Wood flooring for the shop

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Forum topic by Greylion posted 01-06-2012 10:40 PM 5150 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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28 posts in 2641 days

01-06-2012 10:40 PM

Topic tags/keywords: wood floors flooring floors shop layout shop construction question

I am going to build a shop this spring, most likely a pole building of 30×40 size. Ofcourse there are many decisions to be made. One of the most critical is what type of flooring should I put down.
I have worked on concrete for most of my life but in the winter it gets awfully cold and sore on my old body. So wood flooring seems like something I should look into.
Does anyone have wood floors in their shop?
What size joists do you use, what size ply, how, what and where do you install the vapor barrier?
Is it warmer than concrete and how long does it last?
How do you like them?

-- Bill, "GreyLion" ,Montana, Eph 2:8

17 replies so far

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2892 days

#1 posted 01-06-2012 11:03 PM

I have a wood floor in my shop now. (prefabricated 12×30 building.)
When I built my shop in Ohio I used 3/4 t&g on 2×4 (treated) on 4×4 skids on concrete columns 4 ft deep. Skids were 2 ft centers and the 2×4 were 16” centers.
I too worked on concrete almost all my life and I assure you the wood is better. Besides if you spill anything on it so what.

-- Life is good.

View paulw2's profile


13 posts in 2301 days

#2 posted 01-06-2012 11:15 PM

I have concrete floors and you’re right, it does get very cold at time. It might be worth it to look into hardwood floors. I have been in a few of other peoples shops that have that hardwood floors. They definitely look nicer but I am not quite sure how much they cost or if they are worth it?

-- Paul, Pennsylvania,

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4907 posts in 3929 days

#3 posted 01-06-2012 11:27 PM

Are ya on a slab or a conventional raised foundation? I have a slab floor, and used CVT (composite vinyl tile)12” X 12” tiles. Easy to clean and does not seem to be overly cold. ‘Course I’m in NE Mississippi where it doesn’t get bitterly cold in winter.
I used the same floor in a shop with conventional foundation in Atlanta. If I had to rebuild the same shop I would use 3/4” subfloor to keep better stability.
CVT is very inexpensive for what ya get.


View Greylion's profile


28 posts in 2641 days

#4 posted 01-06-2012 11:42 PM

It will be a slab on grade Bill, and it gets very cold during the winter. I plan on heating with a wood stove (very large) and supplement with electric. Have not thought about CVT…will do some research on it.
paulw2 – hardwood seems awfully expensive for the use I intend to put the floor to.
Thanks Howie for the info. It really helps.

-- Bill, "GreyLion" ,Montana, Eph 2:8

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15283 posts in 2587 days

#5 posted 01-07-2012 12:15 AM

I’m on a floating slab, concrete floor currently, and have wondered the same things as the OP. I’m thinking the way to lay down a wood floor would be vapor barrier (sealed) over the concrete floor, then treated 2×3s, then 30lb felt, then t&g boards (salvage) I have on hand. Because I may not have enough t&g for the whole shop space, I’ve considered using 3/4” 4×8 sheets of t&g plywood back in the machining area, ie: under the table saw and have boards in the workbench / hand tools area.

For what it’s worth.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View Nighthawk's profile


554 posts in 2325 days

#6 posted 01-07-2012 12:34 AM

be hard core and have a dirt floor like me… lol Oh wait…

Concrete is fine and yes it can get cold, but you can put polysterene insulation in it… can be hard on the old bones… but rubber mats here and there help with that (as well as insulation)

Concrete will last, wood floor more work to look after are easily damaged if something heavy is dropped and or even someing scrapped on it… then the are easily replaced

to me it is really six of one they both have pros and cons…

-- Rome wasn't built in a day... but I wasn't on that job? ...

View DS's profile


2895 posts in 2389 days

#7 posted 01-07-2012 01:34 AM

When I’m in the throes of a big project, you can’t even see the floors…

...and what you can see looks like WOOD!

That reminds me… where’d I put that broom?

