A blog to record my experience in getting a new garage built in Chicago by the company Garage King.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A new slab

Laying the slab

The finished slab

So the old garage was removed last Thursday (May 17). The next step is getting a new garage floor -- the "slab". This work also is sub-contracted out. I was hoping to hear from the concrete folks on Friday, but no. Then awakened by a call at 6:10 am on Saturday morning (the record of the call is still on my phone) -- could they come by and do the framing for the slab? Of course, to keep the process moving along. A small crew showed up about 45 minutes later, and put in the wood frame, the mold for the new garage floor. The lead guy said he would be back on Monday to pour the concrete.

As noted earlier, I was concerned about how much concrete they were going to need to pour, in order to ensure that the garage floor, at the back, was higher that the floor at the alley. That way, any water in the garage would be sure to drain out of the garage and not pool in it. This is called the pitch of the floor. As the concrete guy explained, the floor would be 5 inches above the alley in the back, three inches above the alley in the front of the garage, and then the "apron", the trapezoidal area between the garage and the alley, would slope down the three inches to the alley.
It was very difficult -- no impossible -- to get a straight answer on if more cement was going to be needed that what I had contracted for. I thought of a phrase I had just read in Lisa Delpit's book, Other People's Children, "cultural dissonance in cross-cultural interactions." It wasn't that the concrete guy was being evasive, I think it was more a cultural form of dealing with the customer. Or a problem of my expectation for some clear answer from someone who was not in a position to give it. In the end I realized that he was the expert, and I wanted him to do the job correctly per his expertise, and I will settle the question of any overage later.

On Monday, about 10:00a, the crew showed up again, to actually lay the slab, and the bit of sidewalk we were replacing. The first step was to put down a lawyer of dirt and rocks. These were tamped down with a machine, then wire screen laid on top of that to help give strength to the concrete. Then the concrete was poured in, and smoothed down. In all, the job took about five hours I expect. The floor looks great -- again, I am very happy with the quality of the work that they did. Some minimal plant damage, but that's to be expected I think. They did a good cleanup job too.

In the pictures, you can see the level edge for the walls, with the bolts sticking up that the walls will anchor the walls. You can see the pitch of the floor in relation to this edge.

The floor needs to cure for about a week to ten days, and then the actual construction can begin.