Hello! I’m Ana, a mother and homemaker from Alaska.
Skeching
100’s of FREE plans!!
You can make ANYTHING!
stick
img
sticks
img

Pouring the Monolithic Momplex Slab

September 21, 2011 |

Missed a Momplex Post?

We are DIYing our moms a Duplex in Alaska! Check out our progress so far as we owner build a home, step by step. Read the Momplex blog here.

posted by Ana White

Momplex Stats

Money Spent So Far: 
$39,000 + Cost of Property
Time Spent So Far: 
680 Hours on Site + Planning

For a few weeks now, the Ram has been saying, "When it comes time to pour the slab at the Momplex, I'm just going to hire someone."  

And while I've never said no, the do-it-yourself spirit in me felt like if we can get this far with family helping out, why can't we pour our own slab? 
Don't get me wrong, this is no easy task. The slab at the Momplex is 44 feet by 44 feet - quite large for a residential, and certainly a great challenge. Further progressing the challenge is the slab is poured inside the walls. So it's not like you can just work from the inside out, finishing the edges easily and stepping right off the slab.  Pouring the slab at the Momplex is certainly an intimidating task.
And then there is the what if you screw it up thoughts.  What if the slab comes out so uneven, water pools in the wrong corner every time snow melts off your car?  What if doors don't quite shut right because the floor is not level?  Or walls need serious shimming to make them work?  You don't want to screw up a monolithic slab pour.
Yes, even we, do-it-yourselfers on our fourth major building build, were nervous about this slab pour.  And when all of our attempts to hire help fell through, we were especially nervous about mud trucks on their way, and it being just us and family on the hill.
Be comforted to know that we have an amazing family full of very hardworking and talented people who showed up to help with the slab pour.  We are very thankful.
Pouring the Monolithic Momplex Slab

Screed Boards

When you pour a slab 44 feet wide, you can't just buy a 44 foot long 2x4 and screed the top of your slab after the pour.  So in preparation for the pour, screed boards are placed with concrete stakes at the height of the finished slab.  The screed boards are checked for level using a laser level.  Then when you pour, you use the screed boards to determine level for the mud.  Concrete is not like water, it will set up with high and low points if not properly finished.
Pouring the Monolithic Momplex Slab

Openings 

Doorways and the garage openings are covered with blocking to keep the concrete slab inside the perimeter of the Momplex. We will later pour an apron in front of the garages, but that's a totally different day.
Pouring the Monolithic Momplex Slab

Pump Truck

And despite the great expense of a pump truck, we all concluded that it would be very necessary to pouring this slab.  Remember, there is 12 feet of walls around the Momplex, and a concrete truck chute would not make it to the back of the Momplex.  

The Ram was okay with wheel-barrowing to save some cash, but considering all the things that could go wrong, and that we appreciate our families help (and don't want to break their backs), we decided to spend the $165 an hour.  Ouch, I know.  But probably not as painful as a disastrous and stressful pour, wheelbarrow full by wheelbarrow full.
The pump truck showed up early in the morning.  
Pouring the Monolithic Momplex Slab

Here Comes the Mud!!! 

Now don't I know quite a few handsome men? That's my brother-in-law Jared, the Ram's cousin, Justin, and you know Uncle Bill and Grandpa Tim already. 
The concrete is on it's way!
Grandpa Tim holds the hose and pours the concrete, Uncle Bill spreads the concrete out, and Justin and Jared are screeding the concrete.  
Pouring the Monolithic Momplex Slab

Easy Screedy

With the screed boards in place, we can work in sections, screeding one third of the slab at a time. Can you imagine trying to screed 44 feet and keep it all level?  
Pouring the Monolithic Momplex Slab

Bull Floating

Once the concrete is all poured and screeded, a tool called a bull float is immediately used to force down the aggregate and raise the cream.  It's made of magnesium and you will want to bull float in the opposite direction of screeding.
Pouring the Monolithic Momplex Slab

Jitterbug

The jitterbug or concrete tamper used to further push the aggregate downward and ensures the slab is properly consolidated.  
Pouring the Monolithic Momplex Slab

Using the jitterbug and bull float, the concrete is worked until smooth on top.  Remember, this is going to be a floor for the garage and bonus room.

Pouring the Monolithic Momplex Slab

Poured! 

We were very thankful for an overcast cool day, giving everyone more time to work on the slab. Around noon, the slab was poured and ready to be finished.
Pouring the Monolithic Momplex Slab

Finishing Edges

On a normal pour, finishing edges would be as simple as the footers we poured - where you just walk around the outside edges and finish them.  But with the Momplex enclosed inside the ARXX blocks, by hand the Ram finished the edges.
Pouring the Monolithic Momplex Slab

Power Screed

Once the edges are all finished, it's time to finish the inside of the slab.  A power screed is basically a giant fan that sits face first on the concrete, always pulling away from you.  The more the concrete sets up, the more difficult using the power screed becomes.
Pouring the Monolithic Momplex Slab

The power screed is what sometimes gives finished concrete the huge circular patterns.

