Help me build my shop #1: The Floor

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Blog entry by Rob posted 05-21-2014 04:17 PM 1988 reads 2 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I’ve seen a lot of shop floor ideas here, but I’m sort of waffling on what to do in my shop. If anyone has experience with multiple flooring options, I’d be thrilled to hear your comparisons. I’ll list a few requirements and flooring options below, but feel free to offer up additional suggestions that I may not have considered.

  1. Must be easily removable – I’m not sure I’ll live here forever, so I want the floor to be easily removable in case the next owner thinks garages are made for cars. I’m not going to nail it down to the floor, but I’m pretty sure the weight of the floor itself will keep it from sliding around, even before I put my equipment on top.
  2. Some insulation factor – it gets cold here in Iowa, and it would be nice to be able to work in my shop in the winter.
  3. Easy to install – ideally the floor should be something I can put together by myself in an afternoon or, at worst, over the duration of one weekend.
The Options:
  1. DriCore/Barricade: Seems pretty easy (see Ron Hazelton video), and I won’t come anywhere near the weight limit. Doesn’t seem to require a moisture barrier. R-value: DriCore 1.3/Barricade 3.2. Price: $1.50/sq. ft.
  2. OSB/Plywood on 1×4 or 2×4 sleepers: will take longer to install, requires moisture barrier. I’m assuming the sleepers will be roughly the cost of the foam for now and negligible cost for the moisture barrier.
    • with pre-sized foam – R-value: 3.64 (23/32” OSB~0.74, 3/4” expanded foam panels=2.9). Price: $2/sq. ft. (OSB $0.52/sq. ft., foam $1.48/sq. ft.)
    • with extruded polystyrene sheets – R-value: 4.74. Price: $0.85/sq. ft. Downside: more work because I have to cut the sheets down to size.

There’s potentially a lot of variation in the OSB/plywood option. For example, I could make the floor thicker for better insulation. I could also get 8×4 extruded polystyrene sheets which are cheaper and have a higher R-value than the expanded foam panels and cut them to fit myself, but that would require more work.

  1. What kind of floor do you have?
  2. How long have you had it, and have you had any problems with it?
  3. Do you wish you had done something different?
  4. If going the OSB/plywood route, how thick does it really need to be?
  5. Has anyone used shops with different types of floors—for example, DriCore vs. OSB, OSB vs. plywood, thinner OSB vs. thicker OSB, etc. Is there a noticeable difference?
  6. If going with DriCore, how well does it stay locked together over time if you don’t nail it down?

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3 comments so far

View dbhost's profile


5723 posts in 3254 days

#1 posted 05-21-2014 05:19 PM

Bare concrete floors here, with lots of Anti Fatigue mats, installed too late to do any good…

IF I were doing an insulated wood floor, I would go with Dri Core for cost / labor bang for the buck…

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View muleskinner's profile


896 posts in 2459 days

#2 posted 05-21-2014 08:10 PM

My garage shop has concrete floor. It’s mostly covered with a mish-mash of machine felt and old area rugs. I don’t know if the rugs serve any physiological advantage but they have saved a few dents and dings. I wish I had a wood floor.

I’m wondering if the cost of insulating a raised floor on a concrete slab wouldn’t be better spent on more insulation on the walls and ceiling. I’d think the ROI on insulating a slab would be pretty minimal.

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View Rob's profile


704 posts in 3093 days

#3 posted 05-21-2014 09:01 PM

I’m definitely leaning toward DriCore for the ease of installation, but I’m going back and forth on whether or not it will be enough insulation to matter. (Or, as you pointed out, Muleskinner, maybe it’s not even worth worrying about insulating the floor, in the first place.)

Cost and insulation-wise, it seems like the OSB over extruded foam is the best option, but it’ll be a lot more work than the DriCore, whether I cut it down and use sleepers 18” on center or use the full-size 4×8 sheets of foam like Manitario did.

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