UV from the door being left open.) The industrial epoxy and acrylic flooring that I am very familiar with are probably not in your budget.
        I installed a high solids solvent base epoxy flooring system in my shop. That is what is used for floors in warehouses, auto shops, hangars etc. I got a great deal on the material from our industrial epoxy flooring contractor. It was is mis-matched left overs from previous jobs, and was out of date.

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        • #5
          I would consider porcelain tile and the anti fatigue mats where needed. The tiles are strong, cost effective if self installed and you could even heat it fairly easily if so desired.

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          • #6
            I was faced with the same problem for my basement shop about 15 years ago and decided to go with Dri-Core panels (https://dricore.com/products/dricore-subfloor/). These are roughly 2 x 2 treated wafer-board, T&G panels that have a dense plastic membrane glued to the back side which has molded-in stand-offs to allow air flow. When I bought them they were about $6 a panel (4 sq ft). They are easily installed, can be cut on the table saw, and they slide together nicely to fit over your basement or garage floor.

            I've used them here in my basement where I have some occasional moisture during the heavier spring rains and they do a significant job of keeping the place dry. I do use a de-humidifier during the humid summer months and the instructions say to keep an open area (almost like a small register grate area) every so often to allow air flow.

            The problem for me with paint, epoxy, and the like is that it's time consuming and smelly; and, it gives me severe headaches as I'm applying it, plus you have to wait for it to dry and, at least in the case of paint, you have to redo it every now and then. Worse is that it doesn't help the legs at all and you do have to use 'anti-fatigue' mats, which can be a bit prone to tripping over if you're not careful... plus, if you move your tools around, like I have to do in a small shop, those wheels don't move to well.

            For places where I need to fit, I cut the panels on my table saw then move to my router table to cut new tongue and groove on those newly sawn edges.

            With these panels, you can install them easily on a weekend, no noxious odors, and if the shop area is already populated with tools, you simply move them to one side, layout the panels, then move the tools on top and continue your progress. It's quick, easy, and durable. I've had them in my basement for almost 15 years now and I'm on them every single day. I moved my "shop" out to a shed about three years ago, so now the basement area is my office, photo and graphics work area. I'm down here several hours every day and they have so far shown no wear. Although I no longer have to move my saw and other equipment around, my office stool with it's small casters gets moved around continuously, and even with my butt in the chair, these panels offer quite a smooth surface (anti-fatigues mats would be a challenge).

            BTW, I purchased these at Home Depot, Lowes has a similar product, but they were about a dollar more per panel at the time I made my purchase. I also use a couple of spare panels as sort of "pallets" for stuff stored in my garage as they keep boxes, etc. off the bare concrete floor and thus protect them from being damaged by moisture.

            Hope this is helpful,

            CWS
            Last edited by cwsmith; 10-09-2020, 01:53 PM. Reason: mis-spelling and punctuation errors
            Think it Through Before You Do!

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            • #7
              I’d like to point out one thing, I don’t know if you have the occasion to do any welding in your shop? But if you do, precautions must be taken to protect the floor from grinder sparks, cutting torch molten metal and electric welding spatter. For my shop my welding plan is all welding, cutting and grinding is to be done on the concrete drive to the shop. That is a good plan until it isn’t. Occasionally it rains when I must do hot work and i move into the shop, then I lay down a sheet of thin plywood that I keep for this purpose, and cover it with a welding blanket. Sometimes a piece of hot slag will find its way off the blanket and burns a small bb size black crater in the 1/8” thick epoxy flooring. I don’t get upset any more because it’s just a 15 yr old shop floor and has accumulated quite a few chips from dropping mechanics tools and auto parts. The plywood cover sheet is another matter though. The same piece of slag that burned a bb size spot in the epoxy will burn a spot the size of a marble in the wood while the slag from the cutting touch produces hundreds of them! If you are considering a wood flooring as recommended by cwsmith..... don’t weld over it unless you use a sheet metal cover to protect it.

              capncarl

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              • #8
                Excellent point Capncarl! Shop floors, or for that matter any shop surfaces need to be forefront when considering any kind of work that might result in a fire hazard.

                I have never had a need or desire to weld anything although I had some familiarity in my high school metal shop class. My Dad could weld and later became a licensed 'steam fitter' and had worked on the nuclear facility that was built near Pittsburgh, PA. and certainly I was aware of the welding practices at Ingersoll-Rand during my thirty-plus years there. Welding is not something one should be doing where anything is flammable, including any surrounding surfaces including floors, walls, and ceilings.

                So, if you don't weld and primarily keep your shop to woodworking and less pyrotechnic efforts, the Dri-Core is a good flooring option.

                CWS
                Think it Through Before You Do!

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                • #9
                  The shop will be strictly woodworking. Finishing that requires a sprayer or anything not water based will happen in the garage. Unfortunately I know nothing of welding so that isn't in the plans for the foreseeable future, but good thoughts. I tend to learn by making mistakes.

                  Chr's
                  __________
                  An ethical man knows the right thing to do.
                  A moral man does it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I have epoxy floors in both garages/shops, and fatigue mats almost everywhere in the wood shop. The metal/motorcycle one is bare, obviously. The epoxy is great except that the builder didn't put any sort of friction enhancer/texture in it, so if it gets wet, or you get certain sawdust on it, then it becomes an ice skating rink. The fatigue mats and some runner rugs help, but the answer would be to put texture in it. Otherwise it's a great surface that will just last forever.

                    If I were starting over, I'd seriously consider some sort of raised floor or having a bunch of pre-cast cable/hose runners in the floor.

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                    • #11
                      How about peel and stick vinyl squares? Looks good in shop and not that expensive and relatively easy to replace damaged squares.

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