Shop Flooring

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Blog entry by stefang posted 03-19-2010 12:59 PM 11045 reads 2 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

If you have been thinking of installing a wooden floor in your shop you might want to consider the following alternative. Here is a pic of my shop floor. I painted it 9 years before this photo was taken.


A proven method
This is standard fare here in Norway which has extremely high building standards and strict codes. I have done many basement rooms this way in two other houses I owned here. I don’t have a basement in my current home, but I have used the following method in my workshop, and I love it. My floor is painted with gray enamel and that stuff is amazing. I had epoxy in my last house, but I think the enamel is just as good for this purpose. Craftsman on the Lake tells me that his water based enamel was better than the oil based one he used earlier.

How to do it
Step 1: Assuming you have a cement floor, if it needs any leveling you can buy dry mortar sand in bags and pour a little into any low spots. It shouldn’t take very much, but you can use as much as you like with no problems.

Step 2: Cover the floor with heavy plastic sheeting as a moisture barrier. Just overlap the seams if necessary.

Step 3: Cover the plastic with styrafoam platters 2” thick as insulation.

Step 4: Lay impregnated chipboard floor platters (rot proof) that interlock. .

-This will give you a very well insulated floor that is a lot warmer in winter.

-It has a little give to it, so it’s easier on your whole body, especially your knees and your back.

-We call this a floating floor here. It is very flat and it will support tons of weight.

-Most tools dropped on it won’t be ruined or edges chipped.

-It can be painted any color you like.

Health & Safety considerations
Styrafoam is not healthy stuff to insulate walls or ceilings with because of fire hazard and related poison gases. However in the floor it is sandwiched between the plastic sheet and the floor platters without enough air to allow combustion unless of course your whole house burns down, and even then it probably won’t ignite.

A smooth painted floor can be very slippery with MDF dust on it, therefore an addition to the paint to give it some texture might be a good move. I haven’t done this, but I am very careful when working with MDF. Your paint store can probably give you good advice on this point.

Check your building codes
You might have a good a good alternative to this method in your area. If you are interested in the above method, before starting you should you check first that it will be in compliance with the building codes in your area.

I hope you will find this helpful.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

24 comments so far

View degoose's profile


7255 posts in 3833 days

#1 posted 03-19-2010 01:07 PM

If I ever have a basement… I will install this type of flooring… thanks.

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View patron's profile


13650 posts in 3819 days

#2 posted 03-19-2010 01:07 PM

what you mean ,
’ platter ’ , white man ?

picnic plates ?

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2994 posts in 3916 days

#3 posted 03-19-2010 01:13 PM

I have a shop floor (not in the cellar) that is medium density particle board. I had it painted with oil based enamel (called porch and deck) here. it was thick and tough but did scrape when a heavy power tool was dragged over it.

Last year I took it all off and decided to enamel it again. This time I used water based enamel. Light grey like before but this waterbased stuff is really tough. It’s not thick and shiny like the oil based but it doesn’t scrape at all. I would have thought the oil based would be better. The water one is, strangely enough, almost a permanent substance.

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

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3782 days

#4 posted 03-19-2010 01:26 PM

oh patron..there ya go talking about food need to go over and see mikes floor and then let him treat you to a special Norway fare of food…hey mike do you guys do fried chicken..patron loves fried chicken…lol…..OK enough of that, great idea on the floor mike…i personally have a wood i built my shop up off the ground..the floor has great give..and even with my back allows me to be out there…longer then if it were concrete ..good idea for the moisture barrier..the thing about this post mike, is that over all if most wood workers would do this for there floors..they would save there backs and knees…concrete is very hard on our joints and body’s and wood has that give we need …so this post is spot on for helping with that problem…good post…..

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View stefang's profile


16715 posts in 3812 days

#5 posted 03-19-2010 01:48 PM

David These platters are about 24” wide X 47” long or more correctly 60cm X 120cm. Yours (if they exist) are probably in the neighborhood of those sizes. I would advise against eating off them after being placed on the floor.

Craftsman OTL That is interesting about the enamel. I honestly can’t remember if mine was oil or water based, but the stuff seems practically indestructible (ok, I exaggerated a little).

