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Dirt floor forklift, is it possible?

snowman

Diamond
Joined
Jul 31, 2004
Location
Southeast Michigan
Can you do some kind of wood floor over the gravel? Maybe end-grain cut-offs from some lumber mill? (Treatment of some kind may be in order for durability, fire, etc.) Not a cure-all for sinking in, but might be a step up from the gravel.

I started to think along these lines and quickly came to the conclusion that I was wasting time when I should just write a check.

I think that that is sort of the conclusion all of this has me at as well.

It would probably cost me $3/sq ft to do the dirt floor....might as well pony up and get something more useful.

Sucks. But that's life.


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Garwood

Diamond
Joined
Oct 10, 2009
Location
Oregon
My forklifts spend most of their time on gravel. Outside.

My experience is any gravel is fine for a hard tire forklift as long as it's fairly flat. If the ground is rough you can get the lift stuck easily.

Here in Oregon the rain capitol of the universe it gets damp, but moisture isn't that bad. When it gets bad is when the damp ground/gravel freezes solid after a week or so of below 20 degree weather then it warms up and rains. All that gravel is nice and mushy again for a few weeks.

If you start with larger aggregate- 2.5" minus or so for 6" and then a skim coat of 3/4 minus I don't think you can sink in it if it's packed.

Keep in mind everyone's experiences are different. I have driven horrible forklifts at other shops. Especially shitty old stickshift ones with low power and grabby clutches and no brakes. Anyone would dig a hole in gravel trying to use something like that. If your lift is in decent shape and smooth to operate you should be able to drive it anywhere most of the year and anywhere there is decent gravel for the wet season.
 

Big B

Diamond
Joined
Jun 26, 2009
Location
Michigan, USA
Are you going to just be storing the forklift in the gravel area or are you going to be driving around with a few thousand pounds on the forks. That will also make a big difference. I have a couple of driveways that are 22A road gravel and once packed it is like concrete. Still think you are better off paying the extra and going with concrete.
 

john.k

Diamond
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Location
Brisbane Qld Australia
Get some stuff thats called "crusher dust" out here............mix of everything small from the crusher,and quite cheap,as crushed rock goes.......sets like concrete,if you water it ocassionally,its not dusty,and better than concrete IMHO........roadbase is a bit more expensive,more big bits,so more durable under erosion on a slope.....And you can spread the stuff with a forklift,if you dont get too much at once.
 
Joined
Jan 15, 2005
Location
The Netherlands
Pavement I would go for pavement
f you leave the building you can take it along at least
Lots of pavement over here Also on public roads with lots of traffic
I prefere these concrete blocks 10x10x20cm or about
Cheap also

Peter
 

JCByrd24

Aluminum
Joined
Jan 24, 2009
Location
Maine, USA
My gravel drive is like concrete when it's dry and would easily handle a small forklift, certainly better than the asphalt pad in front of my garage (which at 2 years old still shows tire marks if you're not careful and it's over 80F). For residential pole barn storage I'd certainly give it a try before pouring a pad. You can always pour concrete over it later.
 

DDoug

Diamond
Joined
Oct 18, 2005
Location
NW Pa
I have seen asphalt applied inside buildings.

Looks like it was hand shoveled down, and run a plate compactor over it.
 

MihiT

Aluminum
Joined
Mar 22, 2018
How to build a durable Adobe Floor

I would have no qualms about using heavy machinery on an earth floor prepped properly. Time-expensive but materials-cheap.

If you're bringing in metal "sharp" agregate will lock together better than smooth (river rocks,ie)

Like concrete, it's the mix of sizes, compacting down, filling the gaps to create a solid conglomerate very high in compressive strength, your local supplier may supply "roadbase" otherwise "builders mix" would work.
 

Mud

Diamond
Joined
May 20, 2002
Location
South Central PA
FWIW I have asphalt millings covering a large part of my yard. They knit together so firmly you need an excavator or a pickaxe to dig through them. Turning the steering tires on a forklift just leaves skuff marks like on paved asphalt. In fact, the edges of my paved asphalt are broken but the millings are not. Where there has been nothing driving over them they are not quite as solid as where there is traffic, but we run loaded triaxle dumps, crawler loaders, etc over it with no signs of wear, Stormwater does not erode it. Being out in the sun on hot days helps speed things up for curing, not sure how being indoors would affect that. If you connect with a milling company that is out of storage space you can get them for free, otherwise they are approx the cost of gravel to have delivered. If you get more than you need they store indefinitely.
 

Hodge

Stainless
Joined
Jul 30, 2008
Location
spartanburg sc
I had the same issue at one point, forklift with small hard tires and gravel drive. Got stuck several times.

What I had considered doing was making some sort of hub adapter bolted to the driving wheels. That would allow a atv tire and rim to bolt up. Not to take the load but allow you to air up the knobby tire for added traction. Then you could adjust air pressure for grip. of course the hard tire would still carry the load. I never pursued the idea and sold the lift so I really don't know if it's feasible. Just a low buck solution.
 

