Flooring for an enclosed-porch “man cave”

As part of our preparations for moving into our new home, we have a contractor fixing a few flaws and modifying a few features.  One of them is an enclosed porch at one corner of the house.  Whoever first enclosed it (I’m not sure if it was the previous owners, or someone before them) did an absolutely horrible job, mainly to provide shelter for their dogs (who proceeded to pee all over it, leaving an unmistakable odor behind them).  The contractor has ripped out all the old enclosure work and chemically cleaned the floor and walls.  He’s re-framing the porch, insulating it, and installing exterior siding and sheet rock interior walls, as well as a proper ceiling.  It’s not very large (a little under 100 square feet), but that’ll be big enough to serve as my office and “man cave”.

Because the room started life as a porch, and so isn’t fitted for central air-conditioning or heating (I’ll use a window-mounted unit), I wanted to add a layer of insulation to the floor as well.  After a lot of scouring around the Internet, I settled on a rubber flooring known as ‘Elephant Bark‘.  It’s widely used in gymnasiums, and in areas where hard-wearing flooring is required that’s also relatively easy on the feet.

The cost per square foot is comparable to what we’re paying for laminate flooring, and it doesn’t have to be glued down – it can be laid out using double-sided tape, so that it can be taken up and re-used elsewhere if necessary.  It should also be proof against things like gun-cleaning chemicals, so I can put my workbench against one wall.  I’ve ordered enough to cover the floor, and it’s on the way to our new home as I write these words.  It should be ready by the time we arrive.  I’ll buy an area rug to put in the center of the floor, to lend a little tone to proceedings.

It’s been a lot of fun researching all the bits and pieces we want to do to the house, and deciding what needed to be done before we moved in and what should be put off until we’d rebuilt our savings.  (A back deck or porch extension is on the latter list, as is getting rid of the so-called ‘popcorn ceilings‘ and replacing them with smooth sheet rock.)  We’ve been blessed to find a good contractor who’s charging us a very reasonable price to get the house ready for us.

I’m looking forward to moving into our own home in two weeks’ time.  After almost six years of marriage and rented accommodation, it’s overdue.



  1. Hey peter, the popcorn ceiling is a straightforward DIY project. The key to getting it off is soak it with water first. I used a pump up garden sprayer. Spray, wait, test. It should come off easily in sheets with a 12in taping knife. If it doesn't, wet it more.

    Cover the floor with one piece of plastic, scrape everything into it, rollup and dispose…

    Use a bit of drywall mud to fix any defects in the ceiling, or match any texture that was hidden by the popcorn. There is often a reason someone chose to spray the ceiling. Prime and seal, paint.

    Practice in a non-critical room first.

    The key is soaking it. It should literally sheet off with the knife. Whatever you do, don't scrape or sand dry.


  2. What is the floor structure? Slab, or above ground framing? If it's framed, I would suggest putting rolls of fibre insulation to fill the between frame space. If frame on slab, try to do the same, or make it so. A slab as floor is a huge heatsink, and can be annoying to try to overcome, whether you are cooling or heating.

    Consider setting up a fume hood for your workbench. You can set up glass or plexi windows on the sides, and sliding ones to face your chair. Also you might consider making it a standing workbench, for your back.

    Putting some skylights in the ceiling might be nice, to get sunlight and moonlight into your space. A contractor friend tells me the newer designs are much better weatherproofed than the older versions. He put a bunch in his remodeled single story home, and it really makes a difference.

  3. Though I wouldn't put it in a new house, I've never understood the big deal with popcorn ceilings. "Elephant bark" sounds interesting: I've never heard of it. I only see it in 48" widths. What do you do with the seams?

  4. I'll be anxious to hear how that floor is. We have a problem, being in snow country, of tracking in road sand and ruining our kitchen floor. This sounds like it might be a good answer.

  5. I'm so happy for y'all! Good luck with finishing up the move. Look forward to seeing you both again at Phlegmfest!

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