Rowyn (rowyn) wrote,


Things I learned about cement:

  • Cement looks like a lot of fun to play with and is, in fact ... a lot of fun to play with. No, really.

  • It is, however, even messier than it looks

  • When the directions say "soak surface before applying", don't forget that step.

  • Bringing a bucket of slop water in which to rinse things sounded like a good idea, and was

  • Just mix it with your hands. But don't forget to wear rubber gloves!

  • If you rinse them frequently, the rubber gloves will not only be salvagable, but basically clean and suitable for non-cement-mixing tasks.

  • This also applies to most other implements -- trowels, etc. -- involved

  • Whatever you actually mix the cement in, however, will be so trashed that not only can't you use it for anything else, you're not even going to want to use it for mixing more cement after the second or third batch.

  • Fast-drying cement heats as it hardens. If you get any on your skin, wash it off before it gets to that part.

I have always felt, privately, that using cement looked fun. I didn't expect that it would be fun, but, as it turned out, it was. Not a rip-roaring good time, or my ideal way to spend my free hours, but it well above regular household chores. You get to mix the cement powder with water and it gooshes between your fingers, soft and squishy and lumpy. (You have to massage out the lumps.) Then you plop it onto the floor and goosh it into crasks and smoosh it around. It's like being in kindergarten again. Getting it really smooth and flat was the trickiest part, and sitting on the floor for long periods of time was a strain. And the clean up was not fun.

But, overall, it was surprisingly enjoyable, and the thought of doing more of it doesn't bother me. By far the worst part was prepping the floor for it. I'm still not sure I did an adequate job of that. I also have no idea if I got the cement down properly -- did I push it well enough into the cracks? No clue. One bad sign was that Lut noticed some water leaking out from where I'd just laid down cement. Now, this isn't quite as bad as it sounds, because I did (per directions) douse down the floor, and there was excess water in places. (After doing this, I've decide the right state of "soaked" means "slick but no actual puddles or drips). Since the wall hadn't been leaking before I put down the cement, I'm sure the drip that had mussed up the edge of the cement job wasn't from outside. However, that still doesn't mean it didn't carve a microscopic channel between the wall and the floor, through which fresh water will come with every rainfall. :P

I'm not sure how well layering this stuff works. I'm tempted to put a bit extra over that area, then paint over it. But I don't know if layering it will just weaken the whole thing. And while I do like putting the stuff down, getting it back up again is a real pain. So I don't want to do that.

I've decided that I'll paint over what I've done (with or without reinforcing the one apparent weak area), and wait for the next real rain. (It actually drizzled a bit yesterday and last night, but I don't think we go enough to be a true test.) If the interior wall holds up with no seepage, I'll take a chisel to the old sealant on the other walls that's leaking, and replace it. But prying that up will be be enough of a pain that I want some evidence I'm doing the "lay it down" part right before I try replacing the existing stuff.

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