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Loft in shed

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2006-12-24          138326


I have a 46X46 frame shed with 14 ft. 6 in. clearance floor to ceiling. My dream is to install a 46X28 self suporting second floor with aprox. an 8 ft. floor level above the current cement floor. I tried the forks on my 4310 this morning, they don't quite reach 7 ft. so that won't work to get things up there, I used to have a real moose of a Clark all terain forklift that went 21 ft. high, I sold it but it would be far too clumbsy for use in tight quarters anyway. Several neighbors have bought used smaller lift trucks that sometimes start sometimes not and allways leeak on the floor. I have to share this shed with my wife who keeps her high dollar John Deere lawn toys there and me having an old smoking sputtering oil leaking thing in there would knock this whole deal dead in it's tracks, so that is kinda out. Now to the meat of my question has anyone ever did such a thing as I'm dreaming of and used some sort of an elevater system maybe a converted car hiost with a floor on it type deal capable of lifting a ton or so to drive like the Gator, lawn tractors on to lift them to winter storage, plus sit pallets of lumber and misc. stuff on then lift them up to use a hand pallet fork to move them around upstairs. I've built heavy duty second levels in shops before but never with an elevator system. Any Ideas. Thanks in advance. Frank.

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Loft in shed

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Peters
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 3034 Northern AL
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2006-12-24          138329


I have had second levels in shops at work but we always had a fork lift. Good question.
Alternatives:
1) trade the 4310 in on a slightly larger unit. 5-6K
2) Buy a 3pt fork lift attachment 1.5 -2.5K
3) Buy an old fork lift 1.5-3K oily mess
4) Buy used electric fork lift 3-6 K
5) Buy a car lift and use it to raise to new level 3-4.5K

I guess 2 on the money. Number five on utility if you like to work on cars. ....

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Loft in shed

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2006-12-24          138332


You're probabaly gonna end up with what's called a two-post lift rated well over 2K, and big enough to store a car on. I've seen them in magazines for less than a grand. Beter have the concrete floor beefed up (read: designed to handle load) though. ....

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Loft in shed

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kentfield
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 16 southern VT and western Ma
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2006-12-24          138334


I made a platform just over 1 foot high with ramp on one side drive up on the platform and the forks reach second floor them put the platform back out side ....

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Peters
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 3034 Northern AL
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2006-12-25          138336


OK Ken now we are starting to brain storm.

6) Metal platform and ramp. $500?

EW I have never seen the lifts that low in price, but if you can get them down that far? I am not sure you could drive off the 2 legged lift at heighth, you are placing a lot of weight at the edge. I think the lifts are designed to have the weight near the center? ....

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2006-12-25          138338


Peters I wasn't sure if he was driving off the lif and omto the loft or mezzanine. So no, the two poster nor the 4-poster would work for one reason (aside from the lifts not being designed for rolling weight: momentum. Any rolling weight on the platform that has to accelerate either on or off the paltform will tend to collapse the lift unless heavily braced against the torque. Then the other question is: how the heck are you going to build a cost-effective loft or mezzanine to support not only its own weight but other stuff? 3/4" just ain't gonna do it even on 12" centers IMHO. Going back to the lift thingy, I was visting a friend in elevated home here on the coast. It's up on 8" sq. x 10' pilings--about 20 of them. I'm sitting at the kitchen table while my buddy closes the frig door and walks fast about 4 feet and stops abruptly and went back (forgot his beer)---like anyone would do. Once he stopped the entire house shook and swayed back and forth. And that's what's possible with a lift and/or loft if not designed and built properly to support alot of weight. ....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2006-12-25          138340


Hey, sounds like I really got the old wheels turning for me. That was my goal to get some thoughts kicked around. Now I'll be a bit more specific on the construcion details. I was probably a bit misleading on the self supporting comment, so here goes. Plan is to place three rows of 7ft. tall salvaged 8X8 barn beams, four per row, one row down each side of the 46 ft. sides spaced 11.5 ft. apart and the third row down the center to support 12 in.X whatever thickness required of those manufactured lamanated beams made out of like 1/8 thick strips glued together for headers above garage doors, etc.(I can't remember what they call them), but I've used them before and they are incredibly strong. Ok, four of those beams will span the 28 ft. width with a center 8X8 post for a 14 ft. support beam span. Between these four beams wiil be three sets of 2X10 joists spaced 16in. O.C. fastened to the laminated beams with heavy duty joist hangers for an aprox joist span of 11 ft. Then this topped with 3/4 ply, not OSB. I'm open to any ideas on a lift system, I only mentioned the car hoist thing as that was the first thing popped into my mind. I do understand the problem of stoping stored kinetic energy in a moving object like a gator or mower, that energy has to be transpfered to somewhere when the object stops. Don't be gentle about any critisims, I'd rather be corrected now than have a hoist or a loft collapse. Thanks again, Frank. ....

