'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

01 November 2012

Remodel Update - Driveway Widening Part I

The fencing is mostly done now (Except for a few small areas. Pics later) so it's time to widen my driveway. I got started this morning by removing the dirt and squaring up the edges for forms.

The driveway that I want to widen runs along the north side of the property, leading to the garage. Here's a before pic of the project. The area is to the right of the fence, just in front of the garage. It's dirt and gravel. You can see why I need to widen it.

 It's fairly big, I figure about 7 yards of concrete to cover, so I got smart and hired a little help for the dig.

That's a sweet little Kubota backhoe. Really, I want one. Bad. Still, for 140 bucks he dug out 5 tons of soil and hauled it away. Considering the potential wear and tear on my old, fat body it was money well spent.

There is still plenty of shovel work yet to be done. I have to flatten and level to 4 inches depth plus dig out the edge at the fence line to put in my forms. Either rebar or metal mesh for the support.

I'll do the pour in two sections. The first will be this area just in front of the garage. Note that the closest edge is angled. More on that in a minute.

The next one will be this section along the fence. Notice my assistant? Daddy's little helper.

Ok, a quick word on odd measurements and concrete calculations. I use this calculator but there's a bunch of them out there. There's also a section on measuring and calculating odd shapes.

Here's how it works. First I measured the angled side. Right at 14 feet.

Divide that in half - 7 feet - and place a marker.

Now measure the length from the fence to that 7 foot mark you just placed. In this case it's 21 feet. That's our length measurement.

Now to measure the width. Again, I'm measuring at a point that's approximately the average of the whole since it's also a bit irregular. If I erred it's on the generous side. I'll talk about that later on. 10 feet.

I'll dig out the bottom to as close to a uniform 4 inches as I can manage. Back to the calculator. Plug in the numbers, 10'x21'x4" and we get 2.59 yards. I'll round that up and order 2.75 yards (though I may up that to 3 depending on last minute needs).

Here's some advice from my experiences with concrete. Measure and order as generously as you can without going nuts. I can always find a place to use any extra concrete I get delivered but if you run short it's an absolute pain in the ass. If not corrected immediately you run the risk of a badly botched job and maybe even a re-do. Trying to shorten forms on the fly with the concrete pouring is an absolute nightmare most emphatically to be avoided. Most concrete companies will also charge you an extra delivery fee for small orders. Locally it's anything under 2 yards so I'm good. I'll have a couple of small areas I want to have concreted in dug, formed and ready to take the extra I will end up with.

Have an area ready for clean out. The concrete truck driver will need to hose out his chute and maybe even his barrel if yours is his last or only delivery (occasional and unusual but something to be ready for). That concretey water needs to go somewhere and having a place ready you can direct him to helps immensely. Otherwise he will hose his stuff down somewhere you may not want him to. Those trucks are expensive and he's responsible. I've seen drivers dump their loads and do clean outs in some pretty awful places. Even in a street gutter. Avoid this and give your driver a break.

Break down your pours so you don't have to try and manage too much all at once if it's possible. 7 yards is really an awful lot of concrete for the do it yourselfer. Doable certainly but by no means painless. When we poured the slab for the garage we didn't really have a choice. It was all or nothing. On this pour I have a natural place to make a break and do the slab in two pours and that's exactly what we're going to do. If you've got a bunch of help by all means, go for it. It's just me and Lu these days so I'll make it as easy on us as possible. Besides, I'm old.

I'll take tomorrow and the weekend to finish the ground and forms to get it ready for the pours. I'll place the order on Monday and should have the first done on Tuesday and the entire driveway finished by Wednesday. Pics to come.



Old NFO said...

Good plan, and CONCUR on the wash out... Years ago we had a pour made, and he dumped the wash out and extra in the ditch in front of the next door neighbor's house... I had to get out there with a pick and break it up and haul it off...

The DO said...

So you're just doing the front of the garage now, meaning that the whole side of the drive will be later? looks like you leveled out that side, just wondering if that was in prep, or if you were doing part of the side now as well. It will be awesome when you get it all done!

Six said...

Ouch! That had to suck NFO.

We're doing both sweetie. We'll just do the front of the garage in the first pour and the rest in the second. If I split it up into two pours on two days it's much easier on my back. We'll do the first on Tuesday and the rest probably on Thursday. It'll be nice when it's done.

Brigid said...

Meet Angus - building inspector!

Six said...

And he is oh so bribe able. A tossed Frisbee, a belly scratch and a nice cookie and he'd sign off on the Veranzano Bridge!

Sarge said...

Geezzz these traffic cops with a calculator drive me nucking futs. They are always sooooo eeewwwwaa right. I will say from my point of view it looks pretty darn pretty.

Six said...

It's a hold over from my days as an accident reconstructionist Pop. At least there's no quadratic equations!

Daphne said...

Hi Six!

I am seriously impressed with your mad construction skills. That is one hellava long stretch of driveway to tackle.

I'm must admit to a bit of jealousy....my crumbling, hideously ugly asphalt driveway needs to be torn up, hauled away and redone - preferably with concrete.

But the cost is mind blowing high and not in my husband's lexicon of do-it-yourself tasks. It would be fabulous if y'all were neighbors, given your knowledgeable oversight, I'm quite sure my intrepid Eric would give it a go.

It's been a while since I've dropped by and I'm so glad to see you and your dear wife doing well. The pictures of her on the range and Angus in the field were wonderful.

Best to you and your family, Six.

Six said...

Daaaappppphhhhhnnnnnneeeee!!! Thanks for stopping by, I've missed you.

Hey, if I can do it anyone can. All it takes is a strong back, misplaced confidence and a short memory!

I wish you guys were closer, we'd have that bad boy replaced before you could say "Are you absolutely sure that's the way you're supposed to do that?"

Come back and visit often. You will always be more than welcome here!

Daphne said...

Hugs back 'atcha, Six.