12 December 2009

Garage Remodel Part One

Pouring The Concrete Floor

Our garage/workshop has been in need of some help for a while. I started organizing it last summer but never finished. JD has wanted to concrete it since he moved in several years ago but wasn't ready to spend the money on it. For being sand and lime and gravel and water, concrete is spendy! He has a jet ski that he pretty much stopped using after his girls were grown and had put it up for sale. It turns out that a co-worker/buddy of his does concrete on the side and also happens to love the jet ski. They worked out a great barter - M gets the jet ski and we get a new floor in the garage - hurrah!

So for the last six months or so, we've been clearing it out. The previous owners did some sort of work on cars so there is a big shop up front. There's also a storage building near the garage. For an hour or two every weekend, JD packed and moved and shuffled and cleared everything out.

I'm so excited to have a new garage! It's going to be so pretty (if I'm allowed to use that term for a traditionally guy-oriented area). I've already started to plan the organization. We'll have sections for woodworking and gardening, one for the tractor and riding lawnmower and all their associated equipment and, of course, a whole bay dedicated to the Harley.

Fortunately, I'm recovered enough from the accident this summer to actually help with moving things back into the garage and setting it all up. Since I was pretty useless for manual labor for about three months, I was glad that JD started work on the clear-out so early on. He figured he'd do a little at a time over the summer and not have a rush at the last minute. He's pretty smart that way.

I don't have a photo but this is what it looked like before:

chaos chaos chaos chaos tractor chaos chaos chaos recycling chaos mower chaos tools chaos chaos chaos chaos boxes chaos chaos more tools chaos chaos lumber chaos chaos chaos chaos chaos chaos hay chaos chaos boxes chaos mice

M came out a few weekends ago and did some preliminary work, leveling and tamping everything down. This is the dirt floor cleaned and prepped:

We got a delivery of rebar and other supplies Friday evening and the team showed early Saturday. JD worked grave Friday night but wanted to learn about concrete so he stayed up and helped.

In just a couple of hours, they had the wire reinforcement laid out and the 2x4s in the frame for leveling and were waiting on the trucks to deliver the concrete.


The downside of getting this done is that with the garage being inside the fenced area where Henry usually runs free, he has to go out on a leash. I haven't quite regained my strength and balance so with a 70 pound dog lurching about in the muddy driveway, it's a little hazardous. The upside is that he can see them from the living room window and can stay entertained all day. “Mom!! Intruder Alert!! People!! Strange men!! Dad!! Oh, I mean, Hi Dad!” Never mind that we just went outside and The Intruders petted him and scratched his ears.

I figured Henry would nut out when the giant concrete trucks arrived but I couldn't hear if he did. Wow, they were loud! I thought they would be the trucks with the big, rolling barrel on the back but these were different.


Have you ever watched any of the shows on the Discovery Channel about the enormous trucks and earth-movers and other giant machinery? I know all that machinery is just wrecking the earth but I have to admit to a fascination with them. The sheer size and all the engineering that goes into them is impressive. This was probably a relatively small vehicle in an industrial setting but compared to my little pickup, it was huge! My head didn't even come up to the top of the grill.

I hung around (well out of the way) watching the process. There is an interesting rhythm to pouring and working concrete. I wish I had an aerial view. It would look like a ballroom - a sweaty, dusty, noisy ballroom with beer and tattoos but a ballroom nonetheless. Pour concrete into the wheelbarrow, two, three. Dump the concrete, five, six. And turn and rake.

And the pair of men working on smoothing the concrete were as good as any drill team. It's a full-body activity and not just because it uses every muscle in the body. They stepped in, pushed the concrete forward with their feet, moved the smoothing board across the surface lightly together gracefully and flipped it up at the last second. They picked up handfuls of gravel that had collected behind the board and sprinkled it ahead of them and smoothed it again. And again. It was refreshing to see people who work hard and want to do a good job.




I thought the goats would be curious about all the noise and activity but they were pretty nonplussed about the whole thing.


I suppose if it doesn't involved them being petted or fed, they are not really interested.

Even Henry eventually calmed down. Well, I say calmed down, I think really he finally just got tired.


The guys worked for most of the day and told us we could start walking on the floor in about a week. Here it is all shiny and new. I can't wait to start moving in!



  1. That's an impressive garage, and I really enjoyed your description of it.

  2. Thanks luci! I'm such an organizing dork - I get all excited about starting with a clean slate!

  3. I would have liked to have been there, right in the middle of all the work. Reminded me of the time we were expanding the well house, tack room and my office.

  4. We're planning on building a chicken coop in the spring, Dad. You want to come up and help?


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