Thursday, July 21, 2011

And then there was a slab

Today started early - the concrete pump truck arrived precisely at 0530 and the crew shortly thereafter.  The first concrete truck arrived at just about 6:00 - sunrise was not far behind.  The crew first filled the large strip footing and then worked their way from the SouthEast corner of the slab in a counterclockwise moved finishing at the center door on the South of the basement.  The job took just over 55 yards of concrete - 6 loads at 9 yards each and then 1 1/2 yard load.  All the concrete was poured by 9:00 and they first hand screed it, floated it with a bull float, and then, as it set, a pair or power-trowels were used to finish it.  Hand work is still a premium here as they finished all the edges and around pipes with hand trowels.  Water applied during the "polishing" phase - not really polished concrete but a very smooth, hard finish for the whole thing.

  The amazing thing to a newbie is that they were walking on the surface of the concrete within 4 hours and it was hard enough that a power saw was used to cut the control joints within about 8 hours.  Clayton's crew was another of those well-oiled machines with each going about their business without having to be told what was next.  Testing the hardness was done with a shoe - they knew when it was ready for each phase by the depression left (or not) when the concrete was stepped on.  After the control joints were cut, the crew laid burlap on the surface to allow us to wet the concrete down over the next few days and allow proper curing rather than drying.

Another day on the job when the thunderstorms rolled in as the crew was finishing and the rain dropped the temperature by about 15 degrees which was a welcome relief. High temps today hit 100 plus degrees and the walls held  the heat inside another 10-15 degrees higher.  We had two 5 gallon coolers of water and the crew went through most of that.

Friday is scheduled for the delivery of the supplies for the stud walls in the basement and the flooring for the main floor.  Monday the crew should start installing the walls/floor and we'll remove the braces by the end of the week.  After that the main floor stud walls and roof will go on.

5:30 and all is quiest

First light - that's the vapor barrier covering the high-density, termite-resistant foam.   5" in all but the strip footing and post support areas which are 3" higher density foam.  Wire mess is covering all the plastic and the rebar ties from the wall system are bent down so they will be encased in the concrete poured later today.

6:13 and the first concrete hits the foam and vapor barrier

They're pulling the wire grid up into the concrete so it is embedded on all sides.  At several points it looked like the concrete was about to go over the top of their boots but I didn't see anyone have to dump a boot out.  One did have to change to taller boots though!  David, in the orange shirt, is the pump operator controlling the flow of concrete and position of the boom bia a remote on a belt at his waist.

This is the end of the first truckload of concrete - that's an 8' wide strip footing that runs 2/3 the length of the hosue.

This is the business end of the concrete - concrete truck backs up to the pumper, pours the concrete into the hopper and it's pumped up and through the tube. Operator has a remote control that allows him to run the truck from the application end without seeing the truck.  A horn sounds when concrete starts to flow and stops.  Two beeps signifies that the concrete truck is empty.

8:50 and the last concrete is pumped

10:25 and already the hand troweling and power troweling are well under way. Note the footprints in the concrete at this point

12:23 and putting the finishing touches on the surface - at this point they're squirting water down and applying that "polish" to the surface.  

1:15 and the control joins are being cut.  They first marked chalk-lines on the concrete and then Clayton followed them with a dry concrete saw (other than when the rain came and knocked the dust down (thankfully!).  Crew packed up and I left at about 2:30. Before we left the crew put a layer of burlap down - picture of that tomorrow.
While this was a day that had period of "watching concrete cure" it was interesting to see the precision these guys worked with as they poured the concrete and worked it into the flat floor that will be our basement.  These guys were on the road at 3:45 this morning heading to the job site and departed after 2:30 with about 1 hour and 45 minutes drive ahead of them.  I have to tip my hat to their professionalism and drive - the only "complaint" I heard all day was that it was hot and I have to say, that was a real understatement to say the least.  I think the heat index was over 110 and had to be higher inside that wall system. It's pretty amazing how all that foam intensifies that heat and increases the temp. Oh, and add the humidity of the curing concrete to all that.  Kudos to the whole team for the great work they did today!

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