Posts Tagged ‘cement pour’

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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September 28, Preparing wall surface, applying SBC, and House Roof Trusses.

October 12, 2009

Unfortunately, I was only able to get old stock of the drystack blocks from Santerra because the block design had been changed by the patent holder (Azar), and new design blocks did not mate with old blocks in my foundation. The blocks I received had obviously been “around” for quite a while, and there was a lot of breakage, damage of joints and soil contamination in the pallets. 120 (1 2/3 pallets) blocks were so bad, they could not be used, and many that were used had smaller defects in the joining boundaries which then had to be repaired with mortar to give an even surface for applying surface bonding cement. Because of the amount dirt on the blocks, and the fact that there were large mismatches between the joining surface for stacking, I am convinced that many were blocks that were returned by other contractors as unsuable. I had no choice, and with at least 2/3 of the order had to use my right angle grinder with a diamond wheel carving the joining surfaces to get solid level, plumb seating of the blocks. In comparison to my experience last summer with fresh production blocks, it doubled or tripled my stacking time, which was not nearly compensated by the 9% discount I was given on the order. That did not take into account the extra days of work and materials needed to repair the “wounded” but not mortally damaged blocks.

When I finished the cement pours in the reinforcing columns, I hit a period which continues even now of unseasonably cool and rainy weather with occasional sunny breaks. I slogged on and by Thursday October 1 had finished the preparation of walls for SBC. I had ordered the roof trusses when I finished the last wall pour, since I knew from the garage that it would be at least 2 weeks to delivery (October 14 is D-Day).

Also began to sort out the ordering of roofing materials. My preferred product is Wakefield Bridge steel shingles, and they have a new color this year, Classic Copper which has the highest solar reflectance. I had initially chosen the Terra Red shingle which was the highest before the new product and the one that appealed to me visually in relation to the “stucco” exterior wall finish I intend to use. So you will see samples of the two shingles against the block wall in bright sun to compare. I found that the nice copper shingle, also has a nice price 30% more than red, and visually I prefer the red; so a small sacrifice on efficiency for aesthetics and price.

October 1, Bedroom/Great Room wall with patches.

October 1, Bedroom/Great Room wall with patches.

Guest bedroom wall with patches complete

Guest bedroom wall with patches complete

North wall patches finished.

North wall patches finished.

Inside of North wall patches finished.

Inside of North wall patches finished.

Classic Copper and Terra Red Wakefield Bridge shingle samples.

Classic Copper and Terra Red Wakefield Bridge shingle samples.

October 7, Great room wall, unused pallet of blocks taken away by Santerra.

October 7, Great room wall, unused pallet of blocks taken away by Santerra.

October 7, SBC complete on north wall of garage/workshop.

October 7, SBC complete on north wall of garage/workshop.

SBC complete on outer south wall of Garage/Workshop.

SBC complete on outer south wall of Garage/Workshop.

SBC complete, west wall garage workshop.

SBC complete, west wall garage workshop.

 October 8. SBC Complete on outside of north house wall.

October 8. SBC Complete on outside of north house wall.

October 9, SBC complete west outer wall of house.

October 9, SBC complete west outer wall of house.

October 10, SBC complete outer south wall of house.

October 10, SBC complete outer south wall of house.

Sunday October 11, last section of outer house wall completed SBC.

Sunday October 11, last section of outer house wall completed SBC.

On Wednesday October 14 the trusses for the house arrived and were deposited in the front yard, and I put the SBC on the first interior walls of the garage. This was regular SBC made with gray portland on the actual garage section. All the people occupied spaces will have SBC made with white portland. On Thursday afternoon the cement finisher and excavator with a 2 ft auger arrived to drill holes for sonotubes that are to be filled with concrete to support the posts on the screen porch that are under the edge of the roof, and for the covered walkway between house and garage/workshop. Once the holes were drilled I mixed cement, and they put a mixer load in the bottom of each hole, set the sonotubes in the base, and then we filled them to the level needed to support the posts. Actually in the case of the screen porch, to the level where the slab will be poured above them, which will be where the posts will really sit. Made a bunch of cement in a hurry, and had to dash off to McNaughtons and get more portland to finish the task.

