The Thrill of the Rubik’s

Working with Cement and not allowing one obstacle stop you from achieving your goal.


I remember my first Rubik’s Cube.  Matching the sides always felt impossible, no matter how much I turned it.  The day I was able to get one side all the same color felt like climbing Everest!

Last week I climbed my first mountain peak of the many to still come ahead.  This whole experience of putting a room together can sometimes feel overwhelming.  With good reason we rather pay someone to come and do the work.  It is hard, both physically and mentally.

My approach so far is to go through the steps of my project in my mind.  I walk through every step and see if I can find the error before actually physically doing the procedure.  I only do this because I do not have enough materials or money to make mistakes.  I have to be certain enough that what I am about to do is correct or with little failure.  Is a good thing Jesus was a carpenter, only He knows how much I call upon him to do this project.

I have narrowed my huge project into sizeable little projects.  Hmm, almost like the Rubik’s many sides. One of the sides of this Rubik’s is the lack of a back door.  I have and entryway but no door.  Without this door I cannot install insulation or electricity.


The room has two openings. One is on a wood wall and the other on a concrete wall.  Both doors are pretty much facing each other.  The door or entry I am working with today is the concrete side which leads to the backyard.

The actual door was removed a few years back, don’t know exactly why.  Still not knowing why, a 4″slab of concrete was poured on one of the sides of the entrance, but it was not poured all the way to the top.  So, I have to fill a small space of about 4″×6″×3″ with more concrete.  This 4″ slab of concrete reduces my entryway considerably and eliminates some spacing needed for better framing of the door.  We’ll discuss this more in detail at a later point.

20160711_101908The other side of the concrete entryway has part of the cement block missing.  So I have to fill in the jagged edge while keeping it straight and not taking any more room from my opening.

Not knowing how to do this part I drove myself to Home Depot.  This is my most favorite place.  So many tools and materials, the possibilities are endless!  I talked to David.  I showed him pictures and had measurements for the entryway at the ready for him.  He explained to me how to get it all done.  I did as he instructed . . .

  • I placed two pieces of weather treated 1×4 on either side of the wall.  Each plumb to the edge of the section of the wall that is intact.   I secured them with cement screws.  Unfortunately, this didn’t work, so I used two large clamps.  These worked amazing!20160713_174750
  • I mixed the cement to a toothpaste consistency  (but it looked more like soft polenta.  I should have added a bit more water.  I am a cook by vocation, so expect food references on occasion.) I also added a powder that helps keep the cement from setting too fast, especially in the Florida heat.  I also only mixed half a bag.  I reserved the other half for the other side, which seemed a bit different circumstance.
  • I first scooped the cement and placed it on to the holes, but the cement would roll off.  I placed it again, this time holding and pressing and it began to stick.   I kept filling in the gaps.  Once the gaps were filled I made sure that the cement was flushed in all sides to the wood panels and the front edge of the wall.  (You have to be quick, this cements sets up super fast.)

Here is the result:20160713_180611

Not bad for the first time I work with cement!  It is not perfect, but it is better than what I had.

As for the other side of the entryway.  I followed the same process as I had done before.  This time mixed the cement a lot looser since the previous day it was setting too fast.  Unfortunately I mixed it too loose and it took forever to set.  I had to wait for it to set some in the bucket before I could fill in the gap.  Once the gap was filled and dried I removed the 1x4s to find out there are still small crevices in between the old cement and the new one.  I found a cement compound that works like caulking.  I squirted some of this product inside the crevices to fill the gaps.20160714_130207

Now, I can get it ready for a door.  Stay tuned, as this project is becoming more adventurous each day . . .

Until next time,







About Zoe Brooks

I am a home owner with bad credit and low funds who needs to fix her house. Althought I have not studied construction, lawn and garden, electricity or plumbing, I still try my best to fix my issues quickly, safely, and permanently.

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