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Concrete Day...

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.
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.

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Tags: concrete
DIY projects


  1. Reefski's Avatar
    usually the forms are removed within a couple of hours and then the final finish is put on the concrete. why are you waiting a couple of days?

  2. chbix's Avatar
    This makes my 55g build seem mundane and useless........

    Concrete is nasty work, looks like you did a good job cant wait for more updates.
  3. melev's Avatar
    Carl, I'm just erring on the side of caution. There's no reason to rush it, right?
  4. Snakebyt's Avatar
    thanks for the updates, thats alot of concrete
  5. reefocd's Avatar
    Hope you remembered to grab a twig from the tree outside and write your own Reef DaVinci Lost Symbols with signature in there Looked like a great day of weather for this kind of job. Congrats!
  6. NightShade's Avatar
    Looking good, glad to see your coming along. And Concrete work is tough, pat yourself and your son on the back and have a nice drink. . . you both deserve it.
  7. DETANE's Avatar
    Great job on the concrete. looks good brotha.
  8. Midnight's Avatar
    Wow, I work in construction and have never seen a concrete guy wear that much protective gear!
  9. MitchReef's Avatar
    I've seen welders just shut their eyes and draw an arc too, but I would never do it.
  10. NightShade's Avatar
    I have tack welded a few pieces with just closing my eyes but I don't like trying to weld by braille. . .

    As far as the safety stuff for concrete I never used much either. A pair of rubber boots to puddle in is about it. I would wear a cheap mask to keep the dust down when i was going to be around the saw crew or was chipping the concrete off of the paver. And I started to wear water tight ear plugs when spraying the paver off at the end of a pour after a caustic solution got into my right ear and almost ate a hole through my eardrum and burnt my ear canal. The guys I worked with ripped me for what little bit of protection I bought and used for my own safety.

    I have also walked on a 3 ft wide ledge eight stories up with no safety gear. I guess what you want to do is your personal preference so I try to leave it at that.

    Here is the building that I did my ledge walking act. . . spooked some women on break who worked at sears one day, lol.
  11. dahenley's Avatar
    i was just wondering, are you just going to shoot nails in the concrete, or if the concrete is still soft then you can put anchors in.

    just curious. (its probably not needed because its not load bearing, but when we build out house, we did both.)

    i love watching this build!!!
  12. melev's Avatar
    I was going to insert some bolts to secure the base plates, but didn't do so in time. I'll just hammer-drill some holes and use some anchors instead.

    I wore the rubber boots, jeans and a long sleeve tshirt. My son wears contacts, so eye protection was a good idea. Since the lime does dry out your skin, I had him wear jeans and a long sleeve shirt as well. He seemed content with the dust mask, which he used the entire time.
  13. Jnarowe's Avatar
    Great post marc!
  14. OneReef's Avatar
    I hope when your tank comes in and you are setting it up and transferring all your livestock over, that the post/blogs will be coming fast ans furious. I want to see this every step of the way.
  15. Sisterlimonpot's Avatar
    Awesome Marc,
    It's nice to see things coming together. To be honest, this morning I was hoping to see another blog entry with the forms off and a better look at that french drain system. Seeing all that work, makes me wish I was there closer to help out. Keep it coming
  16. Lyfey's Avatar
    Marc, just wanted to know that im lurking.. Keeping up with the build. Great job by the way and it is really awesome that you are doing this the right way and not half-arsing it. Great job, I cant wait to see how you start your tank up, the meathods of introducing and setting up your tank the first couple of weeks. I am planning on upgrading to a 150long from my standard 75 and I cant wait either! Great Job!!

  17. melev's Avatar
    I did pull off the forms yesterday, but to be honest this weekend I chose to recuperate from everything. I was pretty sore all over and was happy to put that project behind me at last. I didn't unwrap the french drain yet... I don't know that it matters but I figured it was easier keeping stuff out of it during the next phase of construction.

    I'll be making lots of updates as more and more stuff happens, so you can count on that. Be sure to Subscribe To Blog to get an email notification as soon as they happen.
  18. Blown76mav's Avatar
    Looking great, can't wait to see more.