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Michael Leach 09-11-2007 03:51 PM

Building a lifting platform soon - any suggestions?
hey guys, I'm going to be building a lifting platform very soon - probably in the next couple days - and I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions to toss out.

i live in florida and its going to be built in the 2car garage. we're moving north in the not-so-distant future and i'll be taking it with me wherever we go and hopefully we will have a big rec room in the basement that i can use as my gym.

anyways, it seems that most plans call for laying down 2 sheets of 3/4" x 4'x8' CDX plywood side-by-side, then topping that with 2 more sheets of the same plywood going the opposite way; and these sheets are glued and screwed to the bottom sheets, then they put a single sheet of particle board on the top of these 2 layers and then put a piece of 2' x 8' rubber matting on each side.

one of my concerns is that my garage floor is sloped a little bit; is this really a concern? i would guess the slope to be around 1/4" every 4'.

another question - why does everyone suggest a piece of particle board on top? is this for better footing? i was initially leaning towards putting a nice hardwood plywood on the top and coating it with polyurethane - is this a bad idea?

another concern is that i'm the household mechanic and when there's a need to do maintenance or repairs, i'd really like to be able to pull the vehicle into the garage. as of now, due to my benches, tools, existing equipment, etc, the lifting platform is gonna have to be smack dab in the middle of my garage floor - is it even remotely practical to try to move one of these after its built?

i've already ordered (Two) 2' x 8' x 3/4" rubber mats from and was going to price some plywood at Home Depot & Lowes the next time I'm in the neighborhood.


Matthew Miklius 09-11-2007 04:09 PM

Re: Building a lifting platform soon - any suggestions?
I built a platform similar to the one you're describing.

Particle board works well for footing. I didn't get the most refined board (which seemed too smooth), but I got one that was good quality and still quite smooth. I don't know if you'd want to use a polyurethane finish, as I could imagine that becoming quite slick if you're sweating a lot. That reasoning is what steered me away from using the ultra-refined particle board.

For your other questions, I don't think that slope you mention should be too much of a concern. The weights will roll a bit, but you can put 5-lb plates down to prevent rolling during a set, and you can cap the low end of the platform with a 2"x4"x8' board to prevent the weights from rolling off the end.

When it's all built, it is certainly a beast to try and move. There was no hope for picking it up (in my case), but sliding it is a reasonable option. Don't screw down your rubber matting, for two reasons. First, that's an extra ~100 lbs that makes moving the platform even harder. When you have to move it, it's nice to take off the mats and lower the overall weight. Second, if you remove the mats, you can then clean them without getting water/cleaner all over the wood. The mats are heavy enough and have a high enough coefficient of friction to stay in place during the actual lifting.

Now as far as parking your car... I will likely face a similar conundrum when winter rolls around and it's time to move the car into the garage. I've currently lined up the platform so I can just park the front tires on it so that they rest on the rubber mats. Seems like a reasonable solution, and I'll probably put a cheap tarp down to catch any drips from the various fluid reservoirs and hoses.

Dave Campbell 09-11-2007 06:01 PM

Re: Building a lifting platform soon - any suggestions?
I live in upstate NY. I built a platform that is 6X8. The stall mat I bought was 4X6, so I cut it in half length-wise. I used plywood for the surface. Didn't coat it with anything and it's worked fine. Would love a 8X8, but I have plenty of room.
I did screw my mats down. I put the platform on a piece of carpet to give it a bit of grip. In addition, I shimmied a few pieces of wood between the carpet and platform to even it out as it did drive me nuts to have the loaded barbell roll. I would assume all garages are built with a slope away from the house. In the winter, I take it apart so that we can use the garage. I look forward to using it come April, but I just use a local gym and do more DB Olympic stuff until I get my platform back.
As far as moving can be lifted (and remember mine is only 6X8), but lifting it is the WOD. It's a load.
In addition, our basement (and most that I've seen) aren't tall enough for the O-lifts.

Rick Frazier 09-11-2007 06:24 PM

Re: Building a lifting platform soon - any suggestions?

We used the same construction plans. The variations we used:

- No glue, just wood screws and has held up perfectly for over a year.

- We screwed the rubber into the platform as well. No other reason that wanting it to be rock solid.

- We used a hardwood plywood for the landing but didn't coat it with anything. Gets a little dingy looking, but is clean and we've had no drama.

Assembly was quick and painless and its so heavy it hasn't budged since we made it, and that is with constant use. We've yet to disassemble, but that will happen soon when we move it to a bigger garage. I don't foresee any drama, but if so I'll post an update.

