help? on cement curb/garden strip border edge

cottagecindySeptember 14, 2012

I have an old cottage (1930's) that has a skinny driveway and 2' from house.

when they built this thing, they put a cement curb/border along the driveway to allow a planter bed next to the house.

a new gate/fence was put up recently and pushed the garden bed down a bit.

so..... i would like to 'finish off this border" thing-- (it looks stupid the way it looks now)

I have built a form with 2x4s and 2x6s "L shape" on about 100" long including the turn up to the fence/gate. It is well supported-either in the ground dirt, or bricks up against it on the driveway. I have 6 bags of quick set concrete.

so..............can I do this alone.? I know i have to mix it, pour it, float it, level, then take the boards off at the "right" time, I have a one sided float with a curve to look like the rest of it. (oh yeh, do I NEED(??) to oil the boards? and with what?

and to top it off, the driveway is not flat, shocker there huh? but I have plenty of shims I hope to keep the concrete from oozing onto driveway. No, I don't have expansion joint anything.

just need advice I'm begging. I need to do this, my husband won't help -literally-- (and he's out of town so no annoying...)

I can't afford to hire someone. How can I do this by myself. :( and no, never worked with concrete before.

My landlord did the fence etc. but too busy to do this cement curb, so I'd like to really help him --he has done so much for me.

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Can you post a photo? I'm not understanding the relationship between the fence, the garden area, and the driveway.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 9:38AM
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notice the driveway is not flat,but sloped, and shifted I'm sure (earthquakes here in SF Bay area)
my buddy also said maybe put a little gravel along trough and rebar??

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 4:27PM
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Yes you can do it yourself. A couple things to note:
1. usually you put stakes into the ground on the outside of the forms into the dirt, to hold them in place. You can't do this on the outside, but you can on the inside.
2. I'm a bit worried that the bricks aren't heavy enough to keep the 2x4s in place on the outside edge. I'd beef that up.
3. The forms are usually set so the top of the forms is the top of the concrete. You've got them set on top of the driveway, so the top of the boards is higher than the desired top of the curb edging. To make this work, you should rip down the 2x4s or turn them on their side, or something else to make the top of the forms level with the top of the existing curb.

As for the process:
1. Put a couple inches of gravel in the bottom.
2. Mix the concrete per the directions on the bag.
3. Pour it into the forms
4. Trowel it smooth, even with the top of the forms
5. Remove the forms after it dries (a day or so). While it's still fresh, you can shave off any imperfections and smooth it out a bit.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 10:24AM
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thanks weedyacres,
I have made the inside board-in the dirt/ form level with the broken off area of concrete border and put stakes to support it.-should I screw the 2 pieces together at the 90 degree turn or will that make it very hard to remove later?

the driveway has a "good "slope just noticed, so if I use the other board I'm showing,(1x4) and prop/support it up with heavy duty blocks (got retaining wall strength) but also put shims where there are gaps, which will of course not make it level with the other board since higher in places, can i float down the poured quickcrete and level it with the one sided correct height, then I can used my "curved" one sided float on the higher side --I know it may not be 100% level, but close,no?

Should I buy heavier wood for the outside driveway form -what you see there is a 1x4 maybe a 2x4? actually that's a dumb question. I need to buy and have them cut a 2x4 for that side, I need the strength duh....

one more question. when I remove the boards (first do I oil them before?) since the boards are up tight against the fence, buried a bit into the ground,etc. how do I remove them without destroying the cement border? I am taking my time to get all this prep done cuz I am a perfectionist and I do NOT want this visible area to look like s@#t!!!
thanks again soooo much for you expertise!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 2:27PM
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I wouldn't screw the inside corner together. If it looks to you like it may not hold, then use nails through the stakes into the form, leaving part of the head exposed for easy removal after pouring. Nails are priable, screws aren't. You can use a nail to hold the outside corner pieces together.

If you put a level on the existing border, is it level on its own or does it have the same slope as the driveway? If I were starting from scratch, I'd probably make it parallel/level with the driveway, just for ease of the outside form. But if the existing border is level on its own (not parallel with the driveway), then you're stuck with that on the extension. Not a big deal on the inside form, but it makes the outside form tricky.

I suppose if you just use a full 2x4 on the outside, which would stick up above where you want the new border, you could trowel the concrete level with the inside form. I've never done it that way, but it seems like it would work. Since your outside form isn't secured to anything like stakes, consider putting some block on top of them, to hold them down, as well as in.

I've never oiled form boards. To remove them, stick a wonderbar in between the concrete and wood and gently pry them apart. The concrete won't be fully cured, so subject to chipping if you just beat on it. On the inside forms, if you take out the long board first, that will make the short board not be wedged in, as it'll have the 1.5" that the long board took up. You could pry against the fence to shift it that way and loosen it. And you could dig out the dirt to make it easier to pry off.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 9:36AM
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