Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pouring concrete tomorrow

Tomorrow is the big day; we'll be pouring the side walls and slab for the barn.  The slab is just a bonus; the sidewalls are tall enough we had to call for a pump truck to get the concrete in, and figured that since we're moving concrete, might as well put a slab down -- as insurance.  If the wall blows out, we can place the concrete there, too. 
Gravel is always cheaper than concrete, so part of the slab preparation is carefully leveling the gravel to get exactly the thickness calculated.  We've ordered 10+ yards tomorrow; 8 will go into the walls and other flatwork, the rest into this slab. 
A laser level (you can see at the bottom middle of this picture) makes this much easier.  This particular model is a self-leveling laser level.  You put it down, turn it on, it figures out what level is and projects a line.  I walk around with a ruler and check the gravel height; in about 15 minutes it's perfect.  Love that tool. 
Once it's level, a plate compactor makes sure that there are no pockets or weak spots.  We'll also put down reinforcing mesh prior to pour.  Final step is to take a shovel and dig a shallow trench around the edge.  that way they concrete will be thicker there, and there will be less chance of it cracking or breaking when we roll that 12,000lb tractor over it. 
We've also used the laser level to mark the top of the wall.  If you click on the picture you can see a faint red line in the center, just above the catwalk.  We measure up from there and mark level.  That way the top of the walls on all sides of the building are identical. 

Really looking forward to getting this done. 

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