Wood or concrete

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Forum topic by nate22 posted 03-14-2013 12:52 PM 1497 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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475 posts in 2902 days

03-14-2013 12:52 PM

I’m am thinking of building a shop like in the next 6 months. My question is should I do a wood floor or a cement floor. What would you guys put down if you were going to build one. And tips or suggestions would help. Thanks Nate.

-- Gracie's wooden signs. Middlebury, In.

14 replies so far

View johnstoneb's profile


2942 posts in 2200 days

#1 posted 03-14-2013 12:59 PM

concrete for strength and durability. you can always overlay with another material for comfort.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View SamuraiSaw's profile


515 posts in 1991 days

#2 posted 03-14-2013 01:18 PM

A lot depends on the size of the shop. If you build a pier and beam foundation, you may have difficulty finding a competent contractor. Not many know how to do one anymore, they all do concrete.

I’d love to have a wood floor. Its easier the feet and legs, and a whole lot easier on dropped tools.

-- Artisan Woodworks of Texas....

View levan's profile


472 posts in 3006 days

#3 posted 03-14-2013 01:33 PM

I would go for the wood. It would be nice to have at least a crawl space under it for utlities. Just nice to have all the dust collection and hvac out of the way. And I agree it is alot easier on the body.

-- "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right". Henry Ford

View LoganN's profile


416 posts in 1928 days

#4 posted 03-14-2013 01:38 PM

I did a lot of work in my old basement, with a concrete floor. I liked the floor because I didn’t have to worry about damaging it, but it did damage my tools and work. When things fall on a concrete floor they definitely get damaged (I had to make design changes to a project because a simple act of turning my head to look at something else caused the piece to fall and ruin a corner pretty significantly.) Don’t even think about dropping a chisel on a wood floor. That being said, my current shop is my garage – i put down pressure treated wood decking and used a RamJet to nail those to the floor, then put down OSB subflooring over top. I put a few coats of polyurethane over it and it looks great and feels great. Even better, my workbench has some of the white nail-on feet/pads that you buy at Home Depot and it slides really well on the floor. I have a small space and this allows me to move the bench to get to both sides of my projects.

Good luck – it is a tough decision because there are pros and cons to both sides

View Pabs's profile


238 posts in 3481 days

#5 posted 03-14-2013 01:58 PM

concrete is hard on the body but does clean easy and wood floor can be laid on top in the future is you so desire

I have concrete now (workshop is a transformed attached garage). would love to have wood but the cost is simply to high for the luxury.. plus I often go in there with things that are wet, dirty, etc and I would be constantly worried about damaging my wood floor…nice thing with concrete is that you can treat get it dirty , paint on it, drop oils, etc and not worry much about it.

as for fatigue, you can simply get anti-fatigue mats for area where you stand for long periods

-- Pabs

View JesseTutt's profile


854 posts in 2137 days

#6 posted 03-14-2013 02:09 PM

The old part of my shop is concrete with Harbor Freight mats on part of it. When I added the addition it is concrete wit 2×4 and plywood over it. The feet hurt less on the wood than the concrete even with the floor mats.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View Manitario's profile


2630 posts in 2910 days

#7 posted 03-14-2013 03:27 PM

I have a concrete floor with a wooden subfloor. I’d never, ever go back to just concrete. The wood is warm, my feet and legs don’t ache after standing for long times, it is easy to clean (the wood has several coats of floor polyurethane on it) and if I drop something it isn’t damaged. My shop is a large one car garage; I put down a frame of 2×4s and then screwed 3/4” ply on top.

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

View a1Jim's profile


117120 posts in 3604 days

#8 posted 03-14-2013 03:33 PM

Wood no contest.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Sandblastguy's profile


42 posts in 2138 days

#9 posted 03-14-2013 03:41 PM

My shop is 5 years old and 1200 square feet. I put down concrete with 2” high density foam insulation and 6” of concrete with in floor heating. I did the insulation ,the wire mesh and laid out the pipe for the heating myself and built the heating manifolds myself to save coin. It is easy and relatively cheap to heat and it doesn’t bother your feet and legs like cold cement.A lot of systems are running with hot water tanks.I’m in southern Ontario so I would think we have about the same weather conditions as far as temperature goes. Shop is toasty warm all winter. I also made a 8” x 8” gutter across the middle of the floor for wiring and dust collection. The top is made with pieces of left 2” construction left overs.

-- Sandblastguy Orangeville On. Creating Art From Nature

View Txjeff's profile


3 posts in 1926 days

#10 posted 03-14-2013 03:47 PM

I agree, wood is more forgiving on the project you are working on and on your feet/

View Woodknack's profile


11805 posts in 2407 days

#11 posted 03-14-2013 05:53 PM

Wood absolutely. Concrete is nice in many ways but I hate standing on it.

-- Rick M,

View helluvawreck's profile (online now)


31394 posts in 2893 days

#12 posted 03-14-2013 06:28 PM

I will use concrete for resell value. I’m going to build my shop where it can easily coned back into a two car grage if I ever have to move.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1288 posts in 3764 days

#13 posted 03-14-2013 06:41 PM

I built my shop on a raised foundation. I put in the strongest TJI joists they make and then put the beams much closer than what is called for. I recommend you place the beams under the joists at about 5’ on centers. It usually is only a small portion of the cost and will allow you to put in some very heavy equipment and wood. To give you an example, I have one table saw that weighs about 2500 lbs, a jointer at 1300, another saw at about 1200, a sander at 1000, a bandsaw at about and probably 4000 lbs of wood. These weights have not caused any problems so far. I do inspect the framing once in awhile.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View sprucegum's profile


324 posts in 2024 days

#14 posted 03-14-2013 07:17 PM

Sandblast has it rite as far as I am concerned. I have installed radiant heating in several slabs you can’t beat it. We did my sons 42’ x 64’ shop for his construction and landscape business. The building has a 16’ high ceiling but it is always warm at floor level. The thermostat is kept at 50 degrees if you set it any higher the guys start whining because it is to hot to work. I don’t know how big your shop will be but if it is say 24×24 you would only need around 600’ feet of 1/2” pex pipe hooked to a on demand gas water heater to do the job. If you have the talent to do it your self the installation is not that expensive. Off the top of my head I would say $1000 for the heater, $300 for the pipe, relay, thermostat, circulator, misc pipe and fittings $500. So for around $2000 you have a top notch heating system. I got 1/2 that much in a hanging modine type gas heater it works fine but I must still wear warm footwear on my cold wooden floor, with radiant floor heat I could go bare foot as long as I kept a tight grip on my tools :-)

-- A tube of calk and a gallon of paint will make a carpenter what he ain't

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