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Old 06-16-2017, 02:50 PM   #1
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House build

Finally... Got the footings poured for our house yesterday. It's been slow going, but at least it's going, and doing the excavation/forming/etc work ourselves the way we have has saved us thousands already even at this early stage. Basically, saving money by spending time and effort instead. So far, the only labor we've paid for is for the contractor (really more consultant & overseer) over the course of the excavation, and some guys one day for the footing pour. Other than that, it's been all us except paying for materials like the concrete, gravel, drainage pipe, etc. So it's slow going, but it means we'll be able to have it paid off sooner than we would otherwise.

At the bottom-left of the pic, there's another line of footing that you can't see much of, because of the way the ground slopes. Because the house design is segmented the way it is, we have over 300 linear feet of concrete wall, meaning over 300 feet of 15x36" footings. Just the footings alone took 41 yards of concrete.



The forming for the footings was a major project on its own. We used ~2350 ft of horizontal rebar, and over 300 three-foot vertical rebar ties bent at 90 degrees below the surface, to integrate poured walls into the footings. (Those bars sticking up out of the footings in the above pic.) All the rebar is the stronger Grade-60 stuff instead of the more commonly seen Grade 40. This isn't going to be a huge house, but it'll be a heavy house, and we intentionally erred on the side of caution in every aspect of the foundation.



It's good to see something finally going INTO the hole, rather than just dirt & rock coming out of it.
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Old 06-16-2017, 04:13 PM   #2
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I built my own tree stand.....
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Old 06-16-2017, 04:35 PM   #3
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But you probably got done quicker than we're moving...

Fwiw, the conex container has been a godsend. Before it was on site, the only place we had where we could leave anything even partially out of the weather was an old chicken shed. We've now got it knocked down & burned - it was where the dirt spot is in the top pic, to the left of the temporary power pole. Now we have a place that's not only weather-tight (which the chicken shed wasn't), it's also lockable and has shelves & a workbench in it. Very happy with it. The back end of it, where I built some rough but heavy storage shelves. There's also a workbench and hanging storage for hoses & cords and such, nearer the door end.
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Old 06-26-2017, 12:49 PM   #4
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For general purpose storage, this conex container has been great so far. It's ~140 feet from the temporary power pole, so when we need substantial power in it for heavier tools, we use a 10-gauge 150' SOOW extension cord I made up. But to power the fans, lights, and other small stuff I just put in a small 12vdc system with a 39ah battery charged by a 100-watt panel on the roof. This is the charge controller, (can support up to ~480 watts of panels or so). Bottom left is the simple attic-fan thermostat that turns the PC fans on & off depending on inside temp, light switch for ~35 watts of LED light strips I put on the ceiling, a dual 12V cigarette-lighter socket unit for misc 12 volt power, and a couple terminal strips to make the connections easier & a little less messy. The charge controller itself also has a couple USB outlets, so people can charge their phones & such. Yes, the electrical connections are imperfect, but it's only 12 volts, it's temporary, and when you're in the middle of nowhere when doing the install and realize you're missing a bushing or whatever, you make do. The empty slot at the light switch is intentional - I haven't decided yet whether I'm going to add more lights inside and wanted to have space in the switch box to do so if we want to later.


Some heavy shelving as shown above, and a hanging board with hooks & hangers give a lot of storage in a small space. Big fan of storage along the walls - it's the stuff underfoot that causes accidents and gets people hurt usually on a job site.
 
Old 06-26-2017, 01:13 PM   #5
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The 'adjustable thermostat' next to the light switch is a simple attic-fan temperature switch. I've got it hooked up to some 12v, 3" computer fans, which are mounted directly over some small screened & louvered vents I cut into the walls. The four vents built in at the corners are only enough 'ventilation' to prevent a vacuum or pressurization from occurring; not enough to allow actual airflow. I can understand that, since they probably have to be extremely concerned with keeping out bugs & such, but it made them useless for cross-ventilation use. Trying to get flow from them, I initially mounted the 12v PC fans directly on them and still got zero airflow. Finally abandoned them and just cut in a handful of small screened & louvered vents and mounted the muffin fans on som of those. Works much better now.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1




They're not ideal since they're so small, but with the corrugated shape of the walls, there's just not room for cutting in anything much bigger without getting more creative than I want to mess with. I intentionally ordered the ones with screening (for bugs) and louvers for rain; used a 2" hole saw for cutting them in and Lexel adhesive caulk to seal them and secure them better than just the little tabs they have.

This is one of the little cut-in vents in place; on the 'outflow' side. To clarify - this is still the inside of the container. The fans are on the north side pulling air in, this is the south side where air flows out. There's just not much flat area to cut in something much bigger than 2" or so.


