Flooring for a welding shop?

JC Wren

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I'm getting ready to set up a small section of my shop for welding and a CNC plasma cutter. It's currently got plywood floors, which I'm really not comfortable with for falling hot metal :)

The area is about 20' x 30', and I'm looking for affordable suggestions for a reasonably non-flaming flooring. Anyone have some ideas for what to put down?

Thanks!
 

JC Wren

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If my math is correct, 20' x 30' is 600 square feet. A cubic foot of concrete weighs 150lbs, so 600 / 12 is 50 cubic feet, for a total of 7500lbs. Adding in welding tables, CNC machine, grinders, and other odds and ends, and I feel like I'd be putting more weight in there than I'd care to. It also wouldn't be very level over the whole span, and I'd probably get a lot of cracking. In the olden days I'd just put down asbestos flooring and be done with it. Seems the EPA doesn't like that so much now.
 

Gary Fowler

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I hate to say this what with the cost of steel these days, but, your best bet is sheet metal. It doesn't have to be really thick to do the job. You would still have to be careful melting off large pieces of metal as would happen with an oxy-fuel torch but a plasma torch should be no problem. But even with concrete flooring, such operations need some scrap metal placed under the work area to avoid damage to the concrete.
Just use the gauge of metal that fits your budget with thicker always being better. With sheet metal, the weight shouldn't be a problem either.
 

JC Wren

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I found some nice 18" x 18" floor tiles that are suitable for welding use from Safe-Flex. Unfortunately, they're $25.17 a tile, and I'd need 252 of them for the area, which comes to $6,342.84, before freight.

The search continues...
 

jjef

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1/4" cement board, hardi backer? Its Fire proof with great compressive strength especially if you use thinset under it imo. However never used it
Or seen it used for a shop floor, only as underlayment for tile over a wood floor
 

CA_Bgrwldr

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If my math is correct, 20' x 30' is 600 square feet. A cubic foot of concrete weighs 150lbs, so 600 / 12 is 50 cubic feet, for a total of 7500lbs. Adding in welding tables, CNC machine, grinders, and other odds and ends, and I feel like I'd be putting more weight in there than I'd care to. It also wouldn't be very level over the whole span, and I'd probably get a lot of cracking. In the olden days I'd just put down asbestos flooring and be done with it. Seems the EPA doesn't like that so much now.
You wouldn't need the concrete an 1" thick, concrete overlays are about 1/2" and tiles are about 1/3" thick, so your additional weight to the floor would be anywhere between 4-6.25lbs per sq. ft depending on which way you went. If your shop's floor floor joists are 2x8 on 16" centers, it would be rated for 10lbs per sq.ft. of static weight, and should be more than capable of handling tiles or an overlay.
 

AnotherBueller

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Cement board may work. Fiber reinforced 3' X 4' X1/2" madw for shower stalls, has a rough surface on one side as I recall. Used to sell it at HD & Lowes.
 

WelderMike_7018

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How about Epoxy. They have some really good epoxy floor coatings nowadays. I had them in my old place of employment, and we laid them ourselves. Not overly difficult at all. Their light weight, and you wont have spots or crevices where hot embers could get into and start a fire. Plus you can get different looks, colors and they have self leveling types, and paint on types. You can also add aggregate to them and make a non skid surface. Anyway just a thought. Best of luck to yah.!
 

Yomax4

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I'd vote ( because of cost ) Hardi-Backer or ceramic tile or both. Steel floor would be cool too. I'll look into that for my own use.
 

SidecarFlip

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I'm curious about what brand of plasma table you are looking at as that will be impacted by unlevel / not level floor. The smaller tables like the Langmuir's are adversely impacted by uneven - unlevel floors.
 
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