Friday, August 10, 2007

The Slab is Done

The fourth and last pour for this season was yesterday at 3pm. Another helpful driver as it was just me and my wife, my loyal helper. She's good with the rake. Anyway we poured 3 yards and the three children immortalized their names in it as this is the back porch region of the house. My big dilemma was whether or not to tie this unheated part of the slab in with the heated portions with rebar as I'm sure they will be expanding and contracting at different rates. I decided to do it as I had already spent several hours drilling the holes for it.
I spent the rest of the day and night removing forms and installing 3" foam around the perimeter and backfilling, trying to beat the rain forecast for all day tomorrow with will turn this area into mud soup for several days. I finally wrapped it up at 12:45 am, missing dinner at brother Drew's house in the process. After almost six weeks of this, it is time to make sawdust, but we did do it all ourselves and saved at least 7 grand in the process.

What did I learn today? No matter how sure you are, measure three times, cut once. An hour before the concrete was to arrive I "triple checked" my math for the pour and realized I was short a yard. I was on the phone in a hurry and disaster was narrowly averted (again).

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Back porch pour

Had more stone delivered for the porch area(s) that will need to be poured on Monday...while I was in town returning the rotary hammer, the driver dumped 22 tons of coarse rubble crusher run stone a little off target and right into the path that the last cement truck will need to take to reach the back porch area...I built up the 19'x6' porch area with several inches of stone and built the forms. It's tough to drive stakes into rock, the rotary hammer would have been handy, but I did it with the tamper bar instead.

What did I learn today? You have to be on site no matter what for deliveries unless you want to make more work for yourself.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Chip Away at the Stone, Part Two

"Even a rock will crumble, if you strike it night and day, if hammer I must, I'm gonna get through your crust, gonna chip that stone away ..." -that Aerosmith song was playing in my head all day long! I continued with the rotary hammer. I chipped away for hours down at the concrete furnace pad to get prepped for the new hot water supply and return lines that will run underground from the outside wood furnace to the house addition. When I started Sat. afternoon, with 45 minutes left on the clock before returning the rental, I had assumed that the concrete pad was the standard 4' thick with no rebar. (It was poured in 2000 and I found no reference to thickness in my notes from then..) Pretty soon it was clear that I'd be keeping the hammer for the next day.

The pad was 6 to 8 inches thick, fibermesh cement reinforced with 2 layers of wire mesh!

Today I learned that the rotary hammer is helpful in busting up the HUGE sedimentary rocks that keep the backhoe from doing its job properly and this total chip job will be over $100. Maybe an excuse to invest in of the benefits of doing it yourself-you can blow a lot of cash on cool tools...

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Chip Away at the Stone

Rented a rotary hammer for $40 per day-they are over $500 bucks new- and got to work on the side where we nearly had the blow out with the concrete. Every day you learn something new and I suppose that's a lot of the upside of doing it yourself.
Today's lesson: Today I learned that a 7" diamond blade for scoring and cutting the concrete with the circular saw is close to fifty bucks and creates a ton of dust. Made four passes, each 1/2 inch, 35 feet along the east side of the slab where the forms bowed out. Unfortunately the rental place did not provide a wider chisel to finish the edges but I'll be covering them with 3" foam anyway.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Concrete- Day Three

Today the trucks arrived right on schedule at 10:00 am and 10:30. I ordered 12 yards this time and it was just enough, maybe 10 gallons leftover, for the 4.5 thick 10.75 foot wide and 54 foot long pour with 16" deep angled haunches. The Concrete Slab Pour Calculator was a huge help. I had carefully backfilled the forms on this west side with dirt and oiled the screedboard, which made life a whole lot easier. Charity and I screeded, Drew and Laura raked and hoed. Having an experienced driver, pourer makes a HUGE difference as well-try pushing a mountain of concrete with a screedboard. I started to get the hang of bullfloating today as well- jumped on it after our was completed. Then the magnesium hand float for the areas around obstacles like protruding pipes, then finish tamping and troweling the edges as the concrete began to slowly set up. After that it was about time to finish the outside edges with the edger, which left a nice 3 inch edge that was helpful in layout for setting the 6" anchor bolts (Today's lesson:I had found that marking the forms with blue painters tape made it easier and faster to find the marks I had made to set the bolts-crayon is hard to see with dripping screedoff running down the form). By 1 pm I was cleaning up. I went to bed at 8pm. We pulled it off, now just the back porch to pour, then it's time to make sawdust. Drew, Laura, and Charity were a big help.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Concrete- Day Two

Today we poured the east side of the building, the second of three 54' long strips. Brother Drew, wife Laura and friend Charity helped out in withering heat, sun and humidity, well into the 90s.

The truck arrived early at 1:40 with 10.5 yards and we were pouring by 2 pm. Where the forms became 10' 8" wide we began to have some problems and narrowly averted a blowout as the forms were not backfilled enough along that edge. Tractor tire saved the day but I'll have some cutting and chiseling ahead of me where the form bowed out in a couple of places. Also the finishing was a disappointment as the form repair sucked up time and and not allow me to get on the concrete with the float as soon as I could have. We had another helpful driver who even helped rake and screed as I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off.

Later I cooled down the body core temperature submerged in the kiddy pool. From 8 to 11:30pm in the mercifully cooler evening I added more bracing for the west side as our two daughters practiced their skating steps and dance moves on the hardening slab. Today I learned that concrete sucks.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Concrete Arrives-Day One

The concrete truck arrived at 1 pm with the 8.25 yards that I ordered... Brother Drew and wife Laura were on hand for the pour. Good thing. The driver was really helpful and an excellent pourer. It took a while but we pulled it off, me and Drew screeding and Laura helping out with the rake. Son Ned took some photos and video. I built a quick form for the overflow just before the truck arrived and used some of the extra to pour a stoop off the back door. This pour was about 15 minutes long. (It seemed a lot longer!)
I started bull floating a little late but it went pretty well for the first try. The surface is level and has just enough roughness or "tooth" to provide an excellent surface for tile adhesion.