Leveling an 80g on an incredibly uneven floor - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-29-2015, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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Leveling an 80g on an incredibly uneven floor

SO here is my situation

80g tank with a stand, its about 4ftx1.5ft

I live in an old firehouse and my living room used to be one of the garages, the floor is concrete but all of the floor is depressed towards the center, where there is a drain. The drop tapers off as you get closer to the drain, the foot of perimeter closest to the wall is the most extreme, meaning if you set the stand where I would like it to be, which is perpendicular to the wall, about 6 inches away from it, its not only not level, but there is also a huge gap between the ends, due to the change in slope. So not only would the tank not be level, I would think the stand would warp and likely fail.

Where I would like to put the tank, the floor drops over 1 1/4 inches over the 4 ft, so its pretty bad. It is too much to shim and the floor is so wildly uneven due to scratches, pits and general abuse (they worked on the fire engines in here, so imagine the horrors this floor has seen) that Im thinking the best solution is to use concrete to build a leveled slab that will mesh with the unevenness of the floor.

I cant actually lay the concrete directly on the floor as its a historical building and I can't permanently modify it, but I can put down a tarp or something, build a frame and then lay the concrete inside that frame on top of the tarp, so if it ever needs to be moved the concrete wont actually be attached to the floor.

It wouldn't be too expensive, it wouldn't exceed more than 25 bucks for the concrete and I have access to wood to build a mold out of, which I would level and then line with the tarp and then fill with the concrete. It seems like a solid idea.

I have tried making 4x4 wooden feet that are cut to make up the difference in height, and then shimming them to make them level and it was an utter nightmare due to the unevenness of the floor and the miter saw I am using is less than fantastic, so the cuts were slightly angled making matters even worse.

What do you guys think, keep trying the 4x4 legs and just shim until its finally level (I got level doing this but it involved so much correction with the shims that I just didnt feel safe about it) or give the concrete a shot?
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-29-2015, 09:32 PM
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I didn't even read your entire post and your idea is exactly what I came up with. Build a frame, pour concrete(use fiberglass to reinforce it or metal mesh), and it will self level.


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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-29-2015, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
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I wasn't going to use the self leveling concrete, its pretty pricey, I was just going to make sure the frame was level and then using a piece of wood level off the still wet cement so that it is flush with the frame, making the concrete level as well.

Do you think reinforcing it with mesh would be necessary, total its only 2cu ft so shrinkage shouldn't be much of an issue, I am also not an engineer by any standards lol.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-29-2015, 09:55 PM
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So would you be making the concrete slab about the dimensions of the stand/tank?
Been awhile, but I think 2" concrete slabs (side walk thickness) can support at least 1000 lbs, 4" slabs can support cars (2000+ lbs, driveway thickness), so I would think you would want the slab to be at least 2" thick on ALL sides (with front being thicker to level the slope) just to make sure no sides of the concrete break (if you went thinner), causing problems. I would assume with everything accounted for (except sump if that is what you are using), your tank filled along with stand might be around 800-950 lbs.

The slab should be heavy enough to stay in place (not slide down slope), but not certain as maybe the weight on the slab might drive the slab to slide down slope if nothing is really anchoring the slab in place (but then again the stand itself and wood shims don't slide down slope, just not certain). If you are talking about leveling the whole center of the room, I guess that would work.

You should be able to build a leveled base (like a actual rectangular stand support, rather than just shims is you are worried about the shims) for the stand out of wood though. Like making the form for concrete, but using wood and cutting/sanding to level it with the slope instead.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-29-2015, 10:20 PM Thread Starter
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The shortest end would be around 3 inches, the other end would be about 4 1/4 inches, So that should be fine. I highly doubt it would slide, the slope is bad but I dont think its that bad. I am considering drilling into the floor underneath where it is and putting rebars through the slab and into the floor. They could also be removed and I could fill in the holes if I have to take it out.

But I am pretty sure it would stay put, the concrete would weigh about 250lbs on its own, over 4 x 1.5ft in area, granted the majority of the weight would be in the lower half, which is also the half that is less sloped.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-29-2015, 11:33 PM
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I doubt it would slide, especially if you can pour it so the concrete is only separated from the existing historic floor by a thin flexible plastic film. That way it can lock itself into the small imperfections in the floor.

