If you have been thinking of installing a wooden floor in your shop you might want to consider the following alternative. Here is a pic of my shop floor. I painted it 9 years before this photo was taken.
A proven method
This is standard fare here in Norway which has extremely high building standards and strict codes. I have done many basement rooms this way in two other houses I owned here. I don’t have a basement in my current home, but I have used the following method in my workshop, and I love it. My floor is painted with gray enamel and that stuff is amazing. I had epoxy in my last house, but I think the enamel is just as good for this purpose. Craftsman on the Lake tells me that his water based enamel was better than the oil based one he used earlier.
How to do it
Step 1: Assuming you have a cement floor, if it needs any leveling you can buy dry mortar sand in bags and pour a little into any low spots. It shouldn’t take very much, but you can use as much as you like with no problems.
Step 2: Cover the floor with heavy plastic sheeting as a moisture barrier. Just overlap the seams if necessary.
Step 3: Cover the plastic with styrafoam platters 2” thick as insulation.
Step 4: Lay impregnated chipboard floor platters (rot proof) that interlock. .
-This will give you a very well insulated floor that is a lot warmer in winter.
-It has a little give to it, so it’s easier on your whole body, especially your knees and your back.
-We call this a floating floor here. It is very flat and it will support tons of weight.
-Most tools dropped on it won’t be ruined or edges chipped.
-It can be painted any color you like.
Health & Safety considerations
Styrafoam is not healthy stuff to insulate walls or ceilings with because of fire hazard and related poison gases. However in the floor it is sandwiched between the plastic sheet and the floor platters without enough air to allow combustion unless of course your whole house burns down, and even then it probably won’t ignite.
A smooth painted floor can be very slippery with MDF dust on it, therefore an addition to the paint to give it some texture might be a good move. I haven’t done this, but I am very careful when working with MDF. Your paint store can probably give you good advice on this point.
Check your building codes
You might have a good a good alternative to this method in your area. If you are interested in the above method, before starting you should you check first that it will be in compliance with the building codes in your area.
I hope you will find this helpful.
-- Mike, an American living in Norway.