When it comes to garage flooring, you have innumerable options. However, very few garages and homeowners always think of wood flooring as an option, with the belief wood is weak and cannot support the weight of a car.
Indeed, wood floors are not intended or built for a car’s weight. Most of the wood quality and the floor joists’ thickness and spacing do not support most of the vehicle’s weight.
This, however, does not mean wood floors cannot entirely support a vehicle’s weight. When properly installed with appropriate wood material, the wood floors, can provide you with the same rigidity and toughness as the concrete and other floors.
So, can a wood floor support a car? Let’s find out.
Can a Wood Floor Support a Car?
Yes. You can install wood flooring in your garage by finding wood material of the right quality and thickness and following the building codes. The International Building Code (IBC) requires that a building material be non-combustible and nonabsorbent, which is uncommon with most wood types. So finding the right wood floor to support a car’s weight is the first step to garage wood floor installation.
Driving your car on a wood floor could be unsafe, mainly if the floor is not designed to withstand heavyweights. Heavyweights, such as from a car or vehicle, can result in buckling, sagging, or collapse of your wood floor. This can severely affect your garage’s foundation, and the harm could be transferred to your home’s surrounding premises.
As a result, it is essential that when installing wood floors in your garage, you speak with a contractor or a skilled engineer to evaluate the load-bearing capability of the floor. The process may involve choosing a suitable wood material and developing the right floor thickness to support the car’s weight. Also, skilled engineers will recommend the required reinforcements to ensure the floor is safe.
You must also know that wood floors can catch fire and damage your cars. Therefore, the wood you choose for your garage must be fire-retardant, waterproof, and non-absorbent.
During the floor installation, the engineer or contractor must ensure that the wood floor is designed to carry at least 3000 pounds of load. The practice will ensure that your wooden garage floor can withstand the weight of your cars.
How to Install Wood Floor in a Garage
Wooden floors are a great addition to your garage space. This flooring option provides you with your desired subfloor and adds to the warmth of your garage due to its superior insulation capabilities. For instance, cement or concrete flooring during the winter will not provide you with much warmth as the wooden types.
Apart from supporting the car’s weight, a wooden floor doubles as a provider of warmth in the garage space during winter and comfort.
It is, therefore, imperative to learn how to install wood floors to help you save the cost of hiring an expert.
Follow the below steps to install a wooden garage floor effectively.
Step 1: Clear the Garage
You need to first remove all tools, cars, items, and other equipment in the floor area. This should include even the existing garage floor covering. If, for example, you had concrete as your flooring option, you will need to remove the lumps and bumps. Also, get rid of the paint and other additions on the concrete floors.
Step 2: Garage Inspection
Assess your garage floor for any damages, such as cracks or holes. These damages must be repaired before the installation process.
Step 3: Garage Measurement
You need to measure your garage space (length x width) and determine the total area in square feet (sq. ft). Calculating your garage floor area will help you decide how much wood you need for your floor space. This is an essential step in planning your installation process.
Step 4: Choose the Suitable Type of Wood
If you plan to install wood floors in your garage space, then this is one step you don’t want to go wrong. The wood material you choose should withstand the weight of cars and other heavy equipment you use in your garage.
Besides, cars or vehicles in your garage are susceptible to oil or fluid spills. Also, other chemicals used in the garage can spill on these floors. Ensure that the type of wood you choose is treated to repel the fluids and chemicals.
So do not just choose wood to support the car’s weight. Instead, select wood that prevents moisture leaks and oil spills on the garage floor. One of the most durable and strong wood floors is oak, with a Janka rating of approximately 1300.
Furthermore, hardwood types like walnut, rosewood, mahogany, and oak are fire-resistant. These wood floors are characterized by relatively high density and thickness and would rarely catch fire. Since you are dealing with automobiles in your garage space, this is a risk you do not want to take. You must be wary of accidental fires and find ways to control their spread.
Step 5: Prepare the Subfloor
Make sure your floor is clean and level. If you have a wooden subfloor, you should ensure that it is solid and free from any damage or rot.
Also, be wary of the potential moisture seeping into your wood floors. Install a vapor barrier over the subfloor to prevent water infiltration. For this role, you can use a polyethene sheet and overlap the seams by 6 inches.
Step 6: Lay down the Wood
Use adhesive to secure the wood in place. Since you have the wood measurements, spread the glue on the floor space, the same area as the size of the wood you want to install. Be sure that the adhesive does not dry without the wood in place.
Using a tapping block or hammer, fit the wood pieces together as tightly as possible. While installing, you need to start with the longest wall of the garage and work towards the other end of your garage area.
You can also use a pneumatic flooring Nailer to nail the boards down to ensure that every board is secure and level. Use a cutting saw to realize the needed board sizes.
Note: Installing a form underlayment over the vapour barrier can prevent your wood flooring from shifting or buckling at this stage.
Step 7: Finish the Edges
Install the baseboards and trim to finish off the edges and seal any gaps on the floor once you have successfully installed the flooring. The garage floor seals establish a barrier between the seal and the door, preventing outside elements. Take appropriate measurements to ensure you get the right height for the seals.
Generally, installing wood floors in a garage is a challenging process requiring massive planning and attention to detail. Be sure you have made the right choice for the wood with various elements such as fire, spills, and the car’s weight in mind. If you are unsure about the wood feature appropriate for your garage floor, consider hiring a professional to help with the process and provide guidance.
The video below shows how to add support to wood floors in a garage
Pros and Cons of Wooden Garage Floors
Wooden floors have high insulative capabilities than concrete or cement floors. Wood floors can provide your garage with the desired warmth during the cold winter, unlike cement or concrete floors.
The wood floors use underlaying to provide an additional insulation layer between the floor and the subfloor. As a result, the materials that act as insulators, including rubber, fiberglass, or polyfoam, are added to the floor surface to protect it from getting cold in the winter. Thus, the wood floors help provide thermal insulation.
Regardless of the changes in the season, the wooden floors help keep your garage space comfortable and insulated. Wooden floors are also easier to install than cement or concrete floors.
Wood flooring is a great option if you are looking for durable solutions for your garage floors. If you can afford the pressure-treated wood, be sure you can effectively use it on your garage floor to support heavy cars or vehicles and other garage equipment.
With appropriate maintenance practice, the wooden floors would last as long as the cement or concrete floors. However, despite their durability, the wooden floors cannot last forever. At some points, they will need repair or be replaced. The maintenance or repair of wood floors is cheaper than concrete or cemented floors. If well-maintained, you can be sure that your wood floor will last for years while enduring the weight and pressure of equipment and vehicles.
The wooden floors add to the aesthetics of your garage space. Wood comes in different finishes, patterns, and colours, allowing you to choose a wood type that matches your style and preference.
You have a wide range of wood floors, including Walnut, Ash, Oak, and Maple, with different styles such as Chevron, Herringbone, and Mosaic, among others. The different types help add aesthetic value to your garage and home. You can match the style of the wood floor to that of your garage interior. Based on past studies, wood flooring can add up to 2.5% value to your garage space or home.
Unlike cement or concrete, wood floors provide a comfortable surface for standing and walking. Wood is ideally a soft material when compared to other available flooring options. As such, the wood floors will be the ideal option to go for when you want to spend most of your time in the garage.
5.Easy to Clean
Staying in an overly clean place is prudent. You don’t want to spend much of your time in an area that looks untidy with no fresh air. Also, you not want to spent the majority of your time cleaning your floor space.
Wood floors provide you with an easy to clean and maintain surface. You only need to do an occasional or simple sweep to keep the floor surface in shape.
You can customize the wood floors to suit your needs. You can design or cut the wood floors to a preferred sizes or shapes to conform with the different garage interior. Also, you can install a drainage system to draw water away from your garage and prevent the pooling of the water on the floor, damaging the floors, lowering their longevity.
- Humidity Problem
The changes in humidity can significantly affect your wooden garage floors. High moisture content in your garage can damage your garage. Naturally, wood materials can warp, decay, and rot when exposed to moisture. As a result, if your garage is located in a place with high humidity levels or prone to flooding, you may reconsider installing wood floors.
However, if you must go with the hardwood floors for your garage floor, you must install hardwood floors that can withstand excess humidity and moisture and insulate the garage.
- Risk of Fires
If there is one flooring type that will make you deal with the risk of fires, it is wooden floors. Wood materials can easily catch fire and cause more harm, especially when highly flammable petrol products are available.
Most wood materials are combustible. Since you are using them on a garage floor that also has flammable materials such as petrol from the cars, you must choose a wood material that is fire resistant and takes all the needed precautions while working in the garage with flammable materials.
- Prone to dents and scratches
Wood is the least durable compared to other flooring options such as concrete and epoxy. Wood is prone to scratches and dents from heavy garage equipment or tools.
You must ensure that you have provided the floor with adequate protection and maintenance to prevent accidental dents or scratches on the wood floors due to the heavy equipment operating in the garage.
- Regular Maintenance
Wood floors may require regular maintenance like staining, refinishing, and sealing to help protect your floor from wear and tear and moisture damage. The maintenance practices may consume time and costs when refinishing and sealing are involved.
Using wood as a garage floor option requires careful and well-thought considerations. Most wood types cannot support the car’s weight and are susceptible to fires, water, and chemical damage.
You must make an ideal choice regarding the wood you want to use in your garage floor, ensuring it is resistant to fire, water, chemicals, and oil stains while also determining that it has enough strength and thickness to withstand the car’s weight.