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.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Progress Report

This week I worked pretty much exclusively on stacking blocks for the tornado shelter walls. I had a couple of hurdles to overcome; such as how to best join two walls when they meet at a “T” as shown in the first pic. At first I thought I would embed full-sized blocks in the exterior wall on every other course. Every time you do that you have to use a half block to fill the remaining void. Using half block isn’t a problem, but every time you do you create three butt joints adjacent to each other, and I definitely didn’t like that. To me all those butt joints just represent weak points in the wall, so as far as I am concerned, the fewer butt joints the better. With all my thinking and cogitating during the design phase of the block walls, this is something I didn’t realize would happen.

So, here’s where we are. The exterior wall (north wall) will be built normally with no half blocks used in it. That makes the interior wall a free-standing wall, not connected directly (with overlapping block) into the north wall. There needs to be a good, strong way to connect these two walls at the T-joint. Rebar comes to the rescue, especially since I have lots of rebar scraps sitting around. I decided to make rebar “hooks” (pic 2) which fit into notches cut in the tops of blocks (pic 3). These hooks extend down into those block 5” on each side, giving lots of surface area for concrete to grab on too. There will be five rebar hooks used in the T-joint, one every other course of block.
Even though the joint is pretty much built, and half-way concreted I'd still be interested in your other ideas and suggestions.


At 10:48 AM, Blogger Ed Abbey said...

Not quite sure how you would get three butt joints. I can only visualize two butt joints if you had used a full block (instead of the half block in the bottom picture) in the T-wall that was inserted into the north wall and then used a half block to fill the void on the north wall. You would have a butt joint on each side of the T-wall. Unless you are counting the butt joint that would line up with one of the previous butt joints on the next course.

Regardless, I think what you did should be more than adequate for a tornado shelter and holding it together.

Progress is looking good!


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