We have been pouring concrete again, this time to serve as the base of a shed Lisa has been planning to build to hold propane and other flammable materials somewhere other than inside the garage. A wood-and-concrete shed is far less likely to build up static electricity charges, she says.
I took this photo last night after we finished the final pour and Lisa completed the painstaking task of finishing the concrete to make it smooth.
We started excavating the area Lisa identified as the place for the shed (adjacent to the carport, the concrete for which you see at the bottom in these photos) a couple of weeks ago. One challenge of this task was that falling leaves kept filling up the excavated area. You don't want organic material in your concrete pour; it forms voids.
Lisa built the concrete forms from scrap 2x4s and other wood we have laying about the property.
We had four sacks of QuikCrete® pre-mix left over from our earlier concrete jobs. Lisa wanted to use it up. Although it was sitting in the garage on a pallet, she reckoned that eventually the sacks would get damp and turn into large, heavy pillows of concrete if we didn't use them. Here's what it looked like when we'd poured those four bags into the hole on Wednesday evening. We then went over to Lowe's and bought six more sacks of concrete.
Having learned our lesson when we widened the carport, we only mix one sack of concrete at a time. The sacks weigh 27 kg (60 lb) before adding water. I can move the sacks, but it's much easier when Lisa and I can jointly lift them into the wheelbarrow. I then cut the bag open and Lisa first wields the hose with a mist sprayer to keep down the dust as I dump it into the bag and then begins to add water and monitor the condition of the concrete as I mix it with a concrete hoe.
I pour the concrete where Lisa directs, and she deals with dressing it, using a trowel, a concrete float (the tool she's holding in this picture) and a 2x4 on which her knee is resting in this photo.
We under-estimated how much concrete we'd need. Yesterday, as we ran out, Lisa sent me off to buy more. I ran down to Big R and bought their last sack. After we poured that, we still didn't have enough and I then drove to Lowe's. But after pouring that, we were still short, and I had to make yet another trip to Lowe's. This time I bought two more, and while we ended up only needing one of those, I didn't want to have to make yet another trip. By the time I got back from the third trip, it was well after sunset, and Lisa had rigged up a utility light, that, along with the garage light she installed some time ago and a flashlight strapped to her hat, gave us enough light by which we could finish the job.
Here's how it looked this afternoon. I was a little worried this morning when I came out and found frost on the porch, as freezing is bad for setting concrete; however, we don't think the near-freezing temperatures last night did any harm to it. While the slab looks wet in this view, it's quite firm and dry to the touch. It will gradually dry and lighten up over time.
That's roughly 1/3 of a metric ton of concrete we mixed, poured, and finished over the past two days. Both Lisa and I are rather sore in the shoulders and back today. But it's a good job done, and I reckon that nothing short of a tornado will remove the shed she intends to build and bolt to this foundation when she gets done with it.