Have a bad concrete pour, need to make a decision - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 03-29-2020, 11:57 AM Thread Starter
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Have a bad concrete pour, need to make a decision

I hired an unlicensed concrete worker with 10 yearsí experience to pour a 16x30 ft slab. I live out in the boonies and havenít been able get anybody to come out here for almost 2 years.
They guy is young and wasnít experienced or equipped for a large slab and didnít have enough people for the pour. The concrete dried too fast leaving large foot prints and an extremely rough surface.
Heís working his ass off trying to fix it, but just doesnít have the equipment or money to do it quickly and Iím getting concerned about the amount of time it taking him. He has a full time job and can only work weekends. Iím thinking about just paying him what I owe him and cut him loose which would mean I would have to finish it myself with my wife helping me. I'm not even sure how to fix it properly.
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post #2 of 22 Old 03-29-2020, 12:19 PM
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If this is to be the floor of a shed, I would use levelling compound to get a nice smooth level surface. look at a few videos at Utube.
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post #3 of 22 Old 03-29-2020, 12:48 PM
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I have a similar issue with the outer sections of my driveway. Micro-cracks formed over the 3-5 years since the pour (~2015) and have recently (winters of 2018-19 and 2019-20) broken loose and left the underlying aggregate exposed. I knew something wasn't right fairly soon after buying the place (new) and moving in Sept. 2016. Early on, after a winter in the place, I saw the micro-cracks and could hear the surface crackling when walked or driven on.

I'm told by people I trust that it was a batch that began setting up before the final surfacing work was done. Contractor thinks it is due to the "Blue Ice" I put on it once that winter (2018-19), but the damage has not occurred in other areas (earlier in the pour) where the BI was also applied (on the driveway closer to the house and on the sidewalk).

Very unsightly, my granddaughter cannot roller skate on it and I'm sure it would devalue the property if I were to try to sell it.

If there is a relatively easy fix, I'd sure like to know about it. My sense of it, however, is that I doubt the integrity of the underlying concrete such that any surface application would crack away as the underneath continues to fail. It gets cold here, single digits and negative ļF, but not COLD like some areas and there is concrete here that is decades old and gets Blue Ice every year that is not showing signs of this sort of disintegration.

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post #4 of 22 Old 03-29-2020, 01:08 PM
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Jimminy cricket, i know the title says bad but that is Bad. Frankly, its nice that youre thinking about paying him before cutting him lose but that is NOT something you should be paying for. Doesnt matter how young or inexperienced the guy is, he should know well enough when to turn down a job because its outside his capabilities. If he showed up without the resources and labor to take on the job he was contracted for, then he doesnt deserve the pay he contracted for, plain and simple. Im honestly baffled how someone could take a job and then screw up to that degree

Step one in fixing that mess is dropping that guy, immediately, and finding someone licensed to come out and try to give you a solution. Dont even know what you could do to fix that mess, short of tearing it out and starting over. Pouring a new slab over top of it maybe? Getting a smooth surface over that is going to be one hell of a job
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post #5 of 22 Old 03-29-2020, 01:55 PM
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I have poured and finished a lot of concrete in my life, in my opinion, you should have the contractor you hired remove the slab completely. Whether you pay him or not is your decision, but you did not receive what you expected when you hired him. Patching concrete after it has set up does not work. The patch will not bond properly with the previously set up concrete and will break off and or crack after a freeze or just normal use. My guess is that he mixed the concrete too dry or he waited too long after pouring it to begin the finishing. Concrete begins to set up fairly quickly, especially in hot weather, if you don't have the pour flattened and floated within about 30 minutes, you will have a mess on your hands.
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post #6 of 22 Old 03-29-2020, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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If this is to be the floor of a shed, I would use levelling compound to get a nice smooth level surface. look at a few videos at Utube.
johnep
Its is actually my shop floor and everything I have is on wheels so I'm worried the a thin layer my peel or chip off

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post #7 of 22 Old 03-29-2020, 02:49 PM
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I patched my 65yr old drive way. Everyone told me it had to be replaced.
I used mortar mix. It is very fine sand concrete for laying brick/blocks. Mix that w/
Thoroseal. Thoroseal is a concrete sealant. It contains silicone to make it
water proof. Mix w/half water and half ACRYL 60. That is an acrylic polymer
bonding agent. Remove any loose or flakey concrete. Power wash it.
Make your mix loose so the first coat can sink into small holes. Always slightly
wet your surface just before you apply. After you get it fixed, apply a coat
or two of Thoroseal as mixed for water proofing concrete. Instructions on
the bag. My patch job is going on 6ys now. Holding up very well.

