Let the Frames Begin

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Monday was backfill day ... Tuesday was delivery day.
We were expecting the framing package to arrive on Tuesday, just not so early. I was out for my morning run, passing by our lot around 6:30 am, and the trucks were parked there already. The lead driver said they were just waiting for daylight before trying to back into the lot and unload.

I finished my run, heading home, grabbed the camera, and drove back to the lot. By the time I got there, they were just about finished unloading.

This morning, they got started building, beginning with the load bearing wall in the basement. Most of the walls are pre-assembled in segments at their facility, but the walls in the basement are being traditionally stick built. The supervisor called me about mid-day to let me know that it was raining pretty hard, and they were going to have to break for the day. Apparently, though, the crew returned after the rain let up this afternoon, and worked until 7pm. They got all the trusses and sheeting for the first floor on.

We have a Floor!


Monday, September 20, 2010

Well, they started two days later than we had planned, but Friday, they brought out the pump truck and started pouring slabs.

We effectively have three separate slabs -- the basement floor, the garage floor, and the front porch. They decided to do only two of the three at this point.

They decided that the front porch slab would be best if poured after the framers have the first flooring system installed. I'm not sure how that's going to work with gettin my loan draw for foundation work, and squeezing in the slab pour while the framers are on site, but they assure me this is will result in the best quality porch.

This should prove to be an interesting and fast paced week for our new home.

Laying Pipes

Saturday, September 18, 2010

This past week was a foray into Under Slab Plumbing. The point of this project is to "pre-plumb" our basement so that we can later (probably at least a couple of years later) include plubming fixtures in a basement finishing project. I had to run pipe for drains and vents for a full bathroom on one side of the basement, a half bath near the middle, a furnace drain on the other side, and a stub for a wetbar. This was far and away the largest plumbing project I have ever tackled myself.

First problem I discovered on Saturday, was that our gravelled basement floor was wet. So wet, that every footstep filled with water. This made it difficult just to get around down there, and very difficult to accomplish any digging. I installed a sump pump in one of the pits, but had no power so it didn't really accomplish anything.

Sunday morning, as soon as I thought it late enough not to wake anyone, I called my neighbors to ask permission to use their external power outlet for my sump pump. The graciously "loaned" me their power. Within a couple hours of plugging the pump in, the basement floor was dry, and I started once again trenching for our pipes. My father came over to assist, and we switched gears from trenching to digging the hole for the ejector pit.

For those unfamiliar with an ejector, this is what makes sewage go Up. Normally, in the part of the house that sits above ground, all your drains, toilets, sinks, etc. gradually slope to a central sewage pipe, which gradually slopes to the main sewage line running by your house (or slopes to your septic system). Everything flows simply because it goes downhill -- pulled by gravity. But if you have plumbing in the basement -- or other "below grade" location, something has to push that sewage back Up.

The pit basin is nearly identical to a sump pit basin -- in fact, some basin models can be used for either purpose. The big difference is that once connected, the ejector must have a sealed lid, and a pipe that pumps to your sewer line, whereas a sump pump pit typically has a loose fitting lid, and pumps water to a storm drain, or maybe just into your backyard.

The ejector pit basin is 30 inches deep. Digging into the hard pan of our basement floor for our trenches had been difficult, but trying to dig 30 inches deep was like chiseling through rock. For the last 10 inches or so, we were literally taking our shovels and chiseling at the bottom of the pit, because we couldn't actually dig into it. That took us most of the day.

Unfortunately, that ate up our Sunday, and there was still much work to do. So, Monday, I took a personal day from work, and continued trenching, and eventually started laying the drain pipes. While this work was not nearly as frustrating as digging the ejector pit, it was certainly slow work for a single worker. Once again, I ran out of time, and had to call it quits with still a little work to do.

The county inspector was scheduled to come on Tuesday, so I got up at 5 o'clock to finish the work. I completed the last couple runs, then put stub pipes on everything (so they would stick out of the slab once it was poured. Ended up being pretty late to work that day -- but the good news is that my work was approved by the county building inspector.

The pipes had to stay exposed for the inspection, but with the slabs scheduled to be poured on Wednesday, I once again got up at 5 to go backfill dirt and gravel over the pipes. You can imagine my frustration when I discovered that my slab subcontractor had been waiting on a confirmation call for me, and never arrived to pour concrete. But I was ready!

Certified Foundation

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Yesterday, they pulled the forms off the short walls, and brought out the county inspector for the official Foundation Inspection -- and we Passed! Apparently, in order to appropriately inspect, the inspection has to occur before any backfilling or any poured slabs are in place -- so there are still several days worth of work to go before we entirely foundation-complete, including a separate inspection for the basement-under-slab-plumbing once it is in place.

In the right-hand picture, on the corner by the frontmost garage door, you can see the green tag of approval from the county inspector.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Yesterday, they poured the footers for the "short" foundation walls, i.e. for the front porch and the garage. They didn't get much further today, simply delivering the forms for said walls to the lot. Here is the current state of the lot:

Green Walls

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

This morning, Cathy awoke with a fever, and her back was still giving her troubles. So I had to call in to work and take the day off to watch the kids. This meant that my morning run was a bit later that usual, and when I ran by our lot about 8, the crew was already there pulling the Forms off.
When my wife headed to the doctor, I decided to take the boys for haircuts, and of course drive the lot with the camera. Just in time, because they had already departed with the forms, and a two-man crew was getting set up to start applying the exterior waterproofing (RubRWall) -- which was a sprayable green goo. I managed to snap a couple of bare concrete pictures.

This evening we checked back to find that they had completed the waterproofing, and placed the "waterproofing protection board" up. On the right hand wall, which will be the shared wall between the house and the garage, you can see the green goop extending a few inches above the board. The couple of feet of non-waterproofed wall that you see will be the interior foundation wall of the garage.

This is the view looking down through the window well into the basement.
Here you can see the goo on the brick ledge on the top of the outside wall.

There is a chance of rain tomorrow, so I don't know how that will affect progress, but if it doesn't hamper their work, we should get footings for the garage and front porch.
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