Saturday, January 14, 2012

Pouring cement for our basement

The big day finally came to get our basement floor poured.

We have been looking for someone that would let us work with them on this pour as we’ve wanted to be involved in all aspects of our house building but it just hadn’t worked out yet.

Our luck finally changed when we got a hold of our friend Gus to come and help finish some stuff on our place we just needed to get done.

Gus can’t pour cement. He’s poured sidewalks that benefit from a ruff edged appeal and he’s really good at pouring Diet Pepsi but what is really fortunate for us is his dad is one of the most respected contractors around our area.

Gus’s dad (Red – New addition to Who’s Who) is retired if you ask his Gus’s mom (Maple) but Gus somehow managed to pull Red out of retirement to put on a show.

Red came out to the place the day before to prep for the pour. After giving me a talking to on how I laid the rebar and insulation he pulled out his equipment and got to work.

He used and instrument to calculate all the heights of every location of our floor.

He then put these stakes down the middle of the floor and attached the metal clips shown below. These clips hold a 2x4 at the proper height so we could then skreet (some fancy term for moving a 2x4 back and forth leveling the cement even with the height intended for the floor) the cement.gable end 006

We then ran a chalk line around the perimeter so we knew what height to skreet the cement to on the walls.

gable end 004Here are a bunch of other cement pouring tools. You can see the float that is used to smooth the cement after it’s skreeted. It’s the tool that looks like a broom in the top right of the picture below.gable end 007

I asked Red how many basements he’s poured over the years and he said “Probably 100”. I guess I’m 101.  Red and Gus sat around doing math on the wall to estimate how much concrete to order for the pour. My floor was a little uneven from one end to the other so it was rather difficult to get a precise measurement.

You can see the metal pegs if you look carefully every six feet or so.    gable end 005     gable end 002

The next morning we got to the house at 6:30 am to finish up getting ready for a 7:30 am pour.

We were all ready to go as the cement truck pulled up. Everyone had his job assignment and mine was the most unskilled position they had. I was to move the plywood planks into position so the wheelbarrow guys could deposit the cement into the proper place.

You’d think I could manage that. It’s not that hard to move planks around right? Gosh, I felt like I was disappointing everyone with my uneducated, unintelligent placement of every board. Red was yelling at me for my total lack of ability. The wheelbarrow guys just groaned as I made the boards as unlevel as humanly possible. Gus saw my dismay and started cheering for me whenever I laid a board correctly. I hate to say it but I’m glad I don’t have to do that for a living. I’d never survive. I’d have to retake board laying 101 like five times before I’d ever be promoted to a position that had any skill needed.

During all the commotion a bunch of distant memories came rushing back as I thought about an early time when I worked for Red pouring concrete. My employment didn’t last long as I was uncoordinated back then as well. I’m surprised Red didn’t fire me on this job even if it was my basement.gable end 021

We got done the basement and the cement truck driver poured the remaining concrete on our gravel pile. I swear there was about a pop can of concrete left over. Gus was saying how lucky we were. Red just said “that’s about how much I figured would be left over" in all seriousness. I guess when you are good you are good.

gable end 014gable end 013

We now have a basement floor.

gable end 018

Gus was leaving a broom finish on our outside walkway. He also left a memento on the walkway.

gable end 017

One more thing to check off our list. We are really glad this is done as we can now move in all our earthly possession into our own place. There isn’t a door yet on the basement so maybe we’ll have to do that first but hey, we are almost there.


  1. That's a huge thing to check off your check list! Do you feel like you have the hang of board placement now? I usually figure something new out by the time the job is over. :)

  2. I don't even have the smallest hope of talent for board placement. I'm way better sitting at a computer and writing blog posts which shows you how bad of a concrete worker I am as my blog post talents are limited at best.

    It is a huge check mark off our list. I'm glad we did it last week as it's -35 c today and that temperature is pretty well impossible to do anything in.