Posts Tagged ‘building walls’

October 2011

September 24, 2012

October I had the focus on finishing the window trim and the Hardieboard paneling on the solar chimney. I set up a cutting area outside the garage with my trusty diamond blade in the skilsaw. Trim was cut and drilled for long tapcons which went into the stucco surrounding the windows. Actually went pretty quickly once I got into the routine.

The paneling on the solar chimney was a “horse of a different color”. The narrow sections on the south face were easy, and the East and West sides were harder but doable with one set of hands. However the North side was way too risky with just one person and I deferred that for while (see accomplishments for November).

I then started the prep work for the retaining wall planned for building a patio that runs from the outer edge of the screen porch to just past the door emerging from the great room. First step was to dig the trench for the footings and to put the forming boards in place, properly leveled for screeding the concrete when it was poured into the form. I as usual mixed my own concrete and wheel-barrowed to the forms as it was generated, and troweled the footing to give a smooth level base for the wall.

After a day or so of curing, I by now had moved many of my remaining partly damaged cement blocks to pallets adjacent to the footing and began the wall construction. First step as way back in building the main foundation walls, was to level the base layer of blocks, setting them in a mortar bed on the footing. Ater an overnight cure of the mortar, I then stacked the remaining two layers of blocks to get a wall that was 3 courses tall, e.g. 24 inches off the footing.

Now I started up my cement plant again and poured the stacked blocks full of concrete, vibrating it vigorously so no air voids in the wall. This gave me a resultant solid concrete wall. I raked the sand fill that had to be excavated to put in the footings to partially fill the enclosure provided by the retaining wall. Next Summer for the final effort on this. Pictures of the work done in October in the gallery below.

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Saturday August 8, Starting the House Walls

August 12, 2009

After finishing the primary wall work on the garage/workshop, I did a bit of cleanup and and moved the remaining few blocks out and over to the house slab to begin constructing the major wall (the north wall) of the house. It became clear as I stretched my mason’s line that there were some adjustments needed to bring the wall coming off the foundation to a truly straight and level condition. This involved grinding up to a 1/2 inch off some blocks and shimming others to get things up to snuff. Was a tedious and dusty business, with all the cement dust flying and wearing my dust mask to keep the bad stuff out of my lungs. Summer also really arrived with temperatures 33-35C and the humidex of over 40C. Drank lots of water and produced lots of sweat! By 7 PM Tuesday the north wall had been fixed and two full courses of block above the base course were in place as shown below.

August 11, Tuesday night north house wall stacked two courses above base and ready for more rapid stacking.

August 11, Tuesday night north house wall stacked two courses above base and ready for more rapid stacking.

West wall at window sill level.Thursday, August 13, North and west walls stacked to window sill level, and part of the east wall is now at 2 courses above the base course.

West wall at window sill level.

West wall at window sill level.

North and West walls at window sill level, ready for rebar and cement in window sills.

North and West walls at window sill level, ready for rebar and cement in window sills.

Beginning of the east wall of the house.

Beginning of the east wall of the house.

This week, Monday August 17, I had another volunteer helping me. Nik Mueller a grade 10 student was an extra set of hands on Monday for putting up the nailing plates and header on the garage, and on Wednesday did yeoman duty cutting “half-blocks” for the window borders of the west wall. Next week will be here again for a couple days

Friday August 20, West Wall window sills poured, stacked to top of windows.

Friday August 20, West Wall window sills poured, stacked to top of windows.

Looking across the north wall at the west wall and scaffolds in place.

Looking across the north wall at the west wall and scaffolds in place.

Looking across the house from the east, all window sills poured.

Looking across the house from the east, all window sills poured.

Garage with garage door header and truss nailing plates in place.

Garage with garage door header and truss nailing plates in place.

Saturday, August 22, west wall and NW corner to first window, blocks to the top of window ready for framing.

Saturday, August 22, west wall and NW corner to first window, blocks to the top of window ready for framing.

Looking west along the north wall, blocks to top of window from entry door frame to first window.

Looking west along the north wall, blocks to top of window from entry door frame to first window.

Sunday August 23, north wall all halfway to top of window frames

Sunday August 23, north wall all halfway to top of window frames

Monday August 24, north wall to top of window, ready for frames, only 3 more courses for the east wall to the same level.

Monday August 24, north wall to top of window, ready for frames, only 3 more courses for the east wall to the same level.

Tuesday afternoon Aug 25, finished stacking east, west, and north walls to top of window frames. Beginning to really look like a house.

Tuesday afternoon Aug 25, finished stacking east, west, and north walls to top of window frames. Beginning to really look like a house.

