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547 The Driveway 2011-12-29

the driveway, half done

For fun over the holidays, we didn't go for a hike, climb, or even a bike ride. Instead, we decided to work on a little project around the house. We were going to try to remove a slab of our concrete aggregate driveway and replace it with pavers.

Monday after the holidays, we started on our driveway adventure. We played with a few tools from the garage and then decided to go to a big-box store to rent suitable equipment to get the job done. From their advice, we chose the concrete saw.

Back at the house, we started the saw from the instructions the store worker gave us. Immediately it dug and ground into the pavement. A fine cloud of dust quickly swallowed us both. The noisy, dirty, gas-powered beast was hard to keep running and even harder to start. We pulled on the starter cord until our backs cried "uncle". Soon the blade (for which we paid extra) was dulled to the point that it would barely scratch the surface.

We spent a half day sawing without having removed a single piece of concrete! The driveway was thicker than the radius of our 14 inch circular blade. We returned the saw with the cutting only half way completed.

But, we are hikers and climbers. We are used to things being hard. We do projects because we enjoy physical, outdoor, work. With chisels, wedges, sledge hammers, and pry bars we finally took out the first piece and then the second. With these minor victories we called it quits for the first day.

Day two, we had to take a zero. We had carried big loads and our backs needed a day of rest. During the groans and moans of soreness, we did finish a cloudhiking page but did nothing on the driveway.

After finishing a few chores around the house, we began day three. Thanks to the healing effects of a heating pad, we were moving better. Still, we did not know how to break the driveway into nice paver slabs that could be reused. At first, we tried to drive the truck onto the slab hoping the weight would crack the sawed creases and break the pavement into pieces. When that didn't work, I thought I heard the driveway chuckle at our attempt at the easy button. Well, with a lot of effort using our supply of hand tools, we slowly removed pieces of concrete. Once removed, it took both of us, along with a lot of grunting, to move the very heavy slabs. We finished the day with half of the job done but it was an easier day than cutting the concrete with the saw.

Today we are going to get the rest of the concrete out, even if we have to rent a jack hammer. We hope that we can use a little ingenuity and leave the noisy jack hammer at the rental store but then again, it might be fun to play with the hammer! Wish us luck.

Happy driveway removal trails


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