That night the temperature went down to freezing and we had our first sprinkling of snow 😦

I had checked with the electrical inspector as to the code for wiring within concrete block walls, and determined that I needed to use BX armoured cable. So bought a spool of BX and boxes and clamps I needed to install the cable. Put in the cable stubs with the 4 outlets that are in the outer walls of the workshop so they could be embedded in the SBC. Another 8 outlets in walls of the house.

October 14, First interior wall of garage coated with SBC.

October 14, First interior wall of garage coated with SBC.

Garage wall with SBC.

Garage wall with SBC.

October 16, First snow!

October 16, First snow!

House roof trusses under the tarp in the front yard.

House roof trusses under the tarp in the front yard.

October 18, interior walls of garage complete with white SBC.

October 18, interior walls of garage complete with white SBC.

South wall of garage/workshop with white SBC.

South wall of garage/workshop with white SBC.

Friday I did more prep work on the screen porch. Have shaved down the sand to the level where insulation will rest with concrete poured over it. This will prevent any frost heaving of the slab, and also act as a thermal buffer between the house and outside ground. Was not a pretty day, gray and cold, also now working to keep leaves off the wet floor in the house to prevent staining of the concrete. The final task for the day was in the shed, mixed up 14 batches of SBC for the interior walls of the house. Again rain overnight, so some sweeping and scooping of water off the floor on Saturday morning with leaf removal. Then put down tarps along the entire east wall from the entry hall to the southeast corner. Saturday afternoon was SBC mixing, spraying and troweling. By 6PM had the east wall a part of the north wall of the entry hall covered and cleaned up the tools. The walls look very nice, should be very white when the cement is fully cured, already looks quite bright.

October 24, East wall of kitchen and door frame to the screen porch SBC done.

October 24, East wall of kitchen and door frame to the screen porch SBC done.

Entry hallway, SBC complete on east, partial on north wall.

Entry hallway, SBC complete on east, partial on north wall.

Screen portch sand bed preparation.  Note sonotubes in foreground for support posts.

Screen portch sand bed preparation. Note sonotubes in foreground for support posts.

This week I have been working methodically to finish the SBC application to the interior walls of the house. On Monday morning I got a callback from my cement finisher promising that his crew would show up on Tuesday to form and pour the screen porch floor.

My cement mixer, showing the wear and tear of all the cement and and mortar mixing for the last year and more, was starting to have major deterioration of the big ring gear on the mixer tub, and I decided to deactivate it for repairs before it really broke badly. Rick my neighbor across the back fence had offered to loan me his cement mixer earlier in the summer, so I walked over and asked if I could use it now, and also asked if he could maybe help repair the gear. He has welding gear, and is a experienced welder for doing body work. So I have been using his mixer which came from the same store Harbor Freight, in the USA, but is electric rather than gas engine I have. It has been working quite nicely and has let me finish up my SBC work this week. I have taken off the mixer tub, and deposited it over by his shop so he can work on it at his leisure. I will need it again, since I have decided to apply stucco as the finish surface over the polyurethane foam using a version of surface bonding cement which will be sprayed and troweled into stucco mesh fastened to the foam. I have done a test panel and it is strong and attractive.

Tuesday morning, as promised, the cement crew showed up and I spent a good part of the morning helping them fitting the 4″ styrofoam in the form for the slab. The cement truck arrive about 1 PM, and the finishing work was done mid afternoon . I set back to work on my SBC, and finished another wall section before dark. On Wednesday, finished the west wall and bedroom section of south wall. One more full day to finish the interior wall.

