The road to a slab

Despite the cold, the team pushed on to get ready to pour the slab. I originally wanted polished concrete floors at my house but ended up hiring a bunch of clowns that did such a bad job, I had to cover the concrete with slate. I didn't want to repeat that mistake so I hired Duron, the best in the business. Andreas, the project manager responsible for my slab, gave us the following tips for a winter pour:
  • We had to build heated canopies at the front entrance and garage door to prevent the concrete from freezing. Neal did an amazing job tenting the area with our thermal blankets.
  • We had to rent an indirect fired heater rather than the "salamanders" that are usually used for construction heat. Apparently, CO2 will interact with the surface of the curing concrete and make it brittle.
  • We put 2" of rigid insulation down to insulate the slab. Rob attached his hydronic heating tubes to the insulation with staples. The ICF and rigid insulation creates a bathtub of insulation that will retain the slab's heat.
  • Andreas insisted that we brace the rebar with bricks rather than the usual plastic "chairs". For the distillery slab, Jason specified two layers of 10mm rebar in a grid pattern at 16" spacing. A crazy amount of rebar for an 8" slab. I can park an Abrams tank on it! I had to make several trips to the Home Depot to dig out bricks from their frozen yard.

Perry completed the spill containment tank by pouring its floor and putting in temporary framing to support the slab above the tank. Once cured, the slab will become the ceiling of the tank. Merv was concerned that the frost in the compacted gravel will crack the slab as it thaws. I called my geotech engineer, Dan Morey, and he said that the volume of compacted gravel barely changes when frozen. So I'm good to poor. Pour day fell on Sonya's birthday. I had to leave the house at 5AM so I didn't get to wish her happy birthday. When I got to the site, I cranked up the heater and waited for the crew to arrive. And did they ever arrive! By 8AM there were 15 guys with Andreas preparing for the concrete trucks to arrive. Andreas complained about the amount of light in the building. I got some construction lights from Levi's but they still weren't happy. So I went to Home Depot and got some massive LED lights on stands. No more complaints after I lit those up. The pumper setup and the concrete trucks started to roll in. Each member of the team knew their role and the pour proceeded like clockwork. By noon all 75 meters of concrete was placed. The original crew was replaced by the concrete finishers who worked till midnight troweling the concrete. Before they left, they cut relief joints to prevent uncontrolled cracking.

I finished the day at the Heirloom cafe for Sonya's birthday dinner. Who could ask for a better birthday present than a concrete slab.