Bro Jones and Bro Olson were there to help this monumental task happen. Bro Blair received a cryptic phone call from Olson asking where he was at and saying, "Got to go, the truck is here!". Blair had no idea what he was referring to, but like the good home teacher he is, he swung by to see if it dealt with me. Both he and Olson are experienced cement workers. It was great to have both there to learn from. They each had different styles of doing it so that was good exposure for me too.
We rented a trailer that would hold 1.25 cubic yards of cement. The first 9x10 slab went great. We had the perfect amount of cement. Blair gave instructions on tamping down the aggregate (even while in his nice clothes) and Olson showed me how to float.
No one had a float on a pole so we devised a way to reach the middle of the pad. We laid a 2x4 across some raised supports. Simple yet effective. Being in that position for extended periods of time floating cement would gladly influence anyone to buy the pole float though. Good investment in the future if I do it again.
The first slab turned out pretty good considering it was my first time floating. I am quite pleased. Next on the list was another 9x10 slab (#2) on the other side of the back door. As you can see, Blair came back in some regular clothes to finish his home teaching for the day. The lesson: Service with a smile.
This is where the story begins to get interesting. Unfortunately I don't have time to give details of hard life lessons here so I will try to be succinct but feel free to ask any questions if you need more details. The 2nd slab required more than the 1.25 cubic yards of concrete we could get in one load. We had to send Jon back to get another 1/2 cubic yard to finish it up and slab #3 (6x6 slab between the two big slabs). A complete picture is below if you need to reference it.
Jon got back, we finished filling slab #2 and beginning slab #3 but then #3 needed more. In an effort to get the rented trailer back in time, get a cement mixer, cement, and so forth; slabs #2 and #3 were getting really hard (you could walk on it :( ). Blair worked hard on slab #2 and his hard work saved it; all things considered. I am grateful for his effort. Don't you love quick setting concrete? Olson, Jon, and I worked on finishing up slab #3. The bags of cement we mixed in slab #3 turned out to be brown in color unlike the grey in the other two. Oh well. Time was of the essence and no time to be picky. We mixed it all up and got it in there and had #3 looking good about 6:15pm. Super hard day.
Here is where it gets funny. In the effort to clean up, the kids were admiring our work (ya, you know where this is going). Punkin decided to go inside and walked right across the only part that happened to be wet (part of #3). We had nice foot prints. Poor Punkin. I moved her off the pad and refloated it. Not but a few minutes later a big storm began moving through and blew a patio chair across the yard and guess where it landed. Slab #3. I "removed" the chair and refloated the slab. Guess what was next: Ten minutes later a nice big rain storm. I couldn't win. It removed the cement layer on top and left us with a nice looking slab of cement with the exposed aggregate. It doesn't look all that bad but still would've liked the smooth surface. Now we have a nice (I still consider it nice even though not perfect) 10x24 patio and an 8x16 brick pad.
Despite the challenges we faced, I still consider it a success. I care more about functionality than aesthetics so I will take what I have and move on. It is character. I learned a lot from the project. It is great to have experienced guys around you can learn a new skill from. We thoroughly appreciate all those who helped with this project. They were all needed and worked hard. Our calico patio is now finished.