Have a bad concrete pour, need to make a decision-img_4369.jpg

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Have a bad concrete pour, need to make a decision-img_4370.jpg

Have a bad concrete pour, need to make a decision-img_4375.jpg
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post #8 of 22 Old 03-29-2020, 03:27 PM
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The cheapest solution would be to put a floor on top of it. I'll bet you can put a floor on top of that in one weekend (strapping, plywood and flooring). Trying to patch it is going to take longer, probably won't work that well, could be more expensive and you'll be reminded every time a wheel catches a ridge or a crack.

2x2 would work and give you a space to put some insulation, I would use that blue foam stuff that isn't affected by moisture. You'll be appreciative in the winter when your feet don't get cold from the concrete. On top of the plywood floor lay down the cheapest flooring you can find, I got some brown stuff on sale at Lowes for about 60 cents a square foot. All your tools will roll really easily and sweeping up is twice as easy as concrete.

I know my shop is 1/4 the size but do the math and consider it may never be smooth or if it is it will start to crack in a year (one season of thermal cycling).

Maybe you could buy the materials and have the contracter install the floor for free as compensation for his mistakes in the concrete.
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post #9 of 22 Old 03-29-2020, 05:00 PM
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back in 1997 ......

I have a concrete bridge over a dam that was dipped in the center causing water to pool, freeze and bust out the concrete. The only solution was to "cap" it
.
The first step was to etch it with Muratic acid so the new crete would get a good hold/bond. Because your's is new that step would not be needed.

The next step is to grind down the areas that are proud of the rest of the slab like around the footprints, to avoid "poke throughs". Use a angle grinder with a diamond wheel or abrasive disc. They do rent concrete grinders, but I don't think that's needed.

Next get some pig fence or other wire mesh with a 2" square or smaller grid. No not use chicken wire, it's not strong enough.

The next step is to determine your mixture ratios, Portand Cement and sand and small pea gravel, IF it's going to be at least 3/4' thick. Thinner than that leave out the pea gravel. As suggested, use a latex bonding agent available at Home Depot or your concrete supplier.

I had a tractor powered mixer that I ran shoveling in the correct mixture. I used 1 shovel of Portland pure concrete, to either 5 or 4 shovels of coarse sand, If I recall. I wanted a stronger mix than typical ready mix ... 1 part to 3 sand and 3 gravel. Since I wasn't using any gravel, just coarse sand, I needed to change the rations:
https://www.everything-about-concret...ng-ratios.html

Harbor Freight makes an electric mixer that will work for small jobs, but you will need a full time helper to keep it going. It's 1/3 HP which is enough for a small batch like 1 bag of ready mix, but that's about it.
https://www.google.com/search?client...concrete+mixer

You will need to use screed runners on top of your slab so the cap will be even. I'd use 3/4" thick PT 1 x 3's. and as long as the area you need. I used a 10 ft piece of 2" EMT welded to a 8 ft X 1/1/2" EMT handle with small triangle braces welded back to the 2" EMT. I stood on the center of it in order to bend it slightly. After supporting it off the ground with 2 x 4's in order to put just a slight crown in it so the concrete would drain off. You can screed in either direction because it's round. a small back and forth action worked best, after the majority of it was level.

The biggest issue is screeding the large surface level. You may need to rent a screed or hire someone who is skilled at it or use kneeling pads and a finishing trowel and short leveler. Concrete work requires some special hand tools. A find push broom will work to make a grained texture if you don't want a polished look. after the crete gets somewhat hard... you'll have to experiment to find out when.