@Nighthawk – I was thinking Hardcore might be a wood floor made from offall peices reglued into tiny patterns.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View DrDirt's profile


4423 posts in 3711 days

#8 posted 01-07-2012 01:54 AM

One of the instructors at marc Adams just did his shop with Dricore

Basically they are 2X2 panels of tongue and groove 3/4 inch OSB with a plastic molded bottom ~3/16 thick (looks like aluminum diamond plating for truck tool boxes) This keeps the wood off the concrete, so any moisture that wicks through the concrete can evaporate rather than mold.

But with the 2X 2 panels, he bought a stack of these “tiles” at Lowes or Menards and layed the floor with no glue in an afternoon – - -after moving tools and sweeping

So no joists just snap it in place and roll your equipment back in… that is my plan $$$ willing this summer.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View Greylion's profile


28 posts in 2641 days

#9 posted 01-07-2012 01:59 AM

Thanks Doc, I’ll check it out

-- Bill, "GreyLion" ,Montana, Eph 2:8

View revanson11's profile


105 posts in 2302 days

#10 posted 02-10-2012 02:31 AM

When I built my second shop I put down 4’ x 8’ sheets of 1 1/2” rigid foam insulation (Pink Board) on top of the concrete slab. This I covered with a vapor barrier and then 4’ x 8’ sheets of tongue and groove 3/4” Sturdy Floor perpendicular to the sheets of insulation. Since the ends of the flooring are not tongue and groove I placed a large biscuit every 8 inches along the end seems and used 5/8” brads to secure the tongues in the grooves. I then painted the whole thing with Deck and Porch paint. The whole floor is free floating but is very sturdy. It’s been in place for 4 years and I am very satisfied with it. There are no sleepers under the wood flooring it just floats on the rigid insulation.

-- Randy, Central MN

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2330 days

#11 posted 02-10-2012 03:04 AM

In my 30×40 shop on a slab

->Vapor barrior on the slab. ->5/4×6 PTSYP sleepers 24” OC ->1” EPS foam between the sleepers ->4×8 x 3/4 T&G OSB (Advantek) decking screwed to the sleepers ->Water based porch paint

Warm and easy on the legs

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View noblevfd's profile


48 posts in 3426 days

#12 posted 02-10-2012 05:28 AM

I just built a 30 – 50 pole barn with slab and put pex radiant heat in slab don’t have barn fully insulated yet so have not finished installing heater and pumps but you might want to look at this option you could still heat with wood would take care of cold floor I put 2” pink board 24” deep around outside then vapor barrier then 2” pink board on floor then rebar to tie heat pipe good luck with your build


View widdle's profile


2069 posts in 2967 days

#13 posted 02-10-2012 06:38 AM

Id be stoked to have a nice level plywwod floor…And if you come across some reclaimed wide flooring down the line…throw it down..

View perfection's profile


1 post in 2171 days

#14 posted 05-17-2012 08:07 AM

Wood floor is good for every time because i have a wood floor in my shop.This definitely look nicer but I am not quite sure how much the cost is?

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2781 posts in 3406 days

#15 posted 05-17-2012 09:23 AM

I have a garrison garage so I’m not on cement but my house in Maine is. Years ago when putting in the then popular and cheap electric heat the power company guy came and told us how to do it. We tarred the floor with a roller and lay plastic sheeting over it. Then added 2×2’s 16” on center. then applied plywood underlayment, felt paper, then the second layer that was particle board way back then. We were going to put foam board insulation between the 2×2 joists but he said it wasn’t necessary. He said, just did down two feet on the outside foundation and put 2” foam insulation vertically against the floor going 2 ft down with it. Of course, this is a perpetually heated house. If you are going from cold to hot and back off and on all the time then maybe foam over the cement might be a good idea.

Now, In my shop my floor is regular density particle board topped off with a light grey water based porch and deck paint. It’s interesting as the oil based one I had previously would scratch a lot when moving tools around. The water based one doesn’t. And it looks pretty good. Makes for an inexpensive floor that’s fairly durable and not something you’ve got to worry about. Nothing worse than going expensive and pretty then not being able to use it for fear of messing it up with scratches and glue and such.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

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