Friday, July 31, 2009


Having just returned from a fundraiser spelling bee, it's sad that I had trouble spelling spalling. The computer's spell check doesn't know spalling, but you can be sure that the concrete guys do. Spalling is their worst nightmare. (Or at least in their top ten.) It's when the surface of concrete (or any material; spalling is not specific to concrete) flakes off. I noticed one such area a few days after the floor was poured and have since found maybe a dozen more simply by tapping on the surface. If the there's a hollow sound, the finished surface is not adhered to the mass of concrete. When I called in my discovery, Dale Dagget (Dirk Diggler?), the representative who'd come out to see the problems, said they're already looking into what he called retro-plating, the remedy of last resort. It would involve taking the surface of the floor down a bit to a new unblemished surface. This is tricky business because the aggregate (chunks of stone) that give concrete its strength sit just below the smooth surface. If you grind down into the aggregate, the surface would no longer be a solid color but flecked with bits of polished stone. Some concrete floor specialists add aggregate of a certain color and then grind it down and expose it on purpose to get a special look. We, however, do not want this look. I suppose it all depends on how far down the aggregate sits in the floor.

I'm just about done putting in the first layer of rigid insulation in the walls of the first floor. It's not difficult, just a little tedious and time consuming. My first job today, however, was to cut a new window opening in the west wall looking out onto the porch. This proposed window has been a matter of much discussion over the last few weeks, and it all started when both Chris Doyle and Eric Blake pointed at the wall in question and said, "You need a window there." Since then we've asked everyone who's shown up for a tour to weigh in on the subject, and the results were mixed but in favor. So today I framed an opening for a good sized awning window, and I must say I like it already.

No comments: