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Wood floor versus concrete

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Forum topic by BlasterStumps posted 02-12-2019 10:30 PM 993 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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BlasterStumps

1421 posts in 948 days


02-12-2019 10:30 PM

If you had the opportunity to design a woodworking shop from ground up, would you consider a wood floor with floor joists and all that or would you go with concrete? I’m more into hand tools and will be using hand planes so an impact with a concrete floor is a concern, although not a big concern. I do also have tools like table saw, and several other bigger corded tools.

We have a 3’ deep excavation open from the removal of another building. It is larger than we need for a 24×26 or so shop. Just don’t know if down the line somewhere I would regret not having the concrete floor. I’m guessing concrete floor will cost more than wood floor.

The site has water, natural gas, electricity and septic system so along with heat and cooling, I am planning a water-closet in the new building. That is one reason I like the wood floor over a crawl space, just for access to things.

Should I build for a woodworking shop only or go the full gamut now of having a concrete floor put in so that the building could be used for other things at some point? I’d have lots of excavation to fill in : (

Your opinions will be greatly appreciated.

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado


24 replies so far

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BlasterStumps

1421 posts in 948 days


#1 posted 02-12-2019 10:32 PM

Here is a picture of the site we are planning a building in:

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado

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ibewjon

993 posts in 3302 days


#2 posted 02-12-2019 10:55 PM

A heated concrete floor is great, I have a small craw space under the concrete floor in the center of shop, great to run dust collection under floor to table saw. Concrete is great to anchor lathes, drill press, bandsaw to. You could do wood floor under the bathroom area. If you have gas for heat, a condensing boiler with in floor heat is great, and the mass of concrete acts to stabilize the temp of the shop. Heat in the floor also won’t stir up dust when finishing. Put an in floor receptacle using the proper box and cover in the floor as well for table saw and for other center of the area tools, so no cords on floor, and dust ducts if you can. You are lucky to plan and build a shop from the hole up!!!

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Andre

2794 posts in 2315 days


#3 posted 02-12-2019 11:20 PM

I have in floor heated concrete floor poured very level and smooth, but lust over Shipwrights shop with wood floor and crawl space, location will determine a lot of things HVAC wise! Sometimes needs out weigh wants?

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

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shipwright

8380 posts in 3307 days


#4 posted 02-13-2019 02:47 AM

Thanks you Andre, I never knew.
I spent a working life building boats in various shops mostly with concrete floors. When I built my retirement shop I knew exactly what I wanted and at the top of the list was a wooden floor, mostly for my feet and back.
Side advantages include lots of room for electrical and dust collection under the floor, a great cool dark area for veneer storage, and of course making Andre jealous!
I would never go back to walking on concre

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese! http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

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Manitario

2783 posts in 3392 days


#5 posted 02-13-2019 02:58 AM

100% wood floor. Comfortable and warm. I’m onto my 4th shop in the last 10 years and all have had wood floors. Would never go back to concrete.

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

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derosa

1597 posts in 3344 days


#6 posted 02-13-2019 03:25 AM

If I was building from the ground up I’d go wood as well, after a long day of moving around my feet always hurt more with concrete, but with radiant floor heating and engineered flooring I’d be really happy.
For those who have crawl spaces, do you actually use them? My barn had a large crawl space but it also had a 6’+ king rat snake, lots of smaller ones and some impressive sized spiders. Between them I really never felt the need to crawl under there. If I really had to I’d have thrown a dozen bug bombs and waited a day but it didn’t inspire me to run the ducting under that I had planned despite having an easy access trap door.

-- A posse ad esse

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a1Jim

117722 posts in 4086 days


#7 posted 02-13-2019 03:52 AM

Wood easier on your back and feet plus you can install dust collection, wiring, air underneath if you leave a crawl space.

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bandit571

23786 posts in 3192 days


#8 posted 02-13-2019 04:02 AM

Pour a footer, lay a block wall 3’-4’ tall…layer of plastic, layer of gravel….Before you backfill around the outside of the wall, add a layer of foam board, between the dirt and the block….

