Early last month I blogged about Tommy Mac and his new shop (read about it here). I’m still following along, are you? But I also said what Tommy was up to has inspired me to do something with my would-be garage shop. Well, I have not been idle. I spent a little time getting a new, insulated garage door installed that has windows to add to all the un-natural light I stuck on the ceiling. I had also previously brought an electrical sub-panel into the garage so, between the electrical, lighting and the new garage door, all that’s left for a comfortable workplace is some climate control and to do something with the concrete floor.
Having spent a good portion of my time in shops walking on concrete floors, I want something else. Over the course of the last five or six weeks I’ve spent a good bit of time running through the gamut of flooring choices. Because it’s a garage, putting down sleepers, foam insulation and flooring didn’t seem like an option I wanted to consider. I have an old sailboat that I’d like to work on and having a floor that’s 3″ or 4″ above the driveway might make it difficult to get the trailer on which the boat resides in and out of the garage. So, sleepers are out.
The next consideration was an epoxy coating, which would make moving vehicles (including my boat) in and out of the garage easy, but wouldn’t provide any relief from standing on concrete. Then there was the price of having epoxy professionally done.
I did look into doing it myself, but the thought of clearing everything out of the garage and spending a day or two in there grinding the surface of the floor nixed the whole plan. I also definitely want something with some cushion – enter the world of garage floor tiles.
I got samples of a bunch of different tiles from a bunch of different manufacturers. They all seemed like hard, cheap plastic that sounded hollow when you walked on them and didn’t feel like they would hold up to my Powermatic 66 sitting atop. I looked at solid vinyl tiles, but that price thing kicked in again. It was nearly as much to purchase the tiles as it was to have a professional do the epoxy. Most of the garage tiles I found had either a diamond or coin texture to them. When I tried rolling my bandsaw across the tiles, it caught on every bit of that texture.
I finally settled on something a bit out of the ordinary. Eventually I found a place that sells portable dance floors. You know, the kind that Uncle Harry spills his drink on at every family wedding – ever. I figured the dance floor tiles had to be able to withstand lots of heavy weight, concentrated into a small area as well as shifting loads and serious abrasions (think Uncle Harry’s wife in high-heels at every one of those weddings). And to help the cushion and provide a bit of a moisture barrier between the concrete and my feet, I decided on a 2.0 millimeter rubber underlayment.
Last weekend, I spent the better part of my waking hours moving everything to one side of the garage, rolling out underlayment on the “open” half, and setting tiles into place. So far, I’m liking it. I’ll move the rest of the stuff onto the half of the garage with the new floor and lay down the rest over the next few days.
The tiles themselves are easy to install. They have male and female sides (loops and pegs) that fit together fairly easily. Drop them in place and step on the seems and all is right with the world. Once all the tile work is done, I have a little electrical work to do and then it’s on to tool storage and a clamp rack. Now, what should I do about that climate control?