Nice Shed Floor

When last we left our story, we had made what was literally the worst slab I've ever made, and we had a plan for making it less terrible. Today we made that happen.

It started with some sacks of floor leveler; we bought LevelQuik because it's a brand I know and it was in stock at a store near us (a surprising number of alternatives were out of stock).

I picked up some sacks of this stuff and bottles of primer at Home Depot in a hellacious hour (just FYI, you do not save time by ordering in-store pickup; I could have been in and out in a few minutes but instead I had to wait in an incredibly long line because returns and order pickup were combined, and then even though they'd sent me an email saying my order was ready to pick up, and I'd waited another hour after receiving it, the order was not in fact ready to pick up and the cashier had to go on a fifteen-minute expedition to locate it elsewhere in the store). I would have opted for home delivery, but the primer had to be picked up in store for some reason. God, I hate going to Home Depot.

I did that earlier this week to get it out of the way.

Noel spent this morning repairing the chicken tractor which we are using as a temporary home for the chicken who has been recovering from the skunk bite. She had minor surgery yesterday to remove the big bump from the infection, and that went well. She spent the night in our shower, which went... as well as a chicken in the shower is likely to go.

Lumpy in the shower

(This chicken's official name is Janet on her vet papers, but we basically just call her Lumpy now.)

Anyhow, in the interests of getting the chicken out of the shower -- a situation that was workable if stinky at night, but extremely noisy as soon as the sun rose, which it did at 5:43am today -- Noel repaired some water damage on the chicken tractor and we moved her in there.

Lumpy in the chicken tractor

With that done, we could fix up the shed slab.

The first step is priming the slab so it doesn't suck all the water out of the floor leveler as it goes on. The floor leveler is a concrete, just with a fine sand aggregate instead of rocks, so it needs to undergo hydration like regular concrete. If it dries too fast that's a big issue, even for the Rapid Set version (which is what we got because it was what our Home Depot carries).

Thinning the primer

The primer is supposed to be thinned 3:1 with water if you are applying it to an unsealed concrete pad, so I did that, then applied it to the slab. The method I used was to pour a bunch out then spread it around with a push broom. You can also use a roller. Or if you are young and foolish, a brush, I guess.

Applying primer to the slab

The primer is funny because it went on blue, then turned clear, then turned blue again. This blue is the initial application, then below it you can see the clear stage.

All primed

This is what it looked like after two hours of drying (the listed drying time). The blue was much more visible than right after application.

After waiting for the primer to dry you have about 10-12 hours (depending on how you interpret the instructions) to put the floor leveler on it before the primer expires and needs to be reapplied. No problem for us as we planned to just get this done today, and it goes faster than you might expect.

Mixing the concrete

I read a bunch of comments and reviews online and also had the experience of having seen this stuff used on concrete slabs by professionals, so we mixed up a little more water than the instructions say -- 6 quarts instead of 5.75 -- and got the stuff to a nice smooth consistency, like funnel cake batter.

Pouring it in place

It was just the two of us and we both had our hands full at all times so I didn't get any good action shots, but the process was pretty fast and easy. Pour the stuff out, spread it around with the trowel, work the edges together a little as you go to avoid ridges, and work as fast as you can because it sets up very quickly.

Slab completely resurfaced

We used seven sacks of the floor leveler, which was more than what the terrible calculator on the web site said we needed (I wish these places would just give you the volume output of a sack). For 120 square feet of slab, we also used all of two quarts of primer thinned down 3:1, though I admit I applied a lot of it in places, and quite a bit of it went down the crack between the slab and the formwork (listed coverage is 150 square feet per quart, which I did not trust because a reasonably dry concrete slab will suck up a lot of primer). Halfway through the project Noel made a quick run to the store to get some more because we were running short. Yay for planning! At least the new stuff blended well with the stuff that had a half hour of sitting around.

The shed installers are showing up Wednesday at an unknown time.

posted by ayse on 06/26/21

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