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Building a new wooden floor, cost effectively

JoinerCP

Aluminum
Joined
May 12, 2015
Location
Indiana
Hi all, I'm in the process of completely renovating my shop. Walls, insulation, ceiling, conditioning and floors. The floors have a rather severe slope to drain. My shop is primarily woodworking tools with a few planned metalworking acquisitions to aid.

The absolute maximum weight I can envision from a single machine right now is 4k lbs over a 3 x 3 footprint. I want to level the floors first. I'd rather not have to shim PT sleepers across my 30x40 space. Would a self-leveling compound be recommended? After level, the plan is to put down 6 mil vapor barrier, install PT 2x4 sleepers face down 12" or 16" OC (leaning towards 12" for added confidence). I'll add some blocking between the sleepers, probably every 6' and fill in remainder with insulation. On top of this, I'd like to lay 3/4" OSB and then my final flooring. I'm considering ordering basic southern yellow pine, 2x10 or 2x12, taking to a kiln and having them taken down to ~ 10% then jointing edges and face nailing.

It's going to get beat up over time, I'm ok with some character. I'm no so sure the OSB adds anything and if you all believe the OSB to be unnecessary, I'll omit it.

The main criteria driving me towards this plan:
  • Make floors more comfortable and forgiving of dropped tools
  • Keep the raised height to a minimum (ceilings are ~12' but I value having extra head room in the shop)
  • Keep it economical but don't cut corners to the point of regretting the decision

Please fire away with critiques or suggestions. Keep in mind, I'm not someone who does things 'as cheap as possible'. I'm doing 2x6 framing between post bays, adding mineral wool insulation (for a number of reasons), will be adding a nice wall covering and building some custom windows/doors to fill in the space. I don't want to give the wrong impression that I just want cheap. I want good but not 'over-the-top, install white oak T&G floors' because it is a shop. Sort of a fine line balancing act here.
 
Would a self-leveling compound be recommended?
The self-leveling stuff from Lowes if mixed much thinner in viscosity will flow out quite nice, just floated a 11x 21 floor.
Way to thick per the instructions on the bag.
The secret is you must have help where you are constantly mixing with multiple buckets so you can pour it on the floor fast as you can.
Plus, have dedicated buckets marked with the water level. Time is an issue here....
I would never attempt 30x40 with one person. We used 3
And you must have the spiral mixer thing.......
Shoot a laser across the floor and find your deep spot, start filling there.
Can always put indicators on the floor in conjunction with the laser so you know you are pouring the needed level.
 
I personally would not be putting a wood floor system over concrete.

Agree pour more concrete, lay in floor heating even if you aren't going to use it, just so Its there.
Add rubber mats where you will drop tools, or don't drop them. :D

But also, I'm a machinist so way heavier machines also.

If your set on making a wood floor, I would level and use this stuff, or similar.
floor panels

Don't forget to prep the concrete before leveler so it doesn't de-laminate.
 
My dad ripped 2x4s to the slope of his garage and put them down every 12" with 1" plywood subfloor. It worked very well, and a wood floor is nice for a woodshop.

He was very mad at me when I got a metal cutting bandsaw and was repairing it in his shop and got oil all over the floor.
 
For my shop I put down 2" thick Formular XPS under slab insulation board, IIRC the 40 PSI rating ones but might have been 60. Then 6" concrete on top for machines and vehicles. Nice and level and in 18 years there has been no compression of the foam. Add some rubber mats near the work areas. Better for your body.

I would make the suggestion of spending $40 for an annual subscription to the Journal Of Light Construction online archives. Many, many articles by contractors for contractors on how to do what you want to do.
 
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For my shop I put down 2" thick Formular XPS under slab insulation board, IIRC the 40 PSI rating ones but might have been 60. Then 6" concrete on top for machines and vehicles. Nice and level and in 18 years there has been no compression of the foam. Add some rubber mats near the work areas. Better for your body.

I would make the suggestion of spending $40 for an annual subscription to the Journal Of Light Construction online archives. Many, many articles by contractors for contractors on how to do what you want to do.
Shit we even used XPS to build a freeway ramp here, so foam's good under weight. crazy build!
 
You might want check with a full service lumber yard and buy yellow pine from them, i will be dried and they can run it thru a moulder and face both sides one side in on pass.
 
