Happy birthday? (Townhouse #7)

Concrete to level the floors came in last week… the day before my birthday! I was so excited. Dreams of having the floor puddled, perfectly level and ready to roll with my gorgeous vinyl plank floors (which are notoriously picky about the flatness of the surface they’re applied to). I figured they’d flood the floor and that’d be it, right?




They actually transported in dozens upon dozens of bags and did the mixing right there on the floor. One guy was in charge of glooping the peanut-butter-consistency stuff onto the floor and making sure it was smooth. By the time I got there after putting the girls on the bus, they were almost done with the office.

I had expected that they’d only apply concrete up to the highest point of the room and taper it off there in order to keep the ceilings as high as possible. That kind of feathering-out-to-nothing is only possible with self-leveler though, which is a crazy $35/50lb bag. Regular concrete is only a few bucks per bag but it has to be applied at least 2″ thick or it may crumble.

Clearly my contractor thought he could save himself some money because:


That’s almost two inches thick at the highest spot, which lowers the already low ceilings. And does that look flat to you?

….no. Not remotely.

But these guys have done fantastic work for me before (the sidewalks and front walk on the Beach House), so I left them to it and figured they knew what they were doing and that they probably planned to fix it once they had the whole room done so they could level and screed it more accurately.

I wish I had spoken up, though, because they absolutely did not. When I came back on my birthday I found:


Can you see how over a 6′ span the level is already up an inch? It gets worse the farther you go.


Here’s another. You can’t lay vinyl plank over this gap in the middle. It will buckle and crack. The dip looks small in the picture, but it’s actually more than an inch deep.

And the worst part:


It was like at the end of the day they just gave up even pretending to be aiming for level. They piled 2″ of concrete on the highest point in the entire project and tapered it down to nothing on the lowest side!


They made it worse!

Can anyone tell me why the concrete guy didn’t just use liquid concrete in a truck like normal, just flood the basement and be done with it? Wouldn’t that have made more sense – been easier to transport, faster to finish, and a cinch to level? Is there some reason he chose to do it this labor-intensive, error-prone way instead? Anyone know something I don’t? If there is, I really do want to know.

Let’s just say I learned my lesson about supervising concrete work. If you have to leave for some reason during drywall or framing, fine. Those mistakes can all be redone. But concrete is, of course, more permanent.

I should have called Josh and told him he’d have to get the girls. I should have had him make dinner and take them to gymnastics. He would have, if I’d asked. I wish I had. But I was tired, and I wanted to go home.

In the end the contractor did agree to come back and fix this back corner for me, but not til the following week, which put me further behind schedule.

The icing on the birthday cake? When I was leaving, I saw someone had crushed the back corner of my truck while taking a corner too tightly. (Luckily, he stayed and I got his insurance).


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