Thursday morning, did the prep work putting the tarps down to catch the splatter, and taking off most of the rough spots from patching plaster on the remaining walls. Got hard at it and a little after noon became aware there was a backhoe trucks and people in my front yard. Lo and behold the Union Gas crew was there to install my gas line and regulator. My plumbing contractor had predicted 5-6 weeks after filing a request for service, and secretary processing my form said 4-5 weeks, they actually arrived after 3 weeks, a bit of a surprise. After a bit of discussion they agreed to put the installation approximately where I wanted it. Something about the regulator had to be at least 36 inches away from an openable window. Then they had at it with the backhoe, and very shortly had dug into my sew line, and taken the top off the cleanout cap on the village sewer line. It cost me about an hour and half getting the repair bits from the leftovers from my earthtubes. So they got it all patched together and then covered it up and were gone, and I got back to my mixer and mortar sprayer. Because of the time lost, I had to get out my worklight, but finished the last of the interior wall and cleaned up my tools by about 8 PM.

Friday morning it rained. but I was out doing cleanup of the splatters and getting the tarps off the floor. Picked up the ice guard and Triflex roof membrane from McNaughtons, thinking I could get started on the garage roof, but discovered on reading the installation manual, that I need the starter shingles first, so will be next week when the shingles arrive. That is when it is likely the trusses and deck for the house will also go up. Then we measure and order the shingles for that roof.

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October 26, Screen porch floor formed, insulation in place and rebar in place.

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Starting the cement pour.

Almost done, leveling it out.

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First fine troweling done, looking like a floor.

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October 28, Finished screen porch floor with form removed.

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SBC finished in master bedroom.

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SBC finished in great room, south wall.

September 8, Wall building; the last stage begins.

September 10, 2009

I spent the Labour Day weekend, labouring and finished filling the remaining reinforcement cores on the West wall. On Monday began stacking the columns for the south wall of windows, forming them to the 6 course level above the bottom sill and putting in the rebar. On Tuesday, when I finished the forming and steel, thought I would finish pouring and vibrating the cement in the “half columns”, but ran out of “gas” (me, not the cement mixer) at about 9:45PM with 3 columns to go. Wednesday morning Tom Ritchie and two helpers arrived to put up the trusses on the garage. Tom is a a local framer, who for many years lived on the lot next door and had his water supply from what is now my well.

I was up an at it before they arrived hoping to be able to mix the last cement and get it in the columns while they were doing trusses, but it turned out they and the boom truck occupied the work area by the gravel pile pretty completely all morning so did other things to prepare. I had moved 75 blocks to another pallet out of the path where I have the masonry wall planned to divide the living room and master bedroom. Ended the day with the remaining cores poured, the base course of the bedroom wall set, and with excess mortar a lot of the chips and gaps on the east wall of the house filled.

Picture below show the benchmarks of the day.

The first truss being placed.

The first truss being placed.

Truss braced and forming the reference plane for the roof.

Truss braced and forming the reference plane for the roof.

Another truss in place.

Another truss in place.

Truss assembly complete, looking from the house entry door.

Truss assembly complete, looking from the house entry door.

Garage trusses complete, looking from the end of the driveway.

Garage trusses complete, looking from the end of the driveway.

Half columns of the south wall, southeast corner dining area.

Half columns of the south wall, southeast corner dining area.

Looking down the south wall from the inside.

Looking down the south wall from the inside.

Looking down the south wall from the outside.

Looking down the south wall from the outside.

Base course of blocks and rebar for the bedroom wall.

Base course of blocks and rebar for the bedroom wall.

Thursday, Sept. 10, installing the roof decking.

Thursday, Sept. 10, installing the roof decking.

Finishing nailing the last few pieces of roof decking.

Finishing nailing the last few pieces of roof decking.

My garage roof wearing a shower cap :)

My garage roof wearing a shower cap 🙂

Sunday morning, Sept 13, the end of block stacking is in sight!

Sunday morning, Sept 13, the end of block stacking is in sight!

