Workshop Floor

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bhair0

Bob
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I recently had an outdoor shop built and am just about finished putting up the paneling on the walls. The floors are 3/4" plywood which is fine but I wanted to put some kind of finish on it to help protect it . My neighbor also has a shop and he covered the floor with garage floor paint which looks like it sealed it pretty well. My only concern is I'm not sure how it would hold up with me rolling fairly large power tools around (my shop isn't super big so mobility is a must). I would really appreciate any ideas you all have on what would work best.
 

ehpoole

Ethan
Corporate Member
When you say the floors are 3/4" plywood is that all that is the floor or is that 3/4" plywood on top of an underlayment that adds further thickness to the floor? I ask as 3/4" plywood by itself is not likely to be a sufficient flooring material, especially if on 24" centers, in a shop where one will be rolling around pieces of equipment that may weigh anywhere from a few hundred to better than a thousand pounds that make contact with that floor at just 3 or 4 concentrated points.

As to how well 3/4" plywood will hold up when rolling heavy equipment around, that depends in part upon the quality of your plywood and it's laminations as well as how concentrated the weight is upon those wheels. Narrow wheels focus the force in a much more compact area than if the same weight were moved around on larger wheels with their larger contact patch. So building or equipping heavy items with larger casters where practical can make a big difference not only in ease of movement but also in the wear they deliver to your flooring.

Finishing the flooring with treatments like polyurethane can further strengthen the plywood as the polyurethane soaks into the wood a little ways and literally bonds the fibers together while also presenting a durable film that resists damage to the floor and makes spills easier to clean up. However, doing so may require that you add some grit or chips into the finish to reduce the risk of slipping as such smooth finishes can become rather slippery if sawdust gets trapped between the soles of your shoes or feet and the smooth flooring. Adding grit or chips can improve your grip. Alternatively you can simply elect to leave the floor unfinished which has its own advantages as it presents a surface with generally good traction but anything you spill upon it, aside from water, mineral spirits, and alcohol (and other clear evaporating liquids), will tend to become a permanent addition to the floor's decor. You can also opt for surfaces like vinyl tiles if you feel your floor requires added protection from wear and tear.
 

Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
My little shop at the farm had one layer of OSB for the floor on 12 inch center joists. After ten years you could see tracks in the floor from walking in and out, dragging unwheeled equipment, and rolling the one small router table around. I don't think any paint finish would help against that. But, maybe if you repainted every few years it would stay fresher looking.

Where I work they have epoxy on the floors and after 17 years it still looks good. That floor gets a lot of traffic with forklifts, work carts, foot traffic, moving heavy machinery around, and constant movement of pallet jacks. Epoxy coating for the floors is very expensive but it does last very well.
 

golfdad

Co-director of Outreach
Dirk
Corporate Member
I also assume the epoxy paint is over concrete. My concern would be the plywood holding up to moving machines around
 

KenOfCary

Board of Directors, Secretary
Ken
Staff member
Corporate Member
Of course a real wooden floor (3/4" thick not laminated / manufactured) would really hold up well and look great - but is probably cost prohibitive. Maybe if you get real lucky you could find some reclaimed flooring from a factory or something at re-store or CL. I'm never that lucky.
 

wbwufpack

New User
Brian
Of course a real wooden floor (3/4" thick not laminated / manufactured) would really hold up well and look great - but is probably cost prohibitive. Maybe if you get real lucky you could find some reclaimed flooring from a factory or something at re-store or CL. I'm never that lucky.
That's a good idea. The Restore occasionally has a decent selection of salvage 3/4" hardwood flooring. It might be worth checking out the Raleigh and WF locations.
 

CDPeters

Master of None
Chris
I went with 3/4" "Cabin Grade" unfinished cherry T&G from Lumber Liquididators - $0.98/ft2 8 years ago. It has held up very well.


 

KenOfCary

Board of Directors, Secretary
Ken
Staff member
Corporate Member
Chris, that really looks good as a shop floor. You say its held up well. What more could you ask for.
 
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