Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Pouring Segment 2

Lisa told me to lay off trying to move firewood because I need to concentrate on mixing concrete. It turns out that she was right. Today I decided to document the whole concrete process.

Start of Segment 2

This morning, Lisa removed the dam that held Segment 1, which you see in the background. It's hard enough to walk on. She then fit concrete dividers to insulate today's pour from yesterday's and from the original carport.

Implements of Construction

Lisa opened up the garage and I arranged the tools. In the wheelbarrow is one 60-pound bag of Quikrete®. The blue handled tool is a mortar hoe (you may see the holes in it that make it better for mixing mortar and cement). The scraper is good for turning the mix and scooping it out in small patches. The dust mask and gloves are for protection to keep the concrete out of your lungs and off your skin. The water jug is for the water we use in the mix, plus the watering can for adding small amounts of additional water in a way that keeps the dust down.

Opening the Concrete

Using the scraper or hoe, cut the bag of concrete mix open, then slowly (to minimize dust) dump it into the wheelbarrow.

Ready for Water

Form a depression in the middle of the mix, like the crater of a volcano.

Add Water to Concrete Mix

Pour water into the depression. The instructions say to use 1/2 gallon per bag, but we've found we need more than that, probably due to the dry climate and altitude. Note: we're not using distilled water! We just have some empty water jugs that we're using to keep the water handy to where we are mixing.

Mix it Up

Using the mortar hoe, work the mixture back and forth, adding small amounts of water to dampen dry spots, until the mixture assumes a thick oatmeal-like consistency. You should be able to form a lump in your hand that holds its shape but doesn't drip with water. It's rather tricky, and I tend to hold off adding too much water on the grounds that we can always add more water when needed but can't subtract it if we get it too soupy. Too much water makes the concrete weak. Too little makes it very difficult to work into place.

The wheelbarrow holds up to two bags worth of mix. After mixing the first bag, I can add a second bag and mix it the same way.

Tamping the Concrete

I brought the wheelbarrow to where Lisa was ready to start working it into place, and dumped it in on top of yesterday's overage. Lisa used a piece of 2 x 4 to rough tamp it into shape as I went back to mix more concrete.

Floating the Concrete

After the fourth bag's worth, Lisa could start using the concrete float (the flat metal piece she's holding in this picture) to start finishing the top surface, tamping it so that the water and fine mix comes to the top and smoothing it down.

We learned the hard way today that doing a pour before about 1 PM means the sun was beating down on us, drying the mix, and causing it to set faster than we wanted. This made getting it finished much more difficult than it should have been.

Segment 2 Complete

After pouring a total of six bags (some of which were then pushed into the bottom of Segment 3), Lisa got the top finished and then used a curved edging tool to make a nice rounded edge. We didn't have that tool yesterday, which is why you don't see it on Segment 1 at the bottom of the picture.

Although our initial plan had been to wait four hours and then try to pour Segment 3, we were so tired after doing this piece that we decided that maybe we can only do one pour per day. We'll tackle Segment 3 tomorrow afternoon.
Tags: carport, concrete, house

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