Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Here comes the basement..

Now things are really moving along ! Mike from down the road stopped by to help and the three guys got these forms up in no time. Mike is gaining experience for his ICF project in the future and friends are dropping by to check on progress, with their own ICF home building in mind for the spring. This energy efficient process is getting more popular all the time.
Ben and Adam are figuring out the window and door spacing in the front wall. Easy to make adjustments at this stage..If a window seems to high, just cut the form down.

The back corner, showing the old drain attached to the new and a post formed under the old footing that will fill when the walls are filled with concrete. I took this pic before the foam walls were leveled and braced. The forms are now snugged up tight to the front LVL beam.
Bracing is in place and todays work will be under cover, probably insulating the old basement walls as we have a major storm coming with 50 to 100 mm of rain forecast. We could well get an unwanted swimming pool in the new basement...

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Drainage Accomplished

Lots of work on the drainage system yesterday, more hand digging behind the back footing to get the pipes low enough and connected to the original house drain pipe.

Truckloads of gravel came to cover the pipes all round and the guys were glad to see the end of hand shovelling at the back footing for a while. The way this will work is that the back wall will rise to touch the LVL support beam with the outside foam layer. At that point there will be huge L bolts driven thru the forms into the beam so that when the cement is poured it encases the bolts, tying the two buildings together tightly and supporting the weight of the front of the old part of the house.

Jimmy was promoted to Sanitary Engineer ( he preferred Chief Sh*t Shoveller) and tasked with cleaning out the remnants of the septic tank gunk. In the photo he is yelling "Hurry up and take the damn picture, There's sh*t running down to my glove !
The floor was levelled with the addition of gravel and a tamping machine.

So here's how we are today, ready for walls to rise on monday..

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I Agree, Snoopy !

Well that was fun to watch...I was amazed at the concrete pumping process. In came a machine looking like it was from War of The Worlds with an arm long enough to reach right over a house, soon to be followed by a regular cement truck. The ICF footing forms were quickly filled from overhead with the cement being pumped through what looked like an oversized elephant trunk. Ben just had to steer the hose along the footing course as the cement glopped out. Adam followed with a 2x4 screeding the stuff level.
There is rebar sticking up all along the course that will tie the wall pour to the footings. Next they get to assemble the lego blocks to form the walls, excited to see this project taking shape...

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The ICF Footings are in.... and The Law Of Building and Renovating

 Massive amounts of dirt have been re-arranged and an extra ditch out the front seemed a good idea seeing as how much water flows under and around the house site. John advised getting solid white perforated drainpipe rather than the old flexible black snakey stuff, to avoid the possibility of crushing under the weight of the backfill...oh my ! what a shock the price of that was, but we got it and I will remember fondly how pretty it is after it's buried out of sight.
Yesterday we had extra help to assemble the footing forms
which was much appreciated.
There is a Law of Building Stuff that says: Unexpected snags are bound to happen. Everything will cost more than you think it will. Things will take longer to do than you think they will. Well it's not really a Law but it should be because it's nearly always true.
The first time I saw this Law in action I was about 12 and Dad had just laid up the concrete wall for our house, and my brother who was just learning to drive, accidently backed up the truck and flattened the wall...Growing up to build things all my life I've seen this Law in action many times.
So late yesterday it became apparent that the corner
where the footings began was a few inches too high and of course that had to be the shale rock corner not the softer corner so today our valiant crew did a lot of pickaxe and shovel work and have now got the whole business lowered and leveled. Tomorrows challenge will be to engineer the step footing for the basement front door.
Yesterdays beautiful sunset here...

Friday, November 8, 2013

Excavating begins..

The laminated beam is in place and fits perfectly, resting on 8" corners left at the ends of the concrete wall. What followed was a lot more jackhammering to have the wall fall out later in chunks.
But first the septic tank had to be dug out as it was sitting in the man cave-to-be and very much in the way.
With some careful lassoing and lifting with the backhoe, out she came. Nicely..all in one piece (phew).
After some careful digging we can now imagine the shape of the man cave and the art studio above. John worked on this corner first to get the water draining away down a natural ditch.
 The moment we were all waiting for... with a bit more digging, and a nudge from the bucket, the concrete wall falls out neatly. A thump from the bucket breaks it up in managaeable pieces. Big sighs of relief all round as the house stays put !
Next week the footings go in and then the walls should go up fairly quickly...

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Now for the tricky part..

The challenge has been to figure out how to put an 8 foot basement addition up against a 4 foot existing basement  without the house falling in the hole when the excavating is done for the new wall. I'm glad I didn't have to figure this one out. Ben has had an LVL laminated beam made which will support the house front so John can excavate away without fear of disaster.
Here is Ben jackhammering a chunk of the basement away after scoring a line with a cement cutting saw. As each floor joist is exposed a temporary 2x4 goes in from the footing to the joist. Tomorrow when the jackhammering is finished the beam will be muscled into place underneath the sill. Then when John comes to excavate the wall can be pulled out and lugged away.
And yes, Lori, Ben got a lecture about wearing his dust mask on his forehead !

Brilliant !