The one thing that’s been holding up the rest of the work on the greenhouse is finishing the floors. The top floor is just osb subfloor and downstairs is treated plywood. I spent a long time trying to find a product like vinyl tiles or paneling of some sort, but always ran into the same issue. There are very few products out there that will survive large temperature swings.
Products we considered
- Vinyl tile
- Vinyl roll stock
- Garage floor tiles
- Ceramic tile
- Garage floor epoxy
- Deckover coating
Most of these have temperature range issues, but we’ll go through each and talk about why we thought to use this product and why they would/wouldn’t work.
Vinyl tile is generally peel in stick and comes in thin cheap stuff to thicker tiles that you can grout. We initially though the groutable option would be great to waterproof and protect the floor. Upon further research, we found that the temperature needs to stay above 50 degrees F. Below that, the tile starts to shrink, buckle, and get brittle.
Vinyl roll stock
Vinyl roll stock is that stuff you see by the carpet at Home Depot/Lowes and is similar to linoleum. We though this might be better temperature wise because there would be more surface area that would be glued down to help mitigate any shrinking. Ultimately we decided against this because we have a similar product in our kitchen and if you roll something heavy over it, it tends to wrinkle and tear.
Garage floor tiles
Garage floor tiles are made of abs plastic or thick rubber and would be an awesome option. Really the only reason we didn’t do this is cost. It would be over three times my flooring budget to do the upstairs and downstairs and we’d still have to lay a moisture barrier over the wood because the tiles aren’t quite waterproof.
I almost decided to take the plunge and install ceramic tile. Not only is it super cheap, durable, and doesn’t give a crap about the temperature, it’s perfectly suited to install over a wood floor using a Ditra type underlayment. The problem with going this route is that the underlayment costs almost twice and much as the tile per square foot. Weighing the cost of materials and potential floor loads on the second floor, we decided not to go this route.
Garage floor epoxy
I love this stuff. We have it in our garage and it’s pretty bulletproof and looks nice. I almost tried this out, but it was pricey even for a small amount. After further research, we found that if you use this product over a floor that isn’t concrete, there is a chance for it to crack if the floor moves at all. Since our floor sections are on separate piers and isn’t one solid unit, we figured we’d run into this problem and have a mess on our hands.
This is a cool product. It’s a thick, paste like, paint with a little bit of grit for traction. It’s meant to refinish outdoor decks, so I was pretty sure this would be plenty durable for our indoor floor. Another plus is that this stuff is cheaper than most exterior paint at around $160 for 5 gallons.
I tried two products, the Lowes version and the original Behr version from Home Depot. The Behr version is vastly superior to the Lowes version. They have an advanced formula that’s waterproof, it’s cheaper, and it fills gaps better. In the images below there are 4 coats of the Lowes product in brown and 1.5 coats of the deckover in gray.
At first I tried to use a paint pan and roller to apply the coating, but the paint is so thick it was hard to get enough on the roller and not just push it out of the pan. I eventually settled on dumping it on the floor and spreading it around with a 1/2″ nap roller. After I spread it enough, I was able to get purchase with the roller and smooth it out. It appears that the larger the nap on the roller, the more texture gets whipped into the coating which is nice.