Building SIPsmart: Concrete Finish and Risers

Reader Contribution by Michael Morley
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Michael Morley is posting regular updates about his progress building a unique green home with structural insulated panels (SIPs). This is an update from March 22, 2010. You can find previous posts here.

Concrete Finish
The weather finally cleared long enough for the finishers from Burlingame Concrete to pour the tinted concrete. It was St. Patrick’s Day and green concrete would have been appropriate, but green color cost $125 extra per yard over the $50 we paid for a red family tint. We chose a color called “Bonfire,” and it has a pleasing terra cotta feel. During the finishing with the power trowel (see above photo) the blades burnished the surface with a swirling darker color, which gives a great look. The control joints were cut in the next day, and I rented a forklift and unloaded all the pre-cut SIPs from the flatbed sent down from Minnesota.

Friday started out warm and sunny and soon Butch, Jeremi and I were working in T-shirts. We checked level and laid out the location for the 48″ riser panels. This is a critical time as it

affects everything going up above it. The measuring was tedious and not exact. Butch and I decided to swing an arc at the right radius from the focal point and set the riser panels to the marks. This worked well, and we marked the finish location of the panels, set them aside and then installed the plates. I know that sounds backward but it was simple and accurate. We installed the west half of the risers by about 2:00 and were on a roll (see photo at left). Then someone threw the Kansas weather switch and it went from 65 to 45 in about 20 minutes with heavy weather eminent. We covered all the panels and rolled up for the day. Sure enough 6 inches of snow fell and it was a nasty day Saturday. I cleared the snow from the slab and panels on Sunday, and we were able to work five hours today and got the other side of the risers up.