Archive for August, 2010

Basement slab prep

We wanted to get the first floor deck on before we poured the slab in the basement to help protect the concrete from the sun. Now that the deck is complete we move to the basement.

We had several tasks. 1. Wrap the center concrete pier in 6″ of rigid foam (a total of R30). The pier was poured on 6″ of foam when we poured the walls. 2. Install a radon perimeter pipe and a floor drain pipe. 3. Spread 4″ of clean gravel to level the floor. (Yes, that’s a tractor in our basement!) 4. Tamp down the gravel (I love a good tamping). 5. Attach drainage plane to the interior of the basement wall. This allows any condensation or water to drain down the concrete walls and out over the footing. We’re using a material that is generally used on the exterior, but it will work well for us as a drainage plane and air seal to keep any radon gas out. 6. Install 4″ of rigid foam on the floor over the gravel, lay down our poly vapor barrier and tape and seal to drainage plane.

We still have to attach 2″ of foam to the walls and then (finally) install the last 2″ of foam on the floor. (Later we will add 9″ of cellulose to the walls.) Then we will be ready to pour 4″ of concrete for the floor slab.

The basement is the weak link in most homes. Its considered a conditioned space since there is usually no insulation between the first floor and the basement, but it is cool and damp in the summer and bleeds heat from the house in the winter. We will have an R30 floor and R40 walls to match the rest of the house. Our efforts should even out the temperature swings and lower the potential for moisture and mold problems even though we’re not directly heating or cooling the space.

Finishing the first floor deck

I arrived Wednesday night to find that Warren had already tacked in the front bay trusses. Little did I realize how much more work (nailing truss hangers) was required before we could start nailing down the floor plywood. We finished the nailing the trusses and got most of the plywood on Thursday. Friday we finished up the deck and moved to the basement to prepare for the basement slab.

Framing Begins

Last week Joe and Warren installed the perimeter footing drain, 1000 gallon rain water cistern, assorted drain pipes and then back-filled around the foundation walls. Materials including the trusses, beams, lally columns  and floor sheathing also arrived. We were ready for a full day of activities on Saturday because we knew Sunday would be rainy.

Although we don’t have a picture, we managed to install the sill plates with gaskets, main beam (a 32 foot LVL laminated beam) and all the back bay trusses before the rain started. The gaskets under the sill plate are part of our air sealing system.

Next week we hope to finish installing the cement filled lally columns in the basement, the front bay trusses and put down the first floor sheathing. It’s going to take shape quickly from here. Stay tuned.

Mix’n, Brush’n and Dig’n

That sums up our weekend. We bushed on 1 1/2 coats of waterproofing about 5 to 6 feet up, removed more form ties on the inside and dug out the perimeter drain areas. This week they are going to lay the drainage pipe around the footing and backfill 1/2 way up the wall. That will make it easier to apply the rest of the waterproofing and give us a place to stand when placing the first floor trusses next weekend. We’re moving at a brisk pace now.

Forms off

Fresh new concrete. Lots of clean up to do.

Concrete poured

Today we finished up the forms and the first truck showed up a little before noon. 3 trucks later we were done. It was a beautiful day to pour concrete. Mid 70’s, nice cool dry breeze.

Foundation walls in progress

We stripped the footing forms and formed up the foundation walls today. We were on schedule to pour, but a storm arrived at lunch time. Pour tomorrow. Pics in progress.

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