Hi to all,
I want to build a 24x32 workshop and was wondering what kind of flooring I
should use. I live in Michigan and it's cold 1/2 the year. Has anyone used a
concrete slab over a Styrofoam or some other type of barrier? What
insulation value should be in the ceiling or walls?
Thanks for any help.
How about radiant heat in the slab? How about a wooden floating floor over your
slab? Maybe even install the floor on 2x6 sleepers so you can run dust
collection and electrical underneath? If insulation is worth doing, overdo it,
I say. I'm sure there are others here who'll help point you in the right
direction. G'luck! Tom
Work at your leisure!
I worked for several years in a shop with a concrete floor that was poured
over 3" of styrofoam. We were in Iowa -- similar to Michigan, but hotter in
the summers and colder in the winter :(. We built the building on the early
eighties -- it's still there. :)
This worked VERY well; in the winter, the slab would heat up during the day
(we had lots of south facing windows) and still be a little warm in the
morning. Nice and pleasant. In summer, it seemed like any other concrete
floor, but would not sweat as much. We noticed no unusual settling or
cracking. Of course, that has more to do with what is **underneath** the
If you took a 4x4 post and dropped it vertically, you could feel the floor
vibrate a tiny little bit, but we didn't notice any vibration transmission
from the bigger machines (the biggest was a 36" Timesaver).
It's a cheap improvement -- you just have to be a little careful when you
pour. We left the styrofoam out until the last minute -- didn't think a
backing a concrete truck over it would do it much good.
Talk to the contractor about insulating the floor prior to
pouring it. As far as the walls, I used 2 by 6 studs in
Delaware and the shop is easy to heat and cool. I also used
housewrap to stop wind infiltration.
I can not recommend enough that you build a wooden floor. As I get
older I curse this darn concrete floor everyday. If I ever build a
new shop, it will have a wooden floor. I would use 2x 6 for the
walls and insulate as much as possible. Good luck,
Mike's suggestion does bring something else to my mind that you MAY want to
that is fatigue (to you). Wooden floors are much easier on the knees and
other joints...you may want to
see if you have any woodworking friends with the two types of floors and see
if you can assist them or
borrow the workshop for the day to see how it feels.
Yep, concrete over insulation (styrofoam or TekFoil insulation or both
if using radiant heat in the slab) will work fine
As to the wall and ceiling insulation, the more the better. The
foamed in insulation will probably give you the BEST "r" value
Also, think about having the walls and ceiling made out of something
like IsulSpan would be even better, and you can get the thickness you
want/need for the insulation level you desire. Using it for the roof
will also let you have nice tall ceiling. Check out the TOH Milton
project where they built Norm's Deam Workshop using InsuSpan walls and
Radiant heat is nice if you are going to keep the shop at about the same
temperature all the time. If this is a pro shop and you are working every
day, it is great. OTOH, if this is a weekend shop that will have very
little heat on non-working days, radiant heat is not a good idea. It is not
fast to respond to changes and you have to heat up that big slab or
concrete every time.
The wood floor idea is good also. If you prefer not to, good quality mats
are essential in the regular work areas like in front of the bench,
tablesaw, etc. .
First, you will need to conform to all the local building codes.
Second, walking on concrete for extended periods is the curse of the devil.
Absolutely the best floor in the world is what I call the "machine shop
floor" which is basically end grain blocks of wood, maybe 1" thick, treated
with some kind of a black goop, and glued to a concrete floor.
Basic reason for using in a machine shop is in addition to being able to
walk on a wooden surface, having the wooden blocks insulate the concrete
floor, is that any metal chips that fall on the floor are driven into the
end grain wood blocks until flush and not into the soles of your shoes.
Low cost it isn't, but it is a great floor and laying it is a DIY type
Someone on this group build a workshop in Montana/Idaho/Dakotas using SIPP
panels and an insulated floor and roof. They had the complete construction
documented on a web site ... and then my damn hard drive ate the bird and
I lost the pointer.
As I recall, it was very energy efficient and warm even before the heating
system was installed. If anyone discovers this web site, or if the author
reads this, please post a pointer back to it. And I'd like to know how it
feels after several years in operation.
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