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Old 07-19-2007, 08:00 PM
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I want to make a concrete pad to park my car on

I want to park my camaro at my parent's cottage for the winter, there is no garage or driveway, just grass so I figure I could make some kind of cement pad on the ground to park on, and maybe next year build a little garage/shack on top of the pad as a shelter. I only want to use this as a winter storage spot for my car, so the pad won't be much bigger than my car. I just want to keep my car off the grass/dirt/mud.

I don't know the first thing about cement or foundations. Do I need to put gravel underneath? How deep does the gravel need to be and big stones or small? Do I need to dig down before I put the gravel or can I just build it on top of the ground? Any specific type of cement I need?

Would it be cheaper to mix my own cement or just have a truck come?

I should mention it gets pretty cold and there is lots of snow.

Anyone have any advice?

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Old 07-19-2007, 08:40 PM
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Under those conditions my self I would get one of the single car metal carports..Your folks might like that..and lay down about 4" of 3/4 minus drive gravel.I have used that sort of thing for storage and it worked well and was a good solution for me..You can always enclose the carport at some time and have a shed..

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Old 07-19-2007, 09:43 PM
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You could also get one of them enclosed tarp structures & put rubber horse mats down for a floor then you could move it if you like.

Concrete is [I]hard work [/I] with a time limit on it.

If you do lay concrete check out the local building codes & leave enuf room for a foundation & you might have to spray for termites if you decided put up a building.


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Old 07-19-2007, 09:55 PM
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Winnipeg has a more extreme climate than Montréal. Here we have a large temperature range. It gets really hot in summer and really cold in winter. I prepped and had my pad poured for my garage. Six years later still not a single crack. I'll sum up how I did it.

First, I went to the city to get a pamphlet on what is code. Here, a garage can take up no more than 19% of total lot space. So I went max (20x26) and I will say I still didn't have enough room. So if you're planning on tinkering later, I suggest you go a little larger than just enough for your car. You might want to consider planning for some room on the side for a bench/work table and a tool box.

Code here required that the pad be one foot thick on the perimeter of the pad, and then six inches in the middle. I considered drainage from my yard and my neighbour's yard. I wanted my pad to be elevated so that it would not get swamped in the spring.


Bobcat came to take away some dirt.

I got some 2x6 forms from my contractor friend who would eventually do the pour. Used a sledgehammer to drive down some 2x4 spikes to which we would hammer the forms.

To make sure the forms were level, I borrowed my friend's laser level. This consists a of tripod with a rotating laser head. This head must be perfectly level. The other part of this tool is a pole to which a laser detector is attached. When the laser hit the detector directly at the proper elevation, it would beep. I did this for the entire perimeter and adjusted the forms until the forms were level all around.

Had a load of 3/4 down delivered.

Spread the gravel with a shovel to end up with the form that would result in the desired thickness of the pad. I should add that the one foot depth on the perimeter was about a foot and a half wide before building it up in the center.

Rented a compacting machine. The one that vibrates. I went ape on this. Overkill even. I compacted for an hour and a half or more. I believe this is why I had no cracks later.

Put down poly, laid the rebar, tied it with wire, supported it with broken pieces of sidewalk pad.

Then it's time for the pour. I suggest you get a pro to do the pour and a few friends with shovels. My contractor friend guided the pour. Cement truck came and we spread the concrete to each corner.

The pro can finish the surface with a smoothing tool. Looks like a rake but at the end of the handle, its a flat piece of wood. I wanted an extra smooth finish so we rented a power trowel. We made a night out of it. Every hour and a half he would trowel the surface, all the way to four in the morning. Everyone sat around the fire and once in a while my friend would fire up the trowel for another polishing. I had really good neighbours.

I hope this gives you and idea of what's involved in this job.

Good luck.

Paul.

Last edited by pigjamelectric; 07-20-2007 at 08:00 AM.
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Old 07-21-2007, 05:23 AM
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Paul,
That would be a bullfloat.
It is also important to control the 'dry time'
If concrete dries (cures) to fast, you will have more problems than just cracking (which ANY concrete is eventually going to do).
It will break off in chunks or sheets, if cured too rapidly.
On a hot day, there is a material that is sprayed onto the wet concrete, that will prevent the moisture from escaping too rapidly.

Try not to pour on days above 80* or below 40*.
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Old 07-21-2007, 07:09 AM
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[QUOTE=Bryan59EC]Paul,
.
It will break off in chunks or sheets, if cured too rapidly.

How can you tell this will happen? what would be a visual, or this is what is and a always will thing
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Old 07-21-2007, 09:43 AM
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I would not use cement in a unheated area as it will atract mosture and when you want to change things it's a pain to deal with. use pads our 3/4 inch gravel to make your life easy to change if needed. Just my opinion. Eddie.
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Old 07-21-2007, 06:32 PM
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Would gravel be an adequate surface to park on outdoors for the winter? I want to try and keep the underside of the car dry. Maybe just put down gravel and put a big tile under each tire? Cheap would be nice.
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Old 07-22-2007, 06:45 AM
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You could even park the car on plastic.
Shane
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Old 07-22-2007, 07:36 AM
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[QUOTE=pepi]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan59EC
Paul,
.
It will break off in chunks or sheets, if cured too rapidly.

