We had a fabulous weekend, thanks to a very special team of friends and family. We managed to finish pouring the interior concrete floor. The weather even played along and we had a warm and sunny day in which to finish the work.
Work Site Challenges
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, pouring concrete has been a bit more challenging for our friends than it would have been otherwise. We feel it is necessary to keep strict Covid protocols in place, which means our concrete team members are all shoveling stones and operating the concrete mixer (in the sun) while wearing their masks. On the other hand, this is probably an added protection for them, because wearing masks means they’re also protected from the cement dust.
Keeping everyone hydrated and well-fed is another challenge. Not only do we have to have a small team running around with fruit juice and water, and preparing meals, but utensils have to be well washed between rounds.
We poured the interior in three stages over three different social distancing concrete party weekends, several weeks apart. Now that the work is finished our friends are pros at their designated tasks. The last run ran extremely smoothly and we finished ahead of our expected schedule.
After each concrete pouring session, the floating of the concrete needed to be completed. I will be honest; this has filled me with dread every time I thought about it. For our last concrete pouring day, Louis and Kevin got up at 3am to start work before the concrete cured too hard. Kevin worked for ten hours solid and Louis for twelve, polishing the semi-hard concrete floor. It is back-breaking work.
Hiring a Power Float
This time around we hired a petrol powered floating machine known as a power float. We were not able to do so for the last few sections as we did smaller blocks. A concrete block cannot be too big as it risks cracking (which is one reason why we’ve been doing it in sections). The power float doesn’t do too well with edges and as we had several smaller blocks, rather than one large block, we had too many edges. For this last section, we did a big block in the middle. In order to prevent it from cracking, Kevin will grind in the breaks later with a large angle grinder.
The power float was a life-saver. It was a bit difficult to control as it has a mind of its own and it took a few minutes to work out what all the levers did. Kevin used his full weight and his muscles to keep it under control, but we reduced the floating down from 12 hours (unbearable) to about 2 and a half (very manageable). The power float had the majority of the work done within one hour and the last hour and a half was spent on tidying up the edges.
10/10 would recommend.
Louis tells me that on big building sites, only the big, burly guys get to operate the power floats. We can understand why.
That’s a huge tick on our task list: We have completed the concrete floor in the interior! Now we have to start considering the finish. Will it be tiles? Perhaps, it will it be an epoxy resin coating over the concrete? Will it be something else completely? We have yet to decide.
Once again, a huge thank-you to our friends and family whose support means the world to us. You guys are the best!