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Choosing the Best Shed Floor Materials

12 x 20 shed interior

A shed floor is perhaps the part of the shed you will have the most contact with. It is important to choose the right shed floor materials.

In addition to being aesthetic, a shed floor is incredibly functional. It helps seal the inside, stop pests from coming in, and keep the items in the shed from being exposed to moisture that rises from the ground.  And generally speaking, a better floor just helps keep the shed cleaner.

The type of floor your shed will need will depend on what you’re storing and where you are constructing the structure. For example, if you have a low area that is prone to standing water, you will want a floor that is raised higher than the average water depth. You should also get materials that can withstand high moisture contact.

The best shed floor is chosen according

  • Shed location
  • The dryness of the region
  • The contents that will be kept on the floor
  • The use of the structure
  • Your budget

Each shed has a different practical purpose. Before choosing the best flooring materials, you need to decide if the shed will ever be used to create a workspace or if you ever want to heat or cool the interior. You also should determine whether the weight of the typical contents will be 100 pounds or less — will you be storing heavy equipment like lawnmowers or four wheelers inside? All of these factors will help you identify the best flooring for your shed!

What to Consider When Choosing Shed Floor Materials

Purpose

garden shed

Adding a tiller or lawnmower to your shed? You’ll want flooring that can withstand the weight and the possible contamination from oil or gas. Dirt and concrete are better choices than wood if you plan to store equipment on top of the floor, for instance.

If you plan to work out of the shed or keep appliances and furniture inside it, then you will be happier with a wood floor or a concrete floor covered by rubber matting.

Cost

As with anything, the better you build a shed floor, the more it will probably cost. This is especially true lately, when the cost of materials like concrete can be crazy expensive.

The Different Shed Floor Materials

Below we cover the pros and cons of your shed flooring options.

Dirt Shed Floors

Dirt floors are fine for a simple shed where you plan to keep your garden tools. Of course, it is harder to keep them clean, and you will forever have a very rustic feel in the shed. You might want to consider pouring some clean gravel in order to provide a little more firmness.

Pros:

  • Very low cost
  • Will not be damaged by the weight of items
  • No cleaning is needed
  • No worries about oil or gas causing stains on the floor
  • Never needs replacing or real maintenance

Cons:

  • Pests can easily get inside
  • They offer no protection from moisture
  • Things in the shed will get dirtier
  • The shed cannot be heated or cooled with an air conditioner

Concrete Shed Floors

Concrete floors in sheds are perfect for structures that are used to store items of all different weights. Concrete can be poured from a truck if the shed is large or mixed in your wheelbarrow for a smaller structure. You will want to do some site prep to get the most from a concrete floor. Simply pouring cement will give you a floor that may crack and sink over time.

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Great for heavy equipment
  • Does not need to be replaced
  • Can be sealed, which will make it more professional-looking and easier to keep clean

Cons:

  • Installation can be expensive, increasing your shed cost
  • It is permanent and not easy to remove if you want to move the shed
  • It does have to be maintained on occasion and can be difficult to clean
  • Requires more site preperation
  • More likely to require a permit

Wood Shed Floors

reclaimed shed wood

Wooden floors are great for sheds. However, you cannot simply lay wood on the ground and call it a floor. A wooden floor needs to have a foundation created from concrete pads or blocks that keep the floor joists from making contact with the ground.

Many of the DIY shed plans you find online assume a simple wood floor as part of the structure.

The floor joists are part of the substructure or framework to which the plywood or decking is attached. The wood you use for this floor portion must be treated. They resist rot and mildew caused by moisture in the ground. and will last much longer.

We recommend using pressure-treated plywood, but consideration must be made as to the shed’s purpose as this will affect the thickness you go for. For simple storage, you can use 5/8″ plywood and build just a sub-floor. If you plan to store something heavier, like freezers or appliances, heavy toolboxes, or furniture, then you want to use ¾” plywood.

deck treated deck floor
Tuff Shed is one maker who puts treated deck flooring in their sheds.

For the finish floor layer, you want to use ½” plywood. You can even use an oriented strand board (OSB) for this top layer. OSB is generally lower priced, and you do not have to have treated plywood for the top layer because you have a moisture barrier in the subfloor beneath it.

To increase the strength of the top layer, you should lay it opposite the direction of the subfloor. Sheets of plywood are typically 4′ x 8′. If you are creating an 8′ x 8′ shed, you will need two sheets of plywood. If you lay the subfloor with the length of the wood pointed north and south, then lay the top floor with the length running east and west. This practice breaks up the joints of the wood and strengthens the floor.

Pros:

  • Easy to install. Can be done as a DIY job.
  • Can support a shed that is on uneven ground
  • Is a good choice if the land is prone to holding water
  • Treated flooring, like Tuff Shed’s treated deck floor concept, can add durability
  • Can anchor screws in it, meaning that you are able to attach things to the floor if needed.

Cons:

  • Stains easily
  • Not great for heavy items like riding mowers or equipment
  • Requires blocks or pads to keep the floor from making contact with the ground
  • Rots or needs to be replaced due to weathering, especially if pets use the shed.

Rubber Mats

Interlocking plastic or rubber tiles is another choice for shed flooring. The interlocking pieces are easy to install, even if the shed is already constructed! The mats help keep the area cleaner, and standing on them can less fatiguing for your feet and legs than standing on concrete.

Pros:

  • Resilient and durable
  • Non-slip
  • Different textures and colors are available
  • Will not be damaged by water
  • Can withstand heavy traffic
  • No adhesives or nails are required to attach
  • Can easily be removed and reused in another location
  • Easy to clean
  • Easy to replace one piece if it becomes damaged

Cons:

  • Can be expensive
  • The floor may not be seamless
  • Easily damaged by chemicals or gasoline that may leak from small engines
  • Seams will allow water to get to the subfloor
  • The smell of the rubber may be overpowering when it is new

Synthetic or Composite Deck Boards for a Shed Floor

Good old composite decking can be used as a shed floor, and I’ve seen it actually do a nice job in a variety of cases. You will want to be sure that the shed is built in a way that can anchor the synthetic boards since they come in pre-sized pieces, in terms of the spacing of the floor joists. Some synthetic decking is pretty easy to work with; other types require lots of special equipment.composite shed floor

Pros:

  • Typically quite waterproof
  • Low maintenance once installed
  • Provides a clean feel to the shed

Cons:

  • Can be expensive
  • Harder to work with (in terms of cutting and fastening) than wood
  • Screws often don’t anchor well, requiring re-work later on

Choosing the best flooring for your shed really comes down to what you plan to use the shed for. Each has its pros and cons, and some are better suited to the job than others. Which of these materials will work best in your shed?

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