Need help with concrete patio....


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Old 05-26-08, 05:50 PM
S
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Need help with concrete patio....

I spent most of this Memorial Day weekend power washing the wood fence and concrete patio. It seems that the previous owners of this house didn't do much outside, so there was lots to do. On the plus side, it's all very clean and new looking now.

Okay, here's the situation. There's a concrete patio on the side of my house. Here's a general view:



There are two issues here. Issue #1 is the large hole off to the side, as shown here:



Apparently the patio was poured around a living tree and at some point the tree was removed but the hole (with part of the stump) remains.

Issue #2 is the large gap between the two patio slabs:



As you can see there's a piece of wood set in between there, though the wood is badly warped and rotted and can be removed easily.

NOW...

As for the hole, my thought was to get an axe and remove as much of the stump that I can, then wedge a piece of wood along the flat side to make a form, then put down a layer of gravel and then some Quikrete and smooth it out. Is this feasible? As I've never poured concrete before, am I missing any steps? What are my alternatives?

For the large gap, I'm stumped (no pun intended). I know there has to be some space in there to allow the concrete to expand and contract with the cold, but there's easily 2-3" gap between the slabs. That seems excessive to me. At minimum, I intend on digging out the rotted wood and replacing it with a piece of pressure-treated wood. But is there a better way to address this gap? (Keep in mind that there will be a table and chairs sitting on the patio, so the large gap will have to be minimized to some extent no matter what.)
 
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Old 05-27-08, 01:15 PM
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Ok - so the gap.. I would take out the rotten lumber and replace it with an expansion joint material that won't rot like cork, fibre or sponge.. examples can be found here http://www.wrmeadows.com/wrm00008.htm but you should be able to pick something up at home depot. Then I would set that material so it is about 1/4 inch below the top level of the concrete and put a sealer over the top of it to seal the gap... http://www.dap.com/product_details.aspx?product_id=293 since it is a considerable sized gap this is what I would do to 'fill it' and then use the sealer to finish it off.

As for your stump.. hacking the hell out of it with an axe will surely wear you out. If you have time on your hands then go buy some stump out, treat the stump and wait for it to work then burn it out. The problem you will have is that even if you get rid of the stump down to 6" and this was a big tree then there is a whole lot more below it much like an iceberg. As you fill the hole with concrete, you may be upset that 6 months later; what you leveled off to a perfect finish has now sunk and inch or two because the stump is organic and it has decomposed thereby allowing the concrete to sink. Of course this depend on how big the stump is.. why don't you try digging around it to do a discovery and then make a choice from there?

Hope that helps..

Wayne
 
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Old 06-10-08, 10:18 AM
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The option I would suggest "considering" time and labor into this project , either done yourself or by a experienced contractor. The option and route I would take is break up and remove exisitnig pad that was laid roun' the tree. Considering the gap which u have and the hole which may or may not ever be just right , you must take into consideration the many times or not many times u will have to fix the potential problems that may occur trying to fix exisitng problem. In te long run i would put a little more money into this and relay new pad and fix all problems at once.
 
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Old 04-16-09, 10:48 AM
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Following up (I know it's been awhile)....

I bought some chemical tree stump remover from Lowes and used it, carefully following its instructions. Unfortunately the results were less than spectacular; in fact, they were very disappointing.

My next step was to dig out as much of the soil as I could from around the stump, then use a gas chainsaw to cut out as much of the stump that I could. When I was approaching dirt level I switched to a hand axe and chipped out whatever I could reach. I cleared out some more dirt then soaked the tree stump in charcoal lighter fluid and charcoal briquettes, which I lit and let smolder for about 11 hours. This dried what was left of the stump and reduced most of it to ash. I was able to scoop out the ash and, with the hand axe, chop out more of the stubborn parts (read: the tap root).

When all was said and done I had dug out to a level about 3-4" below the bottom of the concrete patio. I deemed this sufficient. I wedged in a couple of boards to maintain the line of the expansion joint, then laid down some sand and gravel, tamping it down as much as I could. I used about four bags of concrete to fill and level the hole. Over the next week I kept a couple of old towels over it which I kept damp with the garden hose.

It isn't cosmetically perfect but it's solid enough to entertain on and it survived the winter without a crack, so I'm generally satisfied.
 
 

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