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I am exploring putting up a new building for a 1200 sq ft shop and I would like some imput on natural floors as opposed to a concrete. What kind do you have or have seen that seems to work well.

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Hope this will help. My shop started with plain dirt floors. I had been to quite a few shops that were set up this way and it seemed to work for them. However my main income comes from woodworking and blacksmithing is a hobby. The dirt floors were hard to keep clean and prone to dampness. Not good for finished wood or tools. Went to a Farrier School that had gravel floors. 4" of clean stone over 6mil black plastic cured the dampness problem but I soon discovered that the only way to sweep up the shop was with a shop vac and dropping small parts was something I lived in fear of.
I took a class at the Folk School in N.C. and they had Brick Paver flooring in the old shop there. This seems to be the best I've had so far.Sweeping is still a hassle,but small parts can easily be found and standing on the brick
floor for 8hrs. a day seems easier on my knees than concrete. At 1200 sf you'll need about 5,400 pavers(4x8). Hope my trail and error gives you some insight. Good Luck with your project, David

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Thanks info Dave. Pavers are a on a the list as a option. I really want something easy to stand on and you having work on them is good advise. Thanks for doing the math also :D

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ime in arizona also and i use a paver ... started out with dirt but pavers are a lot nicer .. and they arnt as hard on your feet as concrete ..

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Garage has an asphalt floor, but I laid out clay bricks and filled the gaps with 1/2 & 1/2 concrete & sand. Clean-up is a breeze and the bricks were free.

You can see the floor in this pic...
4257246852_f5a690a4c1.jpg

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OK I'm going to show how really dumb I am an ask what are paver's? I have not ever heard of them unless your talking about the large gravel rock you lay down before paving over it. I'm building a small shop 10 X 12 and was planing on putting in concrete for the floor. My plan is to do it a few dozen bags at a time as money allows, but if paver's maybe a better answer may check into that instead. I'm always looking for a better idea and hoping I can afford it.
BillP

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OK I'm going to show how really dumb I am an ask what are paver's? I have not ever heard of them unless your talking about the large gravel rock you lay down before paving over it. I'm building a small shop 10 X 12 and was planing on putting in concrete for the floor. My plan is to do it a few dozen bags at a time as money allows, but if paver's maybe a better answer may check into that instead. I'm always looking for a better idea and hoping I can afford it.
BillP


I beilieve that the "pavers" that they are talking about are the bricks that are used in driveways and such (interlocking)

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BillP, Pavers are concrete and clay bricks which are uses to make patios and drive ways. They come in different shapes and colors. They are avaiable at home centers and brick yards.

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i was about to ask waht they were also.i wouldnt think that a gravel floor would be too awful bad. i have a bad erroding concrete floor. i would like to get some of those mats that interlock, or ones like the barbers use. that would be a little better on thebody also. :)

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A friend with a large shop clued me in about horse stall mats,made from recycled tires.Larger,cheaper and more durable than the interlocking type.
Keep them away from areas where you might drop hot iron.I used wood decking(not PT) or brick in those areas.

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HWHII,

Consider a packed earth floor. I saw a shop in Maine years ago that was in a pole barn structure. The floor was hard but was not concrete. The owner told me that he compatced the floor with a vibrating compactor and used calcium solution to harden ths surface. In the woods during the summer they use calcium solution to recuce the dust and keep the road way in place. it seemed to work well and it was inexpensive solution.

If a power hammer is in your plan, you may have to pour a pad in the area of the hammer footing.

Good luck.

Peter

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I have concrete, the bags are expensive. I poured mine in thirds, so on the last 2 thirds I used Portland Cement + Gravel, much cheaper and for a floor you are not going to drive heavy vehicles on it is fine.

I believe the ratio is 5 to 1 for gravel and portland, just be sure and get what we call "crush run" here, it has enough fine stuff so you don't need to add sand.

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I have seen a rammed earth home that had the same material used for certain areas of the home for the floor. The garage and workshop were such areas. Rammed earth uses a mix of soil and Portland cement that has a small amount of water added and it is then compressed, rammed into forms for walls or compressed for floors or walk ways. You need to use soil low in organic matter, clays mostly I believe. If you Google "rammed earth" you may find some web sites with additional information. http://www.aaronhauser.com/rammed-earth-books/farmers-bulletin-no-1500-rammed-earth-walls-for-buildings/

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I am setting up outside, as I do not have a shop,garage, or even a carport. For the floor I will leave the sand, and gravel that is on my property, but around the forge I am going to use a pile of railroad tie plates I have flipped upside down. Figure that is a good use for them, and they were free. The walls are going to be 55 gallon drums stacked on their side, and welded together-I know about possible explosive results. Most of the drums are open topped, and will serve as storage bays. Since they are approximately 2'x 3'
5 wide by 4 tall should give me a decent 10'wide x 8'tall x 3'deep windbreak. Normally don't have to worry about rain, let alone snow here in the desert, so no roof is planned.

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When I started out I had dirt floors then I put in the paver easy to clean up. I never found it hard on my feet. I do not like those rubber matts used them in kitchens for years Had back problems through the matts no more back problems.

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I was in the Francis Whitaker smithy this past summer in Cabondale and they have a hard packed coal dust floor. Does anyone have any experience with this type of floor?

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Don't know if I would want a col floor in an area with flame, although that could solve the cold smithy for you snowbound guys :lol:

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I think I have seen what your talking about our local chain hardware stores had something that was about 4x8x4 with a round knob at one end and a round slot on the other. Not sure of the cost but did look interesting. Around here most things like that are what I have called flag stones either square or rectangle in shape for the cheap ones.

In either case I may go price the pavers and or flag stone and do the math to see which would be cheaper over the solid concrete floor. Them use the few bags of concrete to help lock the stones down either as a base like mortar or over top to fill in like sand. Sounds like a much cheaper plain for me as I already have a number of 12x12 stone from a past project.

Thanks for the post you all have really got me thinking now.
BillP

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I have dirt floors in my hot shop, concrete in the indoor machine room and wood in the wood and sheet metal shop.

The dirt floor is easy on the feet and legs, warmer on the feet in winter and hot metal won't damage it. The floor is raked and compacted topsoil and sand mixed with 15 years accumulation of scale, clinker, ash and oil from the hammers. The hammers sit on massive blocks of reinforced concrete poured below grade. with treated timber riser blocks to get them up to height. The anvil is bolted to a 12x12 treated post sunk 3'in the ground and poured with concrete to below grade.

I rake or sweep the floor several times a week to smooth it. The task gives me a chance to warm up and reflect on the days work ahead. I've never lost a tool or part in the dirt. The only disadvantage is that it is more difficult to roll or slide heavy loads across a dirt floor

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My very small smithy floor is made of a combination of 6 x 18" concrete block wall caps used as pavers and blocks made of asphalt roadway ... found a pile of those in the desert here ... someone had used a cement cutting saw to cut a 4" wide channel into a roadway for something. Layed the asphalt blocks on their sides with a smooth side up. All parts laid with a 1" space and that is filled with sand ... durable and all parts followed me home :D

Tim

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My shop has a ( Rock dust ) floor.
Not crush and run as it doesn't have very many small bits and pieces at all
Just the dust left over from crushing granite up into gravel and such
Good on your feet and back and is only $ 10.00 for all you can put on a pick-up
I dont sweep though , just rake it with a metal leaf rake .
Not really dusty either as it is real dense and a nice grey color.


Mike Tanner

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I have a smithy outside under a canopy. I use stone dust also for the floor. It works well. I am adding a closed in building onto it and plan to use the same.... If you have a truck or trailer, you should be able to buy it at a quarry.

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