Garage floor for wood shop - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 07-24-2020, 10:02 AM Thread Starter
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Garage floor for wood shop

Hello All,

I am moving on to the final step of a garage to hobbyist woodworking shop transformation. I have insulated the walls, put in ceiling joists and hung drywall for blown in insulation, built an overhead storage area for family storage, and will soon be replacing the windows, and piping in a heat exchanger fan to heat with water from my outdoor wood boiler. My question has to do with the floor.

Right now, there is a very beat up concrete floor; it is pitted, cracked, and out of level in many places. I have patched the cracks with epoxy sealant, filled most of the large craters from pitting due to road salt, and did a rough fill-in with concrete in an area where there was sloping concrete toward a drain.

I'm thinking of using a 1/4-3/8" slurry of self leveling concrete to get things flat and level (so that machines can roll easily, and so I can sweep up shop dust). This will be followed by an epoxy coat, or a simple waterproof floor paint. - sorry about the photo being flipped, I tried two versions and neither showed up properly in my post. The really rough section in the foreground is what the whole floor was like before I patched it--now it looks like where I am standing.

I have been told by my master boat builder father in law that instead of concrete as a finished floor, I should use furring strips and plywood, and forget about the $600 cost of the self leveling concrete. He says "if you drop a chisel on a concrete floor, it is ruined."

Can you please tell me your opinion on what I should do? I plan to live here til I die, so I want to do it once, but I also don't want to waste money. (I am aware that concrete is not the nicest thing to stand on for hours on end, and that it provides very little insulation value, but I don't think those are my main concerns because this is not a place where I will be working long hours -- at least I think...)

What would you do (or have you done) if you were in my shoes?

Thank you.
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post #2 of 13 Old 07-24-2020, 10:22 AM
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If it were me I’d go with plywood. I have a concrete shop and it is quite fatiguing on the feet. And your FiL is absolutely right about dropping a chisel, and even a piece of wood.

I don’t think you need furring strips unless you want to insulate. Hardwood flooring is put down on concrete all the time, but you need a moisture barrier. I would use the stuff for engineered flooring. A few screws here and therE would be all you need it’s not going anywhere.

For that matter you could even go with engineered flooring. Sometimes you can buy an end lot about as cheap as the ply.

Robert
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post #3 of 13 Old 07-24-2020, 10:26 AM
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I've been in plenty of shops that had wood floors and have walked out somewhat envious, wishing I had that instead of concrete.

Our shop is our two-car garage but it's a dedicated shop, no cars have been in the shop in the last 10 years. If we ever move, which doesn't look likely, I'm certain the new owners would want a garage and not a shop so I haven't put a wood floor down. The other issue with us is that the ceiling is about 8' 2" and I don't want to reduce that by adding a floor on top of the concrete, even it it's only a few inches.

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post #4 of 13 Old 07-24-2020, 01:59 PM
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I have a wood floor in the woodshop and .....

The woodshop has a wood floor because it's upstairs over the metal shop and welding area. The wood floor is simply the 3/4 T&D subfloor that was there originally and then pained with floor enamel. When I enclosed a breeze way over a concrete slab, I made a floating floor with 2" furring strips and 2" styrofoam for warmth during the cold Michigan winters. It worked fairly well with a Franklin gas log stove for heat. It did have 2 six foot doorwalls that made it more difficult to heat in the winter.

The concrete floor in the metal shop is like a heat sink. It keeps the shop cool (er) in the summer and takes a while for it to get cold in the winter. This shop has two adjoining walls to the house, so less heat loss. Comfort was not a consideration as much as chemical spillage and fire proofing. the concrete guys dis a poor job of leveling, so machines on casters are difficult to move around, but they are heavy ... 800 lbs to 400 lbs.

If you can, in a cold climate like NY, go with 3/4" T&G subfloor over 2" foam insulation and have a seal at the garage door so water can't get in and underneath .....Flex Seal maybe? wood is definely more comfortable for standing for long periods and will save the edges on woodworking tools....

