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Author Topic: The dirtwork thread  (Read 4966 times)

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Offline Patrick NC

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #20 on: June 05, 2021, 08:58:47 AM »
Good info Patrick.  Thanks.  I need to find a local contractor with your level of experience when I build this thing.  Good info on the geogrid vs fabric.  This will be built in a dry area, not a bog.  Subsoil is mainly clay with a little sand so it makes a pretty good base after removing the topsoil.  I have quarries and asphalt plants close by, so proper materials are easy to get.  Main thing is to get a good contractor.

This isn't really a parking lot I'm putting in, it's a yard for shuffling equipment and attachments, as well lumber on pallets and general shuffling around.  It's going to be along one side of a new building (probably Morton) and the yard will be somewhere around 20k sq ft.

What's the minimum fall on the grade for something like this?  It needs to be almost level I think, but have enough fall to shed the water.
Minimum fall should be about 2%. Thats 1/4" per foot. If your grading contractor is really good, you might get away with 1.5% but that's pretty flat. 2% is what the crown is in most paved roads. So the travel lane that you drive on slopes towards the ditch at 1/4" per foot on most roads. 
For a lot such as you are describing I'd use either 8" of ABC stone or 6" of ground asphalt. My preference is the asphalt. The heat of the sun will activate the liquid asphalt in the material and the more you drive on it, the harder it will get. Great stuff. 
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Offline Patrick NC

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #21 on: June 05, 2021, 09:12:51 AM »
Patrick, do you know anything about these enzyme additives that improve base material?

TerraZyme - Natural Ezyme for Drying and Stabilizing Soil

Hard roads, easy fix | Agweek

This stuff looks very interesting, but I've never talked to a contractor that's even heard of it.
We do a lot of soil stabilization but mostly use cement or lime. We tried a similar product about a year ago and it worked well, but the cost was about the same as using cement. You only have to use about 1/3 the amount per square yard, but the cost of the material was about 3x more. So it was about the same either way. You will come out a lot cheaper and have just as good of a finished product by preparing a good subgrade and covering it with ground asphalt. You would only need to use a soil stabilization product if you're ground is really wet  or has other issues such as lightweight dirt or very high plasticity. 
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Offline barbender

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #22 on: June 05, 2021, 12:01:32 PM »
Patrick, it's been over 10 years since I was in the dirt work game. As far as I know, the fabric was all we had available to us at the time. I've only started seeing the geogrid product since that time.
Too many irons in the fire

Offline Patrick NC

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #23 on: June 05, 2021, 12:44:40 PM »
Patrick, it's been over 10 years since I was in the dirt work game. As far as I know, the fabric was all we had available to us at the time. I've only started seeing the geogrid product since that time.
Your right about that. The first time I used geogrid was about 2010 or so.  We never liked using the fabric under stone because of the exact thing you are taking about. Usually it was better to undercut all the unsuitable material and fill back with a good fill material. The fabric was mostly for temporary roads or construction entrances where the cost of undercutting and filling wasn't justified. 
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Offline blackfoot griz

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #24 on: June 05, 2021, 01:50:15 PM »
The only dirt work contribution I have is to not be afraid to rent a Harley Rake. My yard was an absolute mess after building my wood shop a couple years ago. I used the skidloader bucket to move all the dirt back and roughly grade it (rough being the key word) but it was still a mess with lots of high/low spots, rocks, sticks, and clods. There were existing slopes as well as a pretty big slope where the building grade needed to drop down to the rest of the lawn. Even with the Harley Rake I expected a long full day of moving dirt around with a shovel and raking it smooth.

I was shocked how good of a job the Harley Rake did and 2 hours later I was on the way back to the rental place to drop it off. The only reason to pick up the shovel was to scoop up the rocks and sticks it separated and deposited at the end of each run. Broke up all the clods and left a nice surface ready to seed. It was like magic.

Alan
I agree with you on the Harley rake. They are amazing tools. If renting one, I highly recommend getting a tracked skidsteer versus a wheeled version if possible.

What I don't recommend is snapping off the pressure relief valve on your underground propane tank like I did to mine. That was not fun!

