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Chadbag's House Construction


chadbag

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I've talked about our plams to build a home and that I was doing the contracting myself as owner / builder (with a home builder contractor (friend of family -- but doing it as a real job with their supervisor) helping watch over things and arrange stuff I can't or don't want to do).  We got the hole dug and footings poured in July and the ICF (insulated concrete forms -- we are using Nudura -- nudura.com) blocks -- at least the first shipment -- was supposed to arrive by end of July.  For various reasons the ICF didn't show up until the end of August.  It took 3 days to get all the blocks moved off the side of the street and down into the hole (a whole 53' trailer packed to the brim worth).  The 3rd day I bribed a bunch of neighborhood guys with pizza and soda and snacks to help us move the bundles and we got the last 30% done in 75 min...

 

Anyway, I (and my family) are laying out the blocks but I have framers lined up to do the internal framing, floors, roof, etc. and we'll have trades come in and do the plumbing and electrical and wallboard and painting etc.  The first layer of blocks took a lot of time -- you had to lay out, measure, measure again, etc.  We had to put rebar in under the bottom and pull it up into a plastic web that is part of the blocks and zip tie it in.  And then measure again as things move.  I ended up putting an extra bar of rebar on the bottom from what the plans said as I misunderstood the plans notes.  The architect wanted a bar at the bottom of the first layer and then one bar at the top of each layer after that.  I thought he wanted an extra bar on the bottom, based on his notes and what I had learned from the Nudura installer course.  Anyway, and extra bar of steel along the bottom of the basement wall, ie, main wall acting as the foundation, is not a problem, but it took a lot more time and effort.  To help keeps things straight I decided to build some bracing to screw into the side of the blocks so we spent a week doing that.  All said and done it took several weeks to get the first layer done and all filled with rebar etc.  The second layer was then done and this past weekend we finished the 3rd layer, except for about 50-60 linear feet worth.  My son and I usually spend an hour or two at lunch and then I spend some time in the evening during the week and we also work all day Saturday.  I finished up most of the 3rd layer earlier this week and my son and I finished the last couple blocks this afternoon.  (We also had T-joints to do and stuff like that).  This evening I went back and started laying rebar in the top of the 3rd layer -- wherever I could put whole 20' pieces, plus the 90 deg corner bend pieces we had mass produced last weekend.  The wife was there to help with some of it this evening.  So we got a lot of the rebar placed that didn't need to be cut to length.  I then got about 50' or 60' linear worth of the 4th layer of blocks placed.  We have not clipped them together and need to give each one a heavy tap with the mallet to make sure it is locked into the one below.  The top is too high to do it without a ladder so we'll clip them later.    I'm arranging some heavy duty bracing with build in scaffolding arms to support the walls (mainly for the concrete pour and after the pour until the floor joists etc are installed to provide the box-strength of the whole structure) and help us go higher but I am not sure when it will be delivered -- I have to arrange a crane tomorrow to help lift the crates full of these bracing supports/scaffolding (4 crates at about 1700lbs each) off the trailer and into the hole.  Also need to find some scaffolding boards to rent (the guy who rents the ICF bracing/scaffolding supports doesn't do the wood for liability reasons).  So we'll be using some ladders until we get that all set up to go higher.  Our 4th layer is just a little over 6' off the footing so kind of hard to work in the top of it without a ladder.  Need to keep going with ladder so we don't lose time until we have the other stuff.

 

Here are some pics of what it looks like from when we finished tonight.  It was dusk and low light so the pics are not so good...

 

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Wow chad, wow! What an undertaking!
 

Extra rebar is never a mistake. My Dad and I did a huge cement patio and retain wall on a hillside to support it when I was a kid. My dad and I poured the retaining wall by hand and framed and rebarred the patio (like 35’ x 75”) ourselves and used like 3x the rebar the engineer said to use as we got a lot of extra odds and ends from a couple of construction sites. As you say it was tedious to wire it all up, but the patio has not shifted or cracked in 45 years on a good hillside that’s seen damage to neighbor’s foundations and driveways and survived a few california earthquakes without a crack.

 

doing a project like things with your family is wonderful. I treasure the construction projects I did with my dad and it taught me so many valuable lessons from problem solving to getting a job done.

 

kudos to you.

 

jeff

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Friday afternoon and yesterday we got a lot done.  We finished (almost) the 5th layer, and got the first block of the 5th layer placed.  Ther is still one wall and corners associated with that wall on the 4th level that need blocks.  I should get that finished tomorrow.  My son cut all the rebar that we need, and standard 20' bars won't work, for the 5th level.   

 

A neighbor on the street we are