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Old 12-16-2011, 01:16 AM   #1
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Can I just fill it in with concrete?


My water heater is on 18" brick pedestal. I want to install larger water heater and it requires slightly wider pedestal (I need another 6"). 12" for the water heater pedestal I have brick chimney, so I was thinking, what if I fill this 12" with concrete. It is 12" wide, 24" deep and 18" high (so only 3 cu ft of concrete, about 400lb).

Anyone have any thoughts? I am in California...

Few pictures are attached.


Last edited by kutsyy; 01-04-2012 at 03:25 PM.
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Old 12-16-2011, 06:13 AM   #2
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Can I just fill it in with concrete?


How about another row of bricks??? Why is it up so high???

I notice the gas supply is not black iron and the pic shows no drip leg, both important issues.

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Old 12-16-2011, 06:31 AM   #3
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Can I just fill it in with concrete?


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Why is it up so high???
It might be in the garage. Keeps it up out of any stray fumes.
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Old 12-16-2011, 07:15 AM   #4
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Can I just fill it in with concrete?


Use cinderblock ABC type for the inside: use bricks as a veneer on the outside.

Consider the need for access to the pipe when you work on it - I wouldn't use concrete, filling it that deep and thick would delay curing. Don't need the Hoover dam in there

Where's all that water from - your tank you're wanting to replace?
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Old 12-16-2011, 09:08 AM   #5
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Can I just fill it in with concrete?


it is in the garage, so water heater and furnace are required to be 18" up. Water is from leaking water heater. In California all heater connections (gas & water) have to be flex (so heater can move a bit during earthquake). There are no pipes around that area, so access is not an issue. The pipe you see on the heater is connected to flex, so it will be gone with a heater. I am attaching one more photo. What is "drip leg"?

I've never done brick before, so concrete sounded like easiest solution. I was thinking about pouring 6", let cure for 12 hr, pour another 6" and so on. I am not trying to build hoover dam (and yes that's exactly what I sought), just sounded as simplest, quick and cheap solution.

As for brick, if the space is 12" wide, how do I make sue that it nicely filled? How do I make sure that new brick would be strongly attached to the old. I know that bricks are generally big no-no here due to earthquakes, would it matter here?

Thanks,

Vadim

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Old 12-16-2011, 10:27 AM   #6
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Can I just fill it in with concrete?


You can pour solid concrete in there if you'd like, as the only downside I can think of would be possible future removal would be more difficult. Regardless of if you use concrete, or any other combination of masonry materials, it will be overkill for what you need it to do, even in earthquake-prone areas.

BTW, you can pour the whole thing at once and still have quick enough strength gains that it will support the required weight within a day or two.
We commonly pour machine foundations that are 7-9 FEET thick, and the biggest issue we have to control is that the concrete cures too QUICKLY due to the heat generation created. Not going to be an issue for you here though.
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Old 12-16-2011, 10:54 AM   #7
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Can I just fill it in with concrete?


If you were to use concrete, I would form the front and pour the whole thing at once instead of doing 6" lifts like you suggested...it would look a lot better.

Make sure you consolidate the concrete to eliminate air pockets, especially along the form. A few good whacks with a mallet as you're placing it would do the trick.

In all honesty though, I'd just brick it to the width you need. Regardless of your mason skills, I think it would look better than a poured blob, and it would give you a chance to learn a new skill.
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Old 12-16-2011, 11:23 AM   #8
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Can I just fill it in with concrete?


Pouring all at once was my original thought but I wasn't sure, good to know that I can do it.

If I would have more time I might want to try laying bricks. I need to have heater changed early next week, so I'll go with what I know how to do quickly

Now question about pouring.

How should I protect drywall on the back? Is black paper OK?

Should I worry about putting wire mash inside?

Thanks,

Vadim
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Old 12-16-2011, 11:35 AM   #9
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Can I just fill it in with concrete?