Pouring the Monolithic Momplex Slab

Beats footprints.

Pouring the Monolithic Momplex Slab

The Ram power screeded all day. 

He was pretty tired by the end of the day.
Pouring the Monolithic Momplex Slab

And slowly, the finished slab become more, footprints less.  And to our great relief, the slab is done, and done well. Special thanks to the help of our family.

Gray Lining

While concrete pours are the most stressful and expensive days at the Momplex, they also mean we get a few days off from working afterwards.  Because you can't work on the slab when it's still curing.  I guess even concrete has a silver - or at least gray - lining.

PS - does anyone else think this photo looks like the Momplex without walls?  Just the freshly poured slab?  
Not even close.  
There's no competing with nature.
clips
Pam the Goatherd's picture

My muscles ache in empathy

My muscles ache in empathy for you and your family! It's looking sooooo good, though. I hope you get some time to put your feet up and rest for the next phase.

posted by Pam the Goatherd | on Wed, 2011-09-21 09:43

Reply to comment | Ana White

Every weekend i used to pay a visit this web page,
for the reason that i wish for enjoyment, since this this website
conations really nice funny information too.

posted by mystique cream (not verified) | on Sat, 2013-01-05 15:11

I'm soooo excited for you!

I'm soooo excited for you! Congratulations on such a helpful talented family. It looks great! Thanks for the update! (Now go rest.) :)

posted by k g (not verified) | on Wed, 2011-09-21 10:02

WOW!!!!!

Just wanted to say CONGRATULATIONS to all of you. Yup, you've got some handsome, hard-working, and caring family members. (And those are the ones we see--then there's all the behind the scenes support by other family members.)

Thanks for sharing this whole building process with us. I'm loving it.

posted by Jillian (not verified) | on Wed, 2011-09-21 10:09

I was so looking forward to a

I was so looking forward to a momplex update today. Thank you!

posted by Molly (not verified) | on Wed, 2011-09-21 10:13

I must admit it. I am

I must admit it. I am becoming obsessed with the Momplex. Thanks for the update.

posted by S J (not verified) | on Wed, 2011-09-21 10:52

Great job!

Great job, you guys! I'll bet there were some seriously sore muscles at the end of this day!

Hubby and I are thinking of building our own house by ourselves. Thanks so much for showing the details of this pour! I admit this part of it scares me to death, so it was nice to see the action.

Congrats on getting past such a bug hurdle. I love seeing the momplex updates!

Cindy from Indiana

posted by Cindy from Indiana (not verified) | on Wed, 2011-09-21 11:11

foundation questions (lots of them. sorry!)

My husband and I are researching/planning building our next house, and have been learning about radiant heated slabs. I mentioned that you were building using one and blogging about it, so we're both dying to ask you questions. :) (We're big fans -- I'm typing this on my kitchen "farmhouse table")

I couldn't believe from your previous entry how darned easy it seemed to do radiant heat -- and have been convincing my husband that it might be a good idea for us. But we were wondering what happens if something goes wrong with a heat tube? How do you get to it to fix it? Do the tubes ever burst in severe cold? Also, what are you planning to do for interior flooring?

The house we are considering has a wooden "decking" that goes over the slab, and we're curious if we would need to do anything special if we decided to do a radiant heated slab? Or would it be better to put the heat tubes in the wood "decking" and floor over it?

Sorry for all the questions... we were just so excited that you're doing the very thing we're trying to learn about!!! :)

Thank you, as always, for your wonderful blog entries, plans, and inspiration!

-- Lauren

posted by LaurenWeiss (not verified) | on Wed, 2011-09-21 12:28
clips
Ana White's picture

Hi Lauren thank you! I'm

Hi Lauren thank you! I'm happy to answer questions for you!

I myself was very surprised at how easy the radiant heat tubes were. We choose high end heat tubes that are highly resistant to warping/breaking/freezing/etc - basically, you can bend them up like a pretzel, run a truck over them, but they return to their original shape undamaged when heated! So the hope is the tubes are very strong and we should not have an issue. Also, you put basically antifreeze into the pipes to keep them from freezing up.

For the upstairs, we will just put a few radiators in rooms in discreet locations. They make ones that are disguised as towel warming racks for bathrooms!

It's best to put the tubes in concrete instead of the wood because concrete is better at drawing the heat out of the tubes and holding it (it's denser) or transferring the heat. Also, the slab will hold the heat longer, saving you on energy bills. But my brother just put heat tubes between his floor joists and it heats their house just fine.

Thank you for reading!

Ana

posted by Ana White | on Wed, 2011-09-21 13:02

Thank you so much for the

Thank you so much for the info, Ana! We have lots of good ideas now. :) I can't wait to see how the "Momplex" turns out! :)

posted by LaurenWeiss (not verified) | on Thu, 2011-09-22 10:37
clips
emmarosemc's picture

Oooh i was waiting for this

Oooh i was waiting for this one, the day is finally here. Awesome job! So much hard work goes into the build and so much goes into the blogging of it all, thank you ana!

posted by emmarosemc | on Wed, 2011-09-21 12:45

Congratulations

I'm so glad you got this done before the weather turns really bad. You have a way of writing that makes me feel I'm there with you! I've been nervous for you and your family as you awaited the time to pour the floor. I can only imagine how hard that was even with wonderful help. It's so nice to have people that know you who are willing to help. Thank heaven's for family!!!!!!What a relief this must be to have behind you. Now you have a few days off to relax and rest those tired bones. Your bodies will appreciate it. And so will your minds. They must be racing trying to figure everything out. Thanks for keeping us updated. I look forward to every blog about your Momplex! Keep up the great work and take time to enjoy your beautiful surroundings. What an awesome place to live.

posted by Melody Wright (not verified) | on Wed, 2011-09-21 15:28

Congratulations

I'm so glad you got this done before the weather turns really bad. You have a way of writing that makes me feel I'm there with you! I've been nervous for you and your family as you awaited the time to pour the floor. I can only imagine how hard that was even with wonderful help. It's so nice to have people that know you who are willing to help. Thank heaven's for family!!!!!!What a relief this must be to have behind you. Now you have a few days off to relax and rest those tired bones. Your bodies will appreciate it. And so will your minds. They must be racing trying to figure everything out. Thanks for keeping us updated. I look forward to every blog about your Momplex! Keep up the great work and take time to enjoy your beautiful surroundings. What an awesome place to live.

posted by Melody Wright (not verified) | on Wed, 2011-09-21 15:28

Speaking of men in your family

I'm a little confused. If Momplex is for your mothers, wouldn't this be your FIL's house as well? Isn't grandpa Tim your FIL? Are they divorced? If so, they must get along for him to help build his ex a house?

posted by Jess1777 (not verified) | on Wed, 2011-09-21 20:42
clips

No expansion joints?

No expansion joints?

posted by Tsu Dho Nimh | on Wed, 2011-09-21 22:10
clips
Ana White's picture

Hi Tsu, you don't miss

Hi Tsu, you don't miss anything, do you?

The cool thing about building with the ICFs is the slab is insulated from the actual concrete poured walls by 2 5/8" of foam! This foam acts as the expansion joint, and per recommendations from our engineer.

Then the slab floats above the footer, so any shifting or changes to the slab will not have impact on the poured concrete walls.

We will also be scarring the center of the slab, under the load bearing wall, to create a contraction joint - or basically a spot for the slab to crack if it ever does.

posted by Ana White | on Thu, 2011-09-22 00:23

MomPlex

I am amazed at how well it went. Your entire family certainly does know a lot about concrete pouring. I love the heated floor idea. Heated upstairs too, right? What a wonderful home and view your Moms will be enjoying. Good job so far! Exciting to watch your progress. Thanks.

posted by Kathy Krnak (not verified) | on Wed, 2011-09-21 22:47

A note to the future

I love following these posts. Truly inspiring. Once the slab cures you should have everyone take some sharpies or spray paint or something and write a little note or sign their names. Wouldn't it be fun to know that under the floor all the people who worked so hard on this house signed it somewhere? Or maybe you could have everyone sign the subfloor for the second level.

posted by Maren (not verified) | on Fri, 2011-09-23 10:22
clips
birdsandsoap's picture

can't get enough of the view!

You are so lucky! Those aspen trees are gorgeous behind the dump truck!

posted by birdsandsoap | on Mon, 2011-09-26 03:18

Recent comments

Social

Let's Connect

Tweets

  •  

User login

Not Much >>

What's going on up here in Alaska.

Momplex Cam >>

Momplex Cam >>

We are DIYing our moms a Duplex in Alaska! Check out our progress so far as we owner build a home, step by step. Read the Momplex blog here.

Special Thanks

The free content provicded by this website is made possible by the following current sponsors.  Thank you!


   

Momplex Vanilla Kitchen Plans and How-Tos


Check out how we DIYed a full kitchen here!

Momplex
Momplex
Momplex
Project Plan
Momplex
Project Plan
Project Plan
Momplex
Project Plan
Project Plan
Project Plan
Momplex
Momplex
Project Plan
Project Plan
Momplex
Project Plan
Project Plan
Momplex
Momplex
Momplex
Momplex
Project Plan
Momplex
Video
Momplex
Momplex
Momplex
Project Plan
Momplex
Momplex
Project Plan
Momplex
Momplex
Project Plan

Handmade Holiday Gift Plan Tutorials

Project Plan
Project Plan
Project Plan
Project Plan
Project Plan
Project Plan
Project Plan
Project Plan
Project Plan
Project Plan
Project Plan
Project Plan