More foundation details

As I was telling Mike Noe my plumbing/electrical contractor of my plans to have the slab poured before shutting down construction for the winter, he suggested that maybe I should stop before finishing the slab. He has seen some horror stories with unprotected slabs not completely cured either cracking from frost heave, or spalling the surface. After consulting with my cement contractor, this impression was confirmed, so that is now the plan; do everything up to the final layer with reinforcing steel and hydronic heating tubes in the Fall cover with tarps, and start up from there in the Spring.

Anyway Fall is definitely here!

Autumn has arrived

Autumn has arrived

The first step was to stockpile sand for bacfilling the foundations. My excavator had mechanical problems with his dump truck, so we had the Johnston Brothers aggregate suppliers deliver 10 triaxle truck loads of media fill sand to the site.

Piles of sand for filling foundation

Piles of sand for filling foundation

More sand!

More sand!

Part of this process required that the foundation walls be sprayed with 3 inches of urethane foam insulation. On Monday October 20 the guys from Space Age Insulation called to say they were coming and I had to scramble to get large enough portable generator to power their gear. This involved some phone calls and then a trip to London to pick it up. Then more problems since I had to have a special hitch to pull it. so had to spend more money. Then just make things more complicated, the plug was not a match, and when we jury rigged it, the startup current on the generator was more than it could deliver. Anyway lots of adrenaline and then no success. So they went off to another job, and promised to come back next day with a generator of their own. However, it rained all night and Tuesday was rainy and very windy so no go. Wednesday the weather was good, they came and John and Rick finished the job by lunch time. Fortunately, the rental agency returned my rental fee, and I was able to return the special hitch to Princess Auto for a refund, so just a wasted day of driving back and forth and sweating bullets 🙂

Rick spraying the foam on the foundation wall.

Rick spraying the foam on the foundation wall.

Finished foam on the south wall

Finished foam on the south wall

The Insulation Guys gear

The Insulation Guys gear

John Greenwood of Space Age Insulation

John Greenwood of Space Age Insulation

Now I am playing the waiting game for my excavator and my cement finishing crew to schedule time to back fill the foundation. They are heavily scheduled and weather has not been co-operating. I have decided to bite the bullet and have a “hydro” connection installed so have been consulting with Mike Noe to set things up so as to do only one connect and place things on “virtual walls” which will have real walls assembled to replace them. I was working at the “wall” that will support the meter box on Sunday (Oct 26) when dark clouds drifted in. I began to put things away, and the thunder and lightning began to rage and we then had a combination of hail and rain, actually quite a bit of both. When things clear off and it had a little time to settle the resulting picture is as below

Hail and leaves that came down with its impact.

Hail and leaves that came down with its impact.

Hail coating the topsoil piles

Hail coating the topsoil piles

Sugar coating on the piles of sand.

Sugar coating on the piles of sand.

I left voicemail with my excavator on Sunday, hoping it might spur some activity, but no response on Monday the 26th. Was up doing breakfast and considering calling him again on Tuesday morning and hear a truck pull up. There he was with his gear, and announced that the cement finisher’s crew would be arriving at 11 and we would do the back filling. Because of the nasty weather, I had delayed doing the final work on the “virtual walls” since the place I had to stand and work was an ankle deep puddle left from the Sunday storm. So now I was in a panic to get the props in place for the hydro hookup. The electrician was also alerted since they needed the backhoe to help with the final placement of the conduits for the underground electrical connection. Anyway it was a madcap day. Lots of sand transferred into the foundations, I got the supports up for the electrical and it was all packed and ready for the insulation layer which I had picked up from the McNaughton’s Bldg. Supply while they were filling and packing the sand. It was a cold windy day, and when they crew got word that the job they expected to go to on Wednesday had been postponed they quit “early” at 4PM. It was really awfully windy to put down the foam sheets, so we planned to start up early.

Filling, leveling and packing sand in house foundation.

Filling, leveling and packing sand in house foundation.

Support for the meter panel on the garage foundation.

Support for the meter panel on the garage foundation.

