New shop - level floor, or not?

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I've moved into a place that has a large (24 x 50) pole barn on the property. I've started the process of converting it into an enclosed building and I intend to set up my shop in it. I have discovered that the existing concrete slab is not at all flat and is out of level by about 2 inches over a span of about 20 feet.
My previous shop was in a basement, also on concrete slab, also out of level and not flat. It was a niusance having to fiddle with roller stands and other temporary supports to compensate for it as was necessary when I moved them. Other than that, I never really noticed the flaw in the floor.
I'm considering putting a plywood floor on top of the slab anyway, just so I don't have to stand on concrete. Would it be worth the trouble to raise that floor on sleepers and shim them so the floor is level? Can such a structure be made stiff enough to work well under heavy machinery?
TIA.
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Art Greenberg
artg at eclipse dot net
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absolutely go for sleepers. And yes shim them to level, or shim and plane the sleepers.
Yes the structure can be made stiff enough. Either 12 in sleepers, or use 2 layers of ply. One 3/4 and the other 5/8 or 3/4... on a bias or 90 I think the 5/8 would be a better choice so you still had a little bounce. 2 3/4 might be a little stiff. You want the bounce to relieve the legs / ankles... I am sure others will have various other opinions.
On 7/27/2011 2:07 PM, Art Greenberg wrote:

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On 7/27/2011 1:07 PM, Art Greenberg wrote:

I have always worked on a concrete garage floor and they have always had a slope close to what you are talking about. I don't think there is a such thing as a flat concrete floor. Smooth is desirable.
Concerning the concrete floor vs. covering with plywood, I have thought about but only as the main floor to start with. you will need at least 36 sheets of plywood. Figuring $20 for a decent grade you are out &720 for the plywood alone, add the cost of what you put down under it, and your time.
So far I have been working on a concrete floor for 30+ years. Buy a "great" pair of shoes and you save a bundle.
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wrote:

Agreed, and if you want even more comfort, put down a spongy anti-fatigue mat at each tool you stand in front of for any length of time.
Paint the floor (and ceiling and walls) eggshell white for ease in finding hardware and doubling your ambient light with no extra lamps. It makes the whole place feel lighter and airier.
-- Win first, Fight later.
--martial principle of the Samurai
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I'll second painting the floor a single color. If you can keep it swept up, finding dropped hardware is easier. (Except for those tiny motor springs. They're NEVER easy to find.)
Puckdropper
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On 7/27/2011 4:12 PM, Puckdropper wrote:

Just remember that anything dropped in the shop will always end up underneath the heaviest, lowest to the ground, most inaccessible corner of the furthermost object, 180 degrees from where your eye unmistakeably saw it bounce.
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With all that info, it should be easy to find. *S*
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On 7/28/11 8:46 AM, Swingman wrote:

When I'm looking for it, it ends up at 1280 degrees. :-)
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-MIKE-

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Wish I could agree with that. I work on concrete. In order to save some of my tools a little I put down comercial grade tile. Wish I had saved that money and done the wood floor. Warmer, easier on the feet, easier on a dropped tool. 720 is not that much in the scheme of things. My basement is 65 long by (varies) 13.5, to 20 of work area, the rest is wood storage and storage... I gotta tell you I had those interlocking mats and my ankles and feet hurt worse. too soft your muscles are constantly working to keep you centered (but you don't know it).... firmer seemed to work better... but If I had to do it again, it would be wood. They also sell these small OSB squares with dimples on the other side. They seem high priced, but the concept is valid. Keep the wood off the floor to prevent rot...
On 7/27/2011 4:51 PM, Larry Jaques wrote:

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On 7/27/2011 1:47 PM, Leon wrote:

Hell, that'll buy C-Less the Festool TS-75 he's been drooling over!
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On 7/27/2011 1:07 PM, Art Greenberg wrote:

I don't see why that would be necessary, but if you're going to go to the trouble of raising the floor, consider raising it enough to run dust collection ducting and wiring to the various machines.
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On 7/27/11 2:38 PM, Steve Turner wrote:

Ding-ding-ding!!!
2" over 20' isn't enough to worry about, in my book.
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-MIKE-

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On 28/07/2011 4:07 AM, Art Greenberg wrote:

