Building My House

I have always wanted to build my own house. I am retired now, so I have the time. I found some land, designed a house that would fit the land and my needs and got started. I am doing all the work myself, so progress will be fairly slow. To read this blog from the beginning, start with the oldest archive and read posts from last to first.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Last Concrete Pour & Perimeter Drain

The footers are finally finished. The last pour was 3.25 yards (3 yards actual, plus .25 yards extra just in case). This pour was different from the others because we had to wheelbarrow all the concrete into the site. How many wheelbarrow loads does it take to move three yards of concrete; I don’t know exactly, but whatever it is, it’s too many. Actually, the job went pretty smooth. My girlfriend helped me with the pour. We had two wheelbarrows in use and she moved concrete loads too until we got to a point where the tops of the footers needed finishing off. Then, she switched to doing that while I moved the rest of the concrete. I think it only took maybe an hour, or a little longer to get all the concrete in place; a lot faster than I had expected.

It was nice and cool that day, maybe 55 degrees, so I thought we could take our time putting in all the vertical rebar. Then the concrete truck driver tells me they added extra cement to the mix so it would set up faster in the cooler weather. I think 3,000 psi “footer” concrete is supposed to be about a “six-bag mix” (ie six bags of cement per yard), but he tells me (after the pour) that they used eight or nine bags of cement per yard (same cost). That about scared me to death because we still had at least 30 pieces of vertical rebar to install and I could just imagine having to use a sledge to drive it into the footers. Long story short - no problem at all. The concrete was still plenty soft to push the verticals in by hand. Another hour and the job was finished, and substantially easier than all the pours we had made during the heat of the summer.

So, now all the forms have been pulled. I bought my perforated PVC pipe for the perimeter drain system. I planned to use 4” pipe, but 3” was half the cost, so I went with that thinking there should never be enough water in this drain to need the larger pipe. In case you don’t remember previous posts about the perimeter drain, this drain system sits right beside the bottom of all the footers to capture and drain away any water that manages to slide down the footer walls or come into the area from any other source. I’m doing this because my crawlspace is being built like a basement; ie heated and cooled and I don’t want any moisture problems down there. Everything I’ve read says that a well drained project prevents moisture problems. The footers also have visqueen on the bottom and sides to help prevent moisture from wicking through the footers. Let’s hope all these extra steps have the desired result.


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