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How to Safely Store, Handle and Transport Stone Products

 

Stone products are all fragile and easy to be scratched, chipped and damaged if not being handled properly. Damages to stone products often occur during moving, storing, installation and transporting. Any damages to the stone materials will inevitably delay the concerned building project. Therefore, it is critical to handle stone products with special cautions to minimize the chance for the damages. Here are some useful tips on how to safely store, handle and transport stone products.

Special care is required in handling and storing marble granite and stone slabs to prevent bowing, cracking, chipping, and staining. Packing materials and supports should be designed in the manner so to avoid over-stressing or cracking of stone panels during storage and transportation. Stress concentration due to improper handling may interconnect micro or macro fractures of geological origin which may be present in the stone slabs. Moisture and thermal cycles may cause later distress and failure of such panels on the building facade.

All stone slabs must be properly palletized or crated vertically on edge for safe transportation and for cost effective unloading and distribution. Any loose cargo, i.e., non container load, crates should be marked "fragile" and packed with enhanced supports and handled with increased care due to the higher breakage hazard during loading, unloading and transit.

When pallets, crates, or pre-assembled panelized stones are loaded into trucks or containers, make sure to firmly secure them to prevent possible shifting. Pre-assembled panels for storing and shipping should be designed so that the frame supports the stone and no force or stress could be transmitted through the connections to the stone slabs.

 
 

Unless stone slabs or pre-assembled panels are erected directly from the truck or trailer, ample room will be needed at the job site to distribute them reasonably close to where they will be installed. They should be distributed so their identification numbers are visible. Extra handling, moving stone at the job site certainly will increase the possibility of breakage or chipping.

Unloading of trucks or containers at the job site should also be done carefully. If a mobile crane is used for unloading, a permit is usually required. Forklifts are also often needed to unload trucks or container shipments of stone products.

How to store stone on structural floors should also be carefully planned. Unpolished slabs must be protected from possible staining. The storage areas should be adequate in size, accessible, and the moving of other materials around them should be limited. Pre-loading floors should be chosen in accordance with requirements set forth by the engineer of record.

Stone slabs can be stacked. But when being stacked, they should be separated with two non-staining skids placed approximately one-quarter of the way from each end of the slab. Skids should be placed directly above one another to prevent cracking or breakage.

Pre-assembly of stone on steel frames, curtain wall components or precast concrete is done in a shop under controlled conditions.

If possible, pre-assembled panels should be shipped in a position similar to the one in which they will be installed. For supporting seats, the use of special hard rubber pads is recommended. It is prudent to protect the stone from possible staining during transportation.

All cladding stone above the first course shall have lifting holes pre-drilled. Type and location of lifting holes shall be carefully designed for safety and clearly defined on the shop drawings or shop diagrams. Try to avoid cutting lifting holes at the job site. All stones shall have identification numbers for erection purposes and shall be shipped and stored in the sequence of erection.

 
 
 

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