Garwood

Diamond
Joined
Oct 10, 2009
Location
Oregon
You guys that are getting your forklift stuck in a gravel driveway- What is the gravel like?

I have seen a trilifter load a 40K lb press brake in wet gravel. I've used an HD360 Hyster on a few inches of 3/4 minus over soaking wet soil with 20K on the tips of the 8ft forks and it displaced the ground, but it kept on going.

I just spread 60 yards of 1.5 minus for a road base and unpacked I can't drive any of my forklifts through it. Topped up with fines and compacted it's pretty much like concrete.
 

john.k

Diamond
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Location
Brisbane Qld Australia
Where I used to work,a lot of the yard was soft sand,from years of sandblasting.A whole fleet of forklifts worked on that,the dumb kids would get them bogged sometimes,by turning the steer onto full lock.......other wise OK.The skinflints that owned the business would not consider any fill that wasnt free,and spread free.
 

Strostkovy

Stainless
Joined
Oct 29, 2017
You guys that are getting your forklift stuck in a gravel driveway- What is the gravel like?

I have seen a trilifter load a 40K lb press brake in wet gravel. I've used an HD360 Hyster on a few inches of 3/4 minus over soaking wet soil with 20K on the tips of the 8ft forks and it displaced the ground, but it kept on going.

I just spread 60 yards of 1.5 minus for a road base and unpacked I can't drive any of my forklifts through it. Topped up with fines and compacted it's pretty much like concrete.

In my case you could move it with a shovel and a lot of effort, but not stir it up with a rake.

It seems the smaller forklifts have more of an issue with it, probably due to tire diameter.

In my experience, a loaded forklift has a better chance of not getting stuck due to less drag caused by the small rear tires digging in and more traction on the drive tires. The drive tires don't start digging until they slip.
 

isaac338

Cast Iron
Joined
Sep 25, 2008
Location
Halifax, Canada
I just hate paying someone $5/sq ft for four inch concrete when all I'm doing is storing stuff on it.

In a year or two when you're buying more machines and looking for a place to put them you'll be some happy you sprung for the $5/sq ft concrete (which is fairly cheap as it is).

With any outbuilding of usable size, any floor that isn't concrete is surely temporary, so do you really want to have to shuffle all the shit out of it and pay the $5/sq ft in a few years when whatever dirt floor you use turns into a mud hole? Just do it now and get it done!
 

snowman

Diamond
Joined
Jul 31, 2004
Location
Southeast Michigan
In a year or two when you're buying more machines and looking for a place to put them you'll be some happy you sprung for the $5/sq ft concrete (which is fairly cheap as it is).

With any outbuilding of usable size, any floor that isn't concrete is surely temporary, so do you really want to have to shuffle all the shit out of it and pay the $5/sq ft in a few years when whatever dirt floor you use turns into a mud hole? Just do it now and get it done!

Eh, I'm done buying machines for a while. Maybe a CNC lathe down the road, but it would go in the existing shop anyway.

This is just for extended storage, and a place to park the forklift that's out of the elements.

On occasion I'd be driving across this stuff with a loaded fork of say 2000 lbs. But not often. And I was planning on doing pretty much road base. Trying to go at it with a shovel is pretty much not going to happen if you don't start out with a pick axe.

I'll probably end up with a "trail" of concrete for all weather, then have the barn be gravel/road base, and a "yard" of sorts that is gravel/road base as well. So I can always drive on either concrete or dry gravel/road base under the roof, then in nice weather, have extended space.
 

Fish On

Cast Iron
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Location
Mobile, Alabama
Eh, I'm done buying machines for a while. Maybe a CNC lathe down the road, but it would go in the existing shop anyway.

This is just for extended storage, and a place to park the forklift that's out of the elements.

On occasion I'd be driving across this stuff with a loaded fork of say 2000 lbs. But not often. And I was planning on doing pretty much road base. Trying to go at it with a shovel is pretty much not going to happen if you don't start out with a pick axe.

I'll probably end up with a "trail" of concrete for all weather, then have the barn be gravel/road base, and a "yard" of sorts that is gravel/road base as well. So I can always drive on either concrete or dry gravel/road base under the roof, then in nice weather, have extended space.

Loaded forklift will do better than empty. Empty has almost all the weight on the steer wheels, and next to none on the drives. Loaded transfers a good portion of that weight to the drives.

If it's just for parking the forklift, you don't need a slab, but just two strips of concrete. Frankly, they could be series of thicker 'stepping stones' placed tight up against one another. In a straight line on flat ground, a forklift will do okay on gravel - turning is the issue. Make straight runs back and forth to the shed and you'll be okay on well compacted gravel, and park it on the concrete strips.
 

Bondo

Hot Rolled
Joined
May 14, 2011
Location
Bridgeton NJ
A supplier of mine just put in a new parking section. The area was already very well packed from large forklifts driving over it for years, but all they did was put a thin layer of like 1/2 to 3/4 stone down and pack it very well. Then a week later, they sprayed asphalt on it, I'm assuming it just a seal coat, but it works great.

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