Turns out I still had the dang thing:
Also, probably a good idea to watch some You Tubes on pouring a slab....
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The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

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post #10 of 22 Old 03-29-2020, 05:32 PM
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OK, I don't have the temperature extremes that most of you experience.

About 15 years ago I had a driveway poured. We used "State highway spec mix with fiber added." Because of code, there has to be a "step" between driveway and garage floor. Only about Ĺ inch. As I started putting wheels on shop equipment, I needed a ramp.

My solution was to use a hammer drill and drill a bunch of ľ inch holes on about 1 inch centers where the ramp was to go. There is some stuff (Home Depot) that is used to make concrete adhere, new to old. Then I applied the quick setting (Quick-crete?) concrete to make the ramp. You can work the stuff for about 30 minutes and then you have to leave it alone. It is fully cured in another hour or so. The really important thing is the "Glue" stuff and use it as the directions say.

Based on this experience I would try that. Plan your work so that as you work you don't have to go back over what you previously did. And, (VERY IMPORTANT) contact the concrete supplier (ready mix truck) to be sure that they have been paid. You don't want a surprise lien on your property. After that, then decide if you are going to give your unlicensed contractor anything more than a swift kick in the rear end.
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post #11 of 22 Old 03-29-2020, 10:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdS View Post
I have poured and finished a lot of concrete in my life, in my opinion, you should have the contractor you hired remove the slab completely. Whether you pay him or not is your decision, but you did not receive what you expected when you hired him. Patching concrete after it has set up does not work. The patch will not bond properly with the previously set up concrete and will break off and or crack after a freeze or just normal use. My guess is that he mixed the concrete too dry or he waited too long after pouring it to begin the finishing. Concrete begins to set up fairly quickly, especially in hot weather, if you don't have the pour flattened and floated within about 30 minutes, you will have a mess on your hands.

Ditto on the experience w/ pouring slabs. Sorry for your luck but I agree with EdS. You don't want a slab that's going to give you problems (and it will). How will you square and plumb a building on a bad slab?
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post #12 of 22 Old 03-29-2020, 10:20 PM Thread Starter
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Ditto on the experience w/ pouring slabs. Sorry for your luck but I agree with EdS. You don't want a slab that's going to give you problems (and it will). How will you square and plumb a building on a bad slab?
I have 2 steel shipping containers one on each side 16 ft apart and I'm putting trusses right on top of them so I only need to fill in the back wall. It's funny because I told the guy that I did not care if it were level or square and the only thing I wanted was smooth so my caster wheels could move around easily. Well it certainly isn't smooth.
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post #13 of 22 Old 03-29-2020, 10:36 PM
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Slab prep and bonding ...

My concrete "cap" was poured in 1997 and is still pretty secure in 2020, 23 years later exposed to Michigan weather. I did pressure wash it and used Muratic acid because it was older concrete. A concrete bonding agent was also used on the cleaned surface. New concrete will not have any contaminants but all loose material needs to be removed, by hand chisels or a small jack hammer. If you can add more than 1"in thickness, then some small aggregate would be OK. No large stones that won't push down when screeded.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Quikrete-...oaAkGcEALw_wcB


Tearing out the existing slab would be my last choice. Another "cap" I did was on an old slab with a center drain and sloped to drain to center in all directions. So, my cap had to go from 1/4" to 3" in thickness. Again I used Muratic acid to etch it and I made concrete "runners" on 4 ft centers that were dead level. I used these runners to screed and level a fresh pour in between them alternating to every other one. Again the mix was very strong on the Portland and coarse sand was used to avoid having larger stones poking through on the thin areas.
This was inside a garage so not exposed to freeze/thaw cycles with standing water. That was done in 2010 if I recall. Still holding up well after being sealed with Euclid Diamond Clear concrete sealer.

So, concrete can be capped if proper prep is observed and the proper mix employed. Your mileage may vary.


