Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Home podiatry

Footer repair, that is. Concrete footer. Ours had a big old gap in it, right underneath the threshold between living and dining room where we walk constantly. We've explained before how this semicircular gap in the concrete--put there to accommodate an old heating duct--left two floor joists almost totally unsupported in their 24-foot run. Bad stuff. Before we can lay the soapstone down in our fancy new threshold, we need to shore that up.

A number of proposals were floated as to the best way to accomplish this, and we eventually picked the simplest one. (See, we have learned something!) We'd build primitive forms and fill the gap back in with concrete, then put shims under the joists. Nice and easy. No metal brackets, no jacking.

We went down to the hardware stare and severely overestimated the amount of concrete we'd need--bought 5 bags, which is absurd, but better than not having enough. Our truck struggled back up the hill to the house. I crawled into the crawlspace--hello!--and we rigged up some super-ghetto forms with plywood and 2x4 bracing and large clamps.

Before we knew it we were choreographing a little number I like to call "The Humpty Dance." No, wait, I mean "Cure Me." Yeah, that's it. It involves scooting in and out of the crawlspace, coordinating complex steps between the hose shutoff and the wheelbarrow where your partner is mixing concrete, and climbing up and down a ladder to scoop wet concrete into the form with a garden trowel. It takes less than an hour but it's intense. We had these sweet costumes with respirators, and shovels for props. Big time.

A few scoops of Portland cement later, followed by a nice leveling-off at the top, and we were done! (Note: Blog entry not meant to be used as DIY instructions. Completely useless in terms of actual information.) A half-moon of wet concrete curing against the ol' 1932 footer of the house. The forms only fell apart once, that we know of. We were psyched since we thought this would be an onerous task and it was standing between us and a finished threshold.

Did you know you're not supposed to touch wet concrete? So much for writing your initials with your finger.

And then it was only 2pm on a Sunday so we canned some peaches and pulled out a bunch of dying stuff from the garden and put down bonemeal and greensand and chicken poop and rye seed and felt good about ourselves.

Oh, and look what we did on Saturday:


- Erika

No comments: