The carport is coming along nicely, although it still doesn’t look like an actual carport since there’s no roof. But I now have a large concrete pad for parking the cars, as well as this amazing new wheelchair ramp for Matt.
Here’s a quick video I did showing the progress so far…
(If that video doesn’t work for you, you can click here to watch on YouTube.)
It has been so interesting to watch all of this as it progressed. The only concrete I’ve ever worked with was my concrete kitchen countertops, so this whole process fascinated me. I kind of wanted to pull up a chair and just watch all day each day. It’s like having HGTV, the live version, right in my back yard. Here’s how the area looked after everything was prepped for concrete, and just before the concrete truck arrived.
They used 2″ x 6″ lumber for the forms. Around the perimeter, plus right through the middle of the area, they dug deep trenches (probably 8-10 inches deep) to create what they call “beams.” This just adds extra strength, and my brother said that it also keeps the concrete pad from shifting. They also tied the rebar into the existing concrete foundation at the back of the studio, so that will also keep it from shifting.
Then on the corners where the support posts will go, they dug these round, much deeper areas (probably an additional 8-10 inches) to create what they call “bells.”
With the trenches and bells dug, the rebar in place, and the special gravel/dirt foundation in place and compacted, it was time for the concrete truck. I seriously could have watched this all day long.
That concrete was poured on the Friday just before Memorial Day weekend, so the one guy came back on the following Tuesday and started prepping for the ramp. It took him just over two days, and then last Friday the concrete truck came back to pour the ramp. I’ll admit that I was very nervous about how this was going to look. I just couldn’t imagine that it would actually look nice.
But later in the day when he removed the main form, I was ecstatic about how nice it looked!! I took this picture the next day after the concrete had time to dry enough to match the carport pad in color.
I mean, just look at the incline on that ramp! It’s perfect! It’s such a drastic difference from the death trap of a ramp that was originally on the front of the house…
I’m a healthy person with some pretty strong arms, and I couldn’t even get myself up that ramp in Matt’s wheelchair. So he had no prayer of ever actually using it. And even when I would try to push him up that ramp, or roll him down the ramp, it was just plain scary. I’m so incredibly excited (and relieved) to have an actual usable, safe ramp for him now.
Right now the step up to the door is about seven inches. It might even be eight inches. That’s too high for a comfortable step, so I’d like another step added to the left side of the landing that’s at the doors. And then to make the ramp safe so that Matt won’t accidentally go over the edge, I’d like to add some sort of low curb that his wheels can bump into to let him know he’s at the edge. I’m envisioning some sort of stone retaining wall like this…
If it comes up just about four inches or so, that’ll be plenty of height to stop Matt from rolling off the edge, but it will still allow me to get large items in and out of the doors if needed, where a railing would really limit my ability to move things in and out of the doors. So I’m still mulling over some options, but that’s probably the direction I’ll be heading with that.
They also poured this concrete pad at the side door for me so that I have something sturdy and level to build my steps on.
At first I didn’t understand why the pad was so high above the ground. I had assumed that it would be level with the ground, or just a couple of inches above the ground at most. But he explained that since the back yard (and therefore, the carport concrete pad) is so much higher in elevation than the front yard, they’ll have pour the driveway (which isn’t going to happen at this time, unfortunately) in such a way that it has a gradual slope all the way down to the street. So with this side door being about 1/3 of the way between the carport and the street, it has to be this high so that it will eventually be level with the driveway.
I hope that makes sense. You can see here how much higher in elevation the back is…
If I draw a line level with the carport concrete pad, you can see how high it would need to be on the side of the house…
Obviously they can’t pour a driveway that high, so it will have a slope on the side of the house, meeting up with the concrete pad at the portico door, and then continuing a downhill slope to the street.
So for now, I’ll have to deal with the concrete pad at the side door basically acting as an additional step, but when the driveway is poured, there won’t be a concrete step there. There will only be my wood steps up to the door.
I feel like I’m explaining that horribly, but hopefully you can make some sense of it. 😀 If not, I suppose you’ll have to just wait and see how it all works out in the end.
They’re back to day to set the posts for the roof. They were planning on removing the flat roof at the back of the studio, but there’s a 40% chance of rain, and the sky is all gray, so it would be a really bad idea to do that today. I’m pretty bummed because, of course, I’m chomping at the bit for that roof to be torn off. But maybe tomorrow! If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll be the first to know about the progress.