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In my last shop, I had a concrete floor. I had dressed it up as much as practical by adding one of those epoxy and paint chip finishes to it. It looked great, but it was cold, hard, and unforgiving. (Kind of like Stef if I ask her to buy me a Cinnabon…) Well, when building this new shop, I was dead set against having another concrete floor. I wanted wood. But of course, this space came with acres of concrete. What to do?
I did a lot of research on putting a wood floor over concrete, and the consensus sounded like a giant pain in the butt. Plastic sheeting. Pressure-treated sleepers. Banging nails into concrete with gunpowder. Insulating. And finally a floor. No thanks. There had to be something easier. I kept looking, and eventually came up with what you see in the video. Behold!
The product I decided on was Dricore R+ Subfloor. It wasn’t available locally – I had to order it in. It’s basically an OSB subfloor bonded to an insulating and waterproof layer underneath. The insulation actually provides an R-value of 3 between your feet and the concrete below – which should help with the coldness of the concrete. The foam insulation also has some give to it, so it feels great underfoot – as opposed to brutally hard concrete. And it’s a floating floor that assembles with a tongue and groove – which is WAAAAAYYYY easier than that gunpowder and plastic nonsense.
Once the floor was down, I wanted to put a finish on it. Yeah… I know… the floor is just OSB. A nice finish on OSB is kind of like lipstick on a pig. But appearance wasn’t my main concern. I basically just wanted to knock down the high spots and make it easier to sweep up. I accomplished that with a (not so) quick sanding and three coats of water-based finishes. I thought for a while about using an oil-based paint or finish. But the thought of a super hard finish on super soft OSB didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, so the ease and speed of the water-based finish won the day.
I also included a couple Anti-Scorpion-Measures (ASMs) in the construction. There’s not much out there on anti-scorpion construction techniques, so I’m kind of making that part up as I go. I’m happy to report, I haven’t seen any scorpions in the shop space since initially clearing it out. We’ll see how long that holds up. I do still need to do something about those doors, but I’m kind of thinking we’ll get new garage doors soon, so that’s on hold for now.
So there you have it! I have a floor. Let me know what you think.
Next up… lighting!
James: I have a concrete slab floor house in the north-east. I’m trying to just take some chill off the floor in the winter. How is the floor after 6 months? Is it durable? Any wood cracks, or tongue & groove cracks? Any foam compression or dips where heavy stuff is stored? Did you notice a change in temperature? Would you use again? The material is expensive but I like that it’s just an inch thick and doesn’t need to be screwed down. Thank you so much for any feedback. Looking to avoid an expensive mistake.
The flooring is really intended to be a subfloor. So the thinking is you’ll put hardwood, laminate or carpet over it.
I didn’t do any of that – I’m just working on the OSB. And it’s held up surprisingly well. No serious cracks, and no settling to speak of.
I did crush the ends a little bit where they weren’t supported by another board at the garage door. But I’ve since built a threshold and that doesn’t happen now.
If the floor is settling near the machines, I can’t tell.
I’ve had other folks who finished their basements and wish they had seen this stuff. I would definitely use it again.
I like the flooring idea, one question – why not paint it a color before sealing? The look of OSB would drive me nuts – and make it harder to find dropped nuts.
I thought about it, but the only floor paint I could find that I thought would stand up to anything was oil-based, and I didn’t want to deal with that. With the floor paint down first, that would be the adhesion layer I’d be counting on. And in a workshop, I just figured it would get messed up anyway.
You do have a point about the dropped parts though… it’s already happened…
I’ve seen guys go with LED lighting in their garages. What will you use? Fun to see the reasoning and install for your selection. Always enjoy your videos.
You’ll have to wait for the next video to see!!
…Sir James, as usual, an excellent presentation! Question. Did you lose the wonderful wood smell after you sealed the surface? Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving to both you and Steph! Take care!…
It wasn’t really a “wood” smell. More like an “OSB” smell mixed with some glue and foam.
But yeah, those went away. It smelled like water based polyurethane for a couple days, but now… nothing.
Get Mel to work! Since I got my two cats I haven’t seen much scorpions! I did see one in the bathtub being played with Pierre, one of my cats. He played with it till he got bored and then left it dead. (ps all the mice are gone too) And the snakes from the outside cats. I think the cats kill all the mice so the snakes have no food and go somewhere else
I think its so cool that you take Mel with you in Lance.
That’s awesome your cats seem to keep your scorpion sightings down! We’ve watched Mel interact with scorpions and he’ll do a little half-hearted bat, but that’s about it. He’s more interested in the flying bugs he sees outside the window lol.
We’ve done something similar in our basement, but we have moisture issues. We did a plastic “dimple board,” then a layer of XPS, then 4×8 panels of OSB subfloor. We ran the dimple board up the basement walls to give the vapor a way out. I assume moisture isn’t much of an issue in Utah, but will your scorpion proofing create problems with radon?
The area we’re in isn’t super bad for Radon. But even so…
Sealing cracks in the concrete is supposed to reduce the amount of Radon entering the home, so I would think that the ASMs would only help that. (But probably not by much.)
I like the little segway into the shop build. I will be interested to see how the floor holds up. It does look great. What is up with the scorpion issue is it a phobia thing with you or do you live in scorpion central?
Oh it’s not a phobia. We’re just infested with scorpions. If you watch the first video in the series, you can see some of the piles of dead ones…
(We’ve nicknamed the house “Scorpion Acres”.)
I’m facing a similar problem with a door and a threshold. When you get that far I would really appreciate it if you could post a little more detail about what you do, what problems you encounter. Thanks.
Great shop space! Enjoy!