Other side of the conex, same kind of vent cut in (under the built-in and basically useless vent), with a small 3" fan mounted on top of it, pulling air in from the outside:


Seriously considering adding some more of the cut-in vents, whether I add any more fans or not. They're very cheap and they help; even the handful I've put in so far has made the inside temp top out at 110-115 or so, rather than the 130-140 it reached before. Another couple six-packs may or may not help, but they're cheap and certainly wouldn't hurt.
 
Old 06-29-2017, 02:24 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John in AR View Post
Finally... Got the footings poured for our house yesterday. It's been slow going, but at least it's going, and doing the excavation/forming/etc work ourselves the way we have has saved us thousands already even at this early stage. Basically, saving money by spending time and effort instead. So far, the only labor we've paid for is for the contractor (really more consultant & overseer) over the course of the excavation, and some guys one day for the footing pour. Other than that, it's been all us except paying for materials like the concrete, gravel, drainage pipe, etc. So it's slow going, but it means we'll be able to have it paid off sooner than we would otherwise.

At the bottom-left of the pic, there's another line of footing that you can't see much of, because of the way the ground slopes. Because the house design is segmented the way it is, we have over 300 linear feet of concrete wall, meaning over 300 feet of 15x36" footings. Just the footings alone took 41 yards of concrete.



The forming for the footings was a major project on its own. We used ~2350 ft of horizontal rebar, and over 300 three-foot vertical rebar ties bent at 90 degrees below the surface, to integrate poured walls into the footings. (Those bars sticking up out of the footings in the above pic.) All the rebar is the stronger Grade-60 stuff instead of the more commonly seen Grade 40. This isn't going to be a huge house, but it'll be a heavy house, and we intentionally erred on the side of caution in every aspect of the foundation.



It's good to see something finally going INTO the hole, rather than just dirt & rock coming out of it.
This is really a great work.
 
Old 06-29-2017, 05:38 PM   #7
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SherW - Thanks. It's a lot of work, but going slow saves money and gives us the chance to make minor changes without being as big a deal as they normally would be.


This week we got the french drains, plumbing drains, and gravel finished in & around the footings for the house build, and today I picked up two FEMA certified storm-shelter doors in Little Rock for the safe room. It'd been a long time since I'd messed with those - they're heavier than I remembered them being.

Hope to get the wall forms set up the first couple days of next week and get the basement walls poured late next week hopefully. Footings alone took 41 yards of concrete and the walls should take 60-62 yards. When adding in the various slab areas (after the walls are poured), it blew my wife's mind to find out that we'll more than 800,000 pounds of concrete in the house when it's all said & done between footings, basement slabs, basement walls, and main-level cap slabs. And that's before the red-iron main level structure is factored in. It won't be the biggest house around and certainly not the fanciest, but it may be one of the heaviest.

It's been a long time in the works; am getting seriously stoked about this house.
 
Old 08-10-2017, 12:50 PM   #8
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Haven't updated this thread in a while. We're still moving slow, but moving. This pic is actually several weeks old. In-slab plumbing lines finished, under-slab gravel (9 trucks iirc) brought in and leveled, and ground outside the slab cleaned up.

It looks like there's no room above the gravel for much of a slab, but that's just because of the order we're doing things. The gravel is only 2" down from the top of the footings, but we're pouring the walls first, and then the slabs. The slabs will be 6 inches thick; filling in the two-inch drop to the gravel and coming up four inches above the footings up onto the walls. Sounds odd at first but it helps lock things together better structurally by virtue of more areas of contact, and (more importantly imo) keeps the wall-to-slab joint above ground level. Definitely complicates things though. Door openings have to be framed in four inches above the footings instead of right on them, the walls have to be formed higher to allow for the slab to come up on them, lot of ripple effects like that:


Been busy; it's further along now. This is a couple days ago; vertical rebar wall grid is in place now, attached to the stub-ups shown in the footings pic above; and forms for the basement walls are in the process of going up. A complete grid spaced mostly at 12", of the heavy grade-60 rebar:


That section of forming isn't at full height. That's 8' standard forms, but with the slab coming up onto the walls the way it will, plus having to add more height for I-beam pockets under the future ceiling caps on two sections and wood trusses in the third, we're actually taking the forming to 10 feet in most places. That's necessary in order to keep the finished ceiling height at 8 feet, which we want to do.

Lot of friggin concrete, with the walls being 8 inches thick. Our concrete-wall contractor didn't have enough forms to do all our walls, so we ended up borrowing some from another contractor (who is doing our I-beam-supported concrete caps) as well.

