On Thanksgiving Day, I decided that I wanted to install a basketball hoop for the boys. We had thought about doing it as a Christmas present, but we decided to go ahead and do it now instead. So instead of avoiding the crowds on Black Friday, we ventured out to the sporting goods store and came home with a shiny new basketball hoop. I’ve never been a fan of portable basketball hoops, so we ended up going with an in-ground hoop instead. Unfortunately, this meant that the installation process would be considerably longer and more difficult.
As it turns out, the rate limiting step is waiting for the concrete to cure, and the particular model that we bought had two such steps… One for sinking a ‘sleeve’ into the ground, and the other for filling the post with concrete to ‘deaden’ it. The purpose of the sleeve is to make it easier to slip the pole into the ground, and to also make the post removable. In retrospect, this was a really bad idea, and I wish I had skipped it entirely and just stuck the post directly into a big block of concrete (more on this below).
Here’s a quick rundown on the process so far:
Day 1: Haul hoop home, pick up concrete, etc. at Home Depot. Dig hole. Put sleeve and lower section of the post in the ground, square it up, and fill hole with concrete.
Day 2: Slip lower section of post out of the ground, assemble the three sections of the post, slip a piece of rebar into the post, cap the bottom, and then fill with concrete.
Day 3: Slide post back into the sleeve, clamp it into place, and hang the backboard/hoop. Or at least that’s how it was supposed to go…
The problem was that when we slipped the post back into the sleeve and clamped it in place, it was a bit too wobbly. After a bit of hand wringing (and hair-pulling) as well as a quick consultation with out neighbor, I decided to try shimming the sleeve and then buttressing the whole thing with additional concrete. After driving in shims on all sides, the post was nice and solid. Thus, I decided to press on…
I excavated a trench around the concrete base and coated the top of the base with concrete adhesive. I then mixed up a batch of Quikrete sand mix (which can be poured in thinner layers than a gravel-based concrete), filled the trench, and then came over the top to buttress the base of the post.
We then finished up by imprinting each of our kids’ hands in the concrete around the base of the post and carving in the date along with their initials.
We’re now waiting for the concrete to moist-cure under plastic (for additional strength). Once the concrete has cured, I’m going to move ahead with assembling and hanging the backboard/hoop… Hmmm… By that time, we might as well make it a Christmas present!
Oh well, it’ll be worth it in the end, as the kids will have blast shooting hoops (and so will I).
Unfortunately, what started out as a three day project has turned into a multi-day (week?) saga. Oh well, once it’s done the kids will have a blast (and so will I).