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Filling a trench - thickness issue.

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  1. #1
    mxh
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    Default Filling a trench - thickness issue.

    I'm filling in a trench in a concrete floor (in a basement) that has had some new pipework put in it - the only issue is that in a couple of places the concrete is only going to be about 3cm thick over the top of the pipe. The room is only going to be used for foot traffic - ie it's not going to have cars driving over it etc, and will be tiled over the top of the concrete. The original concrete was about 10cm thick.

    A few questions ...
    1. What is the best way of reinforcing thin concrete to prevent it cracking?
    2. Is 3cm too thin?
    3. What would be the minimum thickness that you'd be happy with?

    Also, is it recommended to put plastic sheet under the new concrete - there was plastic under the original concrete but obviously that's been penetrated when the trench was dug.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Galvanised chicken wire in a couple of layers is what I would use but I'd also make the concrete a stronger mix with more cement and finer aggregate but others may give you better advice
    I helped a bloke make a concrete canoe once and that was only 5mm thick [ sorry I do not know that particular recipe but it had no water in it only straight Bondcrete as the liquid ingredient] but the stronger the mix the thinner you can go
    "A big boy did it and ran away"

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  3. #3
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    Bit of a pity the pipes weren't dug in a bit deeper...
    Agree - strong mix of concrete and add some bondcrete.
    To tile over the top, hopefully select thicker grade tiles and try to get an entire tile spanning the channel.
    It's only a problem if the new concrete moves (or the pipe gets squashed.
    If there's a chance, consider cutting the side walls of the existing floor at 60 degrees so the new concrete fill will span the gap and be supported by the existing floor once it dries.
    Alternatively cut some grooves across the trench in the existing concrete to take a piece of reo every 30cm or so. Bombproof!

  4. #4
    mxh
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    Thanks for the replies - I'll go with both the reinforcement, bondcrete and a strong concrete mix. I also like the idea of 'grooving' in some extra reo - might be a 'belt and braces' approach.

    Can you advise re the waterproofing sheet as well - is that required or is it redundant now that the original sheet has been compromised?

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    Old Chippy 6K
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    If is only foot traffic then pretty much plain sand and cement mix would be fine (i.e.: mortar without lime). Adding more cement or additives is not going to make any difference - if it is 30mm thick then it is likely to crack if there are point loads, but a footfall across it is not likely to do any damage. I assume the pipework is PVC - so the flexing of that under the thin concrete is a weak point as are the two edges where it meets the existing slab, but again once it has set and hardened - more than a month then it should be fine. You didn't say how wide it is - I am assuming around 100mm wide and with the filler mix going down the sides of the pipe so that will give an arch shape that will help prevent cracking anyway. You could add the chicken wire or even a strip of 3mm reo mesh, but for foot traffic only I wouldn't bother.

    Or you could use one of the Ardit products. I wouldn't bother with any particular waterproofing - any capillary action from that small surface area when the rest of the slab is sitting on plastic will be tiny. Usual story though - make sure all external drainage runs away for the house/ basement walls.
    Advice from me on this forum is general and for guidance based on information given by the member posing the question. Not to be used in place of professional advice from people appropriately qualified in the relevant field. All structural work must be approved and constructed to the BCA or other relevant standards by suitably licensed persons. The person doing the work and reading my advice accepts responsibility for ensuring the work done accords with the applicable law.

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    Community Moderator phild01's Avatar
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    I wouldn't bother with an additive, the chicken wire does a great job with thin cement. If you could lay your hands on crushed blue metal then even better.

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    mxh
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    Cheers guys. And the waterproofing?

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    Community Moderator phild01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mxh View Post
    Cheers guys. And the waterproofing?
    picture

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    mxh
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    Sorry, picture of what?

    I've cut a trench in a concrete floor, have put in some pipes and am filling it in. I'm asking if I need to put a waterproof membrane under the new concrete.

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    Community Moderator phild01's Avatar
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    A picture of the damaged membrane.

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    mxh
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    Are we at cross purposes here?

    The original floor was made up of hardcore at the bottom, then a plastic sheet, then approx 100mm of concrete. I've cut a 150mm wide trench through the concrete, through the plastic sheet and down into the hardcore. I've put in some pipes and filled the trench with sand up to the level of the base of the old concrete. My next step is to fill the top 100mm of the trench with concrete. My question is - does there need to be any plastic sheet between the sand and the concrete that I'm just about to lay? Obviously I'm not going to get a complete waterproof layer under the concrete as I've cut a 150mm wide hole in the original sheet along the length of the trench, but is it best practice to put something down?

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    Pictures really Really help
    You may need to do other stuff like taping the edges and people can't help without having lots of information
    Pictures are the best information you can give to help people help you
    If you have broken a waterproof barrier it needs to be made good
    How you should do that ????
    "A big boy did it and ran away"

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    Community Moderator phild01's Avatar
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    Sounds like improvision now as I can only visualise that the existing cut membrane cannot be made continuous. We also don't know the ground condition and how wet it gets. Maybe just inlaying new plastic is all it needs, don't know!

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    4K Club Member Marc's Avatar
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    I'm filling in a trench in a concrete floor (in a basement) that has had some new pipework put in it - the only issue is that in a couple of places the concrete is only going to be about 3cm thick over the top of the pipe. The room is only going to be used for foot traffic - ie it's not going to have cars driving over it etc, and will be tiled over the top of the concrete. The original concrete was about 10cm thick.
    And then

    The original floor was made up of hardcore at the bottom, then a plastic sheet, then approx 100mm of concrete. I've cut a 150mm wide trench through the concrete, through the plastic sheet and down into the hardcore. I've put in some pipes and filled the trench with sand up to the level of the base of the old concrete. My next step is to fill the top 100mm of the trench with concrete
    So is the pipe in the ground under the concrete or is the pipe inside the new concrete? If inside the concrete you have to pack the pipe with something that allows movement in the concrete without breaking the pipe. Plastic under the concret or no plastic seems the least of your concerns if you have a pipe 30mm from the top.

    A picture or a small drawing may clarify what the problem may be.
    Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance
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  15. #15
    Old Chippy 6K
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    Quote Originally Posted by mxh View Post
    Are we at cross purposes here?

    The original floor was made up of hardcore at the bottom, then a plastic sheet, then approx 100mm of concrete. I've cut a 150mm wide trench through the concrete, through the plastic sheet and down into the hardcore. I've put in some pipes and filled the trench with sand up to the level of the base of the old concrete. My next step is to fill the top 100mm of the trench with concrete. My question is - does there need to be any plastic sheet between the sand and the concrete that I'm just about to lay? Obviously I'm not going to get a complete waterproof layer under the concrete as I've cut a 150mm wide hole in the original sheet along the length of the trench, but is it best practice to put something down?
    Definitely have been - I don't know about others, but I read from your opening post that you were going to have only a 30mm thickness of concrete over plastic pipe. If I read it correctly the thickness of the replacement concrete will be 100mm so that is not a problem and all you were really asking is should you put some plastic down in some attempt to replace the section of original plastic you removed as you cut through and laid the pipes. IMO it is not critical - you could lay some down on the sand running a little up the sides and that means that there would only be a small area where any water might rise up. If it were me I'd be putting some plastic down and refill with concrete, but I don't think it is going to matter one way or another in the situation you described.
    Advice from me on this forum is general and for guidance based on information given by the member posing the question. Not to be used in place of professional advice from people appropriately qualified in the relevant field. All structural work must be approved and constructed to the BCA or other relevant standards by suitably licensed persons. The person doing the work and reading my advice accepts responsibility for ensuring the work done accords with the applicable law.

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