Offline Walnut Beast

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #25 on: June 05, 2021, 06:50:46 PM »
Try a Harley rake in clay pack 😂. I owned a new one with the power angles and it went down the road in a short time

Offline Tom King

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #26 on: June 05, 2021, 07:20:44 PM »
I wish I could rent one that had teeth longer than a half inch.   I don't need one bad enough to buy one, but the ones sitting on rental lots don't look like they'd do much.

Offline Patrick NC

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #27 on: June 05, 2021, 10:30:39 PM »
Creating this so as not to derail a fescue thread. Please everyone feel free to use this as a catch-all for anything to do with dirtwork.  Questions or answers, sharing your projects... whatever.  Roadbuilding, gravel, drainage, septic, ponds, construction pads etc etc.  If a shovel or hoe was used in any way (manual or hydraulic) then it fits here.
Thanks @mike_belben for starting a thread that I have some knowledge about! 😁
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #28 on: June 06, 2021, 08:58:05 AM »
Thanks for all your input.. Its nice to hear what the techniques are when money isnt much of an object. (State/federal roadbuilding)

All of my experience is the opposite.. Sparing money, or doing something useable without any at all, is THE primary object
Isaiah 63:10

Offline florida

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #29 on: June 06, 2021, 12:10:59 PM »
The mother of geogrid!

General contractor and carpenter for 50 years.

Offline Patrick NC

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #30 on: June 06, 2021, 01:15:16 PM »
The mother of geogrid!


That is a genius idea. I've never used it, but I've seen plans for using that system under a truck stop parking lot where there is constant heavy traffic. With all the emphasis on using recycled materials these days I can see that becoming a big thing. 
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Offline Kindlinmaker

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #31 on: June 06, 2021, 02:13:10 PM »
Harley feedback

I installed dozens of high-end lawns during the housing boom.    Most of our work was in subdivisions of 1+ acre lots with large center hall colonials in serious hill country.  Adding topsoil to acre+ lots was cost prohibitive so most used existing soils where we would remove about 30 yards of stone per acre. Process was: 1) required mechanical drainage build  2) Irrigation install as required  3)drainage grading  4) York raking, debris removal and final grade adjustments  5) 2-3 machine passes with hand raking behind the final pass  6) Seed, fertilize and mulch or hydro.

Harley rakes are designed to windrow stone lying on the surface.  A landscape tiller is designed to level, windrow, smooth and prepare a seed bed.  They look somewhat similar but the tiller will have a much larger/heavier drum with very significant carbide teeth counter spinning to direction of travel.  The tiller will also have a trailing metering roller pressing down the finished seed bed and controlling the tiller depth which has a maximum practical depth of 2 - 3 inches.  Tillers  are 2 - 3 time heavier than rakes and double or triple the price to match.  

At the request of equipment dealers, I tried a few Harley style rakes.  None ever ended up on one of our tractors permanently.  I don't think I would spend any time at all trying to put a seed lawn in without a good tiller.  I happen to like ATI's preseeder but there are others that are equally good (ATI was my first and I learned to comb a field mouse's hair with it so it was just very comfortable to me.)

Since we used heavy duty Yorks for hydro prep abrading on rough finish erosion control projects, I just never found a practical application for a Harley.  Might work for spreading screened top but you wouldn't use one if you have tillers on your tractors.  

Offline barbender

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #32 on: June 06, 2021, 05:13:50 PM »
What do you mean, Kindlinmaker? I was on a Facebook skidsteer site, and the Harley rake seemed to turn all of those guys into instant grading contractors, according to them!😁
Too many irons in the fire

Offline Kindlinmaker

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #33 on: June 06, 2021, 06:56:07 PM »
I hear ya Barbender and that is one important point.  Having the right equipment helps so much.  I could put a finish grade down and make seed beds as well as anybody.  I never had a shortage of orders and generally had to turn work away during planting season.  

