Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Garage Build Twenty-Ten | Part Driveway

Before Mike and I finished the garage, (doors, siding - all the pretty stuff), we decided to finish the driveway to prevent any concrete spray on any of the finishes.  With the garage floor pour experience under his belt, Mike figured with enough people he could pour the driveway without any experts.  And you know what, they did it. 

Before the big pour though, Mike and I had to level the drive and get rid of any high spots.  Easier said than done.  After weeks of rain and driving on the gravel that Mike had spread and tamped earlier, the drive was a little hard, to say the least.  Mike had spent a couple nights out with a pick and an inch at a time, broke the gravel up enough to spread it.  With the size of the drive this would have taken him until Christmas to finish, so we came up with a more efficient method.  Enter Mr. ATV and his friend York Rake. 


And for those not in the construction industry, I understand sometimes I have to explain certain tools of the trade and how they work.  Well this is not one of them, a York Rake is usually not used to break up gravel, and as far as I've seen, an ATV is not found on a jobsite.  This was a product of low funds and Mike's ingenuity.  Something that's becoming commonplace here at Our First Nest.  The real use of the York Rake is landscape grading, which is close enough to our needs.  If we sold a kidney before attempting this, we would have gone with a bobcat, but with a rental fee of $200/day, it was a no brainer to get the $35/day rake.

After a couple passes, we were able to start grading the gravel to the desired height.  I say a couple passes, but really it was so hard that it seemed like I drove back and forth 43 times just to break up an inch.


After finally getting the drive graded, we were ready for the weekend pour.  It started like most of my Saturday mornings, 6:30 am wake-up and a concrete truck in my drive before 7:30.  Not to mention 6-7 guys running around like kids getting ready to play with Tonka trucks, but these Tonkas are full size.

I do have to say, with the pay being what it was (free donuts) and the hours (crack of dawn to the finish of the job), the guys we had were a pretty awesome crew.  Some of the usual suspects were there, Kyle and his mono, and Mike's dad, Chad, and brother, Justin.  And we had some other family members there too, not blood, but pretty close.  The Rankins, including Mike's college friend Dave, his brother Jeff, and their dad Ray, all were willing to lend a hand.

Because of the width of the drive, it was decided to divide it in half and create a cold joint in the middle to make it easier to screed.  The extra form was put in place, the guys were given their jobs and the pouring began.


Mike's dad was in charge of controlling the chute.  This meant directing the driver to stop and start the flow, move the truck up, and also moving the chute back and forth for an even flow.  Justin helped his dad by shoveling the concrete down the chute.  As the concrete poured out, Mike, Kyle and Ray helped shovel the concrete around.  As they moved along, Jeff and Dave used a 2x4 to skreed the concrete.  This is done by moving the board back and forth along the formwork, leveling the concrete. 



Sometimes you get halfway done and notice that there's a piece of wire sticking out of your nicely leveled concrete.  That's when brothers come in handy.


After the first half was done and the truck returned with the second load, it was time for the second half.  The formwork in the middle was removed and the concrete was then poured in this section.. 


As the guys worked on the second half, Kyle, our resident finisher used a bull float to further smooth out the surface, then broomed it to create the finish texture. 



And again, some ingenuity was used to get the top-heavy broom across the middle.  Some rope and some muscle did the trick.
  

In the end, it only took until early afternoon, and I know we wouldn't have been able to do it with out our amazing crew.  A huge thanks to all the guys who came out and helped us!

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