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #5 of 13 Old 07-24-2020, 02:51 PM
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Concrete Shop Floor

I had a slick concrete floor in my sign shop. (which doubled as a mechanic's
garage on occasion). the floor was cleaned of cured epoxy and glue droppings,
patched and painted at least every two years (more or less).
dropping a metal object will not "destroy" the floor - you just simply patch it.
there is no reason to get all OCD and over thinking a concrete floor.
I agree with David F., a wooden floor in a dedicated woodshop would be nice
to have just for nostalgic reasons.
but, in real life, an epoxy or burnished concrete floor is the most desireable.
I used the cheap Porch & Floor light gray oil based enamel and just rolled it on.
this was in S.E. Georgia, so insulation was not an issue.
this is the "West End" half of the shop. it's almost time to paint the floor (again).

Garage floor for wood shop-stop-signs.jpg

.
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post #6 of 13 Old 07-24-2020, 03:01 PM
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Garage floor for wood shop

Most comfortable shop floor ive ever seen used to be real common in factories. Not so much any more, but there are still a few in Chicago.

Im not sure what they call it, but its just 2 to 3Ē tall 4x4ís or really any size laid in rows like brick Just friction fit together, no glue or nails, just a perimeter to establish the floor area, could be concrete, steel, or board wood.

Very easy on the feet, and should something damage an area of the floor, very simple to just remove, and replace.


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Dave H

Last edited by furnacefighter15; 07-24-2020 at 03:06 PM.
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post #7 of 13 Old 07-24-2020, 03:05 PM
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It might be called an end grain block wood floor


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post #8 of 13 Old 07-24-2020, 03:15 PM
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My basement shop has 3/4" thick prefinished birch flooring. I love it.
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post #9 of 13 Old 07-24-2020, 03:27 PM
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End Grain wooden Floor

Quote:
Originally Posted by furnacefighter15 View Post
It might be called an end grain block wood floor.
which jogs my memory !!
anyone that has been on the Navy Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
has probably been to the old abandoned hospital used to quarantine
leprosy patients during WWII. it is a huge steel Quonset Hut building
and it had a 6x6x6" end grain wooden floor from wall to wall.
I can only guess the size at 50' x 100' or larger.
weirdest thing I have ever seen - an end grain wooden floor sitting right
on the packed ground with no medium under it - in a hospital.
I've seen it - so I know that they do exist.
(it probably looked like a huge end grain cutting board when it was new).

.
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Last edited by John Smith_inFL; 07-24-2020 at 04:44 PM.
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post #10 of 13 Old 07-24-2020, 06:03 PM
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Concrete is porous. What ever you do, it is necessary to prevent the moisture from getting to the flooring. For that reason I would go with the self leveling concrete.

BTW - $600 for the garage sounds like a very good price. I could not get a load of ready mix delivered for that.

Rich
Just a dumb old paper boy from Brooklyn, NY
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post #11 of 13 Old 07-24-2020, 08:27 PM
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3/8" self leveling anything will just chip out if you put pressure on it like a wheel rolling a table saw
my 40s barn has a rough, uneven, hand poured slab that varies from 4" to 1.5", mostly 1.5"
it is hard to broom clean, the only good method is to use the shop vac
it had a manure trough that half the floor sloped to, i filled in the trough but that's pretty much it
i just deal with it
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post #12 of 13 Old 07-24-2020, 09:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by furnacefighter15 View Post
It might be called an end grain block wood floor


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Decades ago I visited a factory that built locomotive engines. I asked about the end grain block wood floor as I had never seen that before. The answer I was given was that if any metal parts fell they would not be damaged.
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post #13 of 13 Old 07-30-2020, 07:02 PM
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In my car garage the floor was in rough shape as it was 30 years old. I pressure washed it with cement detergent, patched the bigger chips/chunks missing, put on a coat of cement primer, then put on 2 - 3 coats of Behr 1-part epoxy. To be honest, it has not held up as well as I hoped. For foot traffic, it does fine. For my somewhat heavy rolling carts, also does fine. But for the portion of the cement outside the garage door that gets hit with sun, it's easily chips off. In the future, I might hire a professional to do a full epoxy coating.

Attached pic of before/after when I was actually doing the painting.
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