A gift from my Perry MacDonald, my excavator, free, real dirt.

A gift from Perry MacDonald, my excavator, free, real dirt.

With the last cement pour, I figure out a foolproof way to cover the "keyholes" for rebar tying;   The next house :)

With the last cement pour, I figure out a foolproof way to cover the keyholes for rebar tying 😦 The next house 🙂

Sunday evening, wall stacked and rebarred to the edge of the master bedroom.

Sunday evening, wall stacked and rebarred to the edge of the master bedroom.

I took 6 days off from construction to help my son Rafael and his family move to Winnipeg from Toronto. Drove up and helped load the UHaul on Monday, and hit the road early Tuesday morning. Three days of shared driving with the truck and an auto carrier with their car. Did some unloading on Thursday night, but the bulk on Friday. Friday afternoon, his wife Meran arrived by plane with Sam the 3 year-old and Anastasia the new baby (4 weeks). Did some more unpacking on Saturday morning, and I was put on the plane back to Toronto mid afternoon, where I picked up my car and drove back to Newbury. I was back at it on Sunday, and on Monday finished the blocks in the south wall. Tuesday I finished stacking the interior masonry wall and did all the rebar insertions in preparation for the last cement pour for the wall columns. Pictures of the stacked walls Tuesday night September 22.

Tuesday Sept. 22, Stacking and rebar complete on South wall

Tuesday Sept. 22, Stacking and rebar complete on South wall

Stacking and Steel complete on interior masonry wall separating great room and master bedroom.

Stacking and Steel complete on interior masonry wall separating great room and master bedroom.

Looking at the walls and window of the master bedroom.

Looking at the walls and window of the master bedroom.

As usual my estimate as to how long it would take to do the cement pour was too optimistic. I finished the actual wall structure on Saturday Sept 26 with a rain interlude.

July 7, More Wall progress

July 14, 2009

After the fill was distributed, on Tuesday I had a load of cement gravel delivered and got a small batch of portland cement to mix and pour the bonding layer in the base layer of blocks. Also order the delivery of the rest of the blocks needed to complete the walls for Thursday. Worked away at the cement pour with an interruption when the blocks arrived. Finished the last segment of the cement pour on Sunday afternoon, and on Monday, after a run into London to get a back support began to stack the first section of “real” wall.

The cement mixing station, on the driveway with gravel on the fill between garage and house.

The cement mixing station, on the driveway with gravel on the fill between garage and house.

Delivering the last batch of blocks for completing the walls.

Delivering the last batch of blocks for completing the walls.

All the blocks on the house slab, ready for the heavy lifting!

All the blocks on the house slab, ready for the heavy lifting!

All the block on site, and puddles from the rain that arrived the next day.

All the block on site, and puddles from the rain that arrived the next day.

Sunday afternoon, the last section of blocks with cement poured.

Sunday afternoon, the last section of blocks with cement poured.

Monday afternoon, front wall of garage workshop to the window sill level.

Monday afternoon, front wall of garage workshop to the window sill level.

Status of wall on Tuesday evening.

Status of wall on Tuesday evening.

Loking at he back of the wall Tuesday.

Loking at he back of the wall Tuesday.

Wednesday evening, windows taking shape.

Wednesday evening, windows taking shape.

Wednesday, beginning the East wall of the garage.

Wednesday, beginning the East wall of the garage.

North wall of garage Saturday with scaffold in place.

North wall of garage Saturday with scaffold in place.

East Wall of Garage Saturday night.

East Wall of Garage Saturday night.

Tuesday July 21, East Wall of garage to window top.

Tuesday July 21, East Wall of garage to window top.

Tuesday July 21, East wall of garage through big door.

Tuesday July 21, East wall of garage through big door.

Tuesday July 21, inside North wall, scaffold in place.

Tuesday July 21, inside North wall, scaffold in place.

