Sunday, May 15, 2011

Foundational Fundamentals: (Part 3) The Pour and Flatwork Finish

We poured and finished the concrete floor.

This phase of the project, more than others leading up to it, make the house seem all the more real to me. There is no turning back now.

For the concrete slab floor, which will be my interior floor, I had insisted upon a glassy finish. The tradesmen did a solid and fine job at pouring and smoothing the concrete. However, the great Cherry Tree in my backyard, for which I dedicated an earlier post, had other ideas about my glassy finish, mocking me yet again. More on that momentarily...

This five minute video is a series of nine shorter videos that capture the stages of the concrete slab pour and finish.

The concrete slab pour and the delicate steel-troweled flat finish all happen in one quick day. The concrete team doesn't work on rainy days because the concrete won't cure properly. If it's not raining, they work.

And if it's windy, they work. As it so happened, this day was a windy day. On windy days, trees in full bloom, tend to lose grip upon their flowers.  And "The Cherry tree" as I wrote in my post, "is in full bloom".

During the final sweeps and steel troweled finish of the concrete, it was snowing cherry flowers all over the wet concrete slab. The concrete guys would diligently sweep and pick the flowers off the wet concrete floor, but the flowers kept falling.

Eventually, in the arced sweep of their steel trowels, they pressed the remaining flowers under a thin layer of concrete. And, when the wind died down, and the concrete finish was done, it appeared as though the cherry leaves had been forever buried by concrete, forgotten to all but those who had seen the leaves swept under the final finish. That night, as the concrete set, the flatwork finish looked picture perfect.

24 hours later, the concrete has dried and the smooth finish has revealed its disposition. Scattered Cherry leaves have emerged through the top layer of concrete, leaving cherry tree flower fossils densely speckled throughout the glassy smooth finish. My best guess is that the concrete dried and shrank downward just enough to allow the thin veneer of Cherry flower leaves to emerge through the drying concrete.

Instead of a steel troweled smooth finish, this laughing tree has left a permanent etching of its character. Despite our crafty effort, the natural world has left another unforeseeable biotic stamp in its wake.

My eyes and feet will be left with an unforgettable memory of this day in the foundation.

The fossilized imprints of Cherry flowers in otherwise perfect concrete flatwork

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