Pre-Cast vs Pour in Place Concrete

As I come to the end of my first pour-in-place project, I still have not decided which method I prefer. I have been doing pre-cast for four years now and have shied away from the pour in place due to the potential mess of wet grinding. The idea of getting slurry all over a newly tiled or wood floor makes me shudder. Just a few weeks ago I tried out some new pads from my local distributor that were to be used dry. The results were fantastic and my world changed. No more water, no more rubber boots, no more squeegees. The results were visible immediately; I didn’t have to wait for the piece to dry to see the finish. I was in heaven.

When a client asked me to do a 28 square foot island at 3″ in thickness with two legs, I Immediately suggested the pour-in-place method. The idea of delivering this piece by crane to her home that sat on a steep hill high off the street with only new cedar stairs as access didn’t appeal to me. Her requests were simple, a rustic looking piece to contrast with the contemporary style of the kitchen.

The results were dramatic. Using medium-grade plywood for the sides left a defined wood grain effect that you would find on an overpass. The surface was ground and polished to a medium shine and sealed. An integral sink was made using the same plywood and, for good measure, we inlayed two ammonites.

The pros of this project? Well, we didn’t have to carry or flip it and it was seamless, legs included. It fit perfectly and sat beautifully right away. I had more room in my shop for other projects. And lastly, with the help of a dust muzzle, there was no mess!

The cons? I have to say that the worst part was carrying the 16 bags of concrete up the 40 stairs to get to the house. That raised a few eyebrows from the other contractors on site. Also, if the job is a little farther away, returning to the site for the different stages can be time consuming.

Will I do it again? Absolutely! In fact, I will promote it and reduce my stress levels by half!