Last edited by John in AR; 08-10-2017 at 12:53 PM.
 
Old 08-14-2017, 07:11 PM   #9
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How many square feet, John? It looks big. When we converted our garage into a library, I foolishly forgot about the heating and air conditioning for all that added space. Air conditioner could handle it, but I needed a larger furnace. I am now $12,000.00 poorer for a new roof that was supposed to cost $8,500.00. As my Son said, "Dad, owning your own home is over rated."
 
Old 08-15-2017, 05:19 AM   #10
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It's bigger than we had originally planned, largely due to repeated "we should do _____" conversations in the design stage.

That said, looks are somewhat misleading at this point. Of the three areas that you can see outlined by the footings, only the center and rightmost ones are the actual house. The left one (closest to the camera) is an outside storage area. On that side of the house, we wanted a concrete patio on the main level, but with the ground sloping the way it does, we were looking at filling it in with dirt to bring it level. Then our builder (a family member) suggested that instead of filling it in, why not dig it out and have a big storage area under that patio instead, so that's what it is.

The total outline of footings is 43'x78', but the footprint of the house itself is only 40'x60'. The center area in the pic is the downstairs living area; slightly over 40x30 and set up like a 2-bedroom apartment. The idea is that once the lower level is done, we may (or may not) live in it while finishing the upper (main) level. The rightmost area is a little less than 40x30, and is storm-cellar and storage space.

Main upper level is split up the same; with the center area being living space with master bedroom, living room, etc; and the rightmost section (above the storm shelter) being the garage/shop area.
 
Old 08-15-2017, 05:25 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry G View Post
...When we converted our garage into a library, I foolishly forgot about the heating and air conditioning for all that added space. Air conditioner could handle it, but I needed a larger furnace...
My brother and his wife remodeled their master suite a few years ago, putting in a big jetted tub in the process. First time they went to use it, they realized they'd forgotten to allow for the tub's hot water needs. In my brother's words, "We had an 80-gallon tub but only a 30-gallon water heater."

They ended up putting in a second water heater just for the tub.
 
Old 08-30-2017, 04:31 AM   #12
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Congrats John. It is better going slow rather having trouble later, as you told.
I wish you a happy building.
Me too hope to start ours, some time in the near future.
 
Old 09-12-2017, 12:18 PM   #13
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Finally got all the players to show up and poured most of our basement walls. Had to use a pump truck to reach, largely due to the ground slope making the back wall (not in the pic) nine feet above ground:


Looks like most of the guys are dressed for winter, but it was unseasonably cool today - around 65 degrees and drizzling rain. Got ~248 out of 320 linear feet of concrete walls poured; the remainder is an attached storage space that we frankly just didn't have enough forms to do at the same time.

Biggest deal is that we've finally got a decent concrete contractor. We've been chasing concrete guys for a couple months now with very disappointing results and responsiveness. Did all the wall forming ourselves, with some hired laborers but no actual concrete guy to run the project. Finally got a guy that's good, only because the project he was on ended up being delayed due to customer changes.

Not to sound all whackjob-prepper, but the more I see Kim Jong Moonpie in the news, the more I want our new storm cellar finished...

Last edited by John in AR; 09-12-2017 at 12:22 PM.
 
Old 09-25-2017, 08:08 AM   #14
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Got the forms removed from the recently-poured walls, which was a lot of work in itself. This past week (and weekend) we finished the forming for the remainder of the walls and got one section of floor area ready for pouring that section of slab. Smoothing out the gravel one last time, lining with plastic sheeting, laying & tying both rebar and wire mesh, etc. This next concrete pour should be the last time we need a pumper truck and is scheduled for wednesday.

Ninety-four yards of concrete to date in the first two pours; basically just the footings and the part of the walls that are done so far. This next pour is smaller and should be only around 32-34 yards or so, and will put the total concrete (so far) at 125-128 yards or almost exactly a half-million pounds. I know I brought up the concrete weight a while back, but it still boggles me a little bit; having that much mass in a house that isnít unusually large. Itís just going to be unusually heavy.

Wednesday evening Iím volunteering at a local community-wide sporting event; so hopefully (and probably) the concrete stuff will be done well before I need to be at the tournament, at least the parts of the concrete that I can be any help on.
 
Old 09-28-2017, 10:15 AM   #15
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Well, got the pour done yesterday. Using a pumper truck, got the rest of the walls and the first section of basement floor poured. Had 34 yards ordered but only used around 33, so around 127 yards of concrete so far.

Have two more pours to go - next one is the last two sections of basement floor, and the final one will be two sections of basement cap (first-floor floor) and porches. Won't need a pumper truck for either of those, which is a good thing at $800 a day.