Larry You don’t need a basement to use this method. It is great over any concrete floor.

Grizz Thanks for your support on this. It is indeed a lot easier on back and knees. It’s a softer landing too if you should trip and fall. Good for old geezers like myself.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4267 posts in 3643 days

#6 posted 03-19-2010 03:57 PM

Interesting stuff, Mike. I have a concrete floor in my shop, an old garage at that. Because of the the permanent fixtures, like the furnaces here, I doubt I will make a complex alteration to the floor. But covering it with plastic and wood, without the styrofoam, and then painting might be OK in the majority of space.

Most likely I will just paint it. The dull color is not good. The shop has heated spaces above it and to one side and it is fully insulated. The temperature never falls below 68 degrees, so I have turned off the space heaters, the pipes from the furnaces and hot water heater keep it very warm. The concrete is warm and dry. It would be nice if it were a little flatter. For some reason I am not bothered by it being hard. The latex paint solution is very interesting. I will have to contact you guys if I ever get around to painting it.

Thanks for the post….........recovering from a tough week of work…...........

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4151 days

#7 posted 03-19-2010 04:12 PM

Looks good.

View a1Jim's profile


117711 posts in 4055 days

#8 posted 03-19-2010 04:35 PM

Cool idea Mike thanks for sharing.

View JimNEB's profile


239 posts in 3546 days

#9 posted 03-19-2010 04:37 PM

Good ideas here, I’m looking at ways of covering my concrete floor in my new shop. I was thinking of going with the thin foam like is used under floating floors, then tongue and groove OSB over that. I like the idea of the plastic barrier and the latex floor paint. Now if I can just remember all of these ideas.

-- Jim, Nebraska

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3787 days

#10 posted 03-19-2010 05:13 PM

I have a 24×40 ft concrete floor and it is rought on the feet after standing on it for a while. I have way too many heavy tools and worktables on it to even consider moving them out to redo the floor..not to mention nowhere to put them if i could move them to redo floor. I should have done the flloor differently when I first built the shop. (shoulda, coulda, wooda)..

Next best solution..
I did, however, buy some very heavy duty floor mats from homedepot that are 36”x36”x5/8” of very dense rubber that interlocks with eack other. They are about $20 each and are quite comfortable on the feet. I have them placed everywhere around the shop where I stand for more that a minute or so.

The mats do not scratch or chip if i drop a tool on them…The tool just bounces back up and I catch it. Most importantly…my tool doesn’t get damaged if I drop it, and i have occasionally dropped a tool.

View Olaf Gradin's profile

Olaf Gradin

73 posts in 4317 days

#11 posted 03-19-2010 07:10 PM

I would like this kind of floor, but at 2m tall myself, I don’t want to lose any of the room’s height!

-- It takes a viking to raze a village. &mdash Blog'r:

View stefang's profile


16715 posts in 3812 days

#12 posted 03-19-2010 07:11 PM

I do agree that once all of your tools are installed it’s not so tempting to put in a new floor. I really meant this blog for folks who are actually planning somye kind of floor so I assume the will have the shop cleared for that. I think probably those living in colder climates like I do would especially appreciate the insulating effect. It is really good.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View dbhost's profile


5772 posts in 3710 days

#13 posted 03-19-2010 07:47 PM


That is an interesting idea, but I am not familiar with impregnated chipboard floor platters. What exactly are those? Anything like DriLok?

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View stefang's profile


16715 posts in 3812 days

#14 posted 03-19-2010 07:51 PM

I know what you mean Olaf. My youngest son isn’t far from 2m and when he comes into my shop it’s immediately crowded! You also need very high work surfaces. I am actually advocating putting something in the food so people would be much smaller. That way our wood supplies would last a lot longer and our tools would be relatively larger and more powerful!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View stefang's profile


16715 posts in 3812 days

#15 posted 03-19-2010 09:02 PM

dbhost I don’t know if you have them over there. The impregnated ones we get are designed for flooring and they are a purplish hue. The advantage to them is that if water seeps in under the floor platters it will take such a long time to evaporate. That it could cause rot. This shouldn’t be a problem in a dry climate and where there’s no risk of water getting in, like in connection with plumbing.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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