Pouring new basement floor ... how to get concrete?

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by Lakee911, Apr 10, 2008.

  1. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

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    Columbus, OH
    Well, after I do the deck, I'll be on to my next project ... busting up the concrete floor in the basement, putting in new drains and a sump and then pouring the new floor. The existing floor is cracked and heaving and only about 1" thick in some places! It's bad.

    I have a basement window that is about 10ft from the road. Is this too far to have concrete delivered without a pumper truck? Ideally if they could chute it right down into the window then I could spread it and finish it myself.

    Would it be better to haul out the concrete or build some sort of 12"H x 42"D platform against the wall and bury the broken concrete in that? I could put my washer and dryer and stuff on that. I would have to use a couple courses of concrete block to get it up to height. I'm not sure if I need a footer under them though. I could drive rebar into the ground to hold them from shoving outwards and then the floor slab would contain it too. Do you think it would settle much if the building had been excavated 85 years ago?

    Thanks,
    Jason
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2008
  2. Rent a concrete chute extension to get it through the basement window, request a front loader concrete truck.


    Sling the concrete tearout out the same window the new concrete comes through. Problem solved and don't stare at my avatar, it causes jaundice.
  3. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

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    What do you mean sling the tearout out the same window?

  4. Yes. That's the way we did it anytime there was a job in the basement and you're trying to avoid steps.
  5. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

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    Sling it with what? My arms?
  6. spryde

    spryde Sr. IT Analyst

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    Location:
    Mid-Michigan
    Yep. Been there, done that. Not going to do it again.

    On the other hand, you shall look like Ah-nold when you are done.

    SP


  7. Yes.......of course. Remember I'm the only disabled fart here so no excuses for anyone not to be able to endure vigorous physical labor.



    (prepares candybar for daily nutrition)
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    concrete

    Our concrete trucks come with additional chutes, and they would have to buy a front discharge truck if I really needed one. Throwing concrete up and through a window, then having to pick it up and move it before throwing another piece sounds like real work.
  9. BigLou

    BigLou New Member

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    138
    Jason,
    sorry but your best bet is to take it out of there. you can't find some neighborhood teenage boys who want to make a $20 bill ? Unless you have a lot of experience forming and pouring concrete especially a monolithic pour your asking for disaster.

    I second the request a front loader concrete truck. If they don't have one tell them to buy one or call another concrete company. Most contractor rental yards will rent you an extra section of chute to prop up on some saw horses.
    If you feel particularly brave you can ask them to add some plasticiser, Which will make the concrete flow like water with out affecting the strength

    I would bribe some of my buddies with beer and food to come over and help me. pouring a floor is an awful lot of work for one guy. Around here you get 5 min per yard to unload the truck beyond that they get $100/hour sitting time.

    Lou
  10. kd

    kd New Member

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    207
    How big is the floor? What will the concrete truck be driving on? A pumper may be warranted.
  11. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    Location:
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    concrete

    I would bribe some of my buddies with beer and food to come over and help me. pouring a floor is an awful lot of work for one guy. Around here you get 5 min per yard to unload the truck beyond that they get $100/hour sitting time.

    Or you can do like one guy did here years ago. He framed the patio, ordered the concrete, and then went to the store. He told his wife to have the truck dump the concrete inside the form. A few hours later he called the readymix yard and told them, "You dumped my concrete about 4 hours ago. When is it going to smooth itself out?"
  12. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

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    I've heard that story before, HJ! I don't know if it was from you or some place else, but it's funny.

    I think that I'm going to haul it out. I'm probably going to put it in 5Gal buckets and hand them out the window to someone who can load it in a wheel barrow and then dump it out back.

    I could probably round up a whole slew of people to help bust up, dig and carry out the rubble. Few bucks and beer and dinner and stuff...maybe it'll work out. :)

    I have a guy up the street who does concrete. I might approach him to help me pour the slab. I'd like to do it myself so I can learn, and save a buck or four. I doubt he'd be willing to help though.

    I think getting some additional chutes would work. I might take a pic of the area and post it so you can see what it's like. I'm so close to the side street, the truck should be able to stay on the street.

    Why is the front loading truck so much better?

    How much gravel should I put down under the floor. Head height is a concern and since the entire floor isn't coming out, I would need to excavate underneith (it's clay) to get gravel under in there w/o taking up the already low ceiling height. I was thinking of perhaps a 3-4" thick floor and 3-4" gravel? I'd put visqueen down before pouring.

    I've got maybe 275sq ft of floor ... so that's 3.5 - 4 cu. yds.

    Any of ya'll live near Columbus, OH and have concrete experience? I'm looking to do this in June or July.

    Thanks! :)
  13. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

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    Gots an idear of how much these rent for???
  14. BigLou

    BigLou New Member

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    138
    Jason,

    If you want to learn I can think about a whole list of things you are better off learning then the concrete trade .

    Why do you want to put gravel under the floor? do you have water problems ?punching through a clay layer can be a good way to make ones you don't have. if the slab is thick enough >4" and has minimal reinforcement it should be fine even over clay.

    How close is close to the side street ? They don't have as much chute as most people think they do. The front loader is better because he has more chute and is dumping from a higher level its also easier to position the front of the truck then it is the back.

    Is 4 yards enough to avoid a short load charge ? you may want to set up the delivery to include pouring the tubes for your deck. They are going to want 4 yards of the truck fast so make sure to budget for extra sitting time.

    Most rental yards rent small conveyors this may be just what you need to extract the rubble. You could also probably just pour right over the existing rat slab if its more or less level. Its not like this is a structural slab.

