Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Good Form

One of the two most pressing items on our get-it-done-before-listing-the-house list was to make the back porch not look like it's falling down.  I say "look like" because, in reality, it probably would have stood up just fine for another sixty-five years as-was (as opposed to as-is).  However, I don't know too many buyers that would pay more than $40,000 for a house with a back porch that looks like this: 
Please note: the back porch typically looks about 75% less trashy than this.  All our projects are going on at once, leading to the junkification of the back yard.  We are gradually putting it back to rights.
 The columns have been like this for, well, longer than Madison has been here.  The main thing that stopped us from replacing them sooner was that they didn't line up with the concrete.  In the next two pictures, the screwdrivers (they're black, so they're kind of hard to see) mark where the center of the post should be.

We finally came to terms with the fact that we would have to pour an extension of sorts next to the patio, so the columns would have somewhere solid to sit.  To tie the extensions (there are actually two, one for each column) to the existing concrete, Pat used a hammer drill to make holes for a few rebar pieces.

He inserted the rebar halfway into the existing concrete, so now the three slabs are all tied together into one big piece.

Next, he built forms for the concrete.  I didn't notice his good form when I took this picture.  Ms. Dorothy, you should have had this boy in ballet!  Look at that natural turnout!  : )
After setting the forms in place, he tied a line to the center of where the top of the column would be in order to find the right place for the bottom anchor.

 Then it was time to make some concrete!  He mixed up some maximizer concrete by hand (he's no stranger to the process).
 At that point, it was dinner time for the boo.  That meant that while Patrick continued working, I absconded to the kitchen and took pictures of this cutie instead of the other one. 
While Madison worked on her bananas, her daddy poured the concrete into the forms and centered bolts in it directly where the posts would sit.

Then he was done for the day.  Or so he thought.  While he was getting ready for his shower (don't think too hard on that one) I heard him start to grumble.  After a few incoherent mumblings, I understood "Are you serious?"  He stalked out of the house into the backyard, (no worries, he was still appropriately clothed) and I followed him to find out what was wrong. 

He forgot to put the rebar in the concrete!  He had the ones that tied the slabs together, but didn't lay the ones that make each new slab rigid.  Oops!  Thankfully, the concrete was still wet enough to work with. 

The slabs had to set for twenty four hours before we could put any weight on them.  Patrick finished the slabs on Saturday evening, so we ended up having to wait until the following weekend to continue work on the back porch.  Fast forward to the next Saturday...

The installation process was pretty simple.  He finished installing the first post before I could take pictures, but here he is measuring for the second post.  The dog in the bottom right of the picture is my parents' dog, Baby.  We were dog sitting while they went on a cruise.  Must be nice!  : )
After measuring how long the post needed to be, he marked the treated 4x4 on all four sides, then made the cut.  I couldn't take pictures of the cutting process, because it was too loud for Madison to be outside for.
 Finally, here is the (structurally) finished product.  An improvement, no?
Next up?  Repairing/replacing the vinyl siding/trim, paint, and staging. 

What have you been working on lately?

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