Need advice on new shop floor

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Forum topic by Dan posted 09-14-2010 09:30 PM 1381 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2845 days

09-14-2010 09:30 PM

Need some advice, suggestions and or ideas…

So I started setting up my first woodshop in Jan of this year. I have a detached two stall garage and I have been working hard all year getting everything done. Well after feeling the cool Michigan weather this morning it hit me that summer is over and I am running out of time to get my shop winter ready. I have two maybe two and a half months left before I will need to have my heating ready. I have everything taken care of but the floor. The garage is very settled which has created large cracks and dips in the garage. I got a few quotes earlier this summer to raise the floor and also to pour a new slab and with the amount that would cost me I would be better off just putting that into a pole building and starting from scratch. I don’t want to sink thousands into a the floor on a garage as old as this one is. My plan is to clean and fill the cracks as best as I can and then lay down a sub floor. I have seen photos of other garage shops where they put in a plywood sub floor but other then just seeing the pictures I would like some feedback on the idea, advice on it and or pointers. My shop floor is well settled and is no where near level so its a pain to get my stands and benches level. I am thinking a sub floor with stretchers and plywood will fix this problem. I am also hoping this will help with the heat.

It almost sounds a little too easy to just lay the stretchers down, throw down some plastic and then cover with plywood. Am I missing anything? Is there a better option for heat? Should I be worried about moister under the sub floor?

Ceiling height is not an issue if I am only raising a few inches or less.

Any advice,help,pointers would be great.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

9 replies so far

View rance's profile


4255 posts in 3125 days

#1 posted 09-14-2010 10:10 PM

Just to stir the pot, there are other solutions…

or Google for Wood Block Flooring

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2845 days

#2 posted 09-14-2010 10:27 PM

Rance- Thanks, I will check the links. I am all ears on options.

Kick- I have the walls insulated or I should say I am working on it, about half done and will have the ceiling finished as well. That part I have figured out. Its the floor I am not sure on what my best option is with my budget. My budget is not cheap but I am not looking to put more then a grand into the floor at least not all before this winter.

I live just a little West of Grand Rapids. I am kind of in the middle of Grand Rapids and Holland.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View canadianchips's profile


2600 posts in 2962 days

#3 posted 09-14-2010 10:38 PM

I am estimating the size of your building to be 24ft x 30 ft.
I would pour a 3” concrete floor over what you have.
I would also consider putting floor heat in your shop.
Do the comparison cost of 3/4” treated plywood and stringers vs. concrete. You might be surprised !

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2845 days

#4 posted 09-14-2010 10:44 PM

I didn’t think I could pour a new floor over the top of the old floor. I was thinking a new floor needed to be so many inches in order to settle and or dry correct. I cant go too thick over the old floor.

Kick- Where are you located in MI?

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2815 days

#5 posted 09-15-2010 03:42 AM

There are some concrete products poured thin enough that they find level on their own. I would investigate that, given your situation.

Getting a flat wood floor over what you describe sounds really challenging to me, and to be safe, it needs to be dead level.

-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Claymation's profile


165 posts in 2781 days

#6 posted 09-15-2010 03:56 AM

I’d pursue canadianchips’s suggestion. What a great opportunity to put in a heating system and fix the floor at the same time. You may find the cost delta with the sub-floor over sleepers very reasonable. Not sure of it’s application or even what type of ‘crete you would use but I don’t think it’s like what you use for a regular ‘crete slab; it’s thinner and self leveling. After it cures, maybe you could paint it with one of those epoxy paints… just a thought.

I bought a house that has a basement floor as you describe putting in, and I always wonder about mold under the plastic. Since I bought it, I’ve been thinking about the day I can tear it all out, level the floor properly and put down something else in prep of finishing the basement.

-- Clay (Master Kindler) ~ Central VA

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3039 days

#7 posted 09-15-2010 04:07 AM

It’s to know what’s best without seeing the garage/shop. However, laying stretchers down does not seem like a good idea to me.

Here’s an option that might work better. – - -

Bust through the concrete at a few locations, dig holes and install posts in the hole (either 4×4 or 6×6). Run a beam over the posts and secure. Then install floor joist and put the plywood on top of the joist. You would need something solid to attach the floor joist to on the walls.

You would probably dig a trench to keep the beam(s) low. Exactly how big the beams and joist need to be would depend on the span.

It’s a lot of work but in the end you should have a very solid and level floor. If I still lived in the Grand Rapids area I’d come over and help.

FYI – I’m one of the first to graduate for GVSU. When I went there it was GVSC.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View MarkwithaK's profile


370 posts in 3143 days

#8 posted 09-15-2010 05:07 AM

My house a slab floor and it gets rather cold in the winter around here (NW Indiana)....My solution was to lay PT 2X4’s down as sleepers on 2’ centers, fill the created cavities with 1.5” foam board….covered it with a vapor barrier and then 3/4” T&G plywood. It’s word out pretty well so far.

-- If at first you don't succeed then maybe skydiving isn't for you.

View Claymation's profile


165 posts in 2781 days

#9 posted 09-15-2010 05:49 PM

MarkwithaK, do you have a walk out basement? If so, how’d you handle the transition at the door/slider? This is my problem. I’d leave the raised floor, except there is currently a “crazy” 4” step-down to a little patio area just in front of the door. Not a professional job, by any means.

-- Clay (Master Kindler) ~ Central VA

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