Let’s face it, when building a shed, the choice of a floor covering is often not one to be deemed as important as, say, rafters or siding. However, the one part that will see the most use – and most abuse – will be your flooring.
With the many shed floor ideas it can be difficult to choose the best flooring option. Look for flooring that is durable, easy to install, and will stand up to what you’re using the shed for.
It will have to hold some weight, some of it considerable if you have heavy yard equipment such as a riding mower or heavy shop equipment. Then there are all the other items you’ll eventually pile up in the shed. They may not seem like much, but have you ever tried to lift a tower of three or four nearly full paint cans?
Most things that will go in the shed will stay there for a good long while, and that floor will have to bear the weight. The average shed floor can hold 20 lbs. per square foot, which adds up to 2,400 pounds for a 10 x 12 shed. That’s a lot of weight.
In addition, your floor will be subjected to moisture with wet or muddy shoes and tires rolling over it. Rain may blow into the shed while it’s open. Choosing sturdy flooring is very important, so we’ll go over some shed floor ideas that may help you in this decision.
Do I Need Flooring in My Shed?
There are some cases in which you wouldn’t need flooring. If your shed is built on a concrete slab, many people just use the slab as a floor. It’s certainly sturdy enough but can become quite slippery with wet shoes. You may want to make sure the slab surface is roughened a bit while it’s curing to create better footing.
Likewise, if your shed base is made of concrete tiles or paving stones, you may not need separate flooring. You may want to add some if you find the flooring gets slippery. Concrete and stone products also may gather moisture on a humid day, adding to the slippery factor.
Of course, if your shed is set on flooring joists and is not right on the ground, you’ll need to decide on a floor. Even if you decide to put a floor covering over your flooring base, you’ll want something sturdy that will hold weight for a lot of years.
How Thick Should Shed Flooring Be?
Generally, your flooring should be at least 5/8 inch thick. Many people choose Oriented Strand Board or plywood, which are both good choices. Some choose to use a wood plank floor, which will certainly be sturdy. This is another place in which it doesn’t do any good to skimp to save money. You can end up with a bouncy or sagging floor eventually if you try to save money by choosing thinner flooring.
What to Look for in Shed Flooring
There are several things to think about when choosing shed flooring. This decision shouldn’t be rushed. Some types of flooring may take additional materials to prevent moisture damage, for instance, adding to the cost of the flooring. We’ll go over a few of the major considerations you need to keep in mind when making a decision.
Durability – This is a major consideration in shed floor ideas. As has been mentioned, your floor will see a lot of abuse and will have to hold considerable weight for some time. Besides being thick enough, it should have some moisture-resistant properties, such as a pressure-treated wood or wood product. You want flooring that will stand up to plenty of traffic. Remember that you want your shed to be as sturdy as your house.
You should keep in mind the type of flooring you’re interested in and investigate any possible future problems. For instance, many people prefer OSB to plywood because it’s usually less expensive, but it’s also prone to moisture problems. There is a grade of OSB that has been waterproofed, but additional waterproofing needs to be applied to any cut edges to keep them from absorbing moisture and swelling.
Ease of Installation – Putting in a shed floor does not need to be a huge, complicated project, but it does take some care. Sheets of plywood or OSB usually can be handled with ease, are easy to cut when needed, and is relatively easy to install, especially when compared to something like wood plank flooring. You don’t need to put in a floor type that will be a complicated job to install. Choosing something you’ve worked with before will be a plus.
Shed’s Use – What do you plan to put in your shed? This is an important aspect when considering shed floor ideas. If it’s a small shed, holding some long-handled and hand-held yard tools, a bicycle or two, and some odds and ends, it won’t have to hold much weight.
However, pressure-treated products should still be used to avoid moisture problems. Also, keep in mind that sheds usually have more items and more kinds of items stored in them as time goes on. You may only have a walk-behind mower now but may decide later that you really need a riding mower, for instance.
Price – This is an important consideration, of course, but beware of possible additional materials that may be needed with a particular flooring type. For instance, OSB may be less expensive than plywood, but you’ll also need to buy a waterproofing material to apply to all the cut edges, which is an added expense. If you want to save money, these types of things should be taken into consideration.
Fasteners – If you choose a wood product, such as a plank floor, plywood or OSB, it would be a good idea to use screws rather than nails to fasten it down. Galvanized screws are best to prevent any rust over the years. Also, screws are less likely to work themselves out of the floor than nails. This will prevent you from having a creaky floor over time or a nail head that snags on something.
Can You Put Vinyl Flooring in a Shed?
This is one of the more practical shed floor ideas. There are several types of vinyl floor covering you may choose to put in your shed. These will go over a subfloor, which will probably be plywood.
Roll vinyl flooring is easy to install. It’s fairly easy to cut. It is a bit susceptible to gouges from heavy machines or dropping your shovel on it tip first, but it’s very easy to clean up any spills from oil or paint.
If you want something with vinyl’s good properties but don’t like the idea of possible gouges, you might want to look at vinyl tiles. Many come in the peel and stick variety, meaning that you don’t have to buy a separate adhesive. Since this is flooring, the backing adhesive is made to bond with your subfloor firmly.
Something a bit upscale is vinyl plank flooring. However, it will be more expensive than some other vinyl choices and may not stand up to abuse as well. In addition, it is usually textured to look like wood, which means that oil and other substances may make a home in the grooves. It’s also meant to be installed in a climate- and humidity-controlled environment, which probably won’t include your shed.
Can I Put Laminate Flooring in My Shed?
Laminate flooring has become more popular for sheds since some types are designed to be moisture-resistant and more durable. This means that the warnings you may have heard about not letting water or moisture stand on your laminate floor are no longer applicable.
It’s fairly easy to install, as it is a sort of tongue-and-groove product. It will also need its own moisture barrier underneath it. If you have any doubts, tell your flooring supplier that you want it in a shed.
One caution is that while laminate flooring is more moisture-resistant than it was previously, it’s not waterproof. It is mostly used for she sheds, not those holding heavy things such as snowmobiles and woodworking machinery. If your shed floor will be subject to muddy boots and wet shoes, it may not be the best choice.
Popular Types of Shed Flooring
Oriented Strand Board – OSB is one of the most popular types of shed flooring, mostly due to its price and the fact that it comes in sheets, cutting down on installation time. It can be used as the main floor or as a subfloor. It does need its cut edges coated with waterproofing. In fact, it wouldn’t hurt to coat the entire sheets once you’ve got all your cuts done.
Plywood – Pressure-treated plywood is probably the most commonly used flooring for a shed. The pressure treatment resists moisture, rot and insects. It can also be stained or painted.
Tongue and Groove Planks – This is a more upscale flooring, but it’s certainly sturdy and can be found in rougher, rustic types. It does take longer to install than sheet flooring and usually involves glue. Damaged planks are also harder to replace than a sheet of plywood or OSB.
Linoleum – This can be purchased in either tiles or rolls. It’s easy on the wallet and easy to install. Some products have warranties that go up to 25 years. It may not stand up to a really heavy item being dragged across it, but most of your heavier items, such as a lawn tractor, will have wheels. Ask your supplier what he suggests as to the right thickness for your shed.
Choosing your shed’s flooring is not complicated, but it is an important decision. Take your time to look over your options and take advantage of the expertise of your local suppliers. They will have plenty of useful information as to the pros and cons of various materials to help you make a choice in both the floor material and possible floor coverings should you choose to have a subfloor.