Over the weekend, master backhoe operator and excavator extraordinaire, Jim Fowler, spread the 35 tons of crushed stone inside the foundation. This left a bed of gravel about 4 inches thick on top of the compacted earth inside. The gravel is about 8 inches below the top of the foundation wall.
Monday, March 27 2006, Don Carmichael, of A&A Foundations, formed out the "utility pit" in the northeast corner of the studio. This area is where the electricity, water, phone, etc. will enter the studio from a trench to the house. (The water line needs to be at least 40 inches below ground to below below the frost level.)
In the center of the floor near the north end, is a deeper area where the floor needs to be extra thick. The loft will have one post in the center that supports it and it will sit on this pad. A length of rebar (iron rod) is sticking up from this spot and the post will be drilled out and placed over this rod.
Don then ordered 15 and a half yards of cement for the morning, (Tue).
The first cement truck showed up about 9am and the pour started.
Watching the coordination between the driver and Don as the truck laid the cement and Don spread it evenly around was amazing. The floor needed to be about 4 inches thick. A chalkline snapped around the inside perimeter of the foundation was Don's final level indicator. In addition, he had about ten thin metal plates placed around the space which had the tops set to the final top of the floor. He then spread the cement from the line on the edges to the center so it just covered the submerged metal plates. This is done by eye and the cement is smoothed with "float".
The drivers of the trucks are in radio contact so that as the first truck is finished with its load the second truck is ready and on site.
By 10:30 both trucks were empty, washed out and gone. Don's has the level set and uses a wooded screed to smooth the surface. After about 30 mins, he works a bull float to further smooth it out.
Over the next couple of hours, he will make several passes with a "whirlybird" until, by the time he leaves at 3, the floor is like glass and almost hard enough to walk on.
(As you can see in the photos, this was all done under the watchful eyes of our neighbors.)
Of course, at the exact point of set, Katey recorded the date and our names in the corner for posterity.
Early next week, Brendan will move the timbers here and if all goes well (weather?!) the frame will be raised on Fri (April 7).