Home Foundation Part II

We finished up the foundation of our house on Saturday July 26th.  The week leading up to the pour of our foundation was fraught with 4 inches of rainfall, multiple nights working late to get things finished, inspections by the county so we could pour the floor, deciding to push back the pour due to weather multiple times, and of course a healthy dose of stress and anxiety!  After all, this is our life savings, our baby, and we have a lot invested already.  We worried about how much rain fell into our foundation, and every time it rained, we spent half a day pumping the water out of the slab and cleaning up the mud, only to have it rain another inch.  On Tuesday night Jonathan and I were finishing up the work for the slab prep and it poured over an inch in 30 minutes, we worked through the storm pumping water out of the foundation as fast as it was filling up.  After the storm a perfect rainbow appeared over the farm.  We were encouraged.  Finally, finally, we had two days of dry weather and Pedro Barcenas and his crew poured our foundation on Saturday July 26th.

Below is a photo of essay of the process of the work!  The floor looks amazing!  We are raising our first wall this Sunday.

More gravel work!
More gravel work!
The slab insulated
The slab insulated
We had to cut some rebar.
We had to cut some rebar.
We installed a plastic vapor barrier and rebar to help strengthen the concrete
We installed a plastic vapor barrier and rebar to help strengthen the concrete
We tamped the gravel by hand
We tamped the gravel by hand
installing the radiant floor heat red tubing
installing the radiant floor heat red tubing after the big storm Tuesday
We used a leaf blower to get the water to the low areas
We used a leaf blower to get the water to the low areas
The rainbow after the storm
The rainbow after the storm

Saturday July 26, 2014: Pouring the Foundation!

Mr Bingley wallowing in the concrete truck ruts!
Mr Bingley wallowing in the concrete truck ruts!
It took 2 concrete trucks and 17 cubic yds of concrete
It took 2 concrete trucks and 17 cubic yds of concrete
The first concrete going into the foundation
The first concrete going into the foundation
We dyed the concrete with a warm, cedar color
We dyed the concrete with a warm, cedar color
Pulling a level across the floor
Pulling a level across the floor
A magnesium float pushes all the gravel down and makes a smooth finish on top
A magnesium float pushes all the gravel down and makes a smooth finish on top
Pedro used a special blade to smooth out all the rough spots
Pedro used a special blade to smooth out all the rough spots

 

Admiring our floor-Photo by Thomas Fisher
Admiring our floor-Photo by Thomas Fisher

On Monday July 28th, Pedro came back and cut our floor in a tile pattern.  Some cuts are necessary to help control cracking in the floor.  Concrete wants to crack.

First few cuts in the floor
First few cuts in the floor

 

Making the tile pattern
Making the tile pattern
Spraying the slab down to help it cure.  The color when the slab is wet is what the final color will be.
Spraying the slab down to help it cure. The color when the slab is wet is what the final polished floor will look like.

With heartfelt thanks to our neighbors who brought us fresh food, leaf blowers, air compressors and lots of encouragement, we are happy to finish up this phase of our house construction!

First walls are going up Sunday!  We will be needing a lot of help in August.  Stay tuned for work parties on our house to help us raise walls!

Breaking Ground: building our foundation

WE STARTED OUR HOME! At the end of June we began work on our foundation. It has been a slow and steady process and we are certain that we will have a strong foundation to build the rest of our home on. It seems appropriate that our home site sits on top of a wildflower field!

We are building a passive solar house that we designed, and so naturally over the course of the past 8 months Jonathan and I have spent a lot of time thinking about home sighting and calculating the sun’s angle at different times of the year. Passive solar means that we harness the suns energy to help us efficiently heat our home in the winter, so we have to install a concrete slab floor (from here on out referred to as “the slab”) that acts as a heat bank. It captures the heat in the winter and holds it, keeping the house warm. However, the other side of passive solar is to make sure that our hot NC sun never shines into the house in the summertime. So we have learned to calculate house position and roof eaves to achieve sun in the house in the winter, but not in the summer….whew!!

Megan and Pedro at the job site. Photo by Thomas Fisher
Megan and Pedro at the job site. Photo by Thomas Fisher
Breaking Ground! Photo by Thomas Fisher
Breaking Ground! Photo by Thomas Fisher
We hired out the digging and pouring of the footers to Pedro Barcenas (of Barcenas Construction). He and his crew also installed 4 courses of concrete block which helps to raise our house level up and helps the plumbing drain better. They also dug and installed our foundation drain and put in a driveway for us. They did a fantastic job and we are having them come back and pour our final slab foundation in a few weeks.

Next Jonathan and I spent a long time moving over 40 TONS of gravel into our foundation. Thank goodness for our neighbors with tractors who scooped all the gravel into the foundation for us. We raked it all into the middle, leveled it out and dug the trenches for the plumbing. Let me tell you what, slinging gravel in 95 degree whether ensured that our sweat, blood and tears (mostly mine) made it into our foundation.

Jonathan throwing gravel around!
Jonathan throwing gravel around!
I dug these trenches through the gravel for our plumbing
I dug these trenches through the gravel for our plumbing

Next our plumber, Bruce Carver, came and installed the plumbing that goes under the slab. He did such a great job and was so kind to us. We are planning on installing the rest of the plumbing in the house ourselves, so we watched and learned a lot from him.

What’s next?? VACATION! Jonathan and I are leaving for for 5 whole days and getting up to my Grandma’s lake house in Maryland. When we come back we are installing insulation under the slab, a vapor barrier, rebar and then finally our radiant floor heat. We are doing all this ourselves and then we are hiring out the final pour of the slab!

Stay Tuned for Home Foundation Part II, the well digging, and for opportunities in August to help us raise walls!

Mr. Bingley at the home site
Mr. Bingley at the home site