Meet Robert Robillard, the Concord Carpenter. He pursues parallel careers at seemingly opposite ends of the spectrum: he’s a police officer whose mission is to protect and serve the citizens of the metropolitan Boston area, but he also owns a home improvement business located in Concord, Mass. When these two universes collide, the singular mission of safety is at the center.
It’s a “balmy” 32 degrees on this 2010 December day in Concord Massachusetts, and the Concord Carpenter is hard at work. His mission on this day – to install snow melting cable underneath a porch and walkway. At the risk of stating the obvious, icy pathways can be dangerous to anyone attempting to navigate them. So, installing snow melting will ensure that the steps and walkway are free and clear of snow and ice, preventing injury to anyone who traverses them. In a nutshell, the Concord Carpenter’s inaugural dabbling in concrete heating is to keep the streets safe – well, at least the walkway and stairs.
It’s not the typical day for a snow melting install. The snow melt install season usually starts around the end of March and ends the first week of December at the latest, depending on the area of the country. Most snow melting is installed in driveways and walkways or stairways, so you need to pour either concrete or asphalt. These building materials must be a certain temperature to cure properly, so it stands to reason that as you approach colder temperatures late in the season, you will need to employ certain special accommodations to keep them from freezing.
But, before the Concord Carpenter can even begin the installation, he has to demo the existing structure. The goal: to replace the existing wood and paver materials with blue stone and install snow melting at the same time. The existing footing was used and filled in with concrete. A tent was erected to protect the structure and he used a propane diesel heater to blow hot air into the tent. Heating blankets as well as chemical additives also kept the concrete from freezing. Very creative solutions for a late season snow melt install!
Oh, and did I mention that the Concord Carpenter also has a website where he writes about all aspects of home improvement and remodeling? Check it out! He thoroughly describes this snow melting installation in copious detail in both a blog and a video?!? View blog & video here.
EVERYTHING you need to know for a successful snow melting installation is explained on his website - from using tie wraps to attach the snow melt cable to the rebar, creating the 3” serpentine loop spacing, installation of the temperature sensor, running the cold lead and sensor wire to the controller … to the correct depth that the concrete pour should be to cover the cables, and installing the blue stone over the new steps and walkway. There are even helpful do’s and don’ts and some excellent install tips.
I have a tip – If the Concord Carpenter is as good at policing as he is at snow melting – the bad guys better take cover.
Note: Robert has recently updated his blog to show the snow melting product in action.
Vickie L. Wash, Esq.
Marketing Communications Manager