How can you tell this will happen? what would be a visual, or this is what is and a always will thing
There are a few things that will cause concrete to crack, break off in chunks, or sheets.
Compaction is critical, nothing I know of compacts better than sand and water. Walk over a beach after the tide goes out, on the wet sand, it's pretty tight. Walk over where someone has driven a vehicle, it's very tight. Same principle for compaction in concrete.
The concrete itself is important. A load that has too much water added will lose strength, this can result in the 'sheets' or finish breaking down. A dry load can crumble after time. Not enough concrete in the mix will also result in crumbling, a mix your own load can do this easily if they think they are saving a bit by cutting back on the concrete as they mix.
The finish? It's easier to finish if it has more water added, too much and you're screwed. Tamping pushes the rock down, making it stronger where it is needed, throughout the concrete. The bowlfloat or bullfloat, as it is called, brings the 'butter' to the surface, the butter being the concrete-sand, this is where too much water or not enough water comes into play. The right combination makes a stronger finish. I like to use 3/8 rock in the mix for light applications, sidewalks, mowing curb, stuff like that. If it has to take quite a bit of weight, use 1 inch rock, it's stronger. 3/8 is a bit easier to tamp and finish.
Also, some finishers will add calcium chloride (CC) to speed curing time, especially if rain is a concern or in damp conditions like fog. I don't like it, have seen most of these crack, some will crack in just a few days. A 'hot' or 'green' load can take off on you also, turn your head for a few minutes in the right conditions and it has almost completely cured before you can finishwork it. A real bummer.
Expansion joints, around here every 10 feet, there's a mess of ways to do those, strips, cuts, etc.
The final finish? Do you want glossy smooth, may be slippery but will be easier to clean. Burn it in with the trowel like pigjam did. Troweling in itself is an art, the wetter the concrete, the flatter you want to keep your trowel to the surface to keep it flat. As it cures, you can use more of the trowel edge to "burn' the surface, you won't be rippling the surface as you trowel. A sidewalk or driveway finish, trowel till it takes quite a bit of pressure to leave a fingerprint, broom finish with a fine bristled push broom, keeping it fairly wet. Pull the broom, don't push. If it's a warm day, mist with water for a day or 2, every 3-4 hours, depending on how hot it may be. Cold? cover with plastic and straw. Hope this helps. Dan
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Old 12-22-2007, 11:37 PM
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planning ahead

If you didn't pour concrete yet, you may want to plan for the building. Pour in some 3/8" threaded rod with the end in the concrete bent at 90degrees. Locate the bend so it is about an inch above the sand or gravel base. Put a nut on the rod about an inch down so you can clean the threads after pouring. Use a length of threaded rod long enough to leave enough threads above the concrete to attach a footer for your building (6inches is a safe bet). Also seal it well with epoxy if you don't want it to attract moisture.
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Old 12-23-2007, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fiscus
I want to park my camaro at my parent's cottage for the winter, there is no garage or driveway, just grass so I figure I could make some kind of cement pad on the ground to park on, and maybe next year build a little garage/shack on top of the pad as a shelter. I only want to use this as a winter storage spot for my car, so the pad won't be much bigger than my car. I just want to keep my car off the grass/dirt/mud.

I don't know the first thing about cement or foundations. Do I need to put gravel underneath? How deep does the gravel need to be and big stones or small? Do I need to dig down before I put the gravel or can I just build it on top of the ground? Any specific type of cement I need?

Would it be cheaper to mix my own cement or just have a truck come?

I should mention it gets pretty cold and there is lots of snow.

Anyone have any advice?
I feel extremely qualified to answer you , since I pour concrete for a living.( over 12 years worth )
First , if it is only a 'winter' storage area , you might want to remove the grass from your desired parking area , and just put down 'pavers' ---- Pre-made concrete squares or round - they come in all shapes and sizes. Available at Lowes or Home Depot , or any number of landscaping places. They can work out to be cheaper than poured concrete , which , if it is done wrong , can be ugly , expensive and time consuming. If you have no experience whatsoever with concrete , I'd go with pavers.
Just make sure you compact your substrate ( the ground under your pavers ) as you would with any pad you put down. Un-compacted substrates will settle over time , leading to cracks.
As far as concrete goes , you got a LOT of misinformation in the previous posts.
Pigjamelectric gave a good ( been there-done that) response , and also showed some wisdom in the compaction process he went through.
As far as curing time/temps - Your local concrete company ( Rinker / Tarmac , etc. ) will answer any questions you may have about strength/ temp , etc. Just know that D.O.T. mud ( 3500psi-6000psi ) dries WAAAY faster and stronger than the 2500psi stuff we use on houses/driveways. Also , they rate the concretes psi's @ 4" thick. Thicker slabs have more strength. Use 'fiber mix' in the concrete to prevent future cracking , and have no worries about temperature. I've replaced floors in industrial ice cream freezers ( -40* F ) and the Concrete companies adjusted the chemical content to make it cure in freezing temps. I also pour houses/driveways in ARIZONA ( 120* in the summer ) and again , the Concrete company {rinker} adjusts the chemical content to slow down the curing time a little bit. Adding water DOES affect the strength , but not to the degree some would have you believe. ALL concrete has water in it , and it evaporates from it as it hardens.
IMO , hire a qualified contractor to do the concrete work , or put down pavers.....
Whatever you do , check the local ordinances to make sure you don't get your parents in trouble with the city.
Best of luck , and if you have any specific questions , send me a PM.
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Old 12-23-2007, 03:54 PM
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I want to make a concrete pad to park my car on

BUY OR RENT A SHIP CONTAINER
wait till warmer weather
calcium added will cause fluids to drain out of cars , i know this as it is a factor i deal with every day in my shop .
it burns your back if you lay on it .

the container will protect all till you decide ,and have the funds .
they come in 20 foot lengths to 40 footers .
i have 28 foot pup trailers with axles and dollies removed and they have the side doors on them for walk in convince .

all depends on your codes , but here they allow them and they don't tax you for them .i paid $1800 a piece and sold the under carriage and tires and got back $600 of my spend age .

merry ho ho to all
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