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More concrete work... urgh!

Rating: 4 votes, 5.00 average.
Dragging my feet on this project because frankly I've never done it before and didn't relish the idea of having to deal with it, I filled in where the concrete floor was too low. This was an important hurdle in my eyes, and I was dreading it. In the end, it wasn't awful, but then again I'm not entirely done. Here's how it went.

The metal stand is up on shims to get the stand and tank completely level. The slab was down nearly 1" at one corner, and any water spills would inevitably head toward the livingroom area. Additionally the sump was going to be un-level as well.

I talked to the flooring guy at Home Depot, and their leveling stuff wasn't going to work. It is designed to be poured out on the floor and wherever it pools up, that's what is filled. You can't slope it. I need this stuff to be much thicker and slope toward the french drain. I bought a type of concrete that contains vinyl adhesive. Three bags at $12.50 each. I needed a container to mix them in, so I cut a barrel down to usable size.

I decided I needed a drag board that would level the fresh concrete. I can't remember which friend suggested it, but he told me to make the drag board sloped to get that slight drop I wanted. I thought about concrete and lumber dragging against my pretty powder coated steel stand and came up with a soft solution to keep the damage to a minimum.

I built the drag board so that it had a slider at each end to run along the top of the metal frame. Then I wrapped and tacked some fabric on each end to avoid rubbing the wood on the finish.

This end is even with the stand. The slider board is 2" up, the same thickness as the square tube pipe. Also, you can see the pink foam filler I cut and inserted under the steel to keep the stuff from running under and being an ooze problem.

The opposite end is lower than the frame, with the slider board affixed 2 1/4" above to run along the top of the square pipe.

All I had to do was pour in the concrete, drag this board toward the opposite end and I'd have the perfect pad poured, with it tilting just a tad toward the french drain. The plan was after the inside was done to do the area between the stand and the drain to contain the flow of water.

I mixed up the concrete with some water. A 40lb bag needs a little more than 3/4 of a gallon of water.

I poured water on the dry concrete area as directed. Then using a junk paint brush, spread out the water evenly over the entire area I was about to work.

A few scoops worth.

Don't let me fool you; this was NOT easy. I worked that board back and forth a lot and there was an area in the middle that kept ripping up leaving an ugly hole. I tried every trick I could think of, wiggling the board back and forth, refilling the area that wouldn't stay filled, leaning the board to create a slimmer angle against the concrete. It was a real pain. At this point, the first bag was used up.

I mixed up the second bag, and continued. Once it was poured in, I used some 1/4" acrylic to clear out a slight gap between the bottom of the metal frame and the top of the new concrete to maintain that necessary gap in case there's a leak. I ran out of concrete and had to buy a third bag just to be able to fill the last of it, which was the thickest of course. In the end, it took 2.5 bags to fill the area and get it level.

Once troweled smooth, I used the last of the mix to start on the area that flows toward the french drain. This is as far as I got today, and I'm guessing I'll need two more bags to work the rest of the area around the tank. I don't want to go crazy and do the entire room, so I'm targeting the main area under and around the tank. I'll build up a small dam between the stand and the neighboring walls to assure water can't travel into the kitchen or living room.

My same form was just as handy on the outer section, still maintaining that 2 1/4" drop that runs to 0" at the floor drain.

You can see the gap pretty well here. If there's a leak, it has somewhere to go.

Originally, I was going to put pond liner in the stand, folding it up on three sides to only have one outlet. However, I think instead I'll just run a good bead of silicone around the perimeter. Or maybe I'll lay down the rubber and then run the bead of silicone. Something like that, anyway.

Yesterday, I had a request for more images of the plumbing access panel. Here's one picture from inside the fishroom. This will be hidden from view by the cabinet that the sink will go in.

On the garage side, this is that panel, available at Home Depot or Lowes.

Prying it out, you can see the thin layer of insulation I tucked in to keep the cold air out of the plumbing.

And while I was shooting pictures, here are two of the garage side taken with the D90. The walls still need a little more work to cross them off my list.

Air Tank Shot for January. Soon to be updated with a wet version.

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Tank Entry , ‎ DIY projects


  1. Jnarowe's Avatar
    You sir, are a DIY madman! Nice job. I would skip the silicone bead. It just doesn't adhere well to concrete. The thing about creating an under-stand "pond liner" is that you don't know that a leak will originate under the stand. It is more likely to be a cracked hose, failed equipment, etc. and spray somewhere that you have no liner. I would look at it from the standpoint of protecting electrical equipment from such an event, and let the room contain the spill until it drains through your floor drain. If all roads lead to the floor drain, then your only worry is incidental damage from water that is not dripping on the floor directly, but whicking around equipment, electical outlets, cords, etc. I installed my multi-media reactor over my sump so that if it leaked, no harm, no foul. But when it did leak, is sprayed onto an electrical cord outlet, shorted out the power, flooded the room, and took my controller and floor pump out of the picture. It nearly burned down my house, and came within minutes of rupturing one of the return lines. Had that happened, it would have drained my tank. The silicone bead I ran around my rubber baseboard did not perform well, and in fact, released due to the concrete and salt water interaction.
  2. melev's Avatar
    Sounds like the perfect storm, Jonathan. I like the pond liner idea simply because it'll keep things tidy, I can wipe up spills around the pumps, and focus any water exactly where it is meant to go. Using only silicone on the concrete allows any saltwater to soak into the concrete. Maybe I could paint it, like the rest of the fishroom floor. Hmmm.
  3. Jnarowe's Avatar
    I had a few perfect storms! LMAO. It's much worse than that description too. It killed most of the power to the tank room, and I walked in (just recovering from stroke) in about 1" of water and flipped the sub panel breakers back on. They quickly snapped off again, and a huge puff of smoke came out from under the tank. That's the thing about brain injury...youhave no idea how much danger you are in!
  4. brotherd's Avatar
    I can only imagine the stress of such a project,both mentally and financialy.There is a better solution other than silicone to adhere to concrete.I used an elastomer type used to seal the joints of concrete pools.I used it to seal a laminite floor to a concrete fireplace to an osb sub floor.I'll try to find the specs on that as soon as possible.You have your work cut out for you that's for sure.
  5. melev's Avatar
    That sounds interesting. I'm sure I could even use that spray truck bed liner to get similar results, right? hehe I'm getting really tired of spending money, that's for sure!
  6. brotherd's Avatar
    ok,got is a polyuerthane water proof concrete sealant used for foundations and sidewalks.comes in regular sized cauling gun tubes.mine is grey if that matters.paintable and permanently flexible.Made by peeling or separation of any kind after several years.Labeled as a waterproof concrete sealant.hth.
  7. melev's Avatar
    Sounds awesome. So what do you think I should do: Paint the surface with concrete paint and add the sealer around the edge, or put down the rubber liner and then the sealant?
  8. brotherd's Avatar
    Also ,if you used enough of it you could close in the gaps under the stand and direct water werever you needed it to go.Quick question,are you confident about the composite shims " stability wise".They are not attached to the stand or floor in any way correct?
  9. brotherd's Avatar
    if you are only doing under the stand then I would do sealer and then liner.are you painting the whole floor in the room?
  10. brotherd's Avatar
    Looking at the pics again,you could put down a flat liner,no sides,seal the edges where required,install sump,etc. on top of liner,and call it a day.skip painting the concrete unless you will see it ie in the rest of the room.
  11. melev's Avatar
    I'd like to cut a liner to fit the base, apply the sealer around three sides, and get things installed. Then the fishroom floor can be painted in the (near) future when I can vent the room well.
  12. larry.beck's Avatar
    Thanks for those additional pictures Marc! I'm going to have a drain in my in-wall plumbing as well, and was thinking of using the same type of in-wall box that you use for a washing machine to provide hot and cold water taps as well as the drain. Anybody see any issues with that approach?
  13. melev's Avatar
    No, none at all. Go for it.
  14. melev's Avatar
    Hang on. I'm thinking about the wall drain you mentioned, and need to point out that sink plumbing is different from how a washing machine drains. A washing machine pumps out the dirty water at a specific rate (no idea how many GPH that is), where a sink conceivably could drain faster with a faucet open full strength. I don't know if the drain in the wall box will keep up. You better check with a plumber on that one, just to be sure. Somewhere, that drain line is going to need a vent pipe so water can exit without gulping, burping, or surging.
  15. Tbeau's Avatar
    why put the pond liner, I would finish the excellent job you are doing and use black top sealer on the entire floor. It will water proof and protect the cement from any salt, cement tends to break up with salt. then all you have to worry about is water getting into you living room, but I believe you already stated you made a dam. This will also give your floor a nice solid look and it if you get the airport grade, with grit you won't slip when floor is wet. Keep up the great work, I love reading these posts.
  16. Tbeau's Avatar
    ohh, i was just thinking of your last post, other than pond liner, you can also get lamanent floor sound and moisure barrier for under your sump. one it is made fore moisture and 2, it will keep your sump from making direct contact with the floor, and dampen any noise if any. The plus side it comes in a nice roll so is easy to work with.
  17. melev's Avatar
    I've not tried to find any floor covering products yet, so if you have suggestions please post a link so I can see what you are talking about.

    Under the sump I always put a sheet of 3/4" foam. That's good insulation against temperature drop.
  18. adam's Avatar
    I'm a electrician by trade but i see allot of concrete work. Before you add a layer on top you want to rough up the existing. On larger slabs you drill and epoxy rebar. I worried your slab might flake away in time. Just my 2 cents.
  19. melev's Avatar
    Adam, you didn't read my previous entries. The concrete slab was poured over rebar two months ago. What I'm doing now is simply filling in the spot where the sump will be, and making the walking area smoother for myself and to direct water. Here's that blog entry:
  20. larry.beck's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by melev
    Hang on. I'm thinking about the wall drain you mentioned, and need to point out that sink plumbing is different from how a washing machine drains. A washing machine pumps out the dirty water at a specific rate (no idea how many GPH that is), where a sink conceivably could drain faster with a faucet open full strength. I don't know if the drain in the wall box will keep up. You better check with a plumber on that one, just to be sure. Somewhere, that drain line is going to need a vent pipe so water can exit without gulping, burping, or surging.
    Good info. It's new construction, and I've got a plumber doing the work. It will be a 2" drain line coming into the box, so that should suffice. I'll be sure we get a vent on there. We'll also have a trap, but we're considering violating a building code and actually putting the trap down in the crawl space so that the drain can be just above the trim height on the wall.