The Shed. The Australian stalwart – a man cave (man used as in mankind), a workshop, a place of endless storage (read: hoarding).
Already on the block of land was a relatively new Colorbond steel shed, the colours aren’t the most beautiful not fitting in with the landscape or the house-to-be but we’ll worry about that later down the track.
At a huge 6m x 14m it gives us a large storage area that will one day become a space for all things that won’t be kept in the house – machinery, garden tools and hopefully a workshop studio in time. In the mean time is ha been storing all the framing and flooring timber that came with the property. The shed had a dirt floor though so everything was very dusty and gaps at the perimeter have allowed anything in to make the dry space their home, so one of our first major projects was to pour a concrete floor. Due to all the timber neatly stacked at one end we could only pour the first half, and once the timber is used to build the house we’ll do the second, putting up an internal wall and hopefully insulating the second half to make the workshop a warmer inviting space we can work on various projects. Until then though the first half will be an undercover space to construct the house – it potentially gives us a dry clean area to cut timber and store it if the weather is bad.
Preparing the ground for the concrete floor was a bit of an experiment for us – we’ve never done anything like it but from reading about minimum thicknesses and such we decided we needed to remove about 50-100mm of the dusty dry dirt to then lay down some road base, plastic and reinforcing mesh. This was hard dirty work – it may not sound like much, 50mm, but on an area 7m x 6m that was a lot of dirt, it took us a while but when Georgie’s parents came to stay they chipped in and Ross had the good idea to wet the dirt down first, letting it soak over night before digging in the morning. This worked a treat and it was like butter rather than dusty rock and we soon had the depth we needed.
Barrowing in road base blue metal was the next job and hiring a compactor we got the base as level and even as we could. Next comes the black plastic water barrier which comes in a huge roll, taping it together and making a bathtub to hold the concrete in, protecting it from rising water. After bit of shambolic corner cutting and taping around the existing shed footings it was all done and ready for the steel mesh which is propped up off the ground by ‘chairs’ – small plastic stands to keep it where it’s needed in the centre of the slab.
Georgie conveniently had to work on the day of the pour, so Steve and some generous mates helped out moving 5ton of wet concrete by wheelbarrow into place. It was a cold winter day and a hard job but beer heals all wounds and keeps free labour happy. The cold however was a problem for getting the concrete to go off and set. Water coming to the surface and staying there isn’t a good thing as it can make the top later chalky and crumble – Steve worked into the night waiting for it to dry off as much as possible before smoothing it off. Because of this and it being our very first attempt at such things it might not be the prettiest slab but a year on there isn’t a crack in sight and it is holding up well – perfect for the shed.
Thanks to Andrew, Tristan & John – pretty sure we still owe you a few rounds.