Cottage Slab Poured

Today we poured the slab, east wall and south wall section of our new tiny cottage. The machine shown above is a specialized driveway compactor and it does a great job!

The pour quite went well. All the forms are insulated, it is insulated below the slab and there is now 2″ of insulation on top of it plus hay in nooks and crannies. This should keep the concrete warm for the next week while it does the initial cure. We plan to leave the insulation on after that for as long as possible as we do the masonry and then the FC barrel vault.

This is 1/2″ (#4) RC plus 661010WWM and 1 lb of PVA RSC15 per cu-yd, 3% PolarSet, hot water and 0″ slump concrete. It sets VERY fast! It takes a lot of working but that stiff mix is supposed to be the best way to go in a cold weather pour from what I read. In the future I think I would cut the slump to 3″ for better flow and workability.

Total time today was about about 2 hours for pour and smoothing with four people (Thank you Charles, Will, Holly and also Ben for taking care of Hope!) plus the concrete company (Griswold) delivery driver controlling the truck.

More details to follow after I decompress. :)

49째F/33째F Sunny, Full Moon

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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9 Responses to Cottage Slab Poured

  1. Podchef says:

    A couple of things which help concrete pour easily and set fast, apart from adding salt. . . are something called air entraining and another (which I cannot remember the trade name of) called something like super flow. The first adds a ton of air bubbles to the cement. It sort of foams it up. When it cures it is more resistant to water. The second gives you 30 or so minutes–its added at the site before the pour–and it causes the concrete to flow really, really easily without adding extra water to soup it up. It’s great for long pours where you have to paddle the mud along a wall, or for complex or tall wall with alot of corners. When the stuff kicks off it disappears and the concrete hardens quicker without all the extra water.

    One thing for sure, there’s nothing like that post-pour burn. Hope you recover fast.

  2. Patti says:

    What will you use the wee cottage for?

  3. HomemakerAng says:

    you are busy little beavers everytime I check here :)

  4. Podchef, yes, air entrainment is standard procedure and added at the ready mix plant because we live in a freeing climate. I had debated asking for extra air but didn’t. The standard mix I’ve used before on other jobs has worn well over the past 16 years it has been weathering in our cold winters. My understanding is the big problem is when cement is exposed to sun during the day and cold at night so it goes through many freeze thaw cycles. That I’m avoiding with berming in the long run. For this year we’ll just insulate as we’re not ready to berm.

    On the super flow, I think you mean the super-plasticizers? They work very well. I didn’t use it on this job although in retrospect I should have. I did such a stiff mix because of the cold weather. That is supposed to fare better. This is the first time I’ve done a cold weather pour. Usually we do concrete in the summer.

    Pattie, if all goes well we’ll move out of our big drafty 1777(?) cape style farm house and into the wee cottage before winter – all five of us in 252 square feet of living space. :) This cottage will eventually become the library in the final house which will be earth-sheltered. By doing something small we are getting to test out a lot of techniques. It is a proving ground that we’ll live in to see how some of my ideas work before building any larger.

  5. Patti says:

    252 sq ft eh? I will be prayin fer yer wife ;)

  6. Patti, Holly was the one who suggested something small… :) She looks forward to an experiment in minimalistic living. :)

  7. Lynn Bartlett says:

    And I thought the six of us were crowded in a 30 x 40 basement! We moved in as soon as it was totally enclosed, and lived a whole winter with no windows and all the humidity from drying concrete. We certainly had an interesting year! I look forward to reading how your home develops.

  8. Podchef says:


    It was Super-Plasticizer I was thinking of. . .go figure, 5 years out of the trades and my brain is mush that way.

    I’ve never had to pour in extreemly cold temperatures, but have had a few close calls with frost.

    Here’s something you might want to put in your bag of tricks, although I’m not sure you’ll need it. If you ever have to spread sand–like for under a slab or around a site–we used to spend a few $$ and surround portions of our sites in sand to keep the traction up and mud down–have the cement yard fill a mixer up with the 4, 5 or 6 yards you need. Then use air entrainment and lots and lots of water mixed in then shoot the sand all over where you need it like a regular concrete pour. It slops around great and is real easy to spread–we came up with this when we were faces with wheelburrowing 5 yards of sand to a down-hill site with no vehicle access. Instead, we shot it over the cliff right where we needed it. The sand will be heavy and slightly stiff, but will spread with boots, rakes and shovels quickly. The next morning when the water has all drained away you have a compact, level surface.

  9. Oahu Handyman says:

    Cottage Slab Poured Thanks or the blog read- it really showed me some new steps in masonry.. :) thank you

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