Cavernous Concrete Ceilings

Walter Waters Walls

Actually, rather than walls I’m watering the ceilings, the catenary arches over the cool kitchen, cutting room and chiller as well as the top slab above the triple arch of the administration and smokehouse section which we poured Monday. But let’s not be picky and who’s to say where an arch changes from wall to ceiling!

One of the big jobs after doing a concrete pour is keeping the concrete moist so it cures properly. A miss-understanding about concrete is that it dries. It shouldn’t. It needs to stay moist so that it chemically cures. This is an exothermic reaction which was very noticeable inside the hallway and office the first night.

This week we have been breaking down the bracing and forms from the last pour, building more scaffolding and are now setting up the new footer beams to hold the next level of forms for the coming pour of the ring beam.

The big project we did Monday afternoon after finishing the pour has to do with the water I’m spraying on the concrete. I still need to write up that adventure. It was a pleasingly perfect pipe pull.

Outdoors: 84°F/64°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 77°F/68°F

Daily Spark: The Darwin Award Winner found his culling.

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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6 Responses to Cavernous Concrete Ceilings

  1. All alliteration aside, I look forward to following the fable of your concrete-covered coolness.

    Okay, it’s not a fable. Poetic license.

  2. Angel says:

    I find your concrete and stone work so amazing Walter! The idea that you are building ceilings out of concrete is so incredulous! Why doesn’t it just fall down? I cant wrap my head around it.Yet there you are standing on top of it!!

    • It is quite the quandary. When the ceiling of the administration section was in its liquid form it weighed about 40,000 lbs. This necessitated a lot of strong formwork below to keep it up in the air until it hardened. Now that the walls and ceilings are cured they’re self-supporting. The weight from where I’m standing on the center beam of the cold kitchen transfers down the catenary arch to the walls and from there down to the foundation and eventually the center of the Earth.

      The trick is to engineer it such that the forces travel downward before they get to the outer edges of the walls. Thus the choice of barrel vaults and catenary arches rather than flat ceilings.

      That said, I did our cottage bedroom ceiling[1, 2] with a very, very flat arch. Mostly I did it just for the fun of it, to push the limits of the envelope. However, in the butcher shop where I’ll be hanging tons of carcasses I wanted far stronger beams, thus the barrel vault in the chiller and the arched ceilings in the three sections of admin[3].

      Stay tuned for when I do the modified groin vault at the top of the tower. How gothic!

  3. Tamar, about about looking forward to filling the fantastic fabled forms of concrete covered coolness? :) Your perfectly proper poetic license is approved. :)

  4. Joe says:

    I love how you’re going all ‘medieval’ on our arses!

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