    Do you have any supporting colums to deal with ?

    Lou
  15. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

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    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    Hey Lou,
    I love to learn and be able to do everything that I can. I'll be building a garage at some point and I want to learn how to pour that slab myself, so I might as well learn sooner rather than later.

    I do have some water problems. It's minimal, but I'm going to be adding some drain tile and a sump, so I need to make sure that the water can get to the sump. I'm not sure if there is any gravel under the slab now, but I don't think so.

    I'm about 10feet from the street. Unfortunately, the window is under an overhang (24" or less), The good thing is, though, I've got about 36 from the bottom of the window to the bottom of the overhang. I'll have to do some math to make sure the chute can get under there w/o hitting the house.

    I did the math and if I poured for my deck, and it would only be slightly less than one yard of concrete ... hardly worth it. I'll just pay for a small load. Or, I'll do more floor. :)

    Well, I'm already low on head height and I'm not doing the entire floor so matching up to the old one will be important. I don't think that it would be a good option. It's in bad shape and I'd just rather get it out of there.

    I have one column in the middle of the pour. I installed it myself a year or two ago and it has about 18" of concrete underneith it under the floor. I'm not concerned about disturbing it.


    Thanks,
    Jason
  16. Erico

    Erico New Member

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    73
    Location:
    NY
    If you want practic, practice on the garage.....

    ...not the basement. Basements are a big deal.

    It's been a while since my college summer concrete job but the one basement job we did stands out as the job that I most hated - and the job that dam near turned in to a nightmare. I was working with/for two pros. We almost "lost the load"........While you are practicing, learning and messing around, the concrete is setting up. It's no fun trying to rush that last section when the concrete is hardening and there is nothing worse than tearing out freshly installed concrete for a "do over."

    Just getting that load dumped in the basement will take some time. While it is being dumped, you need three or four guys spreading, screeding and finishig it. Otherwise, you will have a giant pile of hardened concrete.


    That said, I think minimum yardage is the least of your worries. I can't picture a home with less than 5? 7? 8? yards.

    Also, keep in mind what you have to drive over to get to your house. Those trucks are heavy and will bust curbs, driveways and sidewalks. If I remember correctly, the truck weighs 32,000 pounds and the concrete is 4,000 pounds per yard.

    If I were you, I would do the grunt/demo work and hire a finisher to do the pour. You will most likely need more than one. Also, they may want their own experienced laborer to wheel and backfill their screeds.

    By doing the grunt/demo work, at least you can take your time and hire it out if you get over your head. Yeah, you will definaitely need to haul it out. It will make a bigger pile than you think.
  17. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

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    Thanks for the advice. :) Maybe I'll hire out the pouring and finishing. ;)
  18. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

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    Whoever does the pouring and finishing should also arrange for getting the concrete. You don't want to be responsible for coordinating.

    If you get a bid on the whole job (remove the old, prepare the subgrade, and pour the concrete) you will be ahead of the game. Those guys hire a bunch of strong guys to do that kind of work.

    Setting concrete waits for no man. Once it gets into that window it must be spread to the farthest corners of the basement. It is done with shovels and maybe wheelbarrows. They will probably have a crew of 4 to pour a good size basement.

    Then you need the correct tools and setup for screeding and finishing it.

    The concrete finisher will want to make it wet so it's easy to move; you will want it less wet so it is stronger.

    The best return on your efforts would be to spend some time engineering what you want done, getting plans and specifications together, and inspecting the work while it is being done.

    You probably want a slight slope so any water will go to drains. You certainly don't want any bird-bath spots in your new floor. Someone should set some grade stakes and work to them, because it is impossible to get the proper levels by "eyeball".

    Make sure you specify the grade of concrete, and get what you specify. Cement is expensive and they will want to save money.

    If you are in an area with radon (look it up on the maps) you will want to be sure that there is a porous layer under the floor that will support a radon-removal system. Almost all buyers now get radon tests and require low levels or remediation.
  19. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    talking about losing the load

    We were doing a small park restroom. The floor was supposed to be 4" thick with multiple internal stem walls. This job was for the Corps of Engineers so it was designed like Hoover Dam. Rather than trench all the stems, the concrete contractor elected to just frame the 20' x 30' x2' rectangle and pour it full of concrete. One little detail was that the exterior walls were to set on a 1" raised rim with a 1" radius cove. They started pouring about 4:00 a.m. It had difficult access so only one truck could be in place at a time. They finally got all the concrete in place. I came by the site at 9:00 p.m. and they were "pounding" the set concrete trying to form the cove around the edges. The next day the Corps' engineer came by and looked at the job. Her comment was, "A kindergarten class could have done a better job of finishing. Take it out." Access to break it up and take it away was no better than getting the concrete to the job so it took a couple of weeks to remove it all. The electrician told me, "I only have one stinking conduit that they have to pay me to redo. You lucky dog, they have to pay you for an entire plumbing installation." And as everyone knows it costs more to redo a job than it did to do it originally.
  20. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

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    After skimming over most of the replies to the original question, I was pleased to read that finally the light has begun to shine! You have come to the realization of your limitations. We DIYers have to realize that there are some jobs that need to be handled by professionals. While some of use are capable of more than others, dealing with a large volume of concrete into a basement is going to be far more work and require much more skill than most of us possess. I'd point out that even if you could successfully get the concrete into the basement, finishing it smooth and level and without air pockets requires tools, and experience. You sure don't want to end up with a lumpy floor.
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