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View jovol's profile

Leveling concrete floor of garage

by jovol
posted 10-15-2015 01:45 AM


28 replies so far

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

3183 posts in 3768 days


#1 posted 10-15-2015 02:31 AM



Hi there LJ!
First post. Recently started renting a garage/shed space in Sf that I m making my woodshop.

Thanks,
John

- jovol

Better check with the person you are renting from first.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

117746 posts in 4114 days


#2 posted 10-15-2015 02:48 AM

Welcome to Ljs John
It’s pretty unusual for a renter to go to the expense to level a floor for the owner. There are a number of ways #1
buy some self-leveling concrete and read the instructions how to use it #2 use sleepers( strips of wood that are cut at an angle to counter the slant) and then apply sheet goods over the top of the sleepers,#3 hire a company that has a diamond grinder and have them grind it level.

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

8785 posts in 3114 days


#3 posted 10-15-2015 03:08 AM

There’s supposed to be a slope for drainage.

And a belated welcome to Lumber Jocks Jovol!

View jovol's profile

jovol

12 posts in 1509 days


#4 posted 10-15-2015 03:16 AM

Hi there LJ!
First post. Recently started renting a garage/shed space in Sf that I m making my woodshop.

Thanks,
John

- jovol

Better check with the person you are renting from first.

- MT_Stringer

I’ve asked my landlord and she is okay with me doing so. This is an outdoor shed/garage in well-used condition, and she is open to any rehabilitations I do. Unfortunately supply of such spaces is on the low side in SF.


Welcome to Ljs John
It s pretty unusual for a renter to go to the expense to level a floor for the owner. There are a number of ways #1
buy some self-leveling concrete and read the instructions how to use it #2 use sleepers( strips of wood that are cut at an angle to counter the slant) and then apply sheet goods over the top of the sleepers,#3 hire a company that has a diamond grinder and have them grind it level.

- a1Jim


The self-leveling route sounds doable and robust. How thick can a layer of this go? The difference in the low-side to the high-side is about four inches. With all my recent woodworking tool purchases, it would be nice to use them for this process. The only part of the wooden floor fix I’m worried about is the height delta between the floor and outside, making it hard to wheel machines in.


There s supposed to be a slope for drainage.

- waho6o9


That’s a valid point. There likely should be some sort of mild slope. However, the current floor is very uneven and “warped” (presumably sunken over the years). However, I don’t think a drastic slope for a shed that shouldn’t be draining anything is intentional.

View ForestGrl's profile

ForestGrl

450 posts in 1623 days


#5 posted 10-15-2015 04:23 AM


The only part of the wooden floor fix I m worried about is the height delta between the floor and outside, making it hard to wheel machines in.

Is there room outside the door to install a ramp that will solve that problem? Seems like no matter which method you use, that end of the shop is going to be 4” higher than it is now. :-0

-- My mother said that anyone learning to cook needed a large dog to eat the mistakes. As a sculptor of wood I have always tried to keep a fireplace. (Norman Ridenour)

View jovol's profile

jovol

12 posts in 1509 days


#6 posted 10-15-2015 04:50 AM

Good point. There is room I could add a ramp. The sleeper+plywood floor does seem the least invasive and probably cheapest route! Not to mention I could take the materials with me whenever I leave this space.

Is there special plywood to use for flooring? And what should be the thickness be?

View Robert's profile

Robert

3555 posts in 2018 days


#7 posted 10-15-2015 10:54 AM

I don’t think a thin layer of concrete will stand up to rolling machines.
It would have to be at least 2” thick, IMO.

I totally agree with Jim re: plywood.

I would definitely use 3/4 and I would check into the tongue and groove ply made for subflooring.
We have a product around here that is a waterproof strand board that is excellent and quite reasonable cost.

Good luck I think it will be a worthwhile investment and make the shop much better to work in.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View jovol's profile

jovol

12 posts in 1509 days


#8 posted 10-15-2015 11:04 AM

Something like this?
T&G Oriented Strand Board 8’ x 4’ x 23/32”
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Unbranded-T-G-Oriented-Strand-Board-Common-23-32-in-x-4-ft-x-8-ft-Actual-0-703-in-x-47-75-in-x-95-75-in-920924/100054132
... this is actually way cheaper than I expected.

