concrete advice for a putting simple floor in a modest sized building

I recently put-up a small garage, 24' x 24", and want to pour a concrete floor in it. I am a farmer and have done some work pouring and setting ready-mix around feed bunks, etc., and have done sidewalks. Pouring things like sidewalks was easy, because when you "strike-off" the concrete, you just run a board along the top of the forms. But when I do this enclosed building, how do you do it when you are up against a wall? And how can you do a 24' x 24' slab in one continuous pour?
It is because of these questions I would like to find out if someone could recommend a good book or maybe even a video that would help me. I have done some searches, but so many of the books/videos seem slanted to either the completely simple or the very complex. Like I mentioned, I am not a complete novice to pouring/setting ready mix cement--but at the same time I am not going to be doing a real complex job either. I just need some advice on how to pour a floor in a modestly sized building. Thanks in advance for any and all advice!
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On 12 Oct 2005 09:23:14 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

I think the first thing you should do is find out what it would actually cost to have a concrete company come out and do the pour and float for you. Buying sack-cement and mixing it yourself is frequently not cost-effective on medium to large jobs.
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On 12 Oct 2005 09:23:14 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

It is clear you are going to need a truck load of concrete. This is not a "strike off" situation. You will be screeding to chalk lines along the wall. In the center you should be driving grade stakes (short pieces of Rebar work). You pump it in and screed it out to the tops of the stakes as you go. The last thing you do is whack the stakes below grade and move on. The concrete will pretty much stay where you place it. Once you get the slab all in place you get out of the "mud" and float it out with a long handle bull float. The final finish happens after the water dries off but it still is not set That finish is up to you and what you are going to do with it. A broom finish works well for a shop floor or someplace where the floor will be wet. You can also hard trowel it to a fine finish with a windmill machine but that tends to be slippery when wet.
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You can install screed boards and take them out after rough screeding. There are also sheet metal strips that stay in the concrete and form joints between sections. You can install fiber strips along the edges and leave them in the concrete. You did not say what kind of walls you have but there should be expansion joints between the slab and the walls. All in all, a 24 by 24 slab is not a job for an amateur. It is a lot of hard, fast work and when it starts to set it can get unmanageable real fast. Either have it done or do it in small sections. It will need control joints to control cracking anyhow. Just had a 12' by 40' by 6" fibered slab poured for motor home parking. Took 9 cubic yards, cost $630 for the concrete and $720 for forming, pouring and broom finishing. In NE Alabama. Don Young

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On 12 Oct 2005 09:23:14 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

I ma a farmer too, and I built an addition on my barn for a feed room. A year later I was getting real tired of walking in mud since water tended to enter around the edges, and even more tired of rodents digging under the walls. The addition was built pole style, and I simply ran the steel siding down to 3" above the the ground with a treated 2x8 sunk an inch or two into the soil (to which I fastened the steel). Well, all that did was allow rodents to dig holes and then water to enter. I finally poured a slab, which solved all my troubles. However, pouring indoors is not all that easy, My addition is much smaller than yours (12X14). Either way, I faced the same problem of working within an enclosed building. Granted, troweling a smaller area the size of my room was less of a challenge, but I was still working indoors. Considering the delivery cost of concrete, which was actually higher for a small amount than a larger amount, I decided to mix the concrete myself in my small electric mixer. Then I decided to pour the floor in 4 sections. That way I could easily trowel the cement, and quite honestly. mixing more than a 6x8 foot section (in a small mixer), is just too much work to do at once.
So, I did one section, framed with 2x4's. amd let it dry. I waited a few days so I could walk on it, and did the next section (and so on, until finished). It took awhile that way, but it made a good floor at a small price. I think I used 4 bags of Portland cement and a pickup load of sand and stone from the local quarry. Total cost was about $40.
I am not suggesting that you mix your floor by hand, that's too large of a floor. What I am suggesting is to pour it in two or more parts. Wait till one part dries so you can walk on it to trowel the other part. You have more than one truckload anyhow, so get one truck and do part, them in a few days get the mext load, etc. Two 12X24 sections would be much easier to handle, and you can screed it off with a 14" 2x4 and can use a 12" trowel extension to smooth it.
In a floor as large as yours, you definately need expansion joints. After you remove your 2x4 frame from the first section, add some expansion strips to divide the next section.
(I did not use any on my small floor, but I can see hairline cracks between the pours, yet all is level after one freeezing winter. I did place expanision joints along the walls against the 2x8 base to allow for movement without lifting the walls out of place.
Mark
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