The Big Slab Pour
Big day today, with the weather and some slight delivery issues pushing us to do the pour today (Monday).
A few notes here, in case you are thinking about using Lowe’s for delivery.
First off, it was incredibly unclear what delivery options were available, when using their site. The process appears to be: order your items, and then someone will call you to talk about delivery. Which is insane to me.
I ended up calling and talking with a support rep, who gave me a breakdown on delivery options (this was on Friday). He said weekend delivery was possible, and we scheduled the delivery for Sunday. He also went so far as to get me a contractor’s rate on the delivery, knocking down the fee from $60 to $20 (very kind of him).
The next day (Saturday), I get a call from Lowe’s. And they tell me the size of the order required a flatbed truck for the delivery. And they don’t use those on the weekends. My big thing: why did I have to wait 24+ hours to discover this? How do people plan to do work with deliveries, if this is the kind of accuracy and timing involved?
So Monday then. I asked for the delivery to get here closer to 9 AM (the prior delivery happened at 6:45 AM, and I felt terrible about all the noise for my neighbors).
A thing to note: Lowe’s itself doesn’t do delivery. They hire it out to a third party contractor. So if you call the store asking delivery questions, they pretty much tell you they have zero info. It’s incredibly frustrating.
Luckily for us, the Lowe’s truck pulled up right around 8:30 AM, at the same time Bob was arriving. We got the order unloaded: 32 bags of concrete, 12 bags of gravel.
After finalizing our prep, it got to be around 11:00 AM when we started the pour. An hour or so into it, guess what: we realized Lowe’s didn’t delivery all 32 bags. They only gave us 25.
Once you’re doing a pour like this, you can’t just stop. You have to keep going until it’s all finished. And after calling Lowe’s to alert them of their egregious error – there was nothing they could do quickly enough to rectify the situation.
On top of it, Bob and I both reassessed and determined we were several bags short in our original estimation. Overall, we seemed 8 bags short. We added two bags as a buffer. And on top of that, we were short the 7 that Lowe’s failed to deliver.
I hopped in Bob’s truck, hauled over to Home Depot, got a few folks to help me load up a total of 19 more bags of concrete (I added two more bags as yet another buffer). Amazingly, that whole experience went about as fast and as good as it possibly could have gone. I made excellent time, there and back. And was able to keep our pour uninterrupted.
I don’t know if it’s the fact that we’ve done this so much now, I’m comfortable with our system. But the actual mixing part (water, split bags, dump in, more water, pour) wasn’t too bad. I got tired towards the end, but it wasn’t terrible.
The worst part for me was loading the bags in Bob’s truck (and having to haul the bags further in the truck, to distribute them evenly). And then hauling those bags from deep within the bed of the truck, out). THAT was a pain.
The concrete, poured. All told, we went through 42 bags (which includes the buffer I added). While I was at Home Depot, I forgot to pick up another bag of gravel (I was utterly frantic, and blanked on this). Had I gotten that, we might not have needed those two extra bags of concrete. Ah well, it all worked out more or less.
Concrete smoothed, and waiting to dry.
The air was humid, and the concrete wasn’t really drying that much. Circa 6:30 PM, we brought out the flood lights for Bob to do one last pass of smoothing. After this, we covered things up and called it for the day.
For these pours, we always use the bag for calculation and always seem to under-estimate. Consistently, by about 10 bags or so. Just a note for future reference.
// Edit: Lowe’s did end up refunding me the 7 bags. When I called to complain more to ask for some additional compensation, I was told they weren’t offering anything (no coupon or discount on a future delivery).
Being short bags of concrete is a markedly bigger deal. It’s not like a missing can of spray paint. Once the pour starts, there’s no stopping. Their error made our job much, much harder. If this type of an error doesn’t qualify for some additional discount/compensation, I have no idea what would qualify.
Note for anyone getting deliveries of any kind from Lowe’s: count it before you sign for it.