I didn't do much rough grading nor back blading but I had access to the most beautiful new dozer sitting outside a friend's shop where I did a lot of my repair work.  I certainly knew how to run it.  Cannot tell you how many times that dozer saved my bacon - those tracks were just the right height for me to sit my weary butt down while I was on the phone arranging for somebody that actually knew what the heck they were doing to come rough grade my next job!

Anybody can buy a fiddle but that don't mean they can play Orange Blossom Special.


Offline aigheadish

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #34 on: June 07, 2021, 01:42:45 PM »
This is an interesting thread I'll be keeping an eye on. 

I have about 3 acres of yard, which I've essentially destroyed with about 15,000 lbs. of backhoe. I do a fair amount of honeysuckle removal with it, tree removal and extraction, pond digging, creek recontouring, etc., and I've got fairly huge ruts in a lot of different places that I'd love to smooth out. It was suggested, on the heavy equipment forums, to try a harley rake also and it sounded like it may work, but I'm not sure. I've got grass growing everywhere and grass seed cost, for the space involved, is a bit prohibitive to come in and make a wreck of things but that may be the route I have to go. The other part is I'm not done running around on the backhoe, my pond still needs tons of work and there are lots of trees to drag around. I'm certainly learning that dry ground helps a lot but sometimes that's not feasible either. The problem really boils down to mowing is either crazy slow or bordering on painful. I can't imagine that I'll be able to do anything without really disrupting things but I guess we'll see, eventually.
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Offline PoginyHill

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #35 on: June 07, 2021, 02:05:43 PM »
Question: woven or non-woven fabric to line a road ditch before a layer of 2-6" stone or rip-rap? Or is fabric necessary for that? Flat or steep grade - does that impact the decision?
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Offline Patrick NC

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #36 on: June 07, 2021, 02:20:37 PM »
Question: woven or non-woven fabric to line a road ditch before a layer of 2-6" stone or rip-rap? Or is fabric necessary for that? Flat or steep grade - does that impact the decision?
Woven is for soil stabilization and non woven is used to keep materials separated. So in a ditch you would want non woven. The main reason is so the rock doesn't sink into the dirt and become contaminated. Same theory as covering the rock in a septic drain field with fabric or straw before backfilling. As far as how steep the grade is, with a steep grade you need to use bigger rock. Depending on how much water flow there is you may need head sized rip rap or riverbank ballast. With a fairly flat grade and less flow you can get away with smaller rock such as 6" rip rap. 
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Offline Patrick NC

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #37 on: June 07, 2021, 02:26:42 PM »
This is an interesting thread I'll be keeping an eye on.

I have about 3 acres of yard, which I've essentially destroyed with about 15,000 lbs. of backhoe. I do a fair amount of honeysuckle removal with it, tree removal and extraction, pond digging, creek recontouring, etc., and I've got fairly huge ruts in a lot of different places that I'd love to smooth out. It was suggested, on the heavy equipment forums, to try a harley rake also and it sounded like it may work, but I'm not sure. I've got grass growing everywhere and grass seed cost, for the space involved, is a bit prohibitive to come in and make a wreck of things but that may be the route I have to go. The other part is I'm not done running around on the backhoe, my pond still needs tons of work and there are lots of trees to drag around. I'm certainly learning that dry ground helps a lot but sometimes that's not feasible either. The problem really boils down to mowing is either crazy slow or bordering on painful. I can't imagine that I'll be able to do anything without really disrupting things but I guess we'll see, eventually.
If I was going to use a Harley take in that situation I think I'd fill all the ruts first and then work a seedbed with s disc harrow first. Then Harley take to finish. 
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Offline Bruno of NH

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #38 on: June 07, 2021, 05:54:42 PM »
Ventrac makes a type of rake tiller thing that looks like it prepares a good seed bed.
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Offline Bruno of NH

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Re: The dirtwork thread
« Reply #39 on: June 07, 2021, 05:59:13 PM »
One other thing.
When I was building full time there was nothing worse than a bad site work guy.
I told one guy once he moved the same dirt so much he wore it out and had to get new dirt  :D
Some guys are smooth as silk on a site.
I learned to ask who was doing the site work. If it was certain guys I would decline the job.
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