After weeks of weather-watching, schedule-shifting, and dirt-digging, the day arrived. Slab day! Let’s cut to the chase, she’s a beaut. Would you just look at that big hunk o’ concrete!
But how’d Myers’ Home team get here? That clean, final slab contains quite a few parts. The layers within the slab are gravel, a vapor barrier, rebar, and wire mesh. These all had to be installed along with plumbing and electrical chases before calling in the concrete order. Not to mention the formwork that holds the whole thing together while it cures!
The batter boards that went up all those weeks ago set the lines for formwork. The form boards are tacked with metal stakes every two feet, leveled, plumbed, and secured with kickers and wooden stakes every four feet. This solid edge allows the team to dig their 8″ wide turndowns with crisp and clear dimensions. The turndown is a small ditch that strengthens the edges of the slab which are taking the brunt of the gravity load of the home.
The site was a touch too muddy to bring in the big guns (the Bobcat) for gravel moving. So gravel moving was done the good old-fashioned way with wheelbarrows and shovels. Cheers to the Studio’s new Operations Manager, John Allen, for joining the student team on quite the pre-summer scorcher! The old gang and their welcome extra hands then spread the gravel with shovels and rakes, tamped flat and firm, and checked for level with the site level.
A site-sized sheet of thick plastic, the vapor barrier, covers the gravel and sprayed for termite protection. With all this tamped down and taped up it’s time to get into the metal game!
Rebar is skewered throughout the turndown and run lengthwise around the edges. Metal mesh is then carefully moved, it tends to be wiggly, and cut to size to set on chairs across the slab area. These elements reinforce the slab for tensile strength after the pour.
Setting rebar in the corners Twisting rebar ties to secure reinforcement Cutting metal mesh to size Moving metal mesh from the mound to cut to size
Water Under the Drive
Meanwhile, the team was also trenching for water lines for, long-term, the home’s water supply and, more short term, a spigot to water their new concrete. The Ditch Witch, a walk-behind trencher, is a gem of a machine. Once you get her started, she can dig a line like no other! After completing most of the trench and chiseling through a few unexpected brick foundations by hand, the team finished a long Slab Pour Eve with a complete and working hose.
Getting the trencher up and at ’em Connecting the pex pipe to the valve box for Myers’ Home
The Promised Pour
But at last the morn arrived! The first concrete truck pulled up right on time (wow!). With expertise of local concrete masters Clyde and Jimmy, the team had their slab placed in a jiff. The team was able to help float edges and directing the placement of the small excess load. As Clyde continued to finish and polish the surface, the team prepared to pop their markers for control joints. These prevent large-scale cracking in the slab over time.
Pulling concrete into place through the forms Waiting on the last load The team helping out Clyde and Jimmy Artists at work
Clyde returned the following morning to cut control joints with the demolition saw. The team took turns to water the slab morning, noon, and night in the days following.
A nice morning drink for the slab The site gets lovely dappled morning light Fresh control joints on a beautiful day A slab unwrapped and ready to hold a house
This means these three students are just about ready to start framing! Stick around to see the mockup they’ve got in the works for all those durable details and some sweet and sweaty Pig Roast moments!