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Loft in shed

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2006-12-25          138341


Frank I'd be tempted to make a mock-up loft floor with a piece of plywood supported between two 2x4's--I think you'll be surprised...err...disappointed how much it deflects--even just standing on it, let alone a 2000lb. Gator.

Angle bracing from the posts to the floor is imperative to reduce wracking. I feel the floor might need two layers of 3/4"--just my opinion.

You must be a rich man to afford those lam-beams, eh?

You might want to consider metal web (all angle or angle with rod webs) trusses. Sometimes you can get them from old farms or commercial demolitions for just taking them down. And they're relatively light enough to put up with a tractor loader. And they'll span farther than the lam-beams. If they're not the right size you can modify them easily--though a purist (and a lawyer) would say they have a designed-in crown and shouldn't be modified. If they're too long to drag home cut 'em in half and weld them back together (consult an engineer buddy for the wisest way).

The other way of making that floor is use the steel trusses and lay down corrugated metal, and pour mesh-reinforced lightweight concrete down like what is used in commercial applications. ....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2006-12-26          138344


Hardwood,
I do not see where you are wanting to store large items there. It seems you are thinking on items small enough for your tractor to lift. In saying that, just storing paper really adds up in weight. If you are wanting to store small items you can tote or use a hand truck to move, how about an electric lift with a metal basket with a side that opens. You could set up posts to guide it so it would not swing.

EW could be more right on the floor needed than you think.
....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2006-12-26          138348


Lots of interesting ideas, 1) The angle iron zig zag rod type beams, I have saw those in salvage yards, I don't remember what the lam beams I bought a couple years ago cost, but the used steel likely would be lots less. Good idea, I'll call around a bit. 2) I would have some fairly heavy items, Gator, 345 lawn tractor, Wife's lawn toys, (thatchers, seeders, lawn plug thing, and whatever else Deere built in that category). 3) palets of hardwood lumber, usually in 8-10ft. lengths. 4) Several 8ft. long pegion hole parts bins, backhow buckets, frost hook, etc. This boils down to needing a pretty hefty hoist of some sort, seems like I remember seeing some pretty hefty electric winch type hoists in the Surplus Center catalog, I'll dig out my catalog and have a look. Any other Ideas are welcome. Thanks. Frank. ....

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kentfield
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 16 southern VT and western Ma
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2006-12-26          138350


Can you flip the fork over on the carriage I know on a forklift with a hoop type carriage this will give you about 20" more lift but you have to get the thing you want too lift up off the floor. I put 40' of used pallet rack along the back waal of my barn for storing the off season toys. ....

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2006-12-26          138351


Franky--as I read your list of stuff I stopped my tally at 10,000 lb. Personally, based on what you want to store up there, you might get your you-know-what caught in the wringer so to speak if your insurance agent finds out (um, I think "ballastic" is the word I'm looking for) what you have in the barn up on a second floor...the easy way (you tell him) or the hard way (a catastrophe happens) if it collapses. I'd look at not doing the second floor and just surround the inside walls with warehouse-style pallet shelves. It makes it soooo easy to see and pick things off the shelves with stuff on pallets or pallet boxes or pallet basket/cages. Shoot, absent a hi-lo, for the small stuff you could make a roll around ladder like Lowes has or like a library has for high shelves. I've been to many a scrap yard back home that had the shelving from closed Home Quarters, Costco, and Sam's Clubs that was just sitting outside rusting.

Yes you might have to buy a forklift (a few years ago a forklift rebuilder wanted to GIVE me something like 60 plus hi-los but I passed because scrap was only .5 cent a lb.) You might want to consider a high-reach electric one with good batteries (bad batteries will cost thousands to replace). Quiet. Doesn't drip oil. No exhaust. If you have a skid steer you could easily adapt a used hi-lo mast to one---talk about practical!

If the pallet-style shelving is a no-go, then I'd take the money and just add on to what you have---which compared to the loft will likely be cheaper, quicker, and handier in the long run no to mention resaleability---and lower insurance premiums. Maybe KTompson can weigh in on the insurance aspect since that what he does for a (really good!!) living.

But I'm jis' sayin' ....

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Peters
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 3034 Northern AL
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2006-12-26          138352


7) Dumb waiter with electric hoist to move items to loft.
8) Used pallet racks.