Looking along the north wall.

Looking along the north wall.

The garage roof trusses arrived as well just as we were nearing completion on the house wall.

The garage roof trusses arrived as well just as we were nearing completion on the house wall.

Looking east out the entry door.

Looking east out the entry door.

August 29, Sunday, West wall stacked, all window frames in 3 walls, East end and West end of North wall stacked to top

August 29, Sunday, West wall stacked, all window frames in 3 walls, East end and West end of North wall stacked to top

Monday night August 31, North wall complete to top.

Monday night August 31, North wall complete to top.

East wall complete to top except for one course on top of entry wall. Tomorrow the door frame and rebar into the wall columns.

East wall complete to top except for one course on top of entry wall. Tomorrow the door frame and rebar into the wall columns.

Tuesday we finished the block stacking to the top of all three walls, and the door frame and lintel blocks on the entry door. Got started on cutting and bending the rebar for the vertical columns. Wednesday morning, the last day for my helper Nik Mueller who is back to school next week, we finished up inserting the rebar, including the horizontal bond beam, and tied all the connections with wire ties. He did the top on the bond beam while I did my “keyhole surgery” tying the vertical rebar into the stubs in the foundation. That afternoon we started the cement pouring into the vertical columns, lintels and bond beam. Started on the south end of the east wall, and by Thursday night had the entire east wall poured with attachment studs for the nailing plate in the bond beam as shown in the pictures below. Friday morning I start down the north wall.

Thursday Sept 3, East wall of the house stacked, cement in columns and lintels.

Thursday Sept 3, East wall of the house stacked, cement in columns and lintels.

Looking from the entry door down the north wall, next in the cement pour exercise.

Looking from the entry door down the north wall, next in the cement pour exercise.

June 24, The walls begin!

July 7, 2009

After the successful slab pour, I wetted down and covered both house and garage with the tarps and kept them wet for a week.   This was not difficult as the rains came again.  I never seems to stop, the local farmers are complaining about the wet spring and there is standing water in many fields.  Usually by this time of the summer they are complaining about drought.  Farmers always complain 🙂

A week after the slab pour I started on the first block course above the floor.  The first step was to put a horizontal course of rebar tied to the stubs sticking up from the foundation.   Then I set about placing the first course of blocks, but being exquisitely careful about getting these blocks as perfectly level and plumb as possible. This involved a lot of level use and the judicious modification of blocks whose base was not perfect, with a diamond blade in a right angle grinder. The first course of blocks will be bonded to the foundation with a pour of cement to embed the horizontal rebar, and lock the base course to the foundation.  First was the garage workshop as seen in the pictures below, with details of the rebar placement.    At the same time it was necessary to get the fill in around the foundation in preparation for moving the wall up to full height.   My plan was also to extend the grade from the the driveway  to the entry door of the house, place the sand fill for the floor of the screen porch and the breezeway path to the workshop entry door.   Was going to try and get 4 loads of  fill sand from the driveway into the space between the house and garage, but the dump truck began to sink in so fast once he got on the last layer of sand we only dumped 2 loads off the edge of the driveway in the right direction.

  My neighbor Rick across the back fence, who got a new toy ultimate garden tractor a couple weeks ago  (John Deere 3020  with a front end loader and a grader)  has been itching to move dirt.   So he had at it, and after a few hours the two loads of sand were distributed.    This was interrupted with a short period where he was stuck up to his axles in the soft spot on the south side of the house foundation were the rain runoff accumulated.   He consulted with friends about getting another tractor to pull him out, with limited success.   The the son of my neighbors diagonally across the road, who is a farmer near by, appeared, evaluated the situation and declared  he could pull it out.   Disappeared for 20 minutes and reappeared with another slight larger John Deere,  Rick attached a sturdy chain, and voila he was back on solid ground.   Thereafter he was much more careful about entering the soft area before putting a lot of fill sand in first.  By the time he was done, the back side was filled so the water runs off instead of collecting.

Took a couple days on the weekend to visit my son and family in Toronto, and of course it rained again. Was planning on installment 2 of the sand on Tuesday, but it was actually delivered on Wednesday, Canada Day which I thought was a holiday. It turned out the aggregate company, moved the holiday to Friday for a 3 day weekend, and when I tried to get some cement gravel on Friday afternoon since I had finished leveling and placing the first course, nobody was there. On Monday I was ready for the last sand delivery, called at 7AM had both loads in place by 10:30. Rick the earthmover turned up mid afternoon, and all the sand was in place by 8PM. A busy day with all the fine tuning of the sand fill with rake and shovel, but it is starting to look pretty good, at least to my eye.