Friday July 24, North wall, at full height, half of re-inforcing cores and window lintels filled with concrete.

Friday July 24, North wall, at full height, half of re-inforcing cores and window lintels filled with concrete.

Friday July 24, East wall at full height, with cover to keep out rain.

Friday July 24, East wall at full height, with cover to keep out rain.

Friday July 24, inside North wall, scaffold with 'sky hook' for pouring cement cores.

Friday July 24, inside North wall, scaffold with 'sky hook' for pouring cement cores.

July 25, Mike on the wall pouring cement into the reinforced columns.

July 25, Mike on the wall pouring cement into the reinforced columns.

 A better view of Mike working the the bucket.

A better view of Mike working the the bucket.

July 26, View of the scaffold and "skyhook" ready to begin pour of the east wall.

July 26, View of the scaffold and "skyhook" ready to begin pour of the east wall.

Finished pour on the east wall.

Finished pour on the east wall.

Finished, poured, north and east walls. Bond beam will be poured later.

Finished, poured, north and east walls. Bond beam will be poured later.

July 27, Partially stacked west wall.

July 27, Partially stacked west wall.

Rebar in the top course, part of the bond beam reinforcement.

Rebar in the top course, part of the bond beam reinforcement.

Rebar detail at door lintel, rebar at top in bond beam, and 20 mm rebar below across the lintel bottom.

Rebar detail at door lintel, rebar at top in bond beam, and 20 mm rebar below across the lintel bottom.

July 30, West wall stacking completed, ready to pour.

July 30, West wall stacking completed, ready to pour.

West wall beginning pour of columns and lintels.

West wall beginning pour of columns and lintels.

August 2, Sunday; the column and lintel pour is complete on West wall, south wall columns nearly done to top of windows. Narrow columns poured at 6 courses high for stability, the rest will be poured when the lintels are poured.

August 2, Sunday; the column and lintel pour is complete on West wall, south wall columns nearly done to top of windows. Narrow columns poured at 6 courses high for stability, the rest will be poured when the lintels are poured.

August 4. Tuesday; coming down the home stretch on the south wall of the garage.

August 4. Tuesday; coming down the home stretch on the south wall of the garage.

Details of the steel put into the lintels, the larger rebar gives more strength to the poured concrete in the lintel blocks.

Details of the steel put into the lintels, the larger rebar gives more strength to the poured concrete in the lintel blocks.

Top of a narrow column, with lintel steel going over the top of each window lintel bounded by the column.

Top of a narrow column, with lintel steel going over the top of each window lintel bounded by the column.

Tuesday night, The garage wall is completely stacked, lintel steel in place and column steel tomorrow.

Tuesday night, The garage wall is completely stacked, lintel steel in place and column steel tomorrow.

August 5, Wednesday, I finished putting the steel into the columns and was ready to start the pour. I was checking out the skyhook and discovered the switch was not controlling the winch, in fact the winch was not working. Spent the next 3 hours dissembling the switch, cleaning the contacts and extablishing that the switch was not the problem. A bit of investigation with my voltohmeter determined that the real problems was corrosion on the battery terminal. Cleaned that up and now it was all ready to go, but too late for Wednesday. On Thursday had a really long day, starting about 9 AM and finally cleaning up and putting the tools away at 9:45 PM. Poured all the cores on the south wall, and the bond beam for south and east walls. Was one tired puppy! Friday put in a much shorter day, and by 4:30 PM had the remaining two walls of bond beam poured and the steel bolts for fastening the truss nailing plate embedded in the cement. Primary structure of the garage walls is complete; surface bonding cement for additional strength, waterproofing and the finish surface on the inside is yet to be applied.

Looking in through the garage door, north to south all columns and bond beams poured.

Looking in through the garage door, north to south all columns and bond beams poured.


West wall of garage structure complete.

West wall of garage structure complete.

South window wall of garage with columns and bond beam poured.

South window wall of garage with columns and bond beam poured.