Sloping garage floor

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Forum topic by Neville posted 08-18-2011 03:08 AM 7674 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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29 posts in 2498 days

08-18-2011 03:08 AM

Topic tags/keywords: workshop workshop layout floor

Hi all! First time here though I have been lurking a bit! I have a question (which I think I may have answered myself but hope to get some opinions):

I am fortunate enough to have a 3rd stall in my garage walled off (11×22) and am beginning the process of converting it into a workshop. Because it was designed as a garage, the floor slopes towards the garage door – a total of 2” over the 22’ length. As far as I can see there are no major bumps or dips in the floor.

I plan to put a workbench including a miter saw station down one long wall, and was wondering whether the benches should be level or follow the slope of the floor. If they are level I will have – of course – a nice level work surface, but I will then have the space underneath the bench differ in height. As I plan to use a lot of storage on wheels, I would have to make all my storage fit underneath the shortest height of the bench.

Alternatively, I can slope the benches with the floor. I don’t think I will notice the 2” slope over 22’ (that’s about 0.007” per inch on average). This would mean that all my store-under storage could be the same height, and anything I build to the standard 32 1/2” work height would just be level with everything else.

Third alternative: I could level out the floor of course…but that is a lot of work!

Any thoughts appreciated!

-- Neville, Calgary AB

23 replies so far

View ChefHDAN's profile


1067 posts in 2874 days

#1 posted 08-18-2011 03:36 AM

Build the work surface level, level will make sense whenever you’re doing any other work on the surface for assembly measuring etc. unlevel table will eventually drive you bug$hit somewhere in the future. Under Cab storage can be easily adjusted and that is where you’ll not notice the 2” over 22’

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View IrreverentJack's profile


727 posts in 2867 days

#2 posted 08-18-2011 04:05 AM

I wouldn’t mess with your floor. When you make your benches, think about equipment/machine/leg levelers . Ebay has some heavier ones. -Jack

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3165 posts in 3133 days

#3 posted 08-18-2011 04:30 AM

2” over 20’ is about right- for drainage off concrete, and sloping towards the door, as it should be. Something to consider, if it isn’t level,you’ll have to adjust all the equipment (like infeed and outfeed tables, or wings) if you move it around the shop. You may want to make the big stuff stationary and properly leveled.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View Manitario's profile


2630 posts in 2907 days

#4 posted 08-18-2011 04:44 AM

2” over 22’ is a slope of 0.4%, which translates into a difference of ~1/2 inch between the height of the ends of a 5ft workbench.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Neville's profile


29 posts in 2498 days

#5 posted 08-18-2011 06:04 AM

Thanks for the comments all! From the comments it does seem like level work surfaces are the way to go, so I will have to play with the design to see what I am going to make fixed and what not. I am thinking of a layout something along the lines of Fine Woodworking’s “Smart Shop in a One-Car Garage” (although I have a little more space). I will post pictures and a Sketchup layout diagram as I progress (lots of renovation jobs still to be done as well!).

Many thanks again!

-- Neville, Calgary AB

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2995 days

#6 posted 08-18-2011 06:10 AM

If you are going to build furniture, or anything of size, you will absolutely want to have a level surface to work on. You will have to level your machines as well. Jointer tables for instance. Drill press column must be plumb and the table square to the quill. You check these things with a level. You can put a digital angle guage on your table saw blade to set it at a certain angle, but if the table itself is not level the blade angle will be off in relation.

View Neville's profile


29 posts in 2498 days

#7 posted 08-18-2011 06:15 AM

Very good point crank49 – I had not thought of that. Level work surfaces it will be then – I am enough of a beginner that I do not have to battle things that aren’t really square!

-- Neville, Calgary AB

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 3486 days

#8 posted 08-18-2011 06:45 AM

I have the same issue with my garage floor. I will be doing a complete overhaul of the flooring, hopefully this winter. I will be adding a floating floor. 2×4 sleepers with 3/4” t&g plywood over them. I will lay the 2×4’s flat, not on edge, and add 1 1/2 rigid foam insulation in the open bays. I will also give me the opportunity to add a few electrical circuits in the middle of the room. The nice thing about the floating floor is if I ever sell the house it all comes up really quick and I will be able to level the floor.

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

View mtenterprises's profile


933 posts in 2717 days

#9 posted 08-18-2011 01:53 PM

Think about this one small thing; when you place a round item on youy bench or machine do you want to chase it every time? Once might be funny but after that it gets old FAST.

-- See pictures on Flickr - And visit my Facebook page -

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2947 days

#10 posted 08-18-2011 02:04 PM

I would go with Jack’s suggestion using the levelers.

-- Life is good.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2657 posts in 2946 days

#11 posted 08-19-2011 02:58 AM

I have a shop just like yours. 3rd stall of a three car garage. I made wall mounted benches all along the two 22 foot walls and they follow the slope of the garage floor. Works fine. Bench height is the same all along the benches.

-- Website is No PHD just a DD214 and a GED

View Neville's profile


29 posts in 2498 days

#12 posted 08-19-2011 05:39 AM

Thanks Jim – good to hear that someone went off-level… My strategy now is to start with high – I am going to be building some storage cabinets, tool racks etc based on Wood Magazine’s Idea Shop 5, hanging everything from French cleats. That will give me some of the storage I need and allow me to sort out how I want to do things like dust collection, take power to the dividing wall (sadly, I only have power along the two outside walls), and get the layout right. Once I have an idea of how that will work, I will see what can be stationary and what needs to move – I have just about everything on wheels right now except for the Festool MFT3 and it is really nice being able to move things around. The bench is also home to the miter saw and drill press – they need cabinets on wheels too!

-- Neville, Calgary AB

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3183 days

#13 posted 08-19-2011 06:05 AM

A digital level gauge like the Wixey zeros out on the flat surface of the TS first. The measure off the blade is then referenced off the flat table top. You could have the TS on a mountain side and still cut perfectly square, 90 degree cuts. Same with aligning a jointer fence or leveling its tables.

Level isn’t as important as something being flat. As long as your machines and shop fixtures are secure and not rocking on you, it shouldn’t matter. Everything references off a flat table…not a level floor.

I must be missing something here. I have a garage shop and haven’t felt the need to level anything with relation to the floor. It doesn’t affect my precision and it isn’t even noticable to me.

-- jay,

View Neville's profile


29 posts in 2498 days

#14 posted 08-19-2011 02:47 PM

Jay, my quest for levelness started with looking at using an outfeed table for the table saw as a multi-purpose mobile work table as well. The idea is that as I move it around, it stays level with everything else, including the workbench against the wall. But of course, if the workbench is level (i.e. not a standard height above the floor) the mobile work table would not match up in height except in one place.

Then again, how often would I need to push the outfeed/mobile work table against the workbench? Probably not a lot…

-- Neville, Calgary AB

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3093 days

#15 posted 08-19-2011 03:19 PM

Not only is your floor sloped (as it should be), if you checked closely, you will find that it has high and low spots everywhere. Dump a bucket of water and see what happens. – lol

If you’re going to want mobility, you’ll need to level the floor or you’ll be making adjustments every time you set up to work. If you’re going to leave major stuff in place, use shims, leveling feet, etc to get things flat and call it good.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

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