Workshop flooring suggestions?


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Old 05-02-07, 08:43 AM
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Workshop flooring suggestions?

Not sure of the best forum, but I'll start it here.

I'm looking around for ideas for my workshop floor. The shop's in the basement, and I've already put in a subfloor. I'm looking for something:

a) inexpensive
b) durable
c) easy to install

Alternative 1:
I've been eying those interlocking PVC tiles designed for workshops/garages. I haven't found a lot of retailers that carry them (in Toronto). The only place I've seen them is home depot. They're asking about $3/sqft. This is about the best price I've seen the tiles so far, but in my mind it still seems a little expensive. Other outfits seem to be charging >$4. Am I just being cheap here, or does this seem a little high?

Alternative 2:
Buy cheap adhesive vinyl tiles. Not as durable, but easy to install and you can find this as cheap as $1/sqft. Can always tear them out if they wear out.

Alternative 3:
Leave the floor wood. Maybe add another layer of T&G plywood. (I have some left over anyway). Cost is essentially free, but not terribly durable. Splintering/staining could be a problem.

Any thoughts? Thanks for your time.
 
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Old 05-02-07, 02:22 PM
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commercial vinyl composition tile.

tons of colors ...

inexpensive ...

wears like iron ... used in industrial and heavy duty commercial applications.

easy to install ... strike two perpendicular lines, spread it up, and isntall.

the hardest part is floor preparation/patching so nothing telegraphs through, but for a workshop I think thats on the low end of the importance scale.
 
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Old 05-07-07, 07:09 AM
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Thanks for the reply. I went out and bought some Armstrong VCT, but when I checked on the Armstrong website, they don't recommend installing their tile over a "sleeper-constructed subfloor". Does this mean it won't work? or simply that it may not work as well.

Also, am I going to need another layer of 1/4" plywood? This seems to be a common installation step. I have 5/8" down for the subfloor, but it's not perfectly smooth (knot holes, etc). For this application (home workshop) would wood filler probably be good enough?
 
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Old 05-07-07, 02:46 PM
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I agree with the VCT option in your case.. The stuff is exactly as described. If it were my shop. I'd add a good underlayment. As mentioned earlier, floor prep will be important or flaws will not only telegraph through, the VCT will begin to break over time if there are any voids under it such as those from wide seams in the plywood, unfilled knot holes, lips between the plywood sheets, and so on. Use a good, smooth underlayment and then patch the whole thing with Ardex Feather Finish or Mapei Planipatch after pounding down any fasteners that are still sticking up. You want the floor as smooth as a baby's heinny. After the VCT is installed, make sure you seal it and give it at least three good coats of wax so nothing can soak into it. If you don't, it'll get pretty dingy looking in a hurry.
 
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Old 05-09-07, 10:13 AM
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I appreciate the feedback and suggestions, folks.

Between adding another layer of plywood, filling all gaps, and sealing/waxing, I'm wondering whether this is starting to contradict the 'easy to install' requirement. Renting a roller and polisher (and the plywood) starts to eat into 'cheap' as well.

Yes, I know I want the moon here. Cheap, easy, tough, etc. We can all dream I suppose.

Anyway, while I don't want this to come out shoddy looking, but I don't need an installation that can stand up to 1000's of people per day. Are there some compromises possible during installation?
 
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Old 05-09-07, 01:17 PM
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As flooring professionals we do no usually give corner cutting advice to do shoddy work below standards, because it takes away from a professional installation that customers expect, and goes against the grain of what any flooring professional is taught.

That said, if you want to cut corners to save a few bucks on the least expensive highest durability flooring product combination out there, you can, but aesthetics and longevity could be compromised.

I don't know much about cutting corners. I was not taught to do it wrong to save some money.

I suppose you could just prep and glue up the subfloor you have now and slap down the tile if aesthetics and longevity isnt a factor for you. That should save you some money on an already inexpensive product and installation.

Or you can just forget about the flooring entirely and buy a can of varnish and coat the plywood since its a workroom area. That would be the cheapest other than doing nothing at all.
 
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Old 05-09-07, 03:02 PM
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I've not only never tried this, I've never even seen it, but the idea is interesting. I recently heard about a method of using rolled roofing as a flooring and the claim was, it's cheap, easy, and durable. If you'd like, I'll check with the guy who told me about it and get more details.
 
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Old 05-09-07, 04:06 PM
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Smokey: Let me know if you can find anything out, but don't go through too much bother. I'd still consider that option a little eccentric.

Floorman: In a way I'm trying to cut corners, but I'm also just trying to find out how forgiving VCT installations are. After your initial response, I was quite enthusiastic -- the tiles were cheap, and the install looked straightforward, but I'm starting to feel that it may not be the right flooring for my shop.

With the VCT:
a) I will need to install an additional layer of plywood
b) I will need to fill gaps & voids
c) I will need to rent a polisher and a roller
d) The manufacturer doesn't recommend its tiles for sleeper-constructed subfloors

I'm just wondering if the costs (materials + time + trips to store + suitability), are creeping up to the point where the interlocking vinyl tiles (lock-tile or the like) are competitive again.

So I guess I have two questions. How well do those interlocking tile systems wear, and how much of an issue is (d)?

Cheers
 
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Old 05-09-07, 05:26 PM
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Eccentric means you've got money to get away with crazy. Crazy means you don't. Fine line there.
 
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Old 05-09-07, 10:25 PM
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a. you MAY need to isntall an underlayment. Then again you may not. It depends on the condition of your plywood subfloor. I have installed many vct jobs over properly prepared plywood subflooring. VCT only needs a surface smooth enough for you to live with any telegraphing. A flooring professional wil clad over any questionable subfloor with a sanded face flooring grade underlayment. How does he know when to do this? Years of expereince and the condition of the subfloor. We arent there ... we cant see it to make absolute determinations for you. We can only give you professional advice based on what you tell us.

b. yes to a point you need to fill ... again this depends on what you can live with. Professionals prepare it to the smoothness of a sheet of glass because thats the standard and what customers expect ... a perfect floor. Will it stick on an imperfect subfloor? Yes. What can you live with? Only you can answer that.

c. you dont need to seal or coat your floor or rent a polisher. That is a recommendation for maintaining looks of the floor. Many floors are fine without it for many many years. It's a workshop, not a high visibility entry foyer or presentation great room ... right? My warehouses have sealed concrete and the breakrooms and offices have unsealed vct and throw rugs and look great, and have looked great for many years.

d. I think the vct manufacturers are concerned with moisture rotting the wood and causing excessive expansion and contraction that may cause movement between the 3 systems ... the concrete, the subfloor, and the tiles, all of which will expand and contract at different rates. If moisture is a concern, fix the issue or perhaps another flooring product might be best. I think they are talking about plywood directly anchored to concrete and not sleeper systems where the subfloor is suspended off the concrete with joists. At least thats what the Armstrong specs are telling me on their website. They mention suspended wood subfloors.

As to the interlocking DIY products, I have no experience in them to give any advice.
 
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Old 05-10-07, 05:53 AM
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Thanks for the clarifications. I appreciate the advice. I think I'll try the VCT. If it looks terrible after 5 years, I haven't sunk too much into it.
 
 

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