Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Concrete Details

I've included a few more random shots of the concrete step & sidewalk I had added last week.

The first shot is proof positive of the mouse hole that started this whole project rolling. It actually turned out to be a gap between two concrete foundation blocks, as well as cracks around the threshold board. We stuffed it shut with copper enclosed insulation before pouring the new step that covered it in it's entirety. Last Sat. morning, I'm thinking at least one mouse made a rather unpleasant discovery about their living situation (R.I.P.).

Then we have a photo taken after the awful old wood chip & pressure treated wood pathway had been cleared and the mold & rebar laid for the new sidewalk. For some reason, I forgot to take a photo of the side of the house before the woodchips were removed. But trust me on this, it was bad....really, really bad.

The arrival of the concrete truck was oh-so-exciting. I had to try hard not to act giddy in front of the crew. I was somewhat fascinated by the lady driving the truck. She was able to back that thing up onto my lawn, get the downspout operational and joke with the guys all while a cigarette dangled from her lip. An acquired talent, I'm sure.

These guys worked hard. They arrived at my house at 6:30 am and were entirely done by 1:30. If they took a break, I didn't see it.

The photo of the old steps & the newly poured concrete shows just how dirty the step and the foundation are from the wood chip path and sitting water. I'll need to give the side of the steps & the once-white foundation a good scrubbing. This is probably the view where the new concrete is most obvious. I'm thinking of planting hostas on side of the sidewalk and this would mask this view. The new stuff should start to patina pretty soon.

The guys put a sheet of plastic tightly over the fresh concrete to help it cure. It was a fairly cold day here and pretty muggy, which turned out to be ideal weather for pouring the slower it dries the stronger it gets.

Thunderstorms were scheduled for the afternoon, so there was some worry that my new sidewalk would end up with dents in it. I was fully prepared to go out in any thunderstorm and lay across my new sidewalk to prevent it from becoming blemished in any way :-) But, as luck would have it we had a few sprinkles and that was it. You can still see some of the water spots on the sidewalk after I removed the plastic. I left the pastic on (per the contractor's instructions until the next afternon, but my structural engineer dad told me I could have let it on even for a few more days to help in the curing process).

Finally (I had a few others, but Blogger won't let me add more photos to this entry), is a shot from the backyard forward. The gate marks the spot where the new sidewalk starts. It is nice to actually be able to reach the back door without walking through a jungle of ferns, possible mice & spiders and creepy woodchips, oh my!

I toyed with the idea of writing my name....or the date....or something else clever into the wet step, but just couldn't bring myself to do it. It looked so pristine.

Well, there you have it. Thanks for listening to my little front step saga :-) I think we can now put this whole topic to rest. At least until I start work on the handrails.....

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