Shit we even used XPS to build a freeway ramp here, so foam's good under weight. crazy build!
In Alaska 30 years ago I was told they spend the most per mile to build a paved highway. something like two feet of gravel then one foot of styrofoam insulation then the concrete highway. All this to insulate the permafrost form melting in the sun.
BilL D
 
The insulated concrete form buildings use hollow styrofoam blocks as the form but they put rebar and concrete down the middle which does the actual support once it is cured. But it is just styrofoam holding back the wet concrete for a few days. The forms are left in place and stuccoed over after the concrete cures for a few days.
Bill D
 
I recently bought an old dance studio for my retirement apt. "man cave " shop. 8" + (maybe deeper) slab foundation, vapor barrier, 2 ea-1/2'' plywood sheets on top of that and then 3/4 "oak hardwood floor. This was done in the early 1970's. I rolled my Monarch EE (2500lb) and my Hwhacheon HL460 lathe(5000lb) on skates across this floor and it never gave any hint of distress, no creaks or pops. I have set the machines on adjustable isolastic mounts on paving stones. I leveled the machines and I have rechecked over the last year and no detection of movement. I have been told that a 200lb woman on high heels probably puts more stress on the floor than my machines :).
 
Unlike MWTech Inc., I would not be a fan of self leveling compound. I found it was not as self leveling as I expected. Perhaps he mixed in more water than me however. It is not as hard as regular concrete, and like any cement product, the more water you add, the weaker the final product. If possible I would pour another 3"-4" of regular concrete and pex heat is very nice. Wood floors also may be fine for a wood shop with two by sleepers. If you want it strong put two layers of plywood on top.
 
Unlike MWTech Inc., I would not be a fan of self leveling compound. I found it was not as self leveling as I expected. Perhaps he mixed in more water than me however. It is not as hard as regular concrete, and like any cement product, the more water you add, the weaker the final product. If possible I would pour another 3"-4" of regular concrete and pex heat is very nice. Wood floors also may be fine for a wood shop with two by sleepers. If you want it strong put two layers of plywood on top.

When I was a kid, one of my dad's good friends owned a flooring business specializing in applying self leveling floors. The stuff is pretty damn simple, it most definitely self levels when used correctly. I've used it myself and seen it used many times.

Not using enough water to accomplish the job with the idea that too much water will ruin the strength is a big sign of inexperience. You balance water with workability. You can't do the job if you don't add enough water. It's that simple.
 
When I was a kid, one of my dad's good friends owned a flooring business specializing in applying self leveling floors. The stuff is pretty damn simple, it most definitely self levels when used correctly. I've used it myself and seen it used many times.

Not using enough water to accomplish the job with the idea that too much water will ruin the strength is a big sign of inexperience. You balance water with workability. You can't do the job if you don't add enough water. It's that simple.
It's never as hard as regular concrete no matter what you do.
 
Basketball gym hardwood floors are about 2" to 3" thick, and have a double tongue and groove interlocking.

I would imagine the cost of this stuff is prohibitively expensive, but if you could find a gymnasium where they're changing out the floor....

ToolCat
 
It's never as hard as regular concrete no matter what you do.
Yep, it's not for making floors.
It's only there to provide level........ where there is no other cost effective or possible way to do it otherwise.
Ex: we poured a 19'x19' section over concrete that was on metal decking inside a building. (essentially it was like a deck/raised platform.) There were ZERO ways to cut that out or do anything else to it.
Simple pour and we had a level floor.
Even if the OP goes wood, the chances of it ever breaking up is basically nil.........
 
You could do an endgrain wood block floor. Put the blocks right on top of your vapor barrier. Cut each row of blocks to mitigate the slope.
Sounds great but I don't know how I'd accomplish this cheaply. Did you have an idea for attaining the 4x4 material economically? Or do you have a reference paper? It'll be over concrete, not sure this is an ideal pairing. Even with a vapor barrier and sand in the bottom and moved between, I'm uncertain how it'd work but I do like the idea. If you have any papers or reference material for me, I'm open to the idea.


Appreciate everyone's input. Perhaps I'll settle for a compromise for now. I may build a platform for handwork & light machining area and put the heavy machinery on the leveled-concrete, with mats around the machines where it makes most sense. I think this'll give me the best of both worlds right now.
 








 
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