Let it pour

Sorry for my absence!  Work was crazy and holidays were busy.  But with a few days off before next year, I hope to catch up on some posts I have been wanting to write.  Happy holidays!

As I stated here, we recently had our patio all formed up and ready to go.  We had hoped to pour it the weekend after we formed it but the weather was less than cooperative.  So during the week a month or so ago, my dad came up to pour the concrete.  I apologize for the lack of pictures (I was at work and had to leave Chase with the camera duties).

My dad arrived early in the morning and started to check the grade to make sure there was a proper slope, etc.  He then added back the luan we had removed to finish the form.  Once the concrete arrived, he and some other guys started wheeling concrete from the front to the back of our house.  Honestly, I can’t tell you what they were doing at that point.  I wasn’t there and I know relatively nothing about concrete work.  I think they used a tool called a bull float and smoothed out the concrete.  Then they used textured rollers to give the patio a textured, stone-like surface.  After that, my dad threw a lot of charcoal release onto the wet concrete.  This stuff is the finest powder ever so he tried to cover parts of our house with plastic.  We didn’t have the right stuff so he only covered the door but you would ideally want to cover the whole back of the house.

Once the release was on, you have to leave it for 24 hours.  After that, you can remove the forms and start to spray the release off and then use a mild dish detergent like Ivory or Dove with a push broom to start washing it off even more.  The more you scrub, the lighter the color will get.  We wanted the concrete to be pretty dark and black so we didn’t have to scrub too much.

Once we were satisfied with the color, we let the concrete dry completely.  Then I used a roller with a long extension to apply a coat of sealer.  The sealer needs to dry for at least an hour and a half.  I had to go to work and then it started raining so I had to wait longer than I had hoped to apply a second coat.  With the second coat, you have to roll over it several times until the first layer of sealer starts to create sort of spider webs indicating that it is bonding with the first coat.  The most important thing about sealing is that your patio is clean.  You want to make sure you have clean shoes (I actually wore clean socks) and be sure to spray off any dirt.  Anything not cleaned off will permanently be sealed in once that sealer goes on.

After the second coat, we made sure to keep things off the patio for about a week until the color had really set.  Now we have moved everything back on the patio and are so in love.  We can’t wait to get some more furniture, etc, but are just enjoying what we have so far (although today it is covered in a foot of snow!).

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