To do it right, I would:

-Remove drywall behind the area you're going to pour (unless you're positive it has no water damage from the leak). The last thing you want to do is cast in a pitri dish of mold.

-Install 1/2" plywood in place of the drywall and fasten to the studs to act as the back of your form. If you're sure there's no water damage, you can fasten over the drywall. The plywood will be much stronger than drywall, and the last thing you want is concrete to break through the (possibly water damaged) drywall.

-Build a form for the front out of plywood and lumber if needed. You can likely fasten into the brick mortar joints on the sides, and use weight to hold the bottom in place.

-Oil your front form so you can get the SOB off once you've poured it.

-I would use some sort of bond break between the plywood fastened to the wall and the concrete (poly, tar paper, etc.) since that plywood will be cast in there forever.

-I would add an expansion joint between the concrete and at least one of the brick pillars. This will keep the concrete from pushing/pulling the bricks and cracking the joints

-Reinforcement is not really necessary, but mesh could be placed every 6" or so as you pour to control shrinkage cracking. Keep all steel 1 1/2" from the edges of your concrete cube.

-Pour your concrete, remember to smack it with a hammer and/or use a rod to compact it as you go

-Finish it

-Have a beer, and tomorrow strip your form


Or you could just stack some bricks with some mortar in between them


EDIT: Just noticed how narrow the area is, you likely won't have two joists to fasten plywood to. In that case, I'd remove any water damaged drywall, and then plywood over that. Well, in all honesty, I'd just use brick.

Last edited by Lattimer; 12-16-2011 at 11:39 AM.
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Old 12-16-2011, 12:11 PM   #10
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Can I just fill it in with concrete?


Is that gas flex piping really legal in California?
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Old 12-16-2011, 12:59 PM   #11
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Can I just fill it in with concrete?


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To do it right, I would:

......
Thank you very much for these instructions, they are great. few follow up questions, what kind of oil do you use on the form? what would you use for expansion joint?

Also, you've made me rethink bricks. How would you do bricks?

Thanks again,

Vadim
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Old 12-16-2011, 01:02 PM   #12
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Can I just fill it in with concrete?


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Is that gas flex piping really legal in California?
Yes, basic google search provided recommendation by "General Services Division of the State Architect": http://www.documents.dgs.ca.gov/dsa/...g_11_30_05.pdf

in particular:

DSA strongly recommends that code-compliant flexible connectors be provided between the water heater and any water, gas, and electrical lines.

Vadim
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Old 12-16-2011, 01:04 PM   #13
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Can I just fill it in with concrete?


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Originally Posted by kutsyy View Post
Thank you very much for these instructions, they are great. few follow up questions, what kind of oil do you use on the form? what would you use for expansion joint?

Also, you've made me rethink bricks. How would you do bricks?

Thanks again,

Vadim

Form oil. In reality any oil will do.

Bituminous expansion joint material. It may even be available at the box stores, I don't know. It is a felt/cardboard like product impregnated with asphalt.


Bricks....buy bricks, mortar, tub, and trowel. Mix your mortar to a peanut butter like consistency and get to work. You'll want to set each brick on a bed of mortar and butter the ends of the brick with mortar as you go. Stagger the joints for strength. Essentially, you just want to copy what you already have there....bricks with mortar between them. Depending on the width of the new heater, you may get by with just one row. There are plenty of youtube videos out there showing you more on how to lay brick, but its very basic for your application.

Once you're done, strike the joints so they're nice and neat, toss the leftover mortar into your neighbors yard, and rinse off your tools and tub so they're good to go for next time.
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Old 12-16-2011, 01:08 PM   #14
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Can I just fill it in with concrete?


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...
Thank you. I'll let you know what I decided to do.
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Old 12-16-2011, 03:22 PM   #15
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Can I just fill it in with concrete?


Would it be code to build a wood extension out of 2x4's? - You could make the top low enough so you could put a layer of brick on top if needed.

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