Figure out what size the shop will be, run a block wall across an end, backfill the un-needed space, just like the other three walls. Later, after the wood floor is down,,,go back to the unused section, pour a “thickened slab” than can be used as a carport, lumber storage, even place the dust collector, and air compressor out there…may need a step or two down to access the area..You can run the roof all the way across…

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

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canadianchips

2627 posts in 3506 days


#9 posted 02-13-2019 04:14 AM

Ive had wood floors, concrete floor, concrete with in floor heat (Warm) dirt floor, and now Im back to just concrete. It is cold !
I have a dream of building my perfect shop. It WILL have heated concrete floor in the cutting room. The assembly room will be WOOD, The finishing room will also be wood.
Decision would be based on where you live. Temperature, RODENTS, Humidity are all concerns !

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

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CaptainKlutz

1891 posts in 2003 days


#10 posted 02-13-2019 04:28 AM

Lots of good ideas in previous posts.
As as an engineer, offer up a alternate discussion and reasoning that might help with floor material decision:
What tools will be used in shop?
How much lumber will be stored in shop and how will you move it?
What is largest/heaviest project you expect to build?

If planning on having a shop full of heavy duty industrial grade wood working tools, such as; 12”+ jointer, 20”+ planer, or any of the antique cast iron industrial band saws; then you need to carefully design flooring for loads being carried. Making a wood floor capable of supporting industrial tools (and their vibrations), or even a small fork lift to move wood around will be much more expensive than poured concrete floor; especially if concrete is poured on soil and not supported off the ground.

If you do NOT have any large industrial wood working tools, or many units of wood in storage; then use of wood floor probably be a cheaper option. Note – Making large heavy furniture using even 3-5HP power tools on a wood floor will result in higher floor loading than everyday wood joist building is designed to handle. Suggest you talk to an licensed architect to ensure building design meets you needs..

+1 Wood floor if I had the option in my shop.

PS – If have a big hole to fill before pouring concrete and need heavy floor load rating, get an estimate on cost of poured concrete footing (and/or side walls), with a couple of steel beams to support floor joist. If transportation costs of suitable fill material are high; poured supports and steel beams can cost less. Some local building codes also allow 3’ lift to be done with inexpensive block/mortar construction. Again contact local architect as they can calculate different scenarios based on local costs fairly quick.

Best Luck.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

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Woodknack

12907 posts in 2889 days


#11 posted 02-13-2019 04:59 AM

Wood all the way. My shop is slightly elevated with a wood frame floor and one additional advantage is that I have zero rust problems. The space underneath prevents ground moisture from rising into the shop and despite living in the humid south, no serious rust problems.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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shipwright

8380 posts in 3307 days


#12 posted 02-13-2019 05:40 AM



For those who have crawl spaces, do you actually use them?
- derosa

Yes, I do.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese! http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

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ibewjon

993 posts in 3302 days


#13 posted 02-13-2019 11:47 AM

Sounds like we all think you just won the lottery! If so, how about concrete with a hardwood gym floor on rubber pads. I still vote for concrete and a good pair of work shoes. Hitting your elbow on wood isn’t any more comfortable than hitting it on concrete. And no structural issues. Heavy plastic sheeting under the concrete solves the moisture issue.

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BlasterStumps

1421 posts in 948 days


#14 posted 02-13-2019 02:37 PM

Thank you all for your opinions and all the information you have shared. Thank you.

We are just in the very early stages with this project. Lots of pieces of the puzzle to put together: Find a builder, settle on a particular design/size, get cost estimates, get the money together, apply for building permit, and so on.

All we know for certain at this time is: we have a big hole that we need to cover up fairly quick so it doesn’t turn into a swimming pool for the deer that wander thru here at night. : )

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado

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Lazyman

3963 posts in 1896 days


#15 posted 02-13-2019 02:44 PM



Wood easier on your back and feet plus you can install dust collection, wiring, air underneath if you leave a crawl space.

- a1Jim

+1, The flexibility of the adding and changing things later would seem to be a huge bonus of the wood floor over crawl space. No more hoses or cords snaking around the shop or dropping from overhead.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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