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What does your shop floor look like? In the Toolmonger shop, we work on a concrete floor sealed with a water- and oil-proof coating. It gets a bit slick when there’s a spill, and it’s hard to stand on all day long. So when I saw this photo of a non-slip mat posted by photo pool member Looking Glass, it really got me thinking. I know there are a ton of anti-slip and anti-fatigue mats, floor coverings, and whatnot — but are they worth it?

Growing up, I always held with the dogma that a workshop should have a concrete floor. My reasoning: “What does it matter if it gets stained?” Since then I’ve worked on dirt floors, wood floors, lots of tile, and even carpet — and I’ve discovered there are benefits to each.

What do you do in your own workspace? What’s most important about your shop floor? Let us know in comments.

Toolmonger Photo Pool [Flickr]


9 Responses to Shop-Floor Surfaces

  1. ambush27 says:

    My floor is concrete that used to be painted, but hasn’t been in the last 20 years so its mostly smooth bare concrete, I find it works great.

  2. BC says:

    My shop has a concrete floor, unpainted, and about 45 years old. I had a few of those anti-fatigue mats but discovered that in my case they’re more of a pain in the ass than they’re worth because they’re constantly moving around, and you have to deal with them when you sweep up. I got rid of them, and found ways to incorporate seating at most workstations. My employees and I are much happier now.

  3. inigo says:

    Carpet squares, used ones I salvaged from a bank which was being remodeled, fit them tight together duct tape the edges down and have spares for replacement. The best part is the look you get when you tell someone your garage is carpeted.

  4. Teacher says:

    My garage is concrete floor but in front of my two work benches I have “anti-fatigue” mats. They’re rubber mats I got from Big Lots for ~$10 per 24 sq ft. Sweeping is a little more work, but the improvement in how my back and knees feel is well worth the bit of extra work.

  5. Frank Townend says:

    I have fairly good-grade sheet vinyl with a “got on eBay” 6’x2′ anti-fatigue mat I move around. It is very easy to sweep or vacuum, and I have a rug at the door as it leads to a finished basement. My shop has dual duty, supporting electronics and woodworking, so all heavy tools have retractable casters, allowing them to get out of the way. If I am up to a really messy job, I roll the tools or workbench on to the deck.

  6. _Jon says:

    My comment isn’t quite on topic, but it is related to floors and fatigue.
    At the company I work for, they did a study on what flooring surface was most comfortable for employees to stand on while doing their job. The best solution – by a lot – was a wooden floor. So we’ve begun installing wood floors in the areas of the plants where UAW employees assemble vehicles whose names begin with ‘F’…

  7. John says:

    Concrete floor, untreated, in horrible shape (several decades of frost heave)…

    Sam’s Club sold a pack of 10 2′ x 2′ interlocking mats for exercise rooms, multicolored on one side and black on the other. I think the set was $15. I lay one mat down whenever I’m going to be kneeling or sitting. I take a pair to the track as well. I tried gardener’s kneeling mats, but they are just a little too small for sitting.

    I’ve worked on floors with floor coatings, and the #1 problem I’ve always had is kneeling on sharp little bits of grit or gravel, which HURTS.

  8. james b says:

    I use the interlocking black mats in the garage where I do metal working. Welding splatter melts holes in it, but they don’t burst into flame. They are nice for working on the car cuz they slide on the dirt on the cement floor pretty well and are easier for me to use than my creeper; nice to sit on when working around brakes and suspension and the floor is cold. They are slick as ice when you get some spilled motor oil or water under them – the whole foam piece slides.

    In my wood shop I was given some surplus ESD mats that I put down in front of my table saw and carving bench. They always are getting sawdust up under them, and are a pain to clean around. I will likely move them out to the garage. I would love a wood shop floor in the woodshop.

  9. J.R. Bluett says:

    …slide on the dirt on the cement floor… That’s my kind of shop! I believe the study about the wood floor though, wood has a little give to it. I like dirt better for standing, but it can get messy and heavy things sink in.

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