Starting to fill the garage foundation.

Starting to fill the garage foundation.

Loading insulation packages into the packed garage foundation.

Loading insulation packages into the packed garage foundation.

The disappearing sand piles, and backfilled clay soil on outside of house foundation.

The disappearing sand piles, and backfilled clay soil on outside of house foundation.

Wednesday moring dawned cold and raw, but with a bit less wind than Tuesday. Work started about 8:30AM and the garage was first with the insulation. It was to be a day of much progress, the electricians arrived in the afternoon, and the big excitement was digging up and cutting the telephone lines on the other side of the road. The Bell guy had to come and patch them back together, but it all ended well with the wires in place for attachement and ready for the ESA inspection next Tuesday and then to have power hooked up. It was another cold raw day, but only 15 miles to the east there were snow flurries, and in London only 35 miles further east they had 6 inches of snow and massive traffic problems with cars and trucks off the road etc. Its nice to be in the “banana belt”

The first sand put on top of the insulation layer in the garage foundation.

The first sand put on top of the insulation layer in the garage foundation.

Continuing filling and packing the final layer of sand in the garage foundation.

Continuing filling and packing the final layer of sand in the garage foundation.

The house foundation filled to the insulation level.

The house foundation filled to the insulation level.

Insulation almost all in place in house foundation.

Insulation almost all in place in house foundation.

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Packing the sand on top of the insulation in the house foundation.

Packing the sand on top of the insulation in the house foundation.

House foundation finished to the level where plumbing and  slab components are installed.

House foundation finished to the level where plumbing and slab components are installed.

Backfilling along the south wall of the house foundation.

Backfilling along the south wall of the house foundation.

Backfilling between the house and garage foundations.

Backfilling between the house and garage foundations.

Fill complete and electrical service connections on garage foundation.

Fill complete and electrical service connections on garage foundation.

Finished electrical panel enclosure.

Finished electrical panel enclosure.

Fill complete on the  soutwest corner of the house foundation.

Fill complete on the soutwest corner of the house foundation.

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7 Responses to “More foundation details”

  1. Warren Niemeyer Says:

    Looks like you are quitting for the winter. Looks good so far. We had our first snow in Sioux Falls on 11/6/08 but only about an inch. Central and western South Dakota had a lot more. Some places got 45 inches in the Black Hills. I’ll be watching so keep up the good work. My cousin, Charles Niemeyer is building a house 3 miles west of Inwood and it really looks like its going to be a large house. It’s called a Timber house but not to be confused with a log house. I’m not sure what it is but in a couple weeks should have a better idea. They plan to move in but the New Year.
    c u later

    warren

  2. truck pilot Says:

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  3. truck pilot Says:

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  4. Home Says:

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  5. Scott Says:

    Hi Ted, Scott Rookes again. Just starting construction of the passive solar house. Regarding insulation. I am looking into the spray foam for the block wall portion to 8 feet height, as it insulates the best. My plan is to put the spray foam over the first coating of SBC. Do you think this will stick ok. Also I had planned to do another coat of Grace Ice and Water sheild over the SBC, so I suppose I could do that as well, then put the foam over top of the SBC and Grace Sheild? With SBC inside and a couple layers of non-porous latex paint inside, I think the waterproofing will hold with good drainage and site prep (ie. plastic before backfilling).
    Any thoughts on this? For a final layer after the foam, do you think SBC or stucco would hold onto the spray foam, or require a chicken wire mesh layer most likely?

    • tedspassivesolarhouse Says:

      Scott,

      The foam sticks very well to the SBC. I did not have any walls with interior space that were backfilled, on my foundation walls with sand inside, I just had foam on the SBC on the outside.

      I made up my stucco mix very much like the SBC, except with white cement in the mix and a bit more sand. I used a combination of plastic stucco mesh, like the guy use with strawbale houses, and galvanized stucco mesh, especially around doors and windows. Made “staples” with #9 galvanized wire to attach to the foam before spraying the stucco into the mesh.

      Hope that helps.

      Ted

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