A few years ago I had a similar problem. I built a retaining "dam" about an inch high around the perimeter of the wall then screeded it by pouring excessively wet concrete onto it, sloppy enough to form a natural level surface without having to touch it in any way. It took about a week to cure, then I used cork tiles to make an insulated floor surface.
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"Art Greenberg" wrote in message
I've moved into a place that has a large (24 x 50) pole barn on the property. I've started the process of converting it into an enclosed building and I intend to set up my shop in it. I have discovered that the existing concrete slab is not at all flat and is out of level by about 2 inches over a span of about 20 feet.
My previous shop was in a basement, also on concrete slab, also out of level and not flat. It was a nuisance having to fiddle with roller stands and other temporary supports to compensate for it as was necessary when I moved them. Other than that, I never really noticed the flaw in the floor.
I'm considering putting a plywood floor on top of the slab anyway, just so I don't have to stand on concrete. Would it be worth the trouble to raise that floor on sleepers and shim them so the floor is level? Can such a structure be made stiff enough to work well under heavy machinery? ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes, you can make it stiff enough for machines, by supporting the floor joists often by putting shims down against the concrete along the length.
The largest advantage of putting down a wood floor, is the opportunity to put wire runs down in the floor. I would put a section of plywood down with screws, so you can remodel the wires in the future.
Also, dust collection in the floor is like sliced bread. No ducts coming down from the ceiling to get in the way of long pieces of wood or plywood. Once again, even if you don't put it down now, build for putting ducts in, sometime in the future.
This is a bit of money to spend, but the payoff could be great. Go for it if you can.
If you want to do the ducts, I would use 2 x 6 joists, shimmed with 2x4's at the minimum so a 8 inch duct will fit. Go with 12' O.C. spacing and support them on the floor about every 4 or 6 feet.
-- Jim in NC
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On 7/28/2011 12:47 AM, Morgans wrote:

I agree there. Wood floor would be ideal. I wouldn't waste the money if I already had a decent concrete floor, and his slope is no big deal in that size of shop.

Yes, wiring and duct work hanging from the ceiling or running across the floor sucks.

Yes, and use regular lumber if you can... Aesthetically pleasing to a wood worker. Also easier to remove to clean out clogged duct work, or add cable. Not necessary of course, but a luxury for those with cash.

Not sure what he's doing, but I think 8" duct work is too big for most home systems. Wouldn't you need a lot of air flow to keep a large duct clean? My shop has an underpowered system with 4" schedule 20 PVC and it is fine. 8" seems overkill unless in an industrial setting, but I'm just guessing. If it were me, I'd do 2x6 with 4" duct work.
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"Jack Stein" wrote in the future.
I agree there. Wood floor would be ideal. I wouldn't waste the money if I already had a decent concrete floor, and his slope is no big deal in that size of shop.
Reply- I agree about that slope, and it was probably put there for drainage.
Yes, and use regular lumber if you can... Aesthetically pleasing to a wood worker. Also easier to remove to clean out clogged duct work, or add cable. Not necessary of course, but a luxury for those with cash.
Reply- No need for treated, if treated shims are used.

Not sure what he's doing, but I think 8" duct work is too big for most home systems. Wouldn't you need a lot of air flow to keep a large duct clean? My shop has an underpowered system with 4" schedule 20 PVC and it is fine. 8" seems overkill unless in an industrial setting, but I'm just guessing. If it were me, I'd do 2x6 with 4" duct work.
Reply- Yes, you need a big dust collector for 8" but with all the factories and school programs shutting down, that might be a good way to get larger size.
-- Jim in NC
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On 7/28/2011 4:34 PM, Morgans wrote:

I was not referring to treated lumber, just solid wood planking vs plywood for flooring.

I'm thinking with the cost of electricity "necessarily skyrocketing" one would be looking for a smaller system. I'd think a larger system only makes sense if you have multiple workers running machines simultaneously, at least from a cost/space/noise perspective.
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"Art Greenberg" wrote in message
I've moved into a place that has a large (24 x 50) pole barn on the property. I've started the process of converting it into an enclosed building and I intend to set up my shop in it. I have discovered that the existing concrete slab is not at all flat and is out of level by about 2 inches over a span of about 20 feet.
<snipped>
They make a substance to "float" a concrete floor, it is supposed to be self leveling... seems to me it would be far easier and faster than shims!
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On Wed, 27 Jul 2011 13:07:17 -0500, Art Greenberg wrote: [... snip ...]
Thanks to all who responded. A couple suggested an additional layer of concrete, some suggested I go with sleepers and plywood and maybe raise the floor enough to run dust collection piping under it. And the pragmatists pointed out that paint and floor mats are much cheaper, leaving more money for tools.
My primary concern was over temporary supports such as roller stands. Thinking about this, my new shop is probably large enough that I can position shop equipment and workbenches in a way that would virtually eliminate the need for any temporary supports. For example, I can set up a permanent outfeed on the table saw large enough to support a full sheet of plywood.
So I think I'll skip the wood floor, and go buy some tools. I can always change my mind later ... I'll just have to raise the entry door if I do.
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Art Greenberg
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You might want to position the header over the door with that possibility in mind.
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