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Earthen floor for farmers machine shop  RSS feed

 
Scott Werner
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Looking for suggestions on forming an earthen floor for a garage/machine shop on the farm. The shop would be a place to work on farm machinery. It has an old broken up concrete floor that is cold and wet. I am thinking earth floor is the way to go but this idea is new to me. Any suggestions?
 
tel jetson
steward
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Location: woodland, washington
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could work. might not be the best option for jacking things up on.
 
R Scott
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That is all we ever had in farm sheds growing up.

Some were simply packed and kept dry. Some had rock and lime tilled in before packing.

Key is having proper drainage.

You may need a couple pieces of wood for jacks for heavy stuff, but usually not.
 
Scott Werner
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Thanks for the input. We have good drainage and use wood blocks for jacking up anything but the lightest equipment. I was wondering about the earth floor buildup itself, how many inches of base, ratios of clay to sand, what kind of finish layer. My main desire is for a surface that could take some exposure to moisture being drug in on boots with out getting muddy.
 
tel jetson
steward
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Scott Werner wrote:I was wondering about the earth floor buildup itself, how many inches of base, ratios of clay to sand, what kind of finish layer. My main desire is for a surface that could take some exposure to moisture being drug in on boots with out getting muddy.


I've found that information surprisingly hard to come by. though earthen floors have likely been used for longer than there have been words for floors, formally describing their construction for popular consumption seems to be something of a brave new world. I will grant that I'm not the most proficient internet user, so there are likely plenty of resources out there that I am not aware of.
 
Scott Werner
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We have a earthen floor now. It is composed of a green colored shale (green clay and frac sand) that was taken from a nearby hillside when the site for the building was leveled. It is a 50x90 pole barn. The floor is very hard but forms a fine dust layer that is a mess if it gets wet. Dusty if dry or sticky slippery goo if wet.
I could use some to form bricks and experiment with different ratios of stabilizers. I am sure I can get a very hard surface but I wonder about how it would handle heavy equipment, or repeated foot traffic, Wisconsin winters,freezing/thawing and such. I saw a video were someone was using a garden tiller and a garden hose to mix concrete into his floor which was leveled with trowels once the material was well mixed/soft and left to air dry slowly.
I will try to go slow and figure this out. Still open to suggestions,Thanks
 
R Scott
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tel jetson wrote:
Scott Werner wrote:I was wondering about the earth floor buildup itself, how many inches of base, ratios of clay to sand, what kind of finish layer. My main desire is for a surface that could take some exposure to moisture being drug in on boots with out getting muddy.


I've found that information surprisingly hard to come by. though earthen floors have likely been used for longer than there have been words for floors, formally describing their construction for popular consumption seems to be something of a brave new world. I will grant that I'm not the most proficient internet user, so there are likely plenty of resources out there that I am not aware of.


Part of that is dirt is not the same everywhere, not even close. Same reason it is hard to get earthen anything code approved--you can't just follow a recipe that always works anywhere. You do need to work with what you have to get the right product for the lowest cost.

Here is one video that talks about soil cement: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15oN2MFjdVU

 
tel jetson
steward
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that it isn't a standardized product or technique is certainly part of the difficulty, but also a large part of the appeal.
 
Bob Louis
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Location: S.W. Washington State
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I just had my shop site cleared and leveled. It is mostly volcanic tuff. I am leaning toward starting out with just that, an earthen floor, except for maybe one concrete bay for sliding under tractors and other vehicles. Eventually, I want wooden floors as a place to screw down forms for laminating wooden greenhouse arches. The initial rectangle of the shop is planned to be 36'X72'. It should be no problem with drainage, as this is at about the high point of my property and on a little ridge.

It poured rain the day after the work was done, doing to it what you might expect. Then we got a dry spell and I spent hours with my box scraper, polishing it. Then it rained some more and dried again. Once again I hit it with the box blade. With the rain that is going on right now, it is no longer turning to a wallow, but staying good and firm. I will repeat the process when it is dry again. Drying out doesn't take long with that porous tuff. I think I will like having that as a floor, once there is a roof and walls. It certainly is the flooring material I can afford.
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