With the brick up complete, moisture protection and steel reinforcement in place, a rather momentous occasion crept upon us.
Just before the slab is poured, some additional formwork for the slab is installed along the outer edges of the house’s footprint, on top of the footings and along the bricked up sections. This essentially helps form the edge of the slab and stops the concrete from pouring out – it’s essentially a containment line.
At this point we should mention that our concreters were a great bunch of guys. Having assisted with the footings and prepping of the slab itself, the team from Success Concreting were wonderful to deal with, right through to cleaning up the site after they had finished their job.
The feeling you get seeing your slab go down is a pretty darn exciting one – it’s a milestone moment for any build or renovation and a significant step forward. Even better is seeing the line up of concrete trucks down the street, all waiting patiently in the queue for their turn. You see, with a concrete slab, the concrete is poured in one single continuous operation. A concrete pump with a massive extension hose is connected up to one truck at a time, feeding concrete quite quickly to the slab where the workers then position and mush the stuff into place. Technical talk is paramount here obviously.
It’s quite a careful operation as they need to ensure that the steel reinforcements aren’t flattened by the concrete being poured and that a good amount of concrete gets under it. In addition, they use what looks like a giant hand beater, to swirl the concrete and remove any air pockets or bubbles. It helps vibrate and move the concrete into every nook and cranny possible.
As they move across the slab pumping more and more concrete in, the process of smoothing out the slab with a hand trowel begins. It’s all very cake decorating like really. And more precise than expected too. Especially when the big gun came out… the massive rotary blade machine that looked like something out of Mad Max. Essentially it’s like a massive fan that is driven across the slab to make it super smooth and flat, where the blades of the “fan” do all the work.
Within a few hours, the job was done and looked an absolute treat – concrete never looked so good. In fact, we served up celebratory beers at 10:30am from memory!
The boys from Success Concreting then briefed us in about what we needed to do with the slab for a week or so in terms of assisting it to cure correctly. As the weather was still quite warm, we had to water our slab in the morning to help it absorb moisture for the warm day ahead. This apparently assists in stopping the slab from cracking due to it drying out too quickly – and like a good little Italian boy, Gino watered the concrete diligently for just over a week to help create a wonderfully smooth, crack-free slab!
When watering one’s slab, wear very non-slip shoes. The powdery residue from the slab, plus water from the hose, equals none-too-stylish-landing-on-your-back dance moves! YEOUCH.
Time to let the slab sit and settle before the next stage begins. Plenty of work to be done in the meantime though… like choosing windows. Oh boy. *