As for the compressive strength of concrete, it is no problem at all. However, you want to make sure the concrete extends a few inches outside of the weight bearing region. Make the form look nice and leave it in place to protect the edge of the concrete.

Just curious, how'd the firehouse turn into your house?


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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 01:17 AM
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Concrete would work as mentioned but I much prefer wood for ease of doing things. I would go with stacking 2X or even 4X if needed and glue the various stacks together with something like Liquid Nails. Finish off with regular shim materials when it gets thin. The entire sides don't need to be supported as long as the corners are solid. then to avoid the shimming looking so weird, I would add trim around to hide it.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 03:30 AM
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I think you're complicating this way too much.
If its a wood stand I would build a frame that the stand could sit on. Depending on how bad the slope is determines if you use a 2x4 or a 2x6.
Let's assume a 1" variance over 4' because the math is simpler. Yes I did see the 1.25"
Anyhow build the frame. Set it where you want the tank to be. Level that frame. Don't worry about what you use to level it it is temporary.
Okay. You got it level?
Great. Get a compass. No. Not the one that points North. The one you draw circles with.
Got it and the pencil?
You're ready to go. Start where the difference between the frame and the floor is the greatest. Set the compass to that distance plus about 1/4".
Now with the sharp end on the floor, the pencil on the wood scribe the floor onto the 2x
Now cut the wood on the line. Do that on both sides and it should fit the slope of the floor like a bug in a rug.

If perchance you do screw it up you would be able to use a fender washer or two under the corners to fine tune it. Won't really matter if the 2x is sitting on the floor along the entire length or not.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 04:05 AM
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Like the above poster, I would build a stand to make it work. I'm not sure what your woodworking skills are, but building a stand with a 'lopsided' bottom that matched the incline might work really well. The top would, obviously, be level.

If I were doing this I would first built a base, lay it down. If it's too uneven even then, could you put a little but of concrete as 'filler', like patching drywall? Don't call it a modification, call it a repair! Add just a bit to fill in and sand it. Build up your frame and cut accordingly, to make a flat, even top for the tank to sit on.

Just a thought. Building some sort of a big concrete 'shim' would be cool too but perhaps a little more difficult than a fitting stand. Or maybe easier; I dunno! I've worked with wood more than concrete so that's why my mind went there!

Another option might even just be a giant wood shim. Lay out enough 2x6's to make a platform for the tank to stand on, brace them together somehow (even dowel rod studs and wood glue would be sufficient, they just need to not shift or move, all of the strength is in the weight bearing straight down). Use a planer and a little sanding to create a platform that conforms to the floor underneath and is level on top. Stand goes on top of that (Maybe even grab the planer again and cut in a small, say 1/4" deep 'well' for the stand to sit in, to make the platform look like part of the stand)

Couple of thoughts anyway! Curious how it turns out.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 02:01 PM Thread Starter
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GraphicGr8s I am a little confused by what you mean with the compass, do you mean draw a straight line based on the difference of the farthest end, I don't think that would work well because the slope is uneven, the closer you get to the wall the more extreme the slope becomes, so the line wouldn't be straight, it would curve upwards. I don't know how I would cut that.

I'm probably misunderstanding you though.

Also about the firehouse, I rent the bottom apartment from someone who bought it from the city when the started building the more modern firehouses. It was renovated on TLC or something, the downstairs is a full apartment and the upstairs is a shared apartment between the 3 rooms, it has a kitchen and bathroom and stuff. Its a very cool place, lots of history, one of the rooms upstairs still has the firepole that goes into the front garage
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 05:12 PM
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The pencil of the compass draws a line on the wood that exactly replicates the slope of the floor. Then you cut along that line. Like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iy42CAmVFYE
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-31-2015, 03:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keymastr View Post
The pencil of the compass draws a line on the wood that exactly replicates the slope of the floor. Then you cut along that line. Like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iy42CAmVFYE
Bingo.

Same thing as scribing a countertop to a wall.

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