Would this be fine without any other layer atop it?

View canadianchips's profile

canadianchips

2632 posts in 3534 days


#9 posted 10-15-2015 11:48 AM

I would be concerned about any plywood or especially strand board laying directly on concrete. I would use pressure treated sleepers to level floor first, then a subfloor made for moisture or even 5/4 pressure treated deck boards. Also ask yourself: How many critters and bugs are going to move in under this gap in the floor ? Maybe layer of self leveling concrete will solve a lot of future problems .
Check prices on product called DRI CORE. Comes in 2’x2’ panels, made to lay direct on concrete. Can be removed easily if something goes wrong in future (like flooding)
These are just my thoughts !

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2753 posts in 3459 days


#10 posted 10-15-2015 01:09 PM

I had this problem and solved it by ripping 2×4’s to different widths to level the finished floor and screwed them together and screwed tongue and groove plywood over it. (Not anchored to the floor) When I moved I unscrewed all of this and took the floor with me, and installed it in my new shop. I knew where the heaviest equipment would be and put the ripped 2×4’s 12” on center there.

-- No PHD just a DD214

View WoodNSawdust's profile

WoodNSawdust

1417 posts in 1714 days


#11 posted 10-15-2015 01:36 PM

You might want to look into sprays and/or powders for insect control. Put them down before you add the plywood floor.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View AZWoody's profile

AZWoody

1461 posts in 1761 days


#12 posted 10-15-2015 03:37 PM

This can turn into a pretty big and expensive project.

You can get self leveling products for floors, but they’re not meant to be the top coat. In the areas where it is not thick, it will eventually crack and come off the floor. They are meant to level the floor before putting in the final flooring, whether it be carpet, tile or hardwood.

You could also put the self leveling material down, then build a floating floor out of plywood with some 2×4 or similar support underneath so the plywood will not lay directly on the concrete.
I would stay away from the OSB. It will work under carpet or something like that but will not stand up very well to machinery rolling around or will also separate or swell with water spills or leaking from rain.

If you’re wanting to just fill holes, you can try some concrete and mix in some concrete adhesive and apply the adhesive to the floor also. We have done it in a shop we have here but it only is good for some of the deeper holes. If it’s shallow, it won’t stand up to too much rolling around on it.

View Hammerthumb's profile

Hammerthumb

2968 posts in 2512 days


#13 posted 10-15-2015 03:53 PM

Most self leveling products like K-15 Ardex have limitations on how thick they can be applied. Also, how high a lift (single poor) can be done at a time. I believe that an aggregate will be required for anything over an inch. Self leveling products are very expensive and tempermental when it comes to application.

If you are going to do this with a cementitious product, look into using a product like Paragon Deck Mud to do the actual slope correction. Basically it is a sand and Portland cement mixture that will give you about 1” over 10 sqft for less than $5. A self leveling pour can be applied over the top of that.

-- Paul, Duvall, WA

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

3183 posts in 3768 days


#14 posted 10-15-2015 06:56 PM

Sometimes, I get lazy, and this would be one of those times! Instead of all the work required to level/flatten the floor, I would get a quote or two from a concrete guy to pour a floor with some reinforced steel in it.

This would be a simple job for someone who does it for a living, and they have the tools and skills to do the job right the first time.

I don’t know if a permit would be required, but you could ask someone that knows.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Bluepine38's profile

Bluepine38

3387 posts in 3623 days


#15 posted 10-18-2015 07:50 PM

A lot of concrete floors cracked because the dirt underneath them was not compacted properly, this could
cause problems with any floor poured over the top of the old floor, as MT_Stringer suggested above, you
should ask an expert that knows more about concrete floors than us. It might cost you, but maybe not as
much as having to redo a mistake.

