thewoodwhisperer

Wood Shop Flooring Options

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After my "Dream Shop" post, the commenters got me thinking the flooring should be an issue I tackle right away. I always planned on doing something with the floor, but at a later date. As you can imagine, the costs for a project like this are extensive and I am already stretched beyond my comfort zone on the budget. So my goal is to find a budget-friendly solution that doesn't look like a heap of poop. While looks are indeed important, I have to admit that they are secondary to comfort. So things like epoxy, paint, rolls of plastic flooring material, etc... are all off the table. I also do not want to build a floor with a significant elevation. Lastly, I live in Arizona. We just don't have the cold weather/moisture issues most other areas have so we can occasionally take shortcuts that others can't.

So, I have been running in circles with the different options available. One of the most reasonable and cost effective seems to be a layer of poly as a moisture barrier, followed by 1x3 sleepers, followed by 5/8" or 3/4" T&G plywood. Truth be told, I haven't seen many floors made from plywood so I don't really know if I'm going to be happy with this look overall. I am also considering using a product like Platon as an underlayment in place of the sleepers and plastic.

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I also have considered DriCore. But the material is pretty expensive as just an underlayment. And I'm not really sure I like the look of the stuff when used as a final floor surface.

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In the ideal world with an unlimited budget, I would probably throw down some Dri-Core and put a nice solid wood or engineered material down. But with 1800 sq ft to cover, the costs add up quickly!

So I'm curious, what would you do in my situation? What are your thoughts on the T&G plywood option? How about the use of Platon instead of 1x3 sleepers. Again, remember that moisture just isn't much of a factor here (although I still want a moisture barrier) and I don't have a need to run electricity or anything else under the floor. I'm also trying to keep the floor's height to a minimum. Thanks homies.

You know, I should also mention that there is another thread going on concerning shop floors, but it is focused on a different type of floor. if you're interested.

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What about dirt? it's easy on the feet, sawdust and chips can eventually be composted with little to no effort and you can just cover stains and spills with another layer.

Plus during times of stress, you could get a rack and it could be your own personal ZEN garden.

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Since you don't have moisture issues, a floating "engineered" floor might work well. They're pre-finished, plus the foam underlayment will make it feel a bit more resilient and more comfortable than standing on concrete all day. DriCore tiles are expensive and probably overkill, given your situation. On the other hand, sleepers and plywood would allow you to run wiring under the floor if your heart so desires and the floor will have more "give," so you'll be more comfortable.

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If you already have a sufficient vapor barrier under your shop slab another vapor barrier is redundant, it wooldn't hurt anything. I've worked in construction for most of my life mostly comercial, and have never seen a second vapor barrier used except in a floating floor situation. The 3/4" T&G OSB sub floor is a fine product, but if it's not the look you like, check the price difference between the OSB compared with the price of comperable T&G plywood I think if your on a tight buget you'll learn to love the look of OSB. You also could paint the subfloor, and at some point when you want to go with another flooring option the paint wouldn't hurt anything.

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If left untouched the floor would be cement? I left the floor in my shop Au-Natural for a few reasons. Cleanup is much easier (it sweeps nice and for what I do being able to hose down the floor is a big bonus! Especially when finishing as foot traffic doesn't kick any dust up). Areas where I stand frequently like at the table saw, planer, etc I have a nice heavy work carpet for padding. These are also easy to remove and take outside for a good beating / hose down. In general as you know cement isn't the most comfortable on the feet, but that's what a good pair of shoes is for :-)

So far the only gripe I have is with acoustics. My side walls are 20' tall (I bring large boats in) and when the shop is empty there is a lot of echo. Would imagine that a different material for flooring would absorb some of the sound.

Just my $.02 :-) Interested to see what you end up going with!

~Andy

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Mark, I used 1/4 Luan ply for my finished floor. You can be the judge of how it looks. Personally, I think plywood finished with a butt load of shellac is a good way to go. It's repairable for all the glue, stains etc. and shellac is not nearly as slick, after you've got a little sawdust on it. Ask me how I know this!

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How about just leaving it as a concrete floor and buying a super cushy pair of designated shop shoes. You've already got a shop apron, so maybe you could create a new intro segment for your videos where you change your shoes and put on your apron as you walk into the shop. Think Mr. Rogers meets the Woodwhisperer.

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There was an artilce in FWW shops a while back about floors. They went with the sleepers appraoch, but discussed "roll products" as well.

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I don't want to hi-jack the thread, but what do you think of the excalibur table Vic? I was considering buying one (small version).

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If you are going the flooring route I would go with the sleepers and plywood. However to be honest it is really not that hard to work on concrete all day. I work on it 8-10 hrs a day 5-6 days a week at my job. All the forum talks about needing a wooden floor seems a bit like talking about sharpening past 8000. Sure it is technically better but the cost, time, and effort may not be as important as everyone makes it out to be.

