Thursday, October 20, 2005

This Old House: Austin -- The Concrete Contretemps

A couple of days ago I was at the new house and found a crew pouring concrete to level out the old garage. It looked fine to me and I left. Yesterday I came back to find a carpenter at work framing in what are going to be window spaces where the old garage doors were. A few minutes later that concrete fellow shows up, grumpy.

It seems the contractor in charge was not happy with the surfacing of the concrete. The surface was too rough. This irritated the concrete guy, who knew that we intended to stain and score that floor. He said that was the exact sort of surface you wanted for staining. The carpenter fellow backed him up. I was non-committal, saying only that I wanted the proper surface for staining and scoring, whatever it was supposed to be, and suggested a call to the guy who was going to do that job. The concrete fellow wasn't interested in that; he'd done stain jobs, he knew concrete, and it was fine, he said.

The contractor was adamant in a call to me later. It seemed in both cases as though he and the concrete guy wanted me to say something about the matter.

Frankly, that was the last thing I wanted to do. You'd be better off asking me a question about atomic physics than concrete. You really would, I've read books on cosmology and stuff, and understand the basic concepts. But concrete? You make it with water and sand or some other aggregate, and after a while it dries and turns hard and gray. That's what I know about concrete.

So I told him what I told the concrete guy. I know nothing about concrete; all I want is a good floor. Talk to the guy who is staining and scoring and see what he has to say.

I hope they get this straightened out.

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