-- As ever, Gus-the 80 yr young apprentice carpenter

View jovol's profile

jovol

12 posts in 1509 days


#16 posted 10-26-2015 09:32 PM

Hey all,

Thank you for all your opinions. I decided toward the sleepers + osb option as it was cheap, and easily removable should that ever need to be done. It has been a lot of work, mostly in shimming all of the sleepers to sit flat. Here are some picture updates:

(layout) http://i.imgur.com/51LncPu.jpg
(half the sleepers done) http://i.imgur.com/OynF4ng.jpg
(3/4” OSB laid out) http://i.imgur.com/ZmJQa5K.jpg

the sleepers are 16” on center, with support shims placed every 16”. The edge shims are drilled into the concrete, in addition to the rails, but the interior shims are simply screws to the sleeper.

This upcoming weekend I am going to finish up the last few sleepers and install the moisture barrier and OSB.

I am trying to decide if I want another layer over the OSB. The OSB definitely feels strong enough, but the pressure/wear-and-tear of the jointer and table saw on casters has me worried. Visually, the OSB is a bit intense. Do yall have an suggestions for a top? I have in mind a cheap plastic light-colored laminate, and then covering that with epoxy. Does that sound doable?

John

View MarkTheFiddler's profile

MarkTheFiddler

2068 posts in 2726 days


#17 posted 10-26-2015 09:57 PM

Howdy Jovol,

I’m just answering a question you asked earlier. I used the self leveling concrete on my kitchen floor before I tiled. I got as much as 1/2 inch thick in a few places while the higher spots just seem to be glazed over. I’m pretty sure it’s the fastest route to go. There are lot’s of videos online that tell hour to prepare and pour.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View jovol's profile

jovol

12 posts in 1509 days


#18 posted 10-26-2015 10:14 PM

Hey Mark, thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately, my height differential was about 5” from one corner to the next.

Cheers,
John

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

23965 posts in 3221 days


#19 posted 10-27-2015 12:33 AM

One other tip when using the sleepers. the space between them can be fill with a foam board, makes for a warmer floor under foot.

On top of the OSB, use an “Underlayment” plywood. It is just a 1/4” thick Luann, but designed to act as underlayment for flooring. Run the joints @ 90 degrees to the OSB. Then Paint the Luann.

use the THICK, Tongue& Groove OSB helps.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View jovol's profile

jovol

12 posts in 1509 days


#20 posted 10-27-2015 12:59 AM

I messed up! I accidentally bought non-t&g osb. Fortunately it’s not a big deal laying something like 1/4” underlayment perpendicularly on top. I think i’ll do that, paint it, and coat it in epoxy :) Thanks for your advice!

View Robert's profile

Robert

3555 posts in 2018 days


#21 posted 10-27-2015 11:21 AM

Bummer about the plywood. T&G is definitly much stronger but probably still ok.

They might make an H clip but I don’t know if for 3/4.
Or you can scab a 1×4 underneath to cover both seams.

Other suggestions/observations:

I would want a moisture barrier and maybe insulation (depending on your climate).

Epoxy is quite an expense, no? I would suggest painting with several coats of porch paint should be adequate.

Underlayment is going to add enough cost that I would be very tempted to exchange the OSB for sanded pine T&G ply. You will have a better floor in the long run for just a few dollars more. Not like you’re looking at 20 sheets, right? You can even forgo the paint and leave as is maybe a couple coats of wood sealer.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View jovol's profile

jovol

12 posts in 1509 days


#22 posted 11-12-2015 09:08 AM

Hey all!
As a way of closing up this thread, I thought I post my finished floor. It ended up being non-t&g 3/4” OSB finished with three coats of polyurethane. It has certainly been strong/dense enough to handle rolling my table saw and jointer around. We’ll see what happens when I start dropping things. It reflects a wonderful amount of light, especially considering the lighting it lacking in the shop. Here are some pics of the finished floor, and the hinged ramp I made for rolling heavy things in. It is certainly not perfect, but the subtle “bounce” is actually quite nice to walk on. I’ve left the left edge of the floor unfinished now in case I want to run things under the OSB, but will likely just cover that with OSB when I get the time.

sleepers done, plastic getting nailed down: http://imgur.com/lpn6e2v
OSB laid and polyurethaned: http://imgur.com/rSMHPe1
all the tools inside :) http://imgur.com/CqqOsD4
ramp up so I can close the doors: http://imgur.com/VewM1lI

Even without insulation under the floor, the room is much warmer, esp for San Francisco’s temperate climate.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

View emanjamin's profile

emanjamin

4 posts in 1458 days


#23 posted 11-18-2015 10:20 PM

I want to say thank you very much for starting this link and posting pictures!
I am kinda of hijacking /opening the thread back up since this will somewhat relate.

