September 26, 2011

The Patio: Pouring Concrete

Today I get to give you yet another update of our patio-in-progress. For me, pouring the concrete was the most interesting part of the process. I was zero help to everyone (except when it came to taking pictures), but friends, family, and even our neighbors pitched in to make the manual labor lighter.

The cement truck arrived around 8am on this particular Saturday (nothing like waking up bright and early on the weekend). I'm so thankful for this truck. Hand mixing bags of cement and water would be no fun for anyone, and it would take 10 times longer. So, thank you, Mr. Cement man, for bringing us pre-mixed cement.

The chute started at the back and worked the cement toward the front. Most of the guys had big rubber boots on so that they could sludge through the cement and spread it around.

The chute moved from side to side to keep things even. Just a little at a time was needed.

This little tool below was rented at a local hardware store. They called it the "jitterbug" (aka concrete tamper). You push/shake it down on the wet concrete and it helps push the rocky part of the concrete toward the bottom and allow the creamy, smooth part of the concrete to work its way to the top. Interesting device, huh?!

As we went along, the men worked a long 2X4 board - cut exactly to the width of the patio - along the forms on the side to help level out the concrete so that we had an even surface. This pushed extra concrete to the front to fill in the next section.

Then the truck would pour more cement, and we'd go through the same process again...

... until eventually the whole area was filled with cement. At this point, the forms that were set up around the edges of the patio were taken out and the smoothing process began.

This was done using a tool called a "boat float" (where do they come up with these names?). It had attachable handles to make it as long as you needed it to be.

Remember the drain Joey installed in front of the garage door? He put tape over the drain to protect it and then scraped the concrete off the top. The tape was removed later.

Joey also decided he wanted to chain our grill to the ground (ain't nobody takin' no nothing from us). So, he walked on the smooth surface to put some eye-bolts into the fresh concrete. Amazing how within just a few minutes of time, you can almost walk on the concrete without sinking in. This stuff forms fast.

He did leave a few footprints behind that had to be smoothed out by the boat float again.

A concrete edger was used along the edges (duh) of the patio to give them a finished and slanted look. This will help rain water run of the edges and leave a clean break between the patio and the driveway/yard/garage.

The final step was sweeping the top of the concrete. This will leave those little groove lines that help hide imperfections and provide traction when the patio gets wet. The broom had attachable handles in order for it to reach to the other side of the patio. I always wondered how the reached so far...

That completed our concrete pouring party. Total time? 4 hours. Not too bad I'd say.

Joey blocked the area off to be sure no one walked on the patio over the next 24 hours. He took the hose to wet the surface a couple times throughout the day. That prevents the top of the concrete from drying too quickly before the cement underneath dries.

Total cost of this project was about $600. We could have saved a little moolah by hand mixing the cement ourselves. But all the guys may have lost their minds in the process. And sometimes time is money (this would have taken much longer than 4 hours).

I have a few more pictures to come showing the dried, finished looking patio, along with a few other improvements we're making to this part of the yard. But what do you think of the patio so far? Harder than you thought it would be? Easier than you thought? Learn anything new? Pin It


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