In Which I Get Even More Tired Of Concrete

I’m kind of done with concrete.

The late, great comedian Mitch Hedberg does this riff on pancakes that pretty much sums up how I’m feeling about concrete right now. (BTW, Hedberg died too young due to a drug overdose and I don’t endorse his choices. It’s a tragedy. I’ve seen him live and he was a very funny dude.)

Sorry for editorializing. Back to the gray matter which is concrete. Thankfully, the concrete projects are getting smaller and my stack of sacks of Quikcrete has dwindled to nearly none.

The latest project was a pad for the new water heater and whole house filtration system. (Quick side note about the water here: They use chloramine to purify the water. It’s basically a mix of ammonia and chlorine. Houses around here are notorious for springing leaks in the copper plumbing pipes because the chloramine eats the copper. Water out of the tap smells like bleach. Anyway, I don’t want to drink that crap, so we are installing an activated-carbon filter.)

A lot of people install the water heater in the garage, but space in my garage is just too precious. With a full compliment of woodworking tools, three bikes, two motorcycles, two surfboards, etc. I wanted to keep it on the back of the garage. So I’m pouring a pad and building a “shed” to house all the plumbing equipment.

They sell these pre-manufactured sheds at home improvement stores, but they look terrible and the panels rattle when the wind blows. I know this because we currently have one and it is stuffed with Styrofoam to prevent the sides from deflecting in the wind. That’s a perfect combination, a gas burning appliance surrounded by Styrofoam. WHShed

So I will build a steel stud-framed shed and have the stucco contractor finish it to match the rest of the house.

Anyway, back to the pad.


The channels in the stucco are so there is not a cold joint where the shed and garage wall meet. I added some rebar for strength, since a full 50-gallon water heater can weigh 600-700 pounds.

I had the form built in the spot behind the garage. The only consideration was that the exhaust from the heater vented at least 10 feet away from any bedroom window but otherwise I could put it pretty much anywhere.

My plumber wanted an access hole so he could get his gas line up into the cabinet from underground. So I came up with a creative solution:


Finally a use for those cardboard tubes that Single Malt Scotch comes in.

Once that was set, I filled up the form, and troweled it off.

So I was pretty tired of concrete after that.

But after today, I’m really tired of concrete.

One of the last things I have to do was deal with this crawl space access. When the house was added on to, they added this area of foundation. Rather than cut an opening in the existing foundation to access the crawl, they just added a second access. That’s all fine and good, but now we are adding a ground-level deck over this area so it won’t be usable. Plus, I need to reframe the rim joist (Which is why it is removed in this photo) to accommodate the new new glass doors in the master.


Foundation fill in! At least this one only requires 270 pounds of concrete…


More rebar dowels and epoxy. I’m going to need a new hammer drill after this…


All formed up and ready to pour. And, just as the sun hits this area of the house. Perfect timing…if you like the smell of your own sweat…


The first shovels of concrete are in!


The new sill plate is ready to go with the anchor bolts already drilled.


Are we done here? I think so. 

The photos tell the story. As do the callouses on my hands.

2 responses to “In Which I Get Even More Tired Of Concrete

  1. Blake – By now I should know better (having watched your work over the years), but you continue to amaze me with your multiple skills and attention to detail.
    Thanks for keeping us informed. I look forward to the finished product.


  2. I am so glad you are documenting all these details. And I’m so happy you and Eve had a weekend get-away. You know, all work and no play….

    This project is going to be sooooo lovely! I can hardly wait to see and enjoy the finished project.


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