by, 10-01-2010 at 10:25 PM (2726 Views)
Today was the day, after all the preparation. My son was awake and ready to start as soon as I showed up with the concrete mixer. He and I both knew it was going to be hard work, but I know that he now knows just how much concrete workers go through every single day.
Here he is, ready to go. The mixer was a rental from Home Depot Tools, and could hold seven 80lb bags per batch. Look at that pile to his left.
Nice and clean, he puts in the first bag.
While that was mixing, I poured the glue down in the form, and sprayed Great Stuff on any exposed copper pipe (elbows primarily).
The mixer was gas powered, and was somewhat noisy. We had it running for about 4 hours straight.
That first run in the back was done by carrying it by the bucket back there, trip after trip after trip. It seemed the best way to fill in the hole and behind those pipes.
This process continued until it was done. It's a dusty job, and we made a decent mess on the driveway.
The 2x4 was a rough scraper to help level out the concrete. About two-thirds done here.
Note to anyone wanting to do this: ALWAYS add water with every bag. My son didn't do that on the second batch, and the bottom of the mixer was just dry packed dust. It took about 30 minutes to chip it out and add it back in with water. There was about 2 wheelbarrows of the stuff in there, and it was SO heavy that I barely was able to turn the wheel to tip out the drum. Fortunately, I was able so we could continue, and every batch after that went well.
With the form filled to the top, we inserted the French drain. We pressed it down into the concrete, but it bobbed back up. We ended up having my son walk across the drain and put heavy concrete blocks on it to keep it level with the surface.
While this began to set up, everything was cleaned up and the tools were returned to Home Depot Tools (rental stuff). A few hours later, I got out on the hardening surface and used a trowel to smooth it out and fill in any areas that needed it. It isn't perfect, but it'll do.
Tomorrow morning, I'll briefly water it to prevent the concrete from drying out too quickly. Sunday morning, I'll water it again. This slower cure time strengthens the concrete. Then I'll pull off the forms, and it'll be ready for the long wall to be built and to get some sheet rock done next week.
Once that wall is up, the new sub panel can be installed for the 4 circuits. The short wall will be left for last, after the stand and tank are in. I'm tentatively expecting the tank to arrive mid-October.