Building the foundation wall

The technology I am using for building my house primary structure is drystack concrete block. The blocks are special for the purpose, with interlocking edges and ends, exactly 8X8X16 inches designed and licenced by Azar, http://www.azarblock.com/. The first course is mortared and carefully leveled and aligned in the mortar. Successive layers are simply stacked on that base layer. Rebar is tied to the stubs that were in the footing, and extend in the first case 4 ft upward to where the floor slab will meet the foundation wall. After finishing the base course of blocks on Friday, I had a rest day Saturday and part of Sunday, and then set about cutting the rebar and tying it to the stubs in the footing. Monday was the August “Civic Holiday” in Ontario, so I used part of it to finish the rebar task, and was ready to go on Tuesday with the grunt work of stacking the blocks. This is done with a mason’s string line to guide the straightness of the stacking and a level to make sure the stack is not shifting in or out from the designed wall line. The pictures below show where I was on Tuesday night. It was a brutally hot humid day, and I was exhausted when I finished.

End of block stack day 1 looking from NW corner of house foundation

End of block stack day 1 looking from NW corner of house foundation

Block stack day 1 looking at garage completed 3 courses.

Block stack day 1 looking at garage completed 3 courses.

Day 2, Wednesday was a much more civilized temperature and humidity, and much was accomplished. I finished the garage to full five courses, and part of the house also to full five courses as shown in the pictures below. As I began to see the actual height of the foundation relative to the surrounding terrain, I began to wonder if the specified six courses of blocks was really necessary, and if five course would be adequeate to meet code for distance from footing base to “grade” for backfill to leave one course of blocks exposed.

Block stack Day 2, five courses on two walls of house foundation and all of garage.

Block stack Day 2, five courses on two walls of house foundation and all of garage.

Block stack Day2, looking across at 5 course done on garage.

Block stack Day2, looking across at 5 course done on garage.

Block stack Day 2, Looking at complete garage, and long 5 course wall of house foundation.

Block stack Day 2, Looking at complete garage, and long 5 course wall of house foundation.

Day 3 I needed to go to the little hospital around the corner for a blood test needed for my Dr. appointment next Monday, so burned a little time, and then had a luxury breakfast of eggs and sausage at the little diner up the street. Left a call with my building inspector to get the real goods on what the code says about foundation depth, and got the word that I need 42″ inches from bottom of footing to grade, and one course of blocks above grade. With my 10 inch thick footing, and 4 courses of block, I have my 42 inches, and course 5 is my extra course of block. So course six would not appear to be necessary. With all the chasing about, and getting information didn’t get started till 2pm, but by 6pm had finished all but a short section of wall on the side facing the garage, as shown below. About 50 blocks should fill it. I will first remove most of the excess blocks from inside the walls and restack them on pallets outside in waiting for building the actual house walls.

Block stack Day 3, only one small section of about 50 blocks left to be stacked in house foundation for complete 5 course stack.

Block stack Day 3, only one small section of about 50 blocks left to be stacked in house foundation for complete 5 course stack.

I discovered that hauling blocks out of the foundation and restacking them out of the way is a lot more “back intensive” than just stacking them from the pallets into the wall. Started moving them out on Friday, and realized that after a couple hours, my back needed some recovery. Saturday another couple hours and most of the blocks out of the House foundation. Sunday was heavy rain all day, about an inch and it was cold as well as damp. Monday morning I made a trip into St. Thomas to pick up some steel to build the mini-crane will use for pouring the concrete into the wall cores. Inaddition I had an appointment with a chiropractor to ‘tune up’ my back, and a 1PM visit with my internist to consult about my blood lipids. All of those were successfully completed and after lunch I got the last of the blocks and pallets out of the house, finished the wall, and got a good start on removing the excess blocks from the garage foundation. Below are some shots of the current status of the foundation.

All the blocks in place for 5 courses of the foundation, all extras out of house foundation.

All the blocks in place for 5 courses of the foundation, all extras out of house foundation.


Looking at the completed blocks from the north side.

Looking at the completed blocks from the north side.

Looking from the East, the 3 pallets of blocks removed from inside the foundation are stacked on pallets outside.

Looking from the East, the 3 pallets of blocks removed from inside the foundation are stacked on pallets outside.

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One Response to “Building the foundation wall”

  1. How to Get Six Pack Fast Says:

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