Pouring a cement slab
On January 29, 2007, a crew came to pour an 8 foot by 8 foot cement slab, on which to build a swimming pool pump house. The ground was uneven, so the workers had to build a wooden frame and fill in the area to level out the base. Into this area, they put a reinforcing steel mesh. The workers are shown here, waiting for the cement to arrive.
On arrival, the huge truck tries to back into the yard, but finds that there are two obstacles:
First, the gate is barely two inches wider than the truck. The driver is very adept and, after many tries, manages to creep the truck backwards through the gate, with only a single inch of space on each side.
Second, the fenceline has mesquite branches growing all along it. These mesquite branches have inch-long, sharp and waxy needles which can go through a truck tire with ease. The driver is forced to stop short of the place where the cement is to be poured.
Shown here, the cement truck driver and one of the workers prepare the pouring spout to take extensions, so the cement can be poured.
With the pouring spout extended, the workers position the spout over the slab area and prepare for the cement to flow.
As the cement flows, the workers use shovels to spread it into place, jostle it to make sure that all the air bubbles are out of it, and see that it settles and soaks into the ground below it as much as possible.
Once the area is filled, a "skreet board" is used to make a level top. The "skreet board" is nothing more than a handy 2 X 4 which is drug across the frame, with quick side-to-side jostling motions, in order to get the cement, which is now a thick jelly-like consistency, to settle and smooth out on top. The jostling motion also helps rocks within the cement to sink below the surface, providing an even smoother top.
Once the area is filled and properly skreeted, hand trows are used to smooth the surface even more. The trowls are both bounced up and down to further sink any stones, and swiped side to side across the surface to even out any bumps and irregularities.
After the cement has been allowed to set for about an hour, it becomes the consistency of very thick putty. At this time, bolts are forced into it at the proper intervals, and more cement is used to fill in around the bolts. These bolts will be used to bolt the foundation of the pump house to the cement slab.
After the slab is allowed to harden and cure, the construction of the pump house will proceed. This pump house will be fashioned to have a flat top, with "canales" (rainspouts) around the edge. The walls will match the adobe wall to which the pump house will be attached.