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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a question for carpenters or people who knows about wood strength. I have an idea for storing gallons of water. It would consist of concrete blocks and 4'x8' sheets of 1/2 inch plywood. I'd have 3 concrete blocks measuring 8" wide x 16" long x 12" high down the left side, middle, and right side. 48 one-gallon jugs of water on the left side and right side. Then I'd have a 1/2" sheet of plywood over the top. Then put more concrete blocks in the same places and water jugs in the same places. Based on the height of my basement I expect to have it 6 layers high. Is the plywood going to be strong enough and thick enough? Is the structure going to be stable enough? It would look a little like this:
c.......w......c......w......C
o.......a.......o......a......o
n.......t.......n.......t......n
c.......e.......c......e......c
r........r.......r.......r.......r
e...............e..............e
t................t..............t
e...............e..............e
 

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Perfect--I have a school/office boxed organizer...cubed, I think is the word to use..

3 X 3 X 3?? Two stacked atop each other. I wish for another couple which is really 18 cubes.

I have 2 gallons and 3 juice containers in each cube--or 3 and 1/2 gallons.

No problem for me and you're design may need a concrete block(or 2 x 4's) in between the outside-center...you'll know when you see a sag...but great plan.

Yes, I am a girl--I designed on a piece of paper and built my last house; totally did the trim out and all inside work by myself...even laid hardwood floors...we had a plumber, electrician, and cabinet maker--I ain't that talented!!!
 

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I like the design but I'd go with thicker plywood to avoid the sagging. Another option is to cut 2x4's into 12" sections and stand them vertically between the sheets of plywood. If you put them one on top of the other, it'll act like a stud.

This is what I mean, where - is plywood and | is a 12" tall 2x4.
-
|
-
|
-
|
-

Using your picture, stand them vertically near where I made the things red (and look for the periods in red on the bottom line.

c.......w......c......w......C
o.......a.......o......a......o
n.......t.......n.......t......n
c.......e.......c......e......c
r........r.......r.......r.......r
e...............e..............e
t................t..............t
e...............e..............e
 

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There's a guy about a mile from me that sells 4 x 8 plywood( off sized just a little) for $2..so if this was my plan...it's great and I'm not stealing it---I'd just double my plywood for strength.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I like the design but I'd go with thicker plywood to avoid the sagging. Another option is to cut 2x4's into 12" sections and stand them vertically between the sheets of plywood. If you put them one on top of the other, it'll act like a stud.

This is what I mean, where - is plywood and | is a 12" tall 2x4.
-
|
-
|
-
|
-

Using your picture, stand them vertically near where I made the things red (and look for the periods in red on the bottom line.

c.......w......c......w......C
o.......a.......o......a......o
n.......t.......n.......t......n
c.......e.......c......e......c
r........r.......r.......r.......r
e...............e..............e
t................t..............t
e...............e..............e
Thanks a lot for the suggestions.
 

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As long as each sheet is independently supporting the water and not also the sheets and water from higher layers then on about a 4' x 3' section (you lose 8" on one side and 4" in the middle) supporting 48 gallon jugs at a bit over 8lbs per gallon = 400 lbs or so.

Now go to http://www.tecotested.com/techtips/pdf/tt_plywooddesigncapacities and read through it. The tables at the beginning supply the values to use in the calculations further down. This will tell you your lbs per sq ft rating. I'd go with the 48" on center (48 OC) ratings.

Or simply set up one layer and try it! You'll be able to tell pretty quick if one sheet of 1/2" is not enough or if you need to use a 3/4" sheet instead. Using 2 sheets of 1/2" might not gain you much unless they are attached together. Either glued or screwed or nailed or some combination.

Keep in mind at 400 lbs (per side) plus blocks and wood you could be approaching 900 lbs per layer. 6 layers = 5400 lbs or about 2 3/4 tons. You'll need to make sure the underlying structure can support this. All the weight will be centered on the 48" x 8" strips of blocks or in a total of 8 square feet. This yields about 700 lbs per square foot on the floor when you have finished building your water tower.
 

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Gallons of Water? Containers?

Just curious about what kind of gallon containers were going to use ..... hope you don't plan on used plastic milk jugs .......
 

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Just curious about what kind of gallon containers were going to use ..... hope you don't plan on used plastic milk jugs .......
I use 2.5gallon jugs (similar to what is pictured below). I will keep a couple in the fridge and as they empty I will re-fill with tap-water and move the full container to the basement and will bring one of the full-containers (oldest-one-first) back to the fridge. I currently have angle-iron shelf-bracket attached to the wall to keep my supplies organized.

I am moving to a new place shortly and will have to build a whole new storage system (organizer) in the basement ... there is lots of room for storage, just no shelving in place that works ... :gaah:
 

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I just realized that I didn't hit the last button to make the picture show up (upload) ... argh!

Its there now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Just curious about what kind of gallon containers were going to use ..... hope you don't plan on used plastic milk jugs .......
I'm using sealed jugs of spring water. I can get them for 69 cents each including tax. If I reuse any milk jugs I'd use that water to flush toilets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
As long as each sheet is independently supporting the water and not also the sheets and water from higher layers then on about a 4' x 3' section (you lose 8" on one side and 4" in the middle) supporting 48 gallon jugs at a bit over 8lbs per gallon = 400 lbs or so.

