ConcreteOnce our plumbing groundwork was signed off, we could finally cover it up and give the concrete guy the OK to move ahead. We chose to use a plastic barrier under the concrete, because our hillside is choc full of underground springs; which spring to the surface in random and frequent places, and weep and seep water year-round. The last thing we wanted was damp concrete.

PlasticBarrierThe “concrete guy” recommends putting several inches of sand in between the plastic and concrete, so that when the concrete cures, its massive water content has somewhere to travel before hitting plastic. Otherwise, I guess, if the water all has to go up through the top, this is problematic. So we had sixty yards of sand standing by for this application, and almost all of it was used up in the covering of the plastic.

SandyFloors

He is pouring the floors in five different sections; I think mostly because of the limitation of how much he can smooth out at once with just himself and a helper. He has done three so far, and has two more due next week.

The one he did on Friday was dicey. If you live in the area, you know that there was a fatality accident on I-5 in Marysville in the morning, which jugged-up traffic for hours. The concrete truck was delayed in that mess; so I guess by the time it got here, that concrete was pretty “hot”! But they were able to manage ok, it was a smaller section, fortunately not the big one!

Skidsteer

The concrete they are using is fiber-reinforced (something along the lines of this company’s technology); rather than the traditional method of embedding welded steel mesh. There are lots of opinions pro and con on this subject; but I can’t find any scientific rationale saying which is better for applications like ours. Some feel that the old school way of using steel mesh has just gotta be stronger, because intuitively, steel mesh is just strong. And of course, old methods die hard.

But proponents of the newer technology point out that steel mesh needs to be placed just-so height-wise within the concrete, or it does not do its job. And even if you set it on “chairs” to keep it at the right height, the weight of the concrete, and the workers slopping around and stepping on it during a pour, can push it down.

The fiber-reinforced concrete is cheaper, both in labor and material savings of not having to put down steel mesh, as well as allowing you to pour a thinner layer of concrete. And theoretically, the fiber strength is more evenly distributed than a steel grid. It is supposed to offer the most stability during the “plastic” stage of concrete- while it’s curing, when cracking is most likely to occur.

And the other part of the debate is that concrete cracking or not cracking is impacted by other variables: initial site prep, stability of the base soil, the concrete mix, and the cure rate of the concrete due to ambient temperature and humidity. So it could be that the reinforcement choice is the least of your worries, if you are building on fill or pouring during a hot, dry week. Anyway, this is what we’re going with because apparently all the pole building builders in the region use this, and the building was expensive enough already. I’ll report back in ten years on whether or not it has cracked!

ConcreteSectionTwoWe are doing smooth floors on one side, and broom finish on the other. So far, so good on the floors, he is doing a nice job! They had to leave one wall un-sided to give the concrete truck the best access to pour concrete into the building. But that is OK to finish now, because the concrete truck can back in the big front door to do the rest. So we just have that, and garage doors and gutters to be installed; plus a few miscellaneous finishing things. We’re hoping it’ll wind down in the next couple of weeks.

We still have power left to deal with, but we’re focusing in finishing out with the builder and plumbing first, then we’ll move onto that venture next. With the days getting longer and warmer, power isn’t an urgent issue just yet!