Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Something Concrete

At about the same time we made the decision to do some concrete work, the weather changed from raining once a week to nearly every day. Needless to say, it has been slow going on our landscaping project but it is still proceeding a bit at a time. Above you can see the forms for the new sidewalk going in. It will act as a barricade to prevent water from running from our front lawn up next to the house. The new landscaping will slope the soil from the house towards the sidewalk. This should keep things nice and dry for the foreseeable future.

Finally we were able to get the sidewalk poured in between the rains. We ended it short of the driveway for the time being until we get that fixed the way we want it at the elevation we want it. Then we can pour the rest so that it matches up appropriately. This time around, we also used rebar in the sidewalk, something the previous occupants didn't do so if the sidewalk moves, it moves as one and isn't all cattywampus.  I still need to clean up along the sidewalk and backfill with soil but probably won't do that for awhile yet.

So before I can pour the remainder of the sidewalk, I need to pour the driveway. Before I pour the driveway, I need to pour the garage floor. Above and below are some photos showing why I need to do something about it. The garage floor slab appears to be a total afterthought to who ever had it poured. Judging by how far it has heaved in adjacent chunks (up to three inches in places), they didn't use any reinforcement. They also didn't cut any break joints in the slab so when it broke as all concrete does, the cracks form a maze across the floor. They also didn't use any isolation joints where the slab meets the footing so when the floor heaved, it caught the perimeter footing breaking the slab up even more and in the corner seen above, broke the footing. Not only are the various chunks of concrete heaved in relation to each other, the entire slab has heaved to that the center of the slab it four to five inches higher than the sides which means the garage door fits like crap. All this I plan to fix by tearing out this mess and redoing it properly.

I am going to start by digging down to good soil and back filling with gravel that will be packed down well. Around the perimeter there will be an isolation joint to prevent catching on the perimeter footing should it heave in the future. A footer below frost line where the garage door opening is will prevent that part from heaving at all. If it should heave, the entire slab will be reinforced with rerod so that it doesn't move in relation to each other. Finally, regular break joints will be cut in the concrete so that it will break (and all concrete does) in an orderly fashion where I want it to break.

In preparation for doing the concrete work, I emptied out the garage which was no easy feat. It amazed me how much I had in there and now that it is all out, I'm going to take this opportunity to do a little more organizational work as I put it all back in to free up some space and make things less cluttered. Of course once I got everything out, some of it in the elements, it has rained almost continuously. Murphy's Law I suppose.


edifice rex said...

One thing that really makes me want to tear my hair out is when I see these other bloggers who claim to be such experts on pouring concrete, and they don't even know what expansion joint is and will throw 3 or 4 pieces of rebar (if any) into a slab or wall and claim that's fine. You know right then they are idiots. Glad to see you will use both and do it right!
Nice looking sidewalk too; nice straight edge best I can tell.

Ed said...

Edifice Rex - Well I certainly don't claim to be an expert but I guess I've done enough over the years to know what I want when I hire someone to do some for me. I told them up front that I wanted this and that and to quote it that way. I also told him that if he thought I was off my rocker to tell me so but he never did.

edifice rex said...

No, what you requested is the proper way to pour concrete. Looks like you got a decent contractor too.