There is a "self leveling" concrete patch that sounds like it would be perfect in your situation. Even if you spend a few hundred it's still cheaper than all the hand work in pouring a new cap.
https://www.watcofloors.com/products...QaAvguEALw_wcB


You might be able to make DIY a self leveling mix, much like I did with straight Portland cement, sand and the latex bondiong agent.... I donno? but it would be a whole lot cheaper if you could. Experiment or look on You Tube:
https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...g+concrete+mix


Just as I thought the self leveling compound is a mix of:
https://youtu.be/vc_5eAKILiY?t=262

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

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post #14 of 22 Old 03-29-2020, 10:47 PM Thread Starter
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My concrete "cap" was poured in 1997 and is still pretty secure in 2020, 23 years later exposed to Michigan weather. I did pressure wash it and used Muratic acid because it was older concrete. A concrete bonding agent was also used on the cleaned surface. New concrete will not have any contaminants but all loose material needs to be removed, by hand chisels or a small jack hammer. If you can add more than 1"in thickness, then some small aggregate would be OK. No large stones that won't push down when screeded.


Tearing out the existing slab would be my last choice. Another "cap" I did was on an old slab with a center drain and sloped to drain in all directions. So, my cap had to go from 1/4" to 3" in thickness. Again I used Muratic acid to etch it and I made concrete "runners" on 4 ft centers that were dead level. I used these runners to screed and level a fresh pour in between them alternating to every other one. Again the mix was very strong on the Portland and coarse sand was used to avoid having larger stones poking through on the thin areas.
This was inside a garage so not exposed to freeze/thaw cycles with standing water. That was done in 2010 if I recall. Still holding up well after being sealed with Euclid Diamond Clear concrete sealer.


So, concrete can be capped if proper prep is observed and the proper mix employed. Your mileage may vary.
There is no way I'm tearing up the slab because not only do I have the expense of more concrete, but I have to pay to have the old hauled away.

The guy was here all day working his ass off and in fact he just left 7:30 PM. He did make a lot of progress today, but I'm thinking about renting a 60 lb power hammer and take down the worst of it before he gets back from his other job just to help him out and speed thinks up.

There is one low spot in the middle and he wants to make it flat. I think if he does that the topping will be thick enough to resist chipping.

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post #15 of 22 Old 03-29-2020, 10:56 PM Thread Starter
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Thereís been some comments about not paying him anything and I feel he deserves a chance to make it right even it is will never be as good if done right in the first place. He has proven to me that he is a stand up honest guy and I really love helping teach young people the correct way to do things. At 70 years old with failing health I don't often get the chance to be useful.
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post #16 of 22 Old 03-30-2020, 05:11 AM
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I agree. In the first place the pour was too big. I would have divided into three, poured into the outer sections, and a few days later do the middle. Watch the story of the Hoover dam as to why you just cannot pour large areas in one go. Myself I would go with laying an insulated floor on top as suggested. could be done in a couple of days.
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post #17 of 22 Old 03-30-2020, 11:56 AM
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Sounds like you have a good base fo a wood floor that will be much nicer to work on.

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post #18 of 22 Old 03-30-2020, 12:07 PM Thread Starter
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I agree. In the first place the pour was too big. I would have divided into three, poured into the outer sections, and a few days later do the middle. Watch the story of the Hoover dam as to why you just cannot pour large areas in one go. Myself I would go with laying an insulated floor on top as suggested. could be done in a couple of days.
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I used to pour slabs this size when I was in my 20's, but we always had 5 or 6 people. I originally specified a "crew" to pour the slab and assumed that's what I would get, but only 2 showed up on the day of the pour. Even the concrete delivery guy said we didn't have enough people. I remember once running into a little trouble on a 2-car garage pour and the driver jumped in to help save the day.

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post #19 of 22 Old 03-30-2020, 12:17 PM Thread Starter
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Sounds like you have a good base fo a wood floor that will be much nicer to work on.
Its going to be an all around shop for woodworking, welding and automotive. I have everything on wheels to move things around depending on what I'm doing so I really need a concrete floor.

I remember an old Ford dealership that had its service center above the showroom. It had wood timbers as its floor and there were oil stains on the ceiling below.

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post #20 of 22 Old 03-30-2020, 02:14 PM
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Floor should be dead level - you don't want equipment on casters being "tippy" - that can drive you nuts

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