Jun 30, 2011

Cement Slab: Round 2

The second cement slab was poured last Friday, this time we did it mostly on our own with minimal supervision.   It might not have been the best day to have done it, but it all worked out in the end.  There were a few bumps in the road - barely enough cement, 100% humidity in the form of a thick fog that wouldn’t allow the cement to dry, and a light mist and intermittent rain showers.  It also took a lot longer than we thought it would - we thought we would do the finishing work around 12:30pm and it wasn’t ready until 7:45pm due to all the moisture. 

It also took a lot longer for us to pour the cement because we were doing it by ourselves.  The fine mist in the air was collecting on our cement mix, making it look too wet and we were nervous so we moved slowly.  Originally my Grandfather was going to help us do the finishing work (making the nice lines and smoothing the top properly), coming by around 12:30.  However we were struggling to fill the form with the last bits of cement at that time - we didn’t quite have enough sand mix to fill it (due to not enough rock and stone in the bottom).  Luckily my Grandfather had a few tricks up his sleeve and saved us!

By the time the form was filled and fixed and leveled, it started to drizzle again so we had to cover the cement.  We waited and waited, but it just wasn’t drying.  And it was decided that because it was so humid, it would never dry in time for my Grandfather to do the finishing work.  We realized it was going to be hours.  I got a refresher course in what to do, then I was left on my own to make the cement look good.

I checked the cement every couple of hours to see when it was ready.  Each time I used the finishing tools to draw the lines and smooth the top.  It was really hard to do when the cement was so wet and soppy, I was convinced I was going to ruin it!   However by 7:45pm it had finally hardened to the point where it could be finished properly, and after all those practice rounds in impossible wet goop, it was so much easier!  I know my lines aren’t perfect, but for a first timer I think they look pretty darn good!

Now we have a 4’x4’ square at the base of our stairs - a very sturdy landing and a great start to our future patio.  (Currently we are price shopping different options.)

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