Saturday, March 29, 2008

Good Work For A Snowy Day

I've been putting up wall braces today because it's too wet to do anything else. Not very glamorous work, but it has to be done.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

ICF Wall Braces Explained

As I did when I put up the basement walls, I'm installing wall bracing for the ICF walls on the main floor as well. Although the ICF blocks stack up fairly straight on their own, if you don't ensure they're tight together on both sides, or if you have any debris between them, they can get a bit out of plumb (vertically level) as the wall gets higher. By the time you get to the top of the wall, it's not uncommon for the wall to be out of plumb by up to 1/2". However, the braces allow you to bring the walls back into line before you pour the concrete. The pictures below show how they work.

In the first picture, you can see that the 2x6 studs are plumb, but there is a gap between the stud and the wall because the wall is leaning out slightly. The wall braces have a turnbuckle inside them. A few twists of the brace, and the wall is brought back to where it should be.
Now you can see that the gap is gone. The studs haven't moved, only the wall has. Now, when the concrete is poured, the braces will hold the wall plumb. Once the concrete has cured, the braces will be removed and the walls will be nice and straight.

Bearing Walls Up

I've got all the interior bearing walls up now and I've got the big header installed over the opening between the living room and the kitchen. I have to get some more header material to finish off the other openings.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Productive Afternoon

I built a couple of interior walls this afternoon. I laid out the sole plates on the floor first, measured the angles, and then used a chalkline to line them up with the stub wall at the far end.

They're load-bearing walls, so there's lots of studs in them. I have to install the headers and the second top plates yet, so they're not quite finished. The large opening will be for a closet and the small opening is for the back hallway.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Minor Progress

I managed to get another temporary wall up and some more subfloor done before the snow started again. What I wouldn't give for a roof!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Interior Walls

I've been working on framing the interior walls today. The wall in front of the patio door opening (on the left) is a temporary wall for the upstairs floor support. More on that in the next few days.

This corner of the wall forms part of the support structure for the roof ridge beam. This column is made of eight 2x6s and sits directly above the big column that I built in the basement in December... (see this post). The three shorter 2x6s on the right are part of the column, but they will also support the end of the long header over the opening between the kitchen and the living room area.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Tardy Blog Posting

We've had several days of wet/snowy/crappy weather, but I'm back at it now and got quite a few things accomplished.

I've built the door buck for the other set of patio doors in the dining room and I've got the ICFs up to the 8' level all around. The lintels above the windows and doors have got extra rebar installed in them, but I didn't need to put stirrups in these lintels because the concrete wall continues up another five feet in this area. The building code only calls for stirrups in walls that are up to 36" taller than the openings. I've also started installing the second layer of 3/4" subfloor. This will help to stiffen the floor so that it will better support the porcelain tile that we'll be putting down.
Lastly, I've put up one of the temporary 2x6 walls that will be supporting the upstairs floor until the concrete has been poured. (I'll explain this once I get further along and have more pictures.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

As Far As I Can Reach

I've installed one of the patio door bucks and also the window bucks for the dining room. The walls in the dining and kitchen area are about as high as I can go before I need to start erecting scaffolding.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Behind The Scenes

From the surface, it doesn't look like I've accomplished much today. However, if you look inside the wall you can see what I've been up to.
The area above a window or door opening in a wall is called a lintel. The building code calls for lintels to be reinforced with extra steel to make up for the concrete that isn't there because of the opening. In this case, the lintels are reinforced with four extra lengths of rebar; two on the top and two on the bottom. The top and bottom bars are held together with stirrups ("S" shaped pieces of rebar). The building code specifies the size and spacing of the stirrups according to the thickness of the lintel. Once everything is in place, all the steel is tied together with zip ties so it stays in place until the concrete is poured.

This is just to show what the stirrups look like and how they work.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Dining Room Progress

The weather has warmed up again and I got quite a bit accomplished today. This is the dining room area. The two large openings on the right and left of the photos are for French doors to the front and back decks.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Foolish Man

The weather has been really nice for the past week... plus five or warmer every day. I was beginning to think that winter was over and spring was on its way.

Ha! Certainly fooled me. I most of the day shoveling and plowing.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Kitchen Window Bucks

Today I built and installed the two window bucks in the kitchen area.

Any time that you break up the continuity of a wall by adding a window or door opening, you need to add extra reinforcing steel underneath, beside, and above the opening. This ensures that the wall remains strong enough to support the weight of the everything above the opening. The photo below was taken looking down through the bottom of one of the window bucks.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Taking Shape

I've got the door bucks finished for the back door and the door to the garage, and I've managed to get quite a few more ICF blocks installed. The walls are definitely starting to take shape.