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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

How to Build a Patio in Expansive Soil: Part II

Sunday, 6/14/09: Here you can see all 7 of the wooden forms set in place, over the holes, with the string lying perfectly over the center of each one.

Two of the forms butted up against the existing cement stoop so one edge of the form was the old cement.Sunday, 6/14/09: Lucky for us, my dad happens to own his own electrically-powered cement mixer so the work was minimized to hauling the mix to the BBQ yard. Mixing cement by hand isn't so bad but we did have to make a lot of it. Dave and I often just use a shovel and our wheelbarrow.

Unlucky for us, the Ace Hardware rock yard here in town doesn't carry con mix...this is weird to me since they do carry aggregate base and most of the time AB is placed as a base under a cement driveway or sidewalk. So why do they carry one and not the other? Who knows.

Dave and my dad settled on buying pea gravel and sand to mix with the Portland cement. Not knowing the exact proportions (i.e., relative numbers of shovel-fulls of eat component), they did a quick search online. Not finding any useful information, they just "eye balled" it. It came out pretty good.
Check it out: our own American Gothic--the Bearded Edition:
My dad manned the mixer while Dave hauled the cement back to the yard and shoveled it into each form. He made sure to get all the air bubbles out of each form by ramming a digging bar down into them. Then he smoothed the top of each post base with a trowel and used an edger tool to make rounded edges on the top for that "professional look."
Whenever you're doing concrete work, you should always have a place to put the inevitable left-overs. Since we forgot to make a stepping stone mold, Dave added the leftovers to the base around the clothes tree (it had been sand before).
After lunch we were all tired and decided to recharge with a quick nap. The dogs were also tired (from running around the yards and generally getting in the way) so they snuggled up with their Grandpa.

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