Not a ton to do between yesterday's pour and the next one; just removing some forms and some gravel-bed prep (plastic, rebar, and mesh). Plan is to do the next pour maybe next Wednesday.

Between that pour and the next one will be longer. There are I-beams to be installed (for supporting the concrete-capped areas), then the wooden substructure level with the I-beams to hold the concrete until it sets, waterproofing and backfilling the outer side of the walls so the porches can be poured, etc. That one will be a while in coming, but it's nice to see some substantial progress being made.
 
Old 09-28-2017, 12:20 PM   #16
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Storm-cellar / storage room. The notches in the top of the walls are pockets where the I-beams will be placed for supporting the upper concrete caps.

I'm thinking that to make it less claustrophobic-feeling, we may put an extra security camera on the outside of one wall, with a monitor mounted flat on the inside of the same spot on that wall; so when you look at the monitor it will maybe give a little bit of the 'feel' of looking out a window. A few years ago, it wouldn't have been practical, but nowadays a 1080P TV is cheap and a 1080P camera is even cheaper.



Seems surreal to me, seeing it now, and seeing how little we're spending in the process. Apart from cost of the concrete itself, we're less than 25k into it so far. Taking a lot more time than we had planned to, but substantially less money. Probably no way we could afford to build this house using the typical approach.
 
Old 09-28-2017, 03:42 PM   #17
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Cement contactors seem to be an independent lot; maybe Nationwide. I wanted a simple forty foot sidewalk pored. Yhree companies never bothered to respond to phone calls, a fourth said maybe May, 2018, This was in July.
 
Old 10-06-2017, 05:35 AM   #18
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Got the rest of the basement floors poured, so yay for basement floors. Got the outside of the basement walls tarred, and should today finish the plastic liner and foam-board covering over the liner.

The steel I-beams to go under the concrete basement ceilings have arrived at the contractor's yard, and floor trusses are in the process of being made for the one section of basement that doesn't get a concrete cap.

Either this weekend or monday will stain the basement floor. It just turns out better the earlier you do it, so we're going to do it right away. Will only slow things down a day or so and should make a much better finished product. A minor time-concession to make for a better long-term finish, as well as keeping mama happy... It's also a chance to save some more money, as my wife, me, and one of our grown sons are going to do it ourselves. The concrete contractor charges $2.50 per square foot to do it, is busy enough with other jobsites that he doesn't really want to mess with it, and has been pretty forthcoming in helping us get squared away on how to do it. Right about 1,200 square feet would have been $3k for him to do it, and we can probably do it ourselves in two days with less than $400 or so in materials and other costs like the necessary acid-gas respirator filters & such.

At 163 yards of concrete so far; with probably another 45-50 to go.
 
Old 10-17-2017, 04:58 PM   #19
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Basement living-space walls are up, and the basement ceiling (main-level floor) trusses were delivered today. The interior walls are only slightly overbuilt, using both F-26 adhesive and stainless steel tapcon anchors to secure the pressure-treated bottom plates to the concrete. The decking for the trusses (that will be the main level subfloor) is Advantech, and was also delivered today.

Between the trusses, the Advantech, the steel I-beams, and signing the final itemized contract with the steel-building fabricator, I spent (really 'signed for') more than a year's income today. I hate going back into personal debt, but don't see any way around it when building a house. That's just life; imperfect, but all you can do is all you can do...


{edit to comment on the concrete floor acid-staining mentioned above. Did the whole thing, rather than just the main living space. Ended up being roughly $700 and not quite 3 days' labor to do all 2400 square feet, and very happy with the results. Worked out to less than one-eighth what the contractor normally charges (plus our time), and don't have to buy any additional flooring such as laminate, tile, vinyl, etc. A completely finished, zero-maintenance floor, for less than 30 cents per square foot. Will have to be careful when painting & such, but it's not particularly fragile. Didn't cause any damage when banging tools and lumber on it and dragging ladders around on it during wall construction, so it's pretty resilient.}

Last edited by John in AR; 10-17-2017 at 05:15 PM.
 
Old 11-03-2017, 04:08 PM   #20
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The trusses and decking (floor of main level, ceiling of basement) are done. Red iron I-beams for the two concrete-capped basement areas are supposed to be delivered & installed Wednesday, weather permitting. The beams have been at the provider's yard for a while, and I have to admit I was surprised at their size. They're substantially beefier than I realize we'd need, but that's a good thing I guess. And even at that size, we're going to have some mid-span support posts in one area. Fwiw, that's a quarter I laid on the beam webbing for relative size comparison:
 
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