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Posted by Mary in PA on 10/30/2010

Before working on this project, I would have associated “slow cured” with something you eat, not concrete. From John’s research, he learned about the relationship between how fast (or slow) concrete cures and its final strength. I think it can be generally summed up as: the slower the cure, the stronger the final product.

One way to slow the curing process is to allow the concrete to set up and then simply keep it wet. I bought a rain barrel on Craig’s List a while back knowing that we would want water for the curing process, and that we have no easy access to water on site. John had set it up after we got the gutters and it has been full for some time. It’s not real pretty, but it gets the job done for now.

They finished the slab on Friday, so John and I took shifts watering the concrete. John also placed the concrete samples he had taken in a bucket of water to cure them under similar conditions. He plans to strength-test it later.

When we had been working on the rebar, John had welded some steel pipe into a rectangular frame (~2’ x 1’) with two threaded anchors sticking up from it. The assembly was set onto the vapor barrier at the back wall of the shop and wired to the rebar. The anchors would be just below the surface of the 5-inch slab. The plan was that after the slab had set up, but not yet gained much strength, John would hand-chisel a small amount of concrete out to expose the anchors. These would become part of a very strong tie-down system embedded in the slab for tasks such as straightening large pieces of metal. So that was the plan.

In reality, and quite to his surprise, John was unable to locate the anchors, even though he had marked the side of the wall as a reference. After unsuccessfully probing the slab, i.e. making a three inch CRATER in the beautiful new slab, he decided to step back and rethink his approach. He tried using a compass from the truck, the stud finder from the shed and even a rented a metal detector. But they all seemed to give vague responses. Perhaps the steel frame and rebar were enough to obscure the results for finding the small anchors.

A similar frame was embedded at the front of the shop – but he didn’t even try to excavate that one. Hmmm. John is going to give this issue some thought.

Photos

Night shift, checking the slab.
Tracking temp and RH.
Day shift, finished watering.



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