Step 1: Dig
6 loads and 10 hours of dumping, driving, shoveling and fixing the skid-steer later, one tired husband and one relieved wife were happy to see the dirt gone. To say I am proud of his efforts--learning to drive and pull such heavy loads with a trailer, fixing a number of hydraulic hoses on the skid-steer, tediously transferring the dirt from the pile to the trailer without over-turning the machine--is an understatement.
Step 2: Apply Surewall to Foundation
This step was a day's worth of work and a job that needed to be done. Once we were able to remove the old cement coating that was supposedly helping keep the house foundation together we applied a product we call "Surewall". It is like concrete in that you mix it with water and it dries to a hard surface. The point is to give added support to our 100 year-old foundation bricks.
|"Beach Hat Construction" CEO inspects the area.|
Step 3: Place SandAgain, another great time to have a skid-steer. The sand we needed had to get piled in our backyard, moved around the south side of our house and then dumped and spread evenly all along the north side of our house. A friend drove by and saw us working in our new "beach" and wondered when "Beach Hat Construction" was going to get this project finished. We encouraged him to come join the party. Funny thing is that he never stopped by...
Step 4: Install Forms and Rebar
This step took more brains than brawn, and I will have to say I claimed the "dumb end" of the tape measure quite frequently. A lot of calculating and recalculating was needed before we got the angle of the forms level and sloped just right to allow water to run off in the directions we needed.
Step 5: Pour (and Pump) Concrete
This is when the anticipation, excitement and nervousness set in. The night before the big day, we both felt a sort of impending doom that would either make or break us. You don't want to mess this up, otherwise, you have 21 cubic yards of very heavy, solid material to deal with.
Given the location of our driveway, the best solution to get the concrete in the right place was to hire a concrete pumper. This meant that the concrete got pumped from the truck through a long hose. This also meant that the person managing the hose had to use every ounce of strength they had to hang on to the handle-less hose as hundreds of pounds of concrete shot out the end.
Thankfully, we had a new device at our disposal--an electric power screed attachment for our screed board. This made pulling that board over the concrete so much easier. We vibrated the board from the west to the east end of the driveway smoothing out the concrete as we moved.
Step 6: Finish Work
Once we were done with pumping and pouring all the concrete, it was time for bull floating, edging, brooming and other finish work. It was fairly manageable to complete except for the area between our house and our neighbor's to the north.