Dirt floor forklift, is it possible?
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  1. #1
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    Default Dirt floor forklift, is it possible?

    Need more storage. The price of the barn is shooting up day by day, the pad has been pretty consistent....but, since all this is is storage for lawnmower and such I'm wondering about just doing a compacted gravel floor.

    Basically building it properly with aggregate, then coarse gravel then fines....like the old barns.

    Anybody done this? My forklift doesn't have pneumatic tires (meaning it's a small tire forklift). I want to be able to drive it in the barn.


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    Only definitive answer I can give is, maybe. My little forklift is hard tired, as long as it is dry I can use it in the yard, little bit of rain and it sinks faster than the Titanic. Day or 2 after it has rained it sometimes finds soft spots, only way to get it out is with 3/4 ton truck in 4 low, or the big forklift.

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    I would say you don't stand a snow balls chance in hell of driving a solid tire fork lift on a built up gravel floor.

    Stuart

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    If you can keep the floor dry you should be ok

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    MAybe it will work OK if you put class 2 roadbase down and compact it well. The base is all differnt sizes of aggregate from 3/4" and down,(3/4 minus) so it nestles into each other and all voids are filled. Gravel may be like marbles once a tire spins and digs in. Inside a barn it should stay dry.

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    I thought I had to start at 3" and work on through the grades!


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    How thick were you thinking of going with all the different gravel sizes?

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    Gravel locks into itself best if there are different sizes in the mix, can you get 3" minus, or maybe a mix of 3/4" to 3" and then put the class 2 base on top of that? Kind of depends on what your local quarry does.

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    I honestly don't know. The guy at the gravel company told me he would help me pick what I needed....but I didn't want to trust his opinion on the application without doing my own research. He actually told me that he could supply me with gravel that would lock together so tight I could roll a floor jack on it when it's dry.

    have 90 feet of sand under whatever I put on it....so it has to be well compacted and locked together.

    I just hate paying someone $5/sq ft for four inch concrete when all I'm doing is storing stuff on it.




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    Fly ash isn't available around you is it?
    We used that to great effect over a well constructed gravel base in a number of pole-barns in my youth. It was practically like concrete.

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    What holds up best at Tx shop(black gumbo clay soil) is 4-6 inches of crushed concrete 3" minus, topped with #2 base, wish I'd known that years ago, if so whole yard would be that way, instead of just the fringes.

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    Here again is my take on this..the pin point load imposed by the small section of those little solid tires of the surface they are sitting on is terrific. Compound that with the action of turning the steering tires to sneak into a pick and you have instantly chewed through any surface other than concrete or properly applied pavement. Little solid tire forklifts typically have very little ground clearance and it takes almost nothing to bury one..and it's a real bitch to get them free.

    Been there..done that.

    Stuart

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    Default Dirt floor forklift, is it possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by atomarc View Post
    Here again is my take on this..the pin point load imposed by the small section of those little solid tires of the surface they are sitting on is terrific. Compound that with the action of turning the steering tires to sneak into a pick and you have instantly chewed through any surface other than concrete or properly applied pavement. Little solid tire forklifts typically have very little ground clearance and it takes almost nothing to bury one..and it's a real bitch to get them free.

    Been there..done that.

    Stuart


    It's got reasonable floor clearance, but it's not ready to go off road.

    I'm surely not disagreeing with you, in fact yours is exactly my concern.


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    I go nuts..sorry. It's just that I've buried lots of little forklifts and it's surprisingly easy to do. The weight over the steer axle is really the killer on anything other than hard terrain.

    Those little boys sure love to drive those things, don't they!

    Stuart

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    Trade the forklift off for one with pneumatic tires. It may or may not be cheaper than pouring a pad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snowman View Post
    The guy at the gravel company told me he would help me pick what I needed....but I didn't want to trust his opinion on the application without doing my own research. He actually told me that he could supply me with gravel that would lock together so tight I could roll a floor jack on it when it's dry.
    This sounds right BUT it wont stay compacted like that when you start rolling things on it. Especially turns will want to grab the rocks and move them around. If it is ONLY for storage and MINIMAL traffic its probably OK but I think the steer wheels on the little forklift will just churn up the rocks.
    I have a roadbase pad in front of my shop and a few months after compacting it looks like loose gravel spread on the ground. It is solid under the top layer.

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    I have had reasonable luck on gravel.. until I try to use the steering wheel. Some counties used to spread calcium chloride from disposal wells on gravel roads to help them pack and keep dust down. The old timers say it worked great. Rust may be a problem though.

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    Inside a building you won't have much luck long term. I have a warehouse truck I drive around outside, but thats on well improved rock roads with no loose rock. A little loose rock and its stuck as solid as if I was in damp soil. As others have said, both your steer tires and your drive tires will tear up the pack job.

    You can even go with a packed dirt floor, but as long as its under a roof it will start getting soft and dusty as soon as you drive on it. Moisture is important to keep the surface packed.

    A skid steer loader is probably the best small rough terrain forklift, especially for things you don't mind picking off the ground and putting back on the pallet.

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    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.

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    Recycled concrete road base compacted while damp will harden/cure to 500&1000 psi.
    Damn tough stuff.
    Next to a reinforced pad that’s the best you will do.


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