Complete and very new rookie to this whole woodworking thing so bare with me.
I have a rather large “barn” that I am trying to turn into a wood shop, it is a two and a half car width and easily two car depth. I also have a sloped floor to the center where I have a drain tile installed. Currently I have my bench and table saw leveled with wood blocks (poorly constructed) and I have numerous other tools I want to have a permanent place for but have qualms about the space available and what layout I should use… The entire left side is open to play with with a installed wood stove in the back left corner. The right side has chickens, and I will need to fit my vehicle with a plow among other lawn tools (tractor), patio furniture, and things a “normal” garage has in it. So the entire right side is off limits.

So my focused questions for this thread are, how should I level the floor, if I am going to (I am thinking that a concrete leveling compound would defeat the purpose of having the drain tile in the middle); Should I just keep using blocks of wood to keep everything level and find a spot to keep everything and not having it mobile. If I go the way that Jovol went, do I need to use the vapor barrier and polyurethane? I already have a snow plow = (lots of extra moisture) and chickens constantly breathing and pooping (necessary, and lots more moisture). I am thinking that I don’t need to since I am not worried about moisture coming up from the concrete or any flooding.
Also, if I am going to build a sleeper floor as shown, should I do just enough to level it and that is it, or should I really raise it up and possibly have all my DC piping and power run under the floor?!? I think I have a 12 foot ceiling so raising the floor wouldn’t be an issue except for the cost and the fact I have no idea how to do it….
I know that I have some premium real estate for a wood shop this large, but I have no idea how to lay it out. We can save those responses for a whole new thread ;-)
I will try and take actual measurements tonight and take some pictures of what is currently in there now.
I thank you for all who read this and post an opinion. I just want to do this efficiently from the beginning without going completely overboard.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2753 posts in 3459 days


#24 posted 11-18-2015 11:14 PM

Something to consider. I routed my dust collection duct (6”) along the floor against the wall and located my equipment near this duct. This eliminates the length of duct it takes to get up to the ceiling and then back down to each inlet. Under floor would work like that also.

-- No PHD just a DD214

View emanjamin's profile

emanjamin

4 posts in 1458 days


#25 posted 11-19-2015 01:51 AM

I had actually done something very similar to that before aquiring all of the other tools other than the portable tablesaw.
One thing I forgot to mention is that my DC is now located upstairs in a sound dampened box. I figured that it would be better if I had length going from tool up to the ceiling, then over to the DC already in located up so I didn’t have to run duct back down to valuable floor space.
PS: pictures are coming as soon as I figure out how.

View emanjamin's profile

emanjamin

4 posts in 1458 days


#26 posted 11-19-2015 01:57 AM

Ok, here are 4 pics of the general layout now. Please be gentle with the judging :-). I have a lot of junk in there!

I don’t know why the first two images rotated… They didn’t rotate when I took them. Unless it is my phone…

View NDakota's profile

NDakota

72 posts in 2084 days


#27 posted 11-19-2015 10:49 AM

With that little slope why do anything? Your tools dont know the difference and after awhile you wont notice. There is a difference between flat and level! They only thing I would level up is workbench and shelving.

View emanjamin's profile

emanjamin

4 posts in 1458 days


#28 posted 11-19-2015 11:58 AM


With that little slope why do anything? Your tools dont know the difference and after awhile you wont notice. There is a difference between flat and level! They only thing I would level up is workbench and shelving.

- NDakota

Ah, I have actually wondered that too. After browsing the internet, I kept finding all these articles about level floors and marking the floor exactly where you level spot is so your tool will always be in the right level to work with should you move it.
How necessary is level? Flat totally understandable but level?
From the wall to the edge of the workbench (about 36in and there is about a two in difference. So going all the way to the drain, it has to get pretty significant.

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