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When to pour pads for A/C and porch and generator?


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By Rich in Suffolk, VA on 2/19/2010


When do you schedule the pouring of pads for the front/back porch, the central air and heat, and the generator pad? Is this done with the foundation, or later?  If later, how do you tie it into the foundation?
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By Michael in Cave Creek, AZ on 2/20/2010


Some people like to pour all of the pads and flatwork at the time the footing is done. The advantage of that is that the concrete crew only comes out once and you might be able to avoid short-load charges from the ready-mix company.

The problem with pouring everything early is that the concrete might get cracked or dirty during the build. If you are doing a concrete driveway, it should be poured after the last delivery that is made with a a semi-truck or dump truck to prevent cracking it. Most messes made on a slab during construction can be removed with a 3,500 PSI pressure washer.

Slab on grade patios and driveways are not normally tied in to the house. Just nail a piece of expansion joint material on the footing using a few concrete nails, and set up your forms when you pour your patio or driveway. If you are working in a hillside environment with engineered footings and retaining walls, check your plans for any connection details between retaining walls, footings and slabs.

If you are doing just AC compressor pads, the AC contractors do have access to pre-cast fiber-cement pads that they can bring out. The materials cost significantly more than a few bags of concrete mix, though.

Your generator pad can be poured as soon as the generator is identified and you have the rough-in dimensions for where the anchor bolts, electrical conduit(s) and the fuel line go. Setting the generator as one of the first things could be wise, so that it can be used for power during construction.

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By Jeff in Hartland, WI on 2/25/2010


We poured the front porch at the same time we poured our garage slab--after the first floor was framed. We don't have a back porch, but we do have concrete stairs down to the patio, so we poured those at the same time as the patio, driveway, and sidewalks.

Our air conditioner isn't sitting on a slab. The contractor used a metal bracket that is bolted to the foundation, with a fiberglass pad attached to the bracket. The air conditioner sits on that. We built during the winter, so the HVAC contractor waited until the ground was thawed to install the bracket because they had to dig about a foot below ground level to bolt the bracket to the foundation.

So I guess it depends on a lot of things. You'll need to decide who is going to do your flatwork: the foundation contractor or somebody else. You'll need to decide who will do your HVAC work and ask them how they prefer to install the equipment. You'll probably also need to talk to your framers. The porches probably can't be poured until your first-floor exterior framing is up.  And you need to be sure that the porches are poured at the right level below the finished first floor (code requirement).

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By Rich in Suffolk, VA on 2/25/2010


Great information. Based on what you both said, it sounds like if I pour the slab (after the footing) and I have excess concrete (10% I think, is the typical excess ordered) I could just dump it to a form if I have one ready for the generator and air-conditioning unit.
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By Jeff in Hartland, WI on 2/25/2010


Hi Rich,

Talk to your foundation contractor. He can build supports for the pads into the foundation. So then, yes, you could do that. Otherwise, I think you need to tie the pads into the foundation with rebar--or risk the pad moving when the ground freezes or thaws. I wouldn't depend on there being enough "leftover" concrete for the pads. Just make sure the pads are identified on your plans so the contractor accounts for them when he orders concrete.

Jeff

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