'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

30 May 2014

Patio Concrete

We have fought the back yard area, adjacent to the covered porch, ever since we bought this house. It was a mess frankly.

We tried most everything. From fake grass

To sod

And everything in between. It was finally time to stop messing around and fix this problem once and for all and incorporate this area into the backyard/patio properly. That means concrete. There's one problem. It's behind the house and in an area that cannot be reached by the concrete truck. I could have arranged for a pump but I'm cheap. Wheelbarrow it is.

We spent the week prepping the ground. That meant digging out a couple of tons of soil, leveling, installing the edge forms along the fence and putting in the steel mat. Note that I took out the wall at the edge of the covered patio. We've gone from a sunroom to a true patio. I did put in another post to brace that long run.

Time for some concrete. I ordered 3.5 yards. I ended up being long again but that's better than short. $414.44 delivered including a $50 fee for the load being what's called 'short'. Anything below what the concrete company considers a full load is subject to that fee. For the moment ours is anything less than the max load of the truck which I think is something north of 7 yards. We had to clear out a path to get the truck as close as possible. I still ended up toting every cubic yard in a wheelbarrow.

Lu and her brother, The Principal. And thank you very much for the help. We literally wouldn't have gotten it all put in without him. Here's a thing about concrete that I plumb forgot. The weather is very hot and dry right now. Very. When concrete cures you want the water to rise to the top where it can be floated to a pleasing finish. On dry soil the water tends to get sucked down, away from the top. It starts setting up quickly and is very hard to work. My soil wasn't near wet enough and we had to really bust butt to get it worked and floated. It was a very near thing. Word to the wise.

After moving a couple of tons of concrete by hand in that little Ace wheelbarrow. Do I look a bit tired? I was beat and we were far from done.

Getting close. By this time is was almost impossible to screed the rapidly curing concrete. The time I spent actually moving the concrete worked against us. By the time I got most of it moved and on the ground it was already getting hard. Next time I go with a concrete pumper. Lu and I hammered away at it and eventually got it done but it was a huge and unnecessary waste of effort. Live and learn.

But in the end we persevered and it was done. I think it came out well. Lu is pleased.

We've now added about 400 square feet of usable space to the patio. No more dirt, mud, weeds and ants. It's now a permanent, low maintenance covering suitable for BBQ grills, patio furniture and generally hanging out enjoying life.

Next up is to epoxy paint the entire concrete surface, including the covered patio. Then I'll put the sun shade back up. The last attempt came crashing down in a heavy snow storm so this time I'll be beefing the whole thing up. The sun shade will include all the concrete we just poured. The kid's pool will go on that new pad in the last picture. The best part is this is all just off the master bedroom and immediately accessible through that new french door we installed. Ah, a master plan is a wonderful thing and it's gratifying to see it all come together as envisioned.

See you all for the next phase. But not today. Today it's rest, cold beverages and massive doses of Ibuprofen.


Monkeywrangler said...

3.5yds of wet heavy concrete by wheelbarrow? You sir, are a glutton for punishment! I'd have paid for the pumper...even with a Gorilla cart to haul concrete in...

Did you ever consider renting a small mixer and mixing your own concrete on site? Just a thought for the future.

Looks great, btw. How much shade will it all get back there?

Brighid said...

Looks like you did a great job.
We usually rented a mixer and mixed our own. Gave us a lot more control in difficult locations and temperatures, especially since I like to do exposed aggregate.

Six said...

I'm going to buy a mixer soon for the stucco and stone portions of the remodel MW. I usually prefer a one time delivery of concrete for the big slabs. Though this morning my back is begging to take issue with that :) The shade will mostly come from a pergola and fabric covering that will go over the entire patio area. Stay tuned!

Thanks Brighid. It's the last of the big concrete pours. From this point on it's all small enough for premix and a good electric mixer!

Brighid said...

Meant to ask, what do you use for a sun shade. I made sun shades/sails out of large drop clothes, but then I'm cheap.

Six said...

It's a fabric we get at Home Depot. If you look at that second to last picture you can see it covering the fence between us and the neighbor. It's pretty light weight and is a nearly perfect sun shade material. I want to say we paid in the dollar to dollar and a half per square foot range for it. We like it. It's light weight but very tough. It's what we'll use to cover all the un-roofed portion of the patio.

Brighid said...

Thanks for the info I will check it out.