Shop Chronicles
Step 4 - A concrete slab floor
The concrete finisher I've hired came out on Saturday (Nov. 20) to draw out his chalk lines in anticipation of the pour on Monday. While doing this, he pointed out a potential problem and offer a couple of options. As it turns out, my existing dirt shop 'floor' is sloped. As a result, in order to pour a truly level slab, the concrete would have to be almost *9 inches* at the front, where the doors will be. Besides the additional cost of several extra yards of concrete, this presents another very annoying hazard: a short doorway. I'm not keen on the idea that I'll have to stoop to get in the door and will likely bash my head going in and out with materials and such.

In the picture above, there are two pencil marks on the existing door framing. The top one shows where the concrete would have to be for a level slab. The bottom one represents a slab more consistent in depth, but sloping and shallow enough to accommodate a more standard doorway height at the front. This is the option I chose. A smooth and consistent floor slab gives me the key benefits I'm looking for and a sloped floor is an acceptable compromise to avoid an annoyingly low doorway.

In the two pictures above, you can see the front forming is in place and a large sheet of plastic was laid to act as a vapor barrier. The white space underneath are some leftover fiberglass scraps I had lying around from remodelling a bathroom in our rent house. I had originally planned to use these to cover the top of some of my workbenches, but I never did and they were just getting in the way and taking up space. Besides, now that the told tables are ripped out for remodelling, I'll be building new benches with better tops anyway.

Monday morning, Stan (the concrete finisher I hired) aka "Catfish" arrived at 7 and the concrete truck came on time at 8am.

Its now or never, so here we go. Not having poured concrete before, I didn't know what to expect when it came out the chute. I was actually quite worried at first when I saw all the rock in the mixture. My mind said, "Ack! How is it going to be smooth with all that big rock? Oh, man I've messed up good now!" But my worries were unfounded. As the concrete is spread and screed, the rock actually settles to the middle and bottom and the water and cement migrates to the top.

See? Its looking smooth already and its still a big lake of mud.

Time is money, so off he goes.

Now that I have a concrete slab, I should be able to move all my tools back in this weekend (after we get back from Thanksgiving). New door framing and putting the doors back in is the next step. Stay tuned!