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Marc, how about a VCT tile, fairly inexspensive, like .65 a sf , basically what's in every supermarket, it is extremely durable and fairly inexspensive. You can seal it useing a mop and bucket it to protect it more, it will clean up very easily with dry sawdust and wet spills. It take a severe amount of abuse like a champ with very little maintenance.

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I disagree with working on concrete all day, Long term not good for knees and back

Ther is an issue with using any T & G plywood or OSB product, any manufacturer that's worth their weight have built in an auto malice spacing in the T & G. This would result in being a huge dust collector making it very difficult to keep the shop clean which we all know is tough to anyway. Even though that is an issue I would still go that right but cover it with an inexpensive sub floor like luaan, meranti etc, then take a product like Rock Hard Water putty and fill the cracks sand them and cover with a porch paint type product.

Let's face there is no perfect solution even concrete can crack over time also.

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Lumber Liquidators has unfinished T/G for 89 cent a square foot. I think it would make a great floor, looks should be right in a woodworking shop. Not sure if you have a LL in your neighborhood.

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I don't want to hi-jack the thread, but what do you think of the excalibur table Vic? I was considering buying one (small version).

I love it. I hardly ever use my chop saw anymore. I'm not sure I'd have purchased it for the new cost, but I picked mine up for $150.

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One more thing I forgot to mention; I have a 3/4" T&G flooring for my upper work level (tends to be close to the same height as the decks of the boats and I put a cat walk from the boat to the upper level to save from going up and down ladders all day). sweeping / cleaning sawdust off this floor is a little frustrating as it never really gets clean without going over with a vacuum.. Granted I don't have any dust collection for this area so this comment may be a little irrellivant in your situation.

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I'll offer this - I've very happy from a temperature and foot/back comfort with the floor I put in my garage - 4 mil polysheeting, 2x4 sleepers that framed 1.5" rigid foam insulation, topped with 3/4" T&G OSB.

The one thing I would change from what I did is I would have floated the floor instead of TapCon screwing it into the concrete.

Things to think of regardless of what type of wood floor you want to put in:

- Do you want any outlets in the floor?

- Will this tie into the structure/wall framing?

- How will you cap the ends/edges? Related: what are your plans for baseboards?

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Lumber Liquidators has unfinished T/G for 89 cent a square foot. I think it would make a great floor, looks should be right in a woodworking shop. Not sure if you have a LL in your neighborhood.

This was going to be second suggestion. It's not pretty to look at, but it could work.

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I would definately choose the t&g OSB on sleepers. I remember you saying there would be some outlets mid floor, and just overall you would not be afraid to let the shop floor be a shop floor. A lot easier on dropped tools too.

It's coming along great, an I am sure you are even more excited for yourself than we are for you, which is a lot.

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Dri-core is a pain to install with those 2'x2' panels, and for carpet you need to mechanically fasten it, which it does not mention anywhere in the instructions when I installed a whole basement room of it. We did the other room in a product like the Platon, left it floating, and then counter-sunk holes and shot 3/4" OSB down over it.

My buddy just purchased something he called "strucual OSB" at Home Depot which is OSB sandwhich between plywood out verners. The 5/8 was about $10 sheet less that actual plywood.

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I agree with Boatworks. I left mine concrete and use and use fatigue mats in front of the tool or table, as the case may be. Some carpet tape keeps them from sliding around. Two big advantages (for me anyway) is that I can roll around heavy tools from their resting place against the wall (jointer, planer, sander,router table etc) and ease of sweeping up. Doesn't look as pretty, but, hey!, its a workshop.

Have fun with this!!

Cheers,

Peter

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Mark, I used 1/4 Luan ply for my finished floor. You can be the judge of how it looks. Personally, I think plywood finished with a butt load of shellac is a good way to go. It's repairable for all the glue, stains etc. and shellac is not nearly as slick, after you've got a little sawdust on it. Ask me how I know this!

There ain't nuthin' wrong with that floor! That's promising.

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How about just leaving it as a concrete floor and buying a super cushy pair of designated shop shoes. You've already got a shop apron, so maybe you could create a new intro segment for your videos where you change your shoes and put on your apron as you walk into the shop. Think Mr. Rogers meets the Woodwhisperer.

LOL It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day to cut some wood!

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If left untouched the floor would be cement? I left the floor in my shop Au-Natural for a few reasons.

Having lived with cement for quite some time, along with back pain from a previous injury, I'm really looking at the long term here. So any cushioning I can give myself is a welcome and worthy addition. I have been using the pads in my shops for years now and while it works, I really get annoyed with the pads when filming. Tripod always seems to get caught up. So with a wooden floor, I think I'll be happier in the long run as I get older and my bones get a little more weary. :) I'll probably still use a type of foam pad in the most used areas, but I won't feel compelled to do the entire shop like I have done in the past.

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