Now go to http://www.tecotested.com/techtips/pdf/tt_plywooddesigncapacities and read through it. The tables at the beginning supply the values to use in the calculations further down. This will tell you your lbs per sq ft rating. I'd go with the 48" on center (48 OC) ratings.

Or simply set up one layer and try it! You'll be able to tell pretty quick if one sheet of 1/2" is not enough or if you need to use a 3/4" sheet instead. Using 2 sheets of 1/2" might not gain you much unless they are attached together. Either glued or screwed or nailed or some combination.

Keep in mind at 400 lbs (per side) plus blocks and wood you could be approaching 900 lbs per layer. 6 layers = 5400 lbs or about 2 3/4 tons. You'll need to make sure the underlying structure can support this. All the weight will be centered on the 48" x 8" strips of blocks or in a total of 8 square feet. This yields about 700 lbs per square foot on the floor when you have finished building your water tower.
That's a good point. I'll be using the cement floor in my basement. Do you think most basement floors would be strong enough?
 

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Used Milk Jugs

I'm using sealed jugs of spring water. I can get them for 69 cents each including tax. If I reuse any milk jugs I'd use that water to flush toilets.
Reason I asked because the jugs don't have longevity ........ tend to breakdown and bust open ....... plenty of postings in the archives in regard to this situation
 

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What type of 1 gallon jugs are you using?

Just curious about what kind of gallon containers were going to use ..... hope you don't plan on used plastic milk jugs .......
I didn't read all the posts, but when I saw your initial post and all the people responding before IlliniWarrior, I began to be concerned about your 1 gallon jugs. They would be convenient to carry, if they wouldn't split at the seam and leak all over. The gallon jugs that water comes in at the store are essentially the same. They will deteriate also.

We have even purchased water jugs (5 gallon types) for camping develop leaks at the seams.

An alternative are empty soda bottles (liter or 2). If you are around places where there are many of them, you can get them for free. I am not a soda drinker, but I have collected a few just by being in the right place where there were some.

If you ever end up with food grade 5 gallon buckets and lids and don't have food to fill them, use them for water. Someone recently posted about that here somewhere.

And food and water should not be stored directly on concrete. If you are putting jugs of water, buckets of grains, etc., put boards down first. The plastic containers absorb something from the concrete.
 

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Im a master carpenter. And storing water this way even if you double the plywood it will collapse in a short period of time. If you figure that water weighs 7.58 lbs per gallon and your spanning three feet between the blocks. Im not sure of the dimentions of your water containers but for a number to work with you stack 4 containers wide and your 4 feet deep lets say 5 containers deep that works out to 20 containers per cube = 151.6 lbs. x2 for each layer = 303.2 lbs. that is a lot to ask of the plywood. what will happen is that as the plywood sags it will pull the sides in thus destabilizing the stack. Note the plywood will only sag till it rests on the containers below. A better way to stack them is to use concrete blocks and for the shelves use 2x but nothing less than a 2x6. keep the blocks on 4 foot centers you should be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I have a question for carpenters or people who knows about wood strength. I have an idea for storing gallons of water. It would consist of concrete blocks and 4'x8' sheets of 1/2 inch plywood. I'd have 3 concrete blocks measuring 8" wide x 16" long x 12" high down the left side, middle, and right side. 48 one-gallon jugs of water on the left side and right side. Then I'd have a 1/2" sheet of plywood over the top. Then put more concrete blocks in the same places and water jugs in the same places. Based on the height of my basement I expect to have it 6 layers high. Is the plywood going to be strong enough and thick enough? Is the structure going to be stable enough? It would look a little like this:
c.......w......c......w......C
o.......a.......o......a......o
n.......t.......n.......t......n
c.......e.......c......e......c
r........r.......r.......r.......r
e...............e..............e
t................t..............t
e...............e..............e
We started building the water tower. I changed the design a little bit. There are still 3 rows of cinder blocks but now they're one foot from the edge of the plywood on both sides. I bought 23/32 plytanium and it's quite strong. I have 2 rows of water, cinder blocks, 4 rows of water, cinder blocks, 4 rows of water, cinder blocks, 2 rows of water. It doesn't look like the plywood is bending at all. We're going to have 5 rows per tower.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
We're on the top row. 30 jugs left to compete the first tower. It'll have 512 gallons when it's finished. If the water is good for two years that should be long enough, in my opinion. The tower is very stable. The wood isn't sagging at all. The furthest distance between cinder blocks is only 2 feet.
 

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I bought 23/32 plytanium and it's quite strong. It doesn't look like the plywood is bending at all.
I don't know what plytanium is, but I have used 3/4" (24/32) plywood (5-layer) to build a workbench, and it would handle a Chrysler 440 engine (well over 600 lbs) without any sagging at all. I don't remember anymore how I built it is the problem - that was back in the 1980's.
 
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