Paul Findley 09-11-2007 07:23 PM

Re: Building a lifting platform soon - any suggestions?
The slope will eventually bother you. Level it from the get go. i used a combination of 1/8", 1/4" and 1/2" plywood a foot wide across the whole 8x8 platform to make up the slope.

If you are going to move, I would minimally screw it together with no glue, or just use the stall mats for now. It took all we had to tilt my glued and screwed platform on it's side to level it. To move it would involve chain saws, big pieces that are still too huge to move, and not worth the $20 a sheet of plywood to make new.

Suffice to say, it's staying with the house. I would drive on it too. It's not pretty, but it's effective.

Scott Mahn 09-11-2007 09:03 PM

Re: Building a lifting platform soon - any suggestions?
I hope a bit of thread drift isn't too offensive...

but why are stall mats even necessary (at 2-4 times the cost of plywood)? Is it bad for the bumpers to hit plywood?

Lincoln Brigham 09-11-2007 10:42 PM

Re: Building a lifting platform soon - any suggestions?
One 4x6 stall mat is about $45 at most feed & grain supply houses. So it's not that much more than plywood. Mats reduce noise and increase equipment life.

My votes go for plywood top, skip the glue, shim the platform with 1/4" hardboard to get rid of the slope.

Adam Noble 09-11-2007 11:17 PM

Re: Building a lifting platform soon - any suggestions?
They help deaden the impact, and cut down on noise. Even with bumpers, plywood alone would get pulverized over time.

Michael Leach 09-12-2007 05:38 AM

Re: Building a lifting platform soon - any suggestions?
Thanks for all the help guys!

I think I'll go ahead with the plans and omit the glue between the plywood and also omit the contact cement on the rubber mats - This will allow me to take the screws back out and disassemble the platform when it comes time to move. Besides, I've never done any olympic lifts and I'm only 130lbs so the weights/impact/etc will be very low for a long time.

As far as the materials, I went to my local Home Depot and Lowes and found the following:

all materials for for a 4' x 8' sheet.

Home Depot
23/32" (3/4") Particle Board $17.88
3/4" Cabinet Grade hardwood plywood $24.88
23/32 CDX Plywood $32.97

23/32" (3/4") Particle Board $17.88 (same price)
23/32" BC Pine ULX Exterior Plywood 29.88
23/32" Sheathing Plywood $22.88

Both places also carried Oak, Maple, and Birch 3/4" hardwood plywood for around $47/sheet.

The original plans call for the 2 lower levels to be made of CDX plywood, which I believe is an exterior rated plywood. Home Depot sells CDX plywood for $32.97/sheet, and Lowes has some thats called BC Pine ULX Exterior Plywood; judging by what I read on the little information card, I would assume it would be find as well, its also $3 cheaper per sheet. As far as the top surface, I've seen pictures of people who've used plywood, hardwood flooring, particle board, etc. Part of me wants to buy a nice sheet of hardwood plywood and put some Polyurethane for Flooring on it and make it all nice and pretty. The other part of me says that the whole thing is going to get taken apart in a year or so and gonna get banged up in moving, etc and just go with the cheap particle board for $18/sheet and call it a day.

So for the 4 sheets of CDX plywood, I'm looking at $132
Cheapest top layer would be the particle board at $18
A box of screws (I like the DeckMate ones) for $7

The 3/4" x 2' x 8' rubber mats were $40 each plus shipping. I thought about going with the 4'x6' stall mats from TSC, but I've heard they stink really really bad and they're a real pain in the butt to cut; also to make the platform 8x8, I'd have to have a seam on both sides and that'd probably bug me every time I walked past it. ;)

I'm still trying to decide where exactly in the garage this platform is going to go and once I have a better idea, I'll get some more precise measurements on the slope and see if its really going to be an issue and deal with it accordingly.

Thanks for all the help guys!

Michael Leach 09-19-2007 07:11 AM

Re: Building a lifting platform soon - any suggestions?
I finished my lifting platform.

I ended up using the BC Pine ULX plywood for the bottom 2 layers and using a sheet of cabinet-grade hardwood plywood for the top. I got my 3/4" x 2' x 8' rubber mats from I did not glue the plywood sheets together; only screws. I put on 2 coats of cherry stain and then 3 coats of polyurethane on the top with very minimal sanding; it's not slick at all.

here are pics:

there are larger pictures on my picasa page:
[link w/f/s]

thanks for the help guys (and gals)!

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