I took the time this weekend to start fixing the front steps, with very little planning to work with, I decided I’d at the very least get the continue the path to the house, so that at least there is something there to support the previous besser block attempt.
The problems with the besser block attempt are in the soil below the blocks, they sink when the soil gets wet, making the step collapse which then requires rebuilding, and causes the overall level of the step to decrease – so it’s a rocky mountain climb to get inside.
I had initially thought the area would easily be covered with half or at most, 1 bag of ready mix concrete. I was wrong, it covers 0.2m2, and the area I have is 68cm x 52cm. But, I did buy two bags in the knowledge my attempt would probably fail.
I mixed up the first bag with water, there’s no exact measurement on the bag, but it did state to mix the whole bag with water, so it was done. I mixed the bag with ample water, and it was pretty thick – I added a bit more, and we had a slurry going.
“Too much water” my partner said, as she was reading Google whilst I stuck into it. She was probably right.
So, I mixed up the second bag, ensuring I used less water and I really thought that it did not meet the consistency of concrete, it looked like a very dry cake, breaking up as I was picking it up.
I proceeded anyway, and as I shoveled it into the pieces of timber I had cut to form the area for it to set, the aggregate sunk, the concrete remained on top.
I was surprised at this, but worked with it, the result by about 12pm today was fairly wet on top. As the afternoon progressed, it got a fair bit dry, it started to look like beach sand after the water has ran away from it.
I wrote my name in it, and this confirmed it wasn’t as dry as I thought it was. Much disagreement came from the opposing force, so I covered up my name, and it settled to form a flat-ish surface.
I’m not sure how the edging will turn out, it’ll be covered anyway, so it’s leaning towards the couldn’t care less pile, but if I can neaten it up, it might be a bit of handy knowledge to have when we finally get around to tackling some plant life in the barren desert land that is our front yard.
On the plus side though, I figured out to dig up some pesky plants that we litterally slaughtered with the shovel last time (but they came back). I watered down the soil really well – far more water in the soil then I used for the concrete task – and then got the shovel in behind it and wedged out most of the root system.
I did that to both of them, and then got the roundup out, and sprayed the roots that remained and could not be dug out.
Hopefully, we don’t see them again, and once we get the budget back on track, we’ll get some plant life in, and see it grow. The other idea is probably to run a small front covered entrance area out from the sunroom/office. But that might not happen – I’m adverse to it, because, who entertains at the front of their house? I could be wrong, have been.
The bag quoted curing time of 7 days, so by next Sunday, we should be able to restore the besser blocks and place the steps on them again. It’ll look awful, but that’s not what I’m trying to solve.
We’ll know more in 7 days, hopefully it doesn’t crack or break away (and also dries..).
There are other thoughts in my mind at the moment, a new concrete area at the black of the granny flat, which we would extend a ‘bedroom’ for it onto. But I’m not going to do that, council approvals and all.
I’m still focusing on my wireless temperature sensor concept, waiting on the wireless kit from China, some resistors from Hong Kong, and some diodes from Tasmania, oh, and the full concept of how it all goes together.