…That I didn’t have to do! Generally I am the one doing the DIY work around the house, usually with my dad’s instruction and help, but when my father-in-law is in town I get to sit back while he tackles the jobs that I have no idea how to do. This past week he and my husband took on the back-breaking job of removing our beat up driveway approach and replacing it with new concrete.
This is what the driveway approach looked like a year ago when we bought the house, and it didn’t magically heal itself once we moved in. As the repair progressed this week, my father-in-law explained that there were a few mistakes made the last time the driveway had been poured that caused this damage: 1) uneven depths of concrete and 2) lack of a “seam” in the concrete slab.
They rented a jackhammer, and my father-in-law, husband, and dad took turns breaking up the driveway approach. The concrete was 5 inches thick in some places and almost a foot thick in others. After the rocks were excavated and hauled to a recycling center, the guys leveled out the ground underneath, built up the forms, and called for the inspector to take a look.
And the inspector was not pleased. Although they had done an excellent job removing the approach, the inspector want them to cut out into the street so there wasn’t a break right at the end of the driveway. That meant renting a concrete saw, heavy work with a sledgehammer, and more excavating. Thankfully that was enough to please the city inspector.
Finally it was time to call in the mixer truck. Mixers are my son’s favorite construction vehicle, so I made sure to race him down from nap so he could see it up close and personal. This is how the conversation went:
Me: It’s your very favorite truck RIGHT IN YOUR YARD! Aren’t you excited?
Son: Mom, I have seen mixer trucks before. You don’t have to freak out.
Even though the boy wasn’t as impressed at I thought he would be, I was floored at how skillfully the truck driver maneuvered the truck and the chute. We live on a pretty tight cul de sac, that was parked up with cars, and he managed to drive the truck with one hand and perfectly aim the chute with the other. It was really cool to watch.
If he hadn’t proved that he obviously had done this kind of job many times before, we might have been more worried when we saw this happen. He completely inverted himself into the top of the truck in order to wash out the chute before the concrete hardened and gummed it up. No worries. He climbed out unscathed.
I also enjoyed watching the efficient and speedy process of leveling out the concrete after it had been poured. It has to be an almost choreographed effort in order to get it all done before the concrete sets.
My father-in-law made sure to include a seam down the center of the approach. I asked for the reasoning behind this, and he explained that it creates a guaranteed weak spot in the slab, so if it’s going to crack, it will crack down this seam instead of where we wouldn’t want it to crack.
While the concrete was still wet, we were able to get the kids’ handprints, a 2013 penny, and the kids’ names embedded into the corner of the approach.
It’s sentimental touches like these that make paying out those monthly mortgage payments a bit less paintful!
A big thank you to my father-in-law and my husband for the week of difficult work in hot and humid weather. You did a fantastic job and our cars’ tires thank you!
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