EW Electric fork lift see 4). ....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2006-12-27          138358


EW; I am looking at other options too as I know my loft plans will be a lot of work to construct, and I also don't like having a bit less than 7ft. clearance under it. I've got a longer narrower loft I built 30 yrs. ago in a shed at the farm, the insurance man has saw it for years and never said anything about it, but maybe they have a new outlook on them now that he hasn't told me about. Adding a 20ft. lean on the side of the present shed is a possibility too, and I have looked into leasing or buying an existing building in a nearby small town. I kind of created my own storage problem by recently selling some property that has several buildings full of stuff that mostly needs to be sold and the ballance I'd like to keep, Frank. ....

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2006-12-27          138359


Frank, I realize there are many factors --seen and unseen---that drive insurance rates (right, Kenny? :) ) including your agent which can work for...or against you (right Kenny? :) ). And it doesn't necessarily have to happen to you for the can of worms to open on your situtation---the farmer down the road had a similar barn like yours and it internally collapsed---so now EVERY barn in the area is suspect. For example: back home a trucking company dumped 20,000 yds of asbestos-contaminated fill. The land owner went after their insurance company. So what was done by one trucking company makes us all in the area suspect--and a potential risk. Insurance agents starting sending questionaires to their commercial clients--like me---demanding to know who, what, where, and how much my fill dirt was going. In my case it was simple: I told them I don't haul dirt! (that was what they wanted to hear)

My point is if you build what will have to be a massively sturdy structure, it could get messy (if required) with engineer/architect costs, permits, inspections, risk assessment insurance premiums, etc. and that's why I was leaning toward a straight-forward stacked pallet storage system in an addition to the barn. You could make a dedicated pallet just for the Gator! It'd be like the old Hot Wheels storage case of the '60s, remember those?

But like I always say..."I'm jis' sayin'" ....

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Loft in shed

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2006-12-27          138360


EW; There is a used storage and office equipment outlet in a nearby bigger town that I'm going to check out today if time permits, I just came from looking at an old store building in a near by small town, but it has wooden floor joists and a wood floor over a dirt cellar, probably an easy 150 yrs old, so that was a dead end. Being we are on more than 40 acres out in the county we are not subject to any codes, inspections, of any kind except sewer and well, unless a home is being built as rental property. Thanks for the input. Frank. ....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2006-12-27          138362


Hardwood,
I know codes vary from county to county often but you probably would have to have engineered plans here. Only if you could sell it as a FARM building would you not have to. Then problem if you ever sold the place.

EW is correct at least your insurance agent has some ledway and what matters with an insurance company(ies) can vary wildly and quickly. (Hurricanes are a great example here.) Sometimes the reason an insurance company does not seemed concerned is because there is no or very limited coverage for a certain area and you don't realize it. Some companies will cover damage done by a water leak over time while others do not as an example.

I would want to compare the cost of building your second floor to hold the weight you want it to and the cost of the lift system and the issue of having to move it to the loft and such to a lean too shelter or such. When we went to build our current house we had plans for part of it to be two stories. When the builder got through with all the cost that caused I learned second floors are to save yard space. At least here. I have a friend who said where he grew up they taxed only ground floor so all houses had full basement and at least two floors. ....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2006-12-28          138377


Thanks to all who responded, I think between you guys and the Mrs. that if I do build a loft it will be scaled down to an 8-10 ft. wide structure along one wall more similar to the one I now have at the farm, I agree my original plan was quite complex, guess I'll just put more stuff on the auction and be a bit more selective on what I "Just cant sell" category. We are still quite free to build what we want where we want without any permits, inspections, except for sewer and water long as you have more than 40 acres in the parcel you build on. Kthopmson, you are right on the passing of a code to sell property. The property we just sold with the sheds full of stuff had a rental house on it and we did have to have a county inspection before it was final, but thank goodness any faults the inspector found were very minor and can be corrected for a couple hundered bucks, an example was the lack of a hand rail on the basement steps. Thanks, again. Frank. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2006-12-28          138379


Frank, I haven't read all the replies in detail yet, so I apologize if I'm repeating something someone already stated, but....

If you build a pretty substantial frame wall beneath an area of the loft with enough headroom, barn door track mounted vertically and standard roller trucks make a dandy elevator, I've done a few this way. Lift can either be (depending on usage and ambition) via a gear reduction boat trailer winch (the worm drive type for safety) or a 120 volt winch doubled through a snatch block. Just frame the elevator car out of wood or steel tubing with a plywood floor.

I have done several that will lift commercial turf equipment (1,000 pounds) to the mezzanine level to allow snow equipment to be inside for the winter.

Best of luck. ....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2006-12-28          138381


Murf; Thanks for the barn door track idea, that got the old wheels turning again, back to the drawing board. Happy new Year. Frank. ....

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