Floor surfacing for new shop.
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  1. #1
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    Default Floor surfacing for new shop.

    We are currently expanding into a larger premises and we are also building a dedicated area for our mechanical needs. This mechanical building will house our tool room, fabricating needs and our assembly area. It will be all open plan.

    My question is this. What is a good type floor surface for a tool room. We are currently on a smooth bare concrete floor which is great for sweeping up after a days work and also provides good under foot traction. The problem with this is that it stains very easily and looks very unprofessional.

    I have worked in a shop with a painted floor and it was very unsafe if there was any type of liquid on it so I would want to steer clear of this.

    My biggest concern is the safety of my guys, but I also need something that looks professional and is easy to clean.

    What is a typical floor surface in a machine shop.

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    Mineral colors are available for tinting concrete. It gets troweled into the top surface of the pour. I suspect the example I saw was plain iron oxide; color similar to the classic barn paint.

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    My vote is for epoxy, if you care about aesthetics, except it will be more slippery if wet/oily. Unless you add whatever traction additive is recommended to the epoxy but then it will be harder to clean as the surface won't be as smooth.

    However, if you're so worried about safety, find a way to prevent the floor from getting wet and oily in the first place. Or you could try used diesel motor oil and permanently stain the entire floor black .

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    Our factory used commercially applied, multi layer, epoxy floor coverings with a sprinkling of glass grit embedded in the top layer of epoxy. The surface is easy to clean, lasts a decade or so in a busy workshop environment (conger in the cal lab etc.) and the grit gives it enough traction that normal water and oil spills won't cause a dangerous surface.

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    One thing you have to be careful about is your water table.
    If you're not too far above it, a sealed (epoxy) coating will blister like osmosis with the moisture in the slab trying to get out.
    In which case then you need a breathable coating.
    Which then can stain because of the oil...
    It's a difficult call, but you can't beat concrete IMO.

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    I recommend diamond polished concrete. The problem with epoxy is that you have to refinish every few years. Diamond polished is basically a zero maintenance solution as long as you clean your messes in a timely manner.

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    Rubber is very nice if you're looking to drop serious money. https://www.nora.com/united-states/e...ments/industry

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    Grind, denisfy , and polish. Can hire it done or use something like diamabrush pads in your floor scrubber and do and ok job yourself. Biggest thing is the penetrating densifier which makes it hard and dust free.

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    Quote Originally Posted by drcoelho View Post
    I recommend diamond polished concrete. The problem with epoxy is that you have to refinish every few years. Diamond polished is basically a zero maintenance solution as long as you clean your messes in a timely manner.
    I gotta agree with this in general. I love epoxy, but frankly it just doesn't last in high traffic areas. Epoxy in areas with limited foot traffic is a good solution if you're concerned about cleanliness.

    Quote Originally Posted by Comatose View Post
    Rubber is very nice if you're looking to drop serious money.
    Do not buy this stuff if you're going to be running forklifts on it. The one place I've worked at that had it, every time we wanted to move a machine the riggers would have to lay out polycarb on top of it to prevent the sheets from lifting/moving. We were a machine manufacturer, we were probably moving two or three machines a week.

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    Huh? Nora glues down and is rated for continuous forklift traffic. I can't speak to what you had or how it was installed, but I can't see why polycarbonate would help. Do you have any details? Was this some sort of loose lay rubber or maybe the interlocking tiles?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Comatose View Post
    Huh? Nora glues down and is rated for continuous forklift traffic. I can't speak to what you had or how it was installed, but I can't see why polycarbonate would help. Do you have any details? Was this some sort of loose lay rubber or maybe the interlocking tiles?
    I can't speak to the installation, other than that it was not interlocking tiles and was sold with forklift traffic in mind. I just know that if we ran a forklift over it we would rip off whole sheets (and saw it happen once) 1/8" thick polycarb sheets were laid on top of it while moving machines to prevent that. May be more a case of "beware who installs it", but between it's performance there, the price, and the fact that I didn't actually like it much, I certainly wouldn't recommend it. That environment would have been better suited to concrete with large anti-fatigue mats anyway, as it needed to be highly flexible.

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    Call Stonehard about epoxy floors. Our whole building has these floors, has very high traffic with no problems. It's a kid of epoxy with sand that is troweled on after prepping the concrete. Pretty expensive, but definitely worth the price if you want pristine floors!

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    We put down an epoxy floor and found it is a maintenance nightmare. Yes, they look nice but as Barbter said "Watch the water table". During the rain season we get blisters, some small and sometimes maybe 3" in diameter. You have to cut them out then put 3 or 4 coats to fill it in.

    As Mark Rand said, Add some glass bead. The floor itself is a bit tacky but a splash of coolant and you're gonna wish you had hand rails.

    Cleaning it is a snap, Just a dust broom once over then soap and water mop.

    The coating itself is very durable, as you can see in the pic we are skating machines in all the time and it doesn't mark the floor. Isle marking tape sticks like glue so make sure if you put it down you don't plan on bringing it up any time soon. Picture 2 shows the horrid aftermath of trying to get Isle tape up with stripper and a putty knife. We have had it down for about 4 years and gets a few new coats once a year. The stuff isn't cheap but looks good.

    dsc_0002.jpgdsc_0028.jpg

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    I did my shop floor with U Coat It brand epoxy in '09 and I really like it. Sprinkle as much or little of the glass beads/sand for grip and a good thick layer of clearcoat to keep wear down. I don't have any spots showing any wear, though not a machine shop. I have spilled all sorts of liquids, even better acid without a spot.It will always be a little more slippery than bare concrete, no getting around that. But boy does a nice e stain-free floor look nice and makes it more pleasant to work in over that dull grey floor.

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    That reminds me: I once worked at a place that had a ~300' long entryway coated in epoxy, which was regularly buffed. Well, one day they changed the buffing compound (for a buffing in anticipation of a CEO visit), resulting in the slickest floor I have ever walked on. Plant manager walked halfway down it on his way in, found the janitor who did it and made him strip and rebuff it.

    But it did look really good with regular buffing, despite 1,100 people walking over it all day.

    We had epoxy in the rest of the plant with beads in it, and it would wear like crazy with materials carts and forklifts going over it. I spent $15k having one little area done, and the next year it already looked trashed. Hence my opinion that straight concrete is better.

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    One more vote for polished concrete. I have it in my small shop and like it a lot.
    How it looks depends on the concrete itself and to which grade it is polished. For a shop it should be one of the lower grades, not one of the mirror like high grades.
    It does however stain a bit with oil spill.

    /Staffan

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    Terrazo with some colorful stones in the top would look nice. It does not have to be polished so much that it is slick. I would expect it to be as strong as regular concrete?
    Bill D

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    I've worked in two places with CVT (Commercial Vinyl Tile), and it worked pretty well. We ran forklifts all over it, and it held up for many years. One feature is that it has enough 'give' so that if you drop a precision ground part, it usually won't damage the part. It can get slippery when wet, especially if you keep it waxed. I worked in another shop that used epoxy, and it looked like crap in a few years. I think that following proper procedure when installing it is a big factor.


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