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Posted by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 1/14/2010

Today was an exhausting but very gratifying day, as we poured the LiteDeck today. Now all that radiant heat tubing that we've spent the last few days tying down and testing is buried under 3" of concrete--so boy I hope it works!  :)

I stayed out of the way, at work, today, since Colleen didn't need me underfoot while managing a whole bunch of contractors handling the pour. There were four teams in all--the construction crew (Builder Dale's folks) at full strength, a crew to handle the concrete pump, another crew to handle the concrete pour itself, and then the concrete-finishing guys. Plus, of course, Builder Dale and Engineer John. In all, there were around 20 folks on the site today, probably the most we've ever had up there at one time. It was amazing. A total of 9 trucks (roughly 90 cubic yards) of concrete were brought up today, and it was almost enough (more on this later) to finish the task.  

The weather was perfect, with the temps in the mid-40s and clear, sunny skies. The day began with Colleen and the crew heading up to make final preparations, clearing off debris and miscellaneous construction material from atop the house and making sure that the erstwhile driveway and turnaround locations for the trucks were clear and obstacle free. The trucks everybody drove up in were parked far up the road past the house (towards where we hope to install the PV mounts) so that there would be plenty of room for the concrete trucks once they began to arrive. Tools and emergency supplies of foam, plywood, and such were placed around the site just in case of a blowout, and the crew double-checked all of the scaffolding underneath the LiteDeck one last time.

And then the trucks began to arrive! First up was the pumping truck, which positioned itself as far up the driveway as it reasonably could. As the crew got the hose hooked up and in place, the first two concrete trucks arrived right on schedule.

The next few hours were a whirl of trucks arriving and leaving, crews working the concrete hose around the LiteDeck from one end of the house to the other, and the finishing crews running along behind the screed crew to brush down the concrete with a light basic finish. (We don't need anything super fancy here since none of this concrete is going to be exposed--there will be tile and wood across the whole thing--but we didn't want it chunky and rough either.) Colleen got a bunch of pictures and even a few short movies (all attached below) while Builder Dale and Engineer John supervised, gave occasional direction, and just watched. Nobody had much time for lunch, since there was so much to do, but everybody was able to grab a quick snack or a drink from time to time so that at least was good (we didn't need anybody fainting from lack of fluids!) There was a minor leak where I accidentally poked the rebar for one of the manifolds through the LiteDeck a week or so ago, but they quickly got it patched with a scrap of plywood with very little concrete loss. They did a fantastic job of steering clear of the manifold mounts, carefully working around them by hand when it came time to pour and later finish those areas--this wasn't the first time they'd worked with radiant-heat installations, though my understanding is that this was one of the larger ones they'd been on!

There were basically only three problems that had cropped up by the end of the day:

  • The edge of the wall where the ladder accessing the top of the deck was badly damaged by all of the traffic up and down this main access route. Nothing too serious, but it will require some reconstructive surgery and foam to repair.

  • The tops of the dividing walls between the garage and the apartment, and to a lesser extent the opposite wall between the garage and the kitchen, didn't get a good flow of concrete into them at all.  Turns out they were mostly protected by beams in the LiteDeck.  The crew tried to pump concrete into the holes but didn't do a very good job, really, and so there are some voids in there that will need to be filled in later.  These will get fixed later when we build the walls back up (after the infill work) and pour the first floor slab.
  • We ended up about 1/2 of a cubic yard short of what we needed, with the result that the area right in front of the ladder was only splattered with the thinnest layer of concrete (basically what was left in the hose at the very end). Builder Dale was kicking himself for not being more precise, whereas everybody else was amazed that he had estimated the other 90 cubic yards so well--percentage-wise he was only about 1% off.
There were a lot of stories throughout the day, and I'll add some supplemental posts about some of the other things that happened when I get a chance. Until then, enjoy the pics and the movies, and rejoice in another milestone reached.

The LiteDeck is poured! Tanglewood's second floor begins soon!

Dang this is fun!

Steven in Colorado Springs


The LiteDeck awaits the first pour. You can see one of my manifolds carefully covered by a trash bag to the right, with concrete hoses ready and waiting. The scraps of top hat will be used to help control the hoses.
The first concrete truck can be seen in the back, with the pump truck in the foreground. The black rolls stacked along the ground are the concrete blankets, which we covered everything with after the pour was done.
At this point in the process, the deck is mostly poured. You can see my other manifold covered with the clear trash bag; the big loop of tubing hanging out of it is an impromptu loopback connection we made when we realized we had an unused zone.
He *really* shouldn't have been standing there, but it's a cool shot.
A slightly fuzzier shot, showing just how high up he was.
A long shot of the work from below the site, near the trailer.
Another view of the work from down below. You really can't see most of the folks working atop the house from here, though.
One of the finishing crew smooths out the pour at the edge of the library section.
Closeup of the manifold area. They got some splatters of concrete on some of the tubing, but that will come right off. The 2x4 in the foreground is one of the screed boards (used to level out the pour).
Working on the library section. The drop-off just past them looks down into the living room, and you can see where the main stairs will go to the left.
Slowly things get poured and smoothed. Overall, the crew really DID do a good job of not stepping on my tubing, too.
Nearly done with the library area...
A good shot of the finishing work done near the drop-off... they had to be careful here!
The angles made it a bit tough to work in here.
Once the library area was done, the pour work moved to the north end of the house.
Working their way towards the center of the house (over the garage).
Bracing around the apartment area.
Some of the scaffolding under the LiteDeck. This section is directly under the deck at the south end of the house.
A closeup of one of the window cutouts. This particular window hadn't been installed yet.
A closeup of a pour area before it's been smoothed out and made all pretty. Note that the guy on the right is doing a good job of staying off my tubing!
Builder Dale looks across the job from the hill behind the house. He seems pleased.
By this point, they'd realized they didn't quite have enough concrete, so they blocked out the area right in front of the ladder.
A long shot of the house from the road. Some more windows have been installed, and there's a HUGE pile of tarps that need to be put away.
Closeup of the master bedroom windows.
Another shot of the not-quite-finished section. Colleen wisely put some cardboard over the area to help protect the tubing.
Some final finishing work. Note the funky shoes they wear to avoid leaving footprints in the mud.
The concrete blankets get laid down over the new pour to help keep it warm. They are nicely insulated.
Looking across the freshly-poured floor to the north. Note the pile of concrete blankets being stacked prior to deployment.
Another shot looking over the apartment garage. Dang, that's a nice-looking finish!
We didn't quite have enough blankets, so tarps were used across the central section (more or less in my media room).
A better view of the coverings... nice work!

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