Easy wood floor for any workshop

After a few hours on a concrete floor, your feet, ankles, and legs start to suffer. And if you know your dogs will be barking in your workshop, you’ll spend less time there building things.

There is a quick, easy answer. If you want to warm up a concrete slab, put a spring in your step, and get the whole job done in an afternoon, DriCore panels are for you.

What I love most is how thin a DriCore floor is–under 1 in.–meaning you won’t steal valuable headroom under low ceilings. Yet it has all the benefits of the real thing: great insulation value, a moisture barrier, excellent strength and durability under a heavy machine or workbench, and the forgiving bounce of wood. It will be friendlier to your feet and friendlier to your tools, and just warm up the place.

To beautify and protect the floor you can stain or paint it. At minimum, you should roll out a couple coats of polyurethane. As for availability, you can pick up the panels or have them delivered from almost any Home Depot.

The secret to the system is the anatomy of the panel. They are 2-ft.-by-2-ft., so they are easy to carry around yet they cover a floor quickly. On their edges are tongues and grooves that fit together snugly but require no glue to keep them joined for life. And on the bottom is a bumpy plastic layer that acts both as a moisture barrier and an air gap, adding to the insulating value (R-17).

I’ve known about DriCore since my days at Fine Woodworking, but I spent a recent day at a friend’s shop, helping him install his floor, and we learned a few tips and tricks. Scroll down for the basics. There is also a how-to video here with lots more info.

The tongues and grooves fit together snugly and need no glue.
The top is durable chipboard and the bottom is a bumpy layer of tough plastic that helps the panels lay flat, and creates both an air gap and a moisture barrier.
Start by laying out some panels to see how they will work. You need to stagger the seams as you go from row to row, without having any pieces that are 3 in. wide or less, so it takes a bit of planning. Often you’ll need to cut the first piece in the row to get the rest to work.
You put 1/4-in. spacers against the wall when installing the floor. You’ll remove them later, to give the floor a chance to expand and contract with the seasons.
We quickly learned to install the panels with their tongues facing the wall, because it is easier to bang on the groove side. Always protect the edge with a 2×4 as shown.
When you reach the wall, you’ll need to make a cut. A tablesaw works great, but a circ saw or jigsaw also work fine. Be really careful when deciding which edge to cut off. We paid the price for rushing a few times!
The process goes quickly, slowing down only when you get to the end of a row and have to do some measuring and cutting, and then some prying against the wall to get the last piece to join its mate!
A jigsaw is especially helpful for notches and curves when working around obstacles.
In an afternoon you have a flawless floor in a big room. Roll out a few coats of polyurethane to protect and beautify the wood, wait a couple more days, and roll in your equipment! You can also stain or paint the surface.





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