Friday, November 30, 2007

Home Stretch

I'm on the home stretch for finishing the foundation waterproofing. Just the long front wall left to do. (I didn't want to bore you with another picture of a basement wall, so here's something else instead.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Where Did I Put Those Pipe Elbows?

We got five inches of snow on Monday night, so I think winter is here to stay now. It took me just over two hours to clear the yard and driveway with the tractor. Hopefully as I get more practice I'll be able to cut that time down some.

I have a bad habit of leaving little piles of stuff around... a couple of 2x4s here, a pile of stakes there... that sort of thing. Now that the ground is covered, I can't find anything! So, I spent most of the rest of the day doing some organizing around the building site.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Uh-oh. Winter has arrived.

I'm about half done the waterproofing now. The tent n' heater idea is working out very well, except that I can only do about 12 feet at a time before I have to let the next section warm up.
In the meantime, I've been spreading a 4"-10" layer of drainage rock around the perimeter of the foundation. This gives the drainage pipe a nice level bed to lay on, up off the ground; thereby preventing the pipes from clogging up with silt. It also allows me to create a nice, even slope for the pipe from the front of the house to the back of the house. (There is crushed rock underneath that snow, really!)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Working Inside

I've found that if I put up some temporary hoarding, I can put a small electric heater inside for a two or three hours and it will take all the frost out of the ICFs. Then I just crawl inside and apply the waterproofing membrane to a nice dry wall.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Foundation Waterproofing

This is turning out to be a time consuming process because I have to try to get most of the moisture out of the ICFs before I can apply the waterproofing membrane. I've been doing this with a heat gun and lots of paper towel. Rather tedious, but I've got one wall finished now.

The final grade around the house will be higher at the front than at the back, hence the reason that the membrane is higher up the wall at the front of the house.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Mother Nature's Request

Lots of rain today. I'm taking that as Mother Nature's way of telling me to take the day off.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Waterproofing The Foundation

Before I can backfill the basement, the outside of the basement walls have to be waterproofed. The traditional way of doing this was to spread (or spray) a thick, black, tar-like coating on the foundation walls and footings... a very messy job. With an ICF foundation, that process can be greatly simplified by using a peel-and-stick waterproofing membrane. It's basically tar-on-a-roll, with a layer of tar sandwiched between a plastic facing on one side and a peelable backing on the other side. In very simple terms, you cut a piece off the roll, peel the backing off, and press it into place. The tar-like substance sticks to the ICF block very well and it's relatively clean to work with.

You start by putting a short piece at the bottom of the wall and down overtop the footing and the plastic footing bag. Here's where the plastic footing bags that I used for the footing forms tie in nicely with the waterproofing membrane; any water that comes from the soil or comes down the side of the house in a heavy rain can't make it's way into the house because now the entire basement is encased in plastic. At least that's the theory.

After the footing piece is done, the walls can be done. You simply cut a piece about six feet long, hold it up against the wall, start peeling the backing off, and press it to the wall as you go. There are lines scribed into the ICF blocks that you can use as a reference to get everything straight. When you get down to the bottom, you overlap it right on top of the footing piece applied previously. Once it's all attached to the wall, you go over it with a rubber roller to make sure that it's really stuck well. Each subsequent piece overlaps its neighbour by about three inches and the corners will get a double layer.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pouring The Pad Footings

Where's the big read Easy Button? Once the pump truck was all set up it took less than 10 minutes to fill the all the forms. If I would have rented a cement mixer and mixed it all myself it would have taken me days.

I've covered them up and have the heater running again. I'll let them sit that way overnight. By tomorrow night they'll have cured enough that the risk of freezing isn't a problem anymore.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Hoarding The Pad Footing Forms

We're scheduled to pour the concrete for the pad footings tomorrow. It's supposed to get down to minus five degrees tonight, so I've covered the footing forms with tarps and put a small propane "torpedo" heater at one end. It's best not to pour concrete on top of frozen soil, so hopefully this will keep everything from freezing.

This is looking in from the far end of the tent. There's lots of warm air here, so I think this will work okay.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Pad Footings

These are the forms for the pad footings in the basement. The pad footings will support the posts that support both the main floor and the upper level floor. The posts will be spaced at eight feet apart in order to provide the strength required to support both floors above.

The two smaller footings will support the floor above and around the stairwell to the loft area.
The forms don't have to be pretty, they just have to be square (more or less) and level.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Floor Joists In The Dining Area

I've finished putting up all the floor joists in the dining area. This area has only a 14' span, so there isn't a need for any additional support in the center of the joists.