Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ok, you wanted concrete, concrete you're gonna get

It's funny, I've been reading in the local papers about a "sustainable" starbucks franchise that's being constructed from shipping containers.  Sustainable is a funny term; and its pretty meaningless at this point.  I mention that because one of the materials that I like to use underneath concrete is recycled crushed concrete, which you'll see in the picture above.   I use it in place of large rock.  To get it to act right though you have to top it with a smaller crushed rock -- the crushed concrete is pretty rounded, and won't lock together.  A topping of 2" clear crushed rock will filter into the cracks around each chunk of the concrete, and make a very nice surface for your slab. 
Dirt is cheaper than rock, rock is cheaper than concrete.  The first step is to remove all of the loose dirt, and then replace with rock.  I use the rock to bring the entire area to the same level.  With these concrete chunks my goal is to get it within 2" of level.  I'll get closer later in the process. 
 The harley rake (on the back of the tractor above) is a power rake -- it has a spinning element in it, and it really does a nice job of making the rock bed smooth and level.
 I'll run the harley rake across it, and then do another pass lengthwise to remove any windrow remaining.
After that we go over it using a laser level (not shown) and a surveyor stick (I don't know what it's called; its a telescoping stick with measurements on it).  We'll work down the surface, add an inch or two of gravel here, take it away there.   The slab is going to be 80' x 30'.  At this point the surface is +- 1" of level.  We'll add the grade we want the finished concrete to be when we do the forming. 

So here's what the health department complaint has cost me: 
  $560 for gravel of various sizes
  $93 for a plate compactor
  $250 labor (so far)
  $3,100 in legal fees.
  I'm doing the slab because I am *really* tired of having to rebed my entire pig herd every other day.  This slab will be both a concrete feeding area per the health department complaint, and a shelter big enough to fit my entire herd into, and managed as a deep litter system. 

I'll post some pictures of the smaller gravel application, forming and pour when we do it.  I'm actually looking forward to having the concrete -- despite the fact that I'm annoyed at the health department, I do like the idea of having more of the food go into the hogs and less into the mud. 

I'm still not decided what I'll do about the health department complaint.  I'm mulling my options. 

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