DIY Concrete slab finishing

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Topic by Dan Lyke posted 03-31-2011 04:57 PM 19199 views 2 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Dan Lyke

331 posts in 5533 days

03-31-2011 04:57 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question concrete foundation slab

I’m trying to finish up my plans for my workshop (been doing that for a few years now), and I’m starting to send things out for bid. Finding out a lot of interesting stuff about the costs of various processes that I wasn’t aware of.

I’ve decided I have to build on a slab. I’m in a fairly tight residential neighborhood and don’t want to make the building huge. The slab costs me 8” above grade plus 1½” for “joist” spaces below the floor, a crawlspace would cost me 18” plus joist height, 10”-12”. So I did up some preliminary drawings, had a guy come by to give me a bid on a 14’x26’ slab with 18” thickened edges and got told about $5,500, including $1200 for 3 finishers.

It’d be nice if I can drop this price a little bit. I could do my own digging, and probably my own forming and running rebar, but if I’m going to put a floor over this anyway, just how much smoothing do I need? $1200 worth? Anyone out there got experience pouring a slab?

At the very least, I’m going to have to hire a concrete pump, the location is such that I can’t get a truck to it and it isn’t practical to do this from bags, but I want a better feel for why I’m spending all this money before I do so. Because that’d buy a couple of nice Lie-Nielsen planes…

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/

View popztoolz's profile


16 posts in 4481 days

04-02-2011 06:15 AM

Hi Dan:
Check on your local building codes about what I am suggesting.
If you are going to stick frame your workshop.
What we have found to be economical on the east coast is as follows.
1- Construction would be a pole building.
2- For a 14’ x 26’ building. You would set 12 poles, 5 along each 26’ length, and 1 in center of 14’ length. If you want normal 16” OC studding, then you would just fill those in between the posts at later time.
3- Each post is set on top of a concrete pillar, (Concrete poured to depth below frost line for your area, using concrete forming tubes). These are bolted to concrete pillar with standard metal bracket for this.
4- All posts are tied together with framing lumber run horizontal at top, middle, and bottom to support outside sheeting, (metal, wood). Kinda looks like an over sized fence being built at this point.
5- Construction is completed as a normal stick framed building, (studding between support poles, trusses or rafters, sheeting on exterior of building and roof). Sides can be done with wood sheeting, metal siding, or anything a normal building would have. Same with the roof.
6- At this point the only concrete poured is the pillars for the main posts. All easy do it yourself, (bagged or concrete truck). Holes can be dug by hand, (Hard work) or renting a power auger to dig.
Web link shows pole building at this stage.
7- Floor can be poured concrete at any time during this process, After main poles are set or when building is completely framed. So the only professional concrete work is the floor, (usually 4” thick on a base of compacted gravel). Should be cheaper than the floating slab with thicker edges you are looking at.
Check out information on-line about pole buildings.
Again – Check about your local building codes for your area.
Hope this helps.

William G. Yasovsky, Michael Yasovsky Construction, Bellefonte, PA

-- William G. Yasovsky, Michael Yasovsky Construction, Bellefonte, PA

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Dan Lyke

331 posts in 5533 days

04-04-2011 06:50 AM

Hmmm… Thanks for the suggestions. I’d thought I was pretty limited to a grade beam or thickened slab construction because of my roof loading issues, I’m going with a living roof, but I’ve decided to scale down the building a bit, and I’m planning on going with some beefy site-built trusses so the roof loading will largely be at 4” spacings. So I should re-run my foundation loading requirements for my site’s seismic class and see if I can go back to a pole frame.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/

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Dan Lyke

331 posts in 5533 days

04-05-2011 05:55 PM

The problem I’m seeing is that my ballpark numbers tell me that my roof alone is going to weigh about 2,850 lbs per pole (70 lbs/sq.ft, half the 16’ span, 4’ spacing between poles). I’m on clay, in a seismically active area, so I’m assuming that my foundation loading can’t go higher than about 1,500 lbs per square foot, which means that the pillars would need to be 2 feet in diameter.

Although at this point I’m also considering backing off from the living roof and just going with a pole barn, if I thought that’d give me the noise suppression I’m hoping for (residential area, router table at night, you get the idea…).

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/

View PockieNinja's profile


1 post in 4300 days

08-18-2011 10:31 PM

Hmm.. nice thread! I have to leave for now and figure out what question to ask.. I’m having repair this summer to my house and need some really nice thread to read on.

-- http://www.ben10gamer.com/

View Grandpa's profile


139 posts in 4382 days

08-19-2011 01:16 AM

The problem here is you live in California with its own codes and requirements and you are getting responses from people in places that don’t even have earth tremors. You need to stick with local folks and check the code requirements. I have seen some of the CA requirements with bolts from deep in concrete through the top plate of the wall etc. Not that way in other places. You need to look for some folks there to visit with about this and talk to several of them. Just my thoughts. I could put that thing up but it might not stand a good tremor or quake. It would stand the 90 mph winds we get on Oklahoma though….

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Dan Lyke

331 posts in 5533 days

08-19-2011 01:21 AM

I’ve got specs back from the engineer. He says I could get away with 12” for the thickened-edge pseudo grade beams, but likes my 18” alternative. My main question is about the surface smoothing, but my neighbor (who’s a contractor) has agreed to do the labor on pour day for $700. Figure another $500 for the pump and $1200 for the concrete, but I think that still comes out better than my initial bid, even though both sources bid about $5,500 for the whole shebang.

The problem is that I broke a rib while digging out the trenches, so the whole project is on hold for a few more weeks. Sigh.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/

View Diyjunkie's profile


33 posts in 1838 days

05-24-2018 06:27 PM

Hi Dan, I’d imagine you have finished setting up your workshop by now. I’d love to know how it turned out.

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