Suitable floor covering for workshop

I’m setting up a small workshop at home and the room I’m using has
lovely floor boards which have big gaps in them. I think it would be
a good idea to cover them up so I don’t damage them or lose material
in the gaps. But with what?

I was thinking linoleum but I just read that it’s highly flammable.

Don’t want to use PVC because of the chemicals it contains.

Does anyone have any ideas what would be a suitable floor covering
that I could put over the wooden floor boards?


in Germany

I know this will have people horrified, but I have some carpeting on
mine, probably nylon. True, it is not fireproof, but I have never
had a problem. However, to be on the safe side I keep a container of
water close by, my soldering area, and of course, a fire
extinguisher. Before I put it down I tested a piece by putting it on
a concrete surface, and dropping a piece of red hot copper on it to
see what would happen. It just smoldered but did not flame up.

The advantage to the carpeting is that it is soft underfoot, and it
is easy to retrieve dropped It has been on the floor for
20 years, and although vacuumed regularly is pretty grungy looking,
butit serves its purpose. Any gemstones that are dropped, do not
shatter or break. A good friend, had a tile floor, and dropped a
gorgeous, expensive sunstone on it which broke into 2 pieces. She
now hascarpet installed over the tile. Alma

When I first set up shop in the basement of my parents’ house (I was
living in a 33 square meter appartment and my partner was tired of
my taking over the kitchen table) I covered the floor surrounding my
bench with 2 full size sheets of plywood (4x8’). Yes, it is wood and
flamable, but it’s not like it’s going to explode just because you
drop some molten metal on it.

You’ll get a nice little charred spot but unless you leave the molten
metal alone I suspect it should be fine, just add a little bit of
water to put it out (not too much or your wood may start swelling).
It’s a cheap if not pretty solution.


Hi Michaela,

I have a studio with the same flooring situation as you. I tore up
some wall to wall carpeting and there was an underlayment type
wood-plank floor with big gaps. I’ve actually lost some stuff in the
cracks. Anyway, I put down 3’ x 5’ sheets of Durock Cement Board
that’s fire rated for 1 to 2 hours. It’s available at Home Depot
type stores and is easy to carry and lay down. With a jeweler’s
bench and soldering equipment sitting on the floor I feel secure
with the fire rating and know if I drop something it won’t

Hope this helps.

Does anyone have any ideas what would be a suitable floor covering
that I could put over the wooden floor boards? 

High-density fiberboard, also called hardboard. Masonite is the best
known brand in the US.

Elliot Nesterman

Hi Michaela

I have the same problem but I found that technical cork flooring
will be the best solution.

You can buy rolls 1mx10mx2mm or panels 1000x500x5mm.

Maybe this will help.


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How about laying down a sheet of Luan or even 1/2" OSB?

Chris Anderson

suitable floorcovering…

I use wool rugs. Why? Wool will not harbor a flame or an ember and
will not start on fire. Fireplace hearth mats or rugs are made of
wool. I have enjoyed them for years. They are soft to stand on and
easy to keep clean. I make sure my silver and gold sweeps stay
contained in the sweeps drawer. so I don’t file over the rug, etc. I
have dropped molten metal into the rug and it burns a black spot in
it and then nothing happens. Make sure the rugs are wool though and
not some kind of nylon blend. Hope this helps! :slight_smile: joy kruse

Hi Michaela, if you want to preserve the wood floor but also be able
to remove the covering later, you might consider a removable
covering material like a portable dance floor. I know they sell
those. If you’re going to attach a material to the floor, personally
I like very hard flooring, like you would find in a school or
hospital. They sell flooring specifically for emergency rooms, like
that. It’s easy to clean, nearly indestructible and you never lose
anything. It’s usually squares you glue down but it comes in sheets
and it sounds like you’d need to cover the existing floor with
plywood to make it perfectly flat first. Mark

I covered my floors with hard board–Masonite here in the states. It
is a compressed wood and glue product with one side a super hard and
shiny “skin” and the other without the skin.

I put the shiny side up, primed and painted with a good floor paint.
This was my studio floor for many, many years.

I nailed it and screwed it down and puttied the seams, although you
may not need to.

Masonite is about 1/8 inch thick.

Andy Cooperman, Metalsmith

What of those plastic office floor pads normally for carpeted rooms?
It would be a traffic-worthy solution that isn’t permanent. They come
in all sorts of sizes, but I’m not sure of their flammability or


My linoleum just gets little black scars on it when I drop red-hot

Mlou Brubaker

What’s easy and tough is the new snap together laminates. Don’t even
have to mail or glue. It’s a floating floor. Cheap!

I am going to replace my cheap carpet with the cheapest laminated
wood flooring that Lumber Liquidators has on sale. The room I am
using is relatively small, so won’t take all that much. Yes, it is
wood or bamboo, and so will scorch, but that doesn’t matter; this is
a workroom, not a living room. If it gets too bad it can always be
taken up and replaced, in whole or in part.

I haven’t decided whether to burn the carpet, and send the ashes to
the refiners. After having used the room for 15 or so years, there
might be enough metal there to justify the expense. Even not filing
over the carpet, but using a flex shaft, there is more metal "lost"
than you might think. When a friend moved, we carefully swept behind
and under his benches and work table, and recovered roughly $200.00.

Even cheap laminated flooring will cost more than plywood or cement
board, but will be easier to maintain, and recover sweeps on a
day-to-day basis.

Joy, in my post I said I thought the carpeting I use on my studio
floor was nylon, but from your description of the way yours, which
is wool, just had a black spot burned into it when a hot item was
dropped on it, leadsme to believe that my carpet is also wool. Works
fine for me, and I like the softness underfoot. Alma

What's easy and tough is the new snap together laminates. Don't
even have to mail or glue. It's a floating floor. Cheap! 

That’s the ticket! I forgot about that stuff. We have big dogs and
put that down in part of our house. It’s awesome, nearly
indestructible, easy to install and eaves the floor underneath just
as it was. Ours looks like a wood floor but isn’t. Mark

I had carpeting in my workshop and office in my jewelry store in the
70’s decided to change the carpet in my office. cut it up into 1’
squares sent it off to the refiner. Got a check back for $13,000+
took a great vacation. The gold dust off the feet of my workers was
in the carpet. Next year changed carpet in the workshop bought a
boat!!! Then changed to carpets from India. all natural and no
problems with burning them out. Tool a great vacation each year
their after…

1 Like

Marrin-Absolutly refine your carpet! Tim and I pulled apart a chair
he had been stiitng in for 20 years. We put some paper on the floor,
turned the chair over and removed the upholstry fabric and foam
underneath. We then bundled up the foam and fabirc in the paper and
sent it to AAA Precious Metals here in Portland. We got around
$1400.00 in gold back from the refiner.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer

FYI. Wool will smell like burnt hair when burned or singed. nylon
will smell more like burned plastic. Nylon will melt when burned and
resdue will be hard, wool will be ashy. you can burn just a couple
of fibers and should be able to tell…

I put down 24 inch square chipboard subfloor panels. They had an
advantage for me in that I could carry them easily and with the
plastic backing on them, they are relatively easy underfoot. The
chipboard makes the surface uneven - if I drop something it usually
gets trapped in the chips close to where it landed instead of rolling
to the farthest corner.

This is an old house. nothing is 90 degrees and nothing is level
about it.

Although I am on the square and level, nothing else about the place

Barbara on a grey day on the island, anticipating wind and snow