Steel or wood decking on my dump deck

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by Gravel Rat, Mar 22, 2008.

  1. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    Seeing as there is not much work going on I'am planning on building a dumping flatdeck for my F-450.

    I'am trying to decide do I want to use wood decking I only use the truck to haul wood demo debis along with topsoil, sand and gravel. Then dad says what if you drop rocks onto it you will punch through. I wasn't planning on hauling coarse material that would contain boulders etc. It may happen.

    The cons of using steel decking are:

    Heavy if I use 3/16s steel 672lbs the 1/8th steel 489lbs. Wood 571lbs

    Steel is slippier than snot but good for sliding stuff off not good if you want to throw something on the deck like a small tool box it will be banging off the sideboards like a pin ball. When you have a steel deck everything has to be tied down or it moves around. With a wood deck it sticks like glue.

    Prices :cry:

    3/16s plate is 616 dollars for 3 sheets smooth steel
    1/8 sheets are 354 for 3 sheets
    2x6 wood T&G 224.00

    My dad has used 1/8th steel on all his decks but eventually the steel sags between the cross members but that is after 3-4 years of abuse. My brother says I should be using 3/16s.

    The crossmember spacing is 16 inches and I'am going with heavier channel crossmembers than most manufactures. They use 3"-4.1# I will use 3"-5# it doesn't cost much more and the channel iron has a 1/4 inch web. The 5x3 angle iron perimeter is 5/16s over 1/4 inch other people use.

    I have my steel list complete except for the one decision use wood or 1/8th or 3/16s. If I can get away with using 1/8th I will use it and save 260 dollars. Then on Tuesday I will send the steel list to the supplier and see what they can do.

    Wood ?

    Steel 1/8th or 3/16s
  2. bobcat_ron

    bobcat_ron LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,138

    There is a company (somewhere around here) that does Bamboo decking for low beds, I have only seen one, and they really like it, what about an alternative decking like plastic or steel with Rhino Spray on it?
  3. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    The composite plastics are too heavy I looked at them they are just as heavy as steel.

    I'am trying to decide should I go with the cheap route which most deck builders do and use 2x6 doug fir T&G. Its cheap but its not as strong as steel.

    What my one worry is, is wood too sticky and will prevent material from dumping cleanly ?

    I like wood for the fact you can throw stuff on the deck and it won't slide around. I have 10 inch side boards and I always have tools thrown on the deck they don't slide around. Dads steel decked trucks he had you put anything on them the stuff is sliding around.

    I had a 11 foot Del dump with a steel floor throw anything in it and its banging around. You got used to making a corner and hearing a thud.

    It worked good for dirt but any time I hauled lumber I had to strap it down more than I ever did with my decks that had wood decking. When I carried lumber I took the tail gate off the box was 11 feet long. I would hand stack 4000lbs of 10-12 foot long lumber in the truck and go deliver it. Climbing some of these driveways you could hear the load wanting to slide out :eek:

    I had 4 straps over it cinched down tight but the steel was slippery enough in combination with the sawdust stuck to the wood it wouldn't stay put.

    The truck is used for everything from hauling skids of concrete mix to hauling gravel its why I want a dumping flatdeck.

    Putting any load on a steel deck is like putting the load on ballbearings but for hauling gravel it slides off of steel or a smooth surface better.
  4. bobcat_ron

    bobcat_ron LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,138

    The thing with wood, is NOT to buy the T & G, when it gets wet, it needs room to swell and contract, when my tilt deck came up for decking replacement, I wanted to go that route too, but he advised me to go with ordinary Pressure Treated Fir with 3mm spacing and treat the cut ends of the wood with the green liquid.

    I have Diamond plating on my truck deck and it isn't nearly as slick as smooth steel, it seems to hold the loose objects better and it takes more force to move a steel excavator bucket around on it.
  5. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    There is another way I'am thinking of building a deck is with tubing. I seen a couple Mormark trucks they had flatdecks built out of tubing. The perimeter is 4x2 rectangular tubing the cross members are 2x2 tubing. The decking is wood.

    I like the idea the way its constructed because it gives me a low deck height. Currently the deck on my truck is way too high it is a tough grind lifting heavy stuff when the deck is 47 inches off the ground. I'am only 5'9" so I'am not very tall.

    Building the deck out of structural steel I can make the deck 3 inches lower using steel for decking. If I use wood then it will be 2 inches lower because the wood is 1.5 inches thick.

    If I build the deck with tubing and use wood decking it will be almost 5 inches lower and if I use the tubing with steel decking it will be 6 inches lower.

    Haven't ever worked with the T&G but I heard it is a little tough to work with. If I go with wood I probably will use treated I will just have to spend a few hours at the building supply to get enough good straight ones :laugh:

    Building a deck out of the tubing is a different look nobody else really has one. It would be alot more rigid than a deck built out of structural steel.

    Loading height is very important because all my jobs loading the truck are by hand besides hauling gravel etc. When your hauling 1000lbs of junk out of somebodies basement it is all hand bomb work. Getting a old chest freezer or washing machine and dryer onto the truck is really tough now with the deck so high. Even getting a old queen size mattress flopped on top of a load of old garbage that is heaped on the deck 3 feet tall 7'6" wide and 12' long.

    I have winched old cars onto my truck using a comealong and jackall. Other scrap metal out of peoples yards. Those old refrigerators used in the 60s they have round corners and edges they weigh a freaking ton. People have 20-30 years worth of junk accumulated they want hauled away. A job I finished last month I hauled out 1200lbs or so of old canned goods out of a persons kitchen :dizzy:

    Well I have to think about what I'am going to build but I would still would like to know if I should use 1/8th or 3/16s steel or should I stick with wood decking.

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