Best floor material in basement? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 05-26-2015, 01:25 PM Thread Starter
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Best floor material in basement?

Hi everyone,

I'm moving homes and have an unfinished basement that I'm turning into my new shop. The square footage is great (>1000 sq. ft), but the floor stinks. Right now it is a concrete slab that is sloped towards the middle (like a funnel shape) where there is a drain leading to the sewer. I likely need to maintain that drain, but really hate working on concrete. The basement is dry, but it is possible that water could get in, so a drain is a must have.

In my old shop (also a basement) I use rubber interlocking tiles (the cheap kind from harbor freight). I don't much like those because dust always gets in the cracks and you can't really roll heavy machines over it.

So what's a good alternative? Assuming I need to leave the drain, but can do pretty much anything else (epoxy, wood, etc...), what would you do?

Thanks!

-Jeff G
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post #2 of 23 Old 05-26-2015, 02:42 PM
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No matter what floor you choose, I recommend you have a humidity meter and use a humidifier as necessary. Storing/working wood that is way over normal home humidity levels will leave you with poor results once the piece is placed in a home that is climate controlled.
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post #3 of 23 Old 05-26-2015, 02:52 PM
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Are you just looking to clean the floor up? Epoxy could work great for that. With a very u level floor wood flooring is going to be very difficult to do well.

Now if you have a very deep basement, you could build a floor system with joists to level the shop and provide a wood floor. But unless you have 9 foot walls I don't know that Id want to loose that height.

The tools don't make the craftsman....
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post #4 of 23 Old 05-26-2015, 03:29 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryan50hrl View Post
Are you just looking to clean the floor up? Epoxy could work great for that. With a very u level floor wood flooring is going to be very difficult to do well.

Now if you have a very deep basement, you could build a floor system with joists to level the shop and provide a wood floor. But unless you have 9 foot walls I don't know that Id want to loose that height.
Thanks. I with I had 9 foot walls! No such luck. Headroom is the one place I don't have a lot to work with.

Would epoxy work with the sloping floor (towards the drain)? Would I just temporarily cover the train while pouring the epoxy? Would the epoxy stick to the concrete on the slope, or would it just run down to the lowest point?

Thanks!

-Jeff G
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post #5 of 23 Old 05-26-2015, 04:23 PM
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the epoxy he's referring to commonly seen for garage floors. for home use atleast, it is applied with a roller like paint. You also sprinkle a flake over it for nonslip.

My experience with it has been mixed, it can peel and flake. There are better ($$$) versions, and even installed types that build up to a thickness. None "flow" on the floor though.

They are pretty much cosmetic though, and unless thats a concern, I save the money and leave the concrete raw.

As for ergonomics... some sort of rubber matting is about your only choice.
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post #6 of 23 Old 05-26-2015, 04:29 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bauerbach View Post
the epoxy he's referring to commonly seen for garage floors. for home use atleast, it is applied with a roller like paint. You also sprinkle a flake over it for nonslip.

My experience with it has been mixed, it can peel and flake. There are better ($$$) versions, and even installed types that build up to a thickness. None "flow" on the floor though.

They are pretty much cosmetic though, and unless thats a concern, I save the money and leave the concrete raw.

As for ergonomics... some sort of rubber matting is about your only choice.
Thanks. Does the epoxy have any give to it to soften the surface for walking? Or is it just as hard as concrete?

-Jeff G
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post #7 of 23 Old 05-26-2015, 04:40 PM
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For easier understanding it's basically just like paint. There is no cushioning on your feet if that's what you're looking for.
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post #8 of 23 Old 05-26-2015, 04:45 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BanditGTP View Post
For easier understanding it's basically just like paint. There is no cushioning on your feet if that's what you're looking for.
Got it. Yah, I don't care about the aesthetics so much.

Any idea about rubber flooring that is hard enough to role heavy machines over? The stuff I have is so spongy that wheels just sink right into it.

-Jeff G
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post #9 of 23 Old 05-26-2015, 05:49 PM
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As far as a "mat" goes, if its rigid enough to roll 500-1000lb equipment easily on its probably not going to offer much comfort for a ~200lb person.

If you really wanted a wood floor but cant give up much height you could use 2x4's for joists and put them directly on the concrete, but youd have to shim pretty much everything (band and joists) to get it level. We've done this at work with good results but its VERY time consuming. And, youll still lose give or take 4.5" finished depending on how much slope there is.


Personally I dont notice a difference standing working all day on a wood floor or concrete, theyre both uncomfortable.
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post #10 of 23 Old 05-26-2015, 09:13 PM
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The epoxied floors do sweep clean easier however.

The tools don't make the craftsman....
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post #11 of 23 Old 05-26-2015, 10:42 PM
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If you had a way of cutting shims to lay out a level surface and glue a plywood floor on top of that you wouldn't lose much height and would gain a level floor. If laid out right you could preserve the drain capability under the floor too.
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post #12 of 23 Old 05-27-2015, 12:12 AM
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Some cattle mats might work.
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post #13 of 23 Old 05-27-2015, 09:47 PM
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Some cattle mats might work.
Curious what a cattle mat is.
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post #14 of 23 Old 05-27-2015, 10:49 PM
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They are a big 4 by 8 sheet of 3/4 rubber. I don't know what their actual use is, maybe to keep cattle from sliding around in a trailer. I have seen them at Tractor Supply.
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post #15 of 23 Old 05-27-2015, 11:16 PM
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I have and use a couple 1/2"X2'X3' thick rubber mats and place them where I spend the most time on a project, it helps with my feet and back. during the winter my feet stay warmer longer. Pretty much everything in my shop is on wheels.

Work smart not hard!
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post #16 of 23 Old 05-27-2015, 11:25 PM
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Cattle mats/horse stall mats are cheap. Like the other poster said you can get them at Tractor supply. Sometimes you can cut them off off a roll to length so you have fewer seams to trip over. They really are not a bad option.
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post #17 of 23 Old 05-31-2015, 12:55 PM
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Recently saw some flooring underlaymen that had Styrofoam in a grid as the backer. It was maybe 3" thick total. They connected together at the edges via a slot, and were about 2'x3'. You'd probably need to shim a bit, but it would make your floor more comfortable, keep your drainage, and keep the shop quieter. Wish I knew what they were called, maybe a floor store would know.
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post #18 of 23 Old 05-31-2015, 01:07 PM
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post #19 of 23 Old 05-31-2015, 09:08 PM
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There is a ridgid snap tile that you can run cords under. I forget the name of it. But this article is a good read on about 6 different flooring options for concrete floors :

http://www.familyhandyman.com/garage...view-all#step8
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post #20 of 23 Old 06-01-2015, 09:07 AM Thread Starter
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I've never heard of cattle mats, but I'll look into those! I can't really give up 3" of height, so any kind of subfloor is out.

-Jeff G
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