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Thread: NJ Shop Build - Hardwood Floor

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2014
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    NJ Shop Build - Hardwood Floor

    HI everyone

    I am at the point of making some decisions regarding the hardwood flooring in my shop. It will be installed in a 330 square foot area used primarily for hand tool work. My first thought was to do a BLO finish; but thought it would be good to see what others may have done. Also, and I suspect the answers will vary widely, what is the consensus on the wood species for the floor?

    Appreciate your ideas.


    Thank you
    Sal
    Thanks,
    Sal

  2. #2
    In my shop, pre-finished solid white oak was cheaper and faster than installing unfinished flooring and sanding and finishing in place. The edges of prefinished flooring have a slight bevel so it does not have the flush, flat look of sanded in place flooring. The finish is some high-tech, factory-applied polyurethane. It is really hard and durable.
    Last edited by Thomas Wilson; 07-02-2021 at 7:02 AM.

  3. #3
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    Bona Traffic HD for me. remarkably tough stuff.

  4. #4
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    I'd favor oak for this application...very durable and reasonable cost because it's so common, including available from places like Lumber Liquidators. While I like the idea of pre-finished, my concern for shop use is slipperiness. It may be better to apply your own finish so that you can have some control over that and use a non-slip product. There are nice oil modified waterborne floor finishes that dry quickly and also provide a warmer look without oiling first, too.
    --

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

  5. #5
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    You might look into Osmo if you're going the living finishes route. Quite a bit more durable than BLO.

  6. #6
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    Thanks Thomas, Roger, Jim, and Peter!

    Sal

  7. #7
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    On species-- mine is "mixed domestic hardwoods". I've counted about 14 species in my floor. I think it looks great, and it only cost me $1/sf.

  8. #8
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    Thanks Roger, I need you to negotiate with my contractor!!
    Thanks,
    Sal

  9. #9
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    Well that was just material, not including shipping, I put it in myself.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2014
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    It was suggested that I install Engineered Wood Flooring instead of solid hardwood. I am thinking that the thin top finish layer will be harder to maintain in a work space given dropped tools, spills, and other sources of damage. Is anyone using Engineered flooring and can provide their experience?
    Thanks,
    Sal

  11. #11
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    Engineered would not be my first choice. Oak would be a good choice, basically anything really resistant to abuse. Personally I have vinyl over concrete and could not be happier. It gives enough cushion to avoid damaging tools or dropped parts. Glue wipes up easily, it sweeps easily abs it’s a fairly light color so it doesn’t darken the place.

    If you’re building a primarily hand-tools shop then go with wood by all means, but if there is machinery or heavy work happening I would use concrete/vinyl.

    One of my good friends worked on a wood floor and hated it for practical reasons, constantly need to re-level machines. One of the only solutions was to pour a foundation for each machine. That’s problematic if you ever need to relocate something.

    If you must go with wood then make it something super durable and heavy enough to carry any load you may want to put on it in the future.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  12. #12
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    May 2014
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    Thanks, Brian

    The new area will be for hand tool use and small machines such as sanders, domino, etc. I have a separate adjacent concrete floored space for machines. So heavy machinery is not a problem except for getting in and out of the space.

    The floor is designed as a slab on grade with two layers of sub floor and wood flooring above that.
    Thanks,
    Sal

  13. #13
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    There's plenty of options for unfinished engineered flooring out there. Hurst Hardwoods sometimes has decent deals on red oak but the lot sizes can be a bit limited.

    FYI - most engineered hardwoods can be attached directly to your fully cured slab nowadays using Bostik Greenforce or similar. Not inexpensive stuff but with the price of plywood what it is right now it'd probably save you some costs to eliminate it from the design.

  14. #14

    Question

    One possibility that is rarely seen for new installations today but used extensively during the industrial revolution was end grain flooring. I've been to multiple factory auctions in New England where one of the most contested lots was the floor on which everyone was standing - typically made of upright pieces of 2x4" white oak anywhere from 2" to 16" long (the pieces are upright, glued only to the floor and not to each other so they can be removed/replaced if damaged somehow). These floors were comfortable, caused no damage to tooling if something was dropped, and could support incredible weight (think 50+ ton machinery). One auction I went to in Lowell (MA) saw 100,000 sf of a 16" thick white oak floor sell for $25k. This required the buyer to come back after the place was cleared out of everything else and take up the floor. I remember talking with the buyer - he ran some kind of factory in California (I think) that produced several kinds of doodads/toys and he found the old growth white oak from such floors to be superior to the wood available today.

    I've often thought a floor made from 2 or 2-/2" cutoffs of good quality 2x4s, glued to the floor and then sanded flat would make a great shop floor. Even when varnished, the end grain would provide enough 'tooth' to not be slippery but it would remain easy to clean. It would also be comfortable, warm over the concrete base, and forgiving to dropped tools. Even heavy machinery would roll easily across such a floor on either wheeled bases or with a pallet jack.
    Last edited by Brian Backner; 07-08-2021 at 8:06 AM.

  15. #15
    That would be some project.

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