Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Week One: Foundation

Here is where I backtrack to what we did before someone told me I needed to blog this:

Stephen took a few days off, and we spent approximately four days on the foundation. We already had the site graded, and we already used an auto-level to shoot elevations. We put in posts with nails about ten feet from two sides of each corner. When you put string on the nails and run across to the other posts, it makes a level line that marks the exterior walls.

The total foundation was 20'X32'.

The first day, he rented an excavator and dug channels around the garage and through the middle, and put in pipes that were to go through the foundation. Then he put in no end of rebar tied onto vertical bars with wire. I helped by fetching rebar and rocks and holding up rebar while he tied it.

The next day, we had in the concrete truck and they poured concrete through a little moving trough in the back. I had to stick a big vibrating thing into the concrete, which shook the concrete down. I was not warned or talked through it before it had to be done, and it was scary, finding out what to do, as I did it. That was the footing, the thing that supports the slab and prevents it from moving.

Third day - the concrete was pretty hard. Stephen made a form out of wood around the perimeter for pouring the slab. We spent the rest of the day wiring together the rebar mesh.

Now, this is a scary side note. Stephen works for a construction company, and knows many people who do many things in construction. He said he heard of a subcontractor here who at some point was building residential slabs. The guy would put in the rebar for the inspector, then he would pull it all out after the inspector left so he could re-use the rebar at the next site. Rebar is about half the material cost of a foundation. And apparently that's not as uncommon here as you would assume.

Where we are, we don't have inspectors or codes, except that you have to have gas lines and septic put in by licensed people. That's kind of scary, too. But ideal for an owner home builder.

The next day, we hired a crew for $400 to pour the actual slab, because it is not a job for two people, especially with myself having no experience. While they were pouring, he put in some long boards where the garage bays and doors would be so rain won't come in under the doors.

Here, at week nine, we still haven't bothered to take most of the concrete forms off the slab.

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