October 28, 2023
the back of our barn has a garage door that opens up to a ~10x10 foot concrete pad. it's essentially a patio without furniture.

whenever i mow grass this is where i stage equipment for maintenace, fueling, etc. and it's great, with just 1 nagging exception.
piss poor aesthetics - 2 feet deep, 10 feet wide

the construction crew failed to pour enough concrete to attach the pad to the building. so each time i pull a vehicle through the garage it thumps hard against the void space between the barn and the patio.

this really sucks and with nothing else to do on a Saturday, it was finally time to fix it.

shopping list

this is a small project. since nobody besides me sees this area i decided to not buy an edging tool or control jointer. but next time i probably will, as you'll see in a minute.

here's what i got for the job:

- Quikrete, 5x 80lb bags ($5.74 /bag)
- 24" finishing brush ($17)
- 14" trowel ($18)
- mortar tub ($8)

three of these 4 items are re-usable, so future (small) concrete projects will cost even less.

prep work

first i used a handheld garden spade to dig a trench for the (orange) cable line. i wanted to hide this underneath the concrete versus leave it exposed for a random lawn tool blade to cut it by mistake.
pre-trench shot... forgot to take an after pic.

next we used scrap wood to stake in fittings on either side. these prevent wet concrete from oozing everywhere while it dries.

pouring the slab

within an hour of deciding to make this happen we had all footings in place, supplies on hand, and began mixing + pouring concrete 1 bag at a time.
put 1 bag in the mortal tub, fill it up with water, mix with shovel, repeat

it takes just a few minutes of hand mixing with a shovel, then another 1-2 minutes of smoothing the concrete with a trowel, and you're ready for the next bag. after pouring all 5 bags, it looked like this.
the surface ain't pretty, but that's intentional
next we got another piece of scrap wood to "screed" the pour level. this is where you drag a board across the top of your concrete -- using 2 ends as a guiding track -- to even out the surface.

we were going for a slight slope from the garage door to the pad, which sits nearly an inch lower. naturally this led to spilling over a bit of concrete mix to the existing pad, which we were able to mitigate mostly by sweeping it away while still wet.

after letting the concrete dry for about an hour, i wiped over it with the 24" finishing brush. these do a few things including:

- add grit to your surface to prevent slips
- hide imperfections of your trowel work
- blend in the concrete with the rest of the pad
downward sloping wet concrete spilled over the top of the pad on the left - oh well

obviously the color doesn't match (yet), we'll need Mother Nature to do its thing for awhile before the slabs blend together. and the brush work is not the same grit texture as the existing pad.

but this is a lot better than it was before as i no longer have to think about weeds in the void space, accidentally cutting our barn's cable line, or damaging blades, suspension, etc while moving gear from the garage outside.

viva la concrete!
Spent: $71.70 | Time: 3.5 hours
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