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Thread: Dreaming of a flat floor in my garage shop

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Silver Spring, MD
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    Dreaming of a flat floor in my garage shop

    I recently moved into a new house and I'm setting up shop in my two-car garage. The floor is not flat and of course it's made of concrete. My machines are on mobile bases so they can be moved out of the way when we need to move cars into the garage. I'm trying to decide between flattening a section of the floor somehow, or just rolling a machine into position for use and shimming it to keep it from rocking. The first choice seems significantly harder to do than the second, but ultimately much less annoying. There must be others out there that have faced this problem and I would like to know what you have done to deal with this.
    Last edited by William Collier; 04-30-2018 at 5:35 PM.

  2. #2
    You could pour self leveling cement on the floor to make it smooth and flat. Keep in mind water dripping off the cars doesn’t run into a drain or to the front and out of the garage.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    My shop also has a slightly sloping floor because the building was originally designed and built as a garage by the previous property owners. I just shim, but then again, I don't move equipment around with the exception of my workbench.

    Peter's suggestion of using leveling compound will work as long as there's an understanding that it's pretty much "permanent" which in some cases, could cause an issue if you sell the property in the future, depending on what local rules and regulations are. An alternative is to create triangular shims out of 2x material (doable with a good track saw) and then install a plywood deck over them. This would be more easily removable in the future. Both method would not be best for still putting the cars in there because you're looking at a likely "bump" of something like an inch ot an inch and a half at the front of the bays.

    This pretty much comes down to how much trouble and money do you want to put into it versus enduring the "move and shim" cycle.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Phoenix AZ Area
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    2,505
    I used to have equipment in fixed locations in my 3 car garage and I shimmed them level. I now have more machines than space and I need to move some around. I stopped worrying about having them level maybe 10 years ago and I no longer notice. I do have a large sliding table saw and that is leveled so the slider doesn't run to one end by itself.

  5. #5
    I stole this idea from another forum https://forum.canadianwoodworking.co...odworking-blog works really well and is nice on the feet and back.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    E TN, near Knoxville
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    Flat vs level

    I suspect advice to "level" the floor is good but not needed to solve your problem of making the floor "flat", unless, of course the floor is bumpy AND so far out of level and you want to do both at once. Most home shop machines work fine on a floor that is not level and can be moved anywhere without readjusting if the floor is all in one plane.

    I think the problem may be more than just keeping machines from rocking. I was amazed when I first learned how much cast iron can bend and twist. Heavy lathes, in particular, need to be adjusted when moved or the bed will twist if one leg is raised or lowered even a tiny bit or the headstock/tailstock will misaligned.

    Is your floor mostly in one plane but has high spots? A commercial floor grinding service can fix that. A friend had concrete poured in the basement of his office building and it was uneven. Two guys came in with big industrial grinders with diamond cutters and flattened the entire floor. If you know "about" where you want each machine, your idea of just flattening sections should work - I understand you can rent smaller floor grinders, even Home Depot offers one.

    If you can always roll the machines back to the same place each time before use perhaps a temporary bandaid would work: position the tool, adjust the feet, then mark the position of each foot on the floor so it can be put back in the same spot each time.

    JKJ


    Quote Originally Posted by William Collier View Post
    I recently moved into a new house and I'm setting up shop in my two-car garage. The floor is not flat and of course it's made of concrete. My machines are on mobile bases so they can be moved out of the way when we need to move cars into the garage. I'm trying to decide between flattening a section of the floor somehow, or just rolling a machine into position for use and shimming it to keep it from rocking. The first choice seems significantly harder to do than the second, but ultimately much less annoying. There must be others out there that have faced this problem and I would like to know what you have done to deal with this.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Silver Spring, MD
    Posts
    5
    Thanks everyone for the interesting responses. I'll take some measurements when I get a chance and see exactly what is going on. I have not looked into how level the floor is, but it definitely has high and low spots. Maybe identifying the high spots will help in figuring out what the next step is. For now, I'll just use shims to keep things stable.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    66,359
    As part of your investigation on the slope, etc., try to find the "ideal" spot(s) for a given tool where it will sit fully grounded on the surface if you have any unevenness to the floor. "Level" isn't actually required, especially if the slope is slight, outside of certain tools that might operate better level. A sliding table saw will be more sensitive to this than some other tools, as Joe mentioned. Also you will not want to work with anything placed at an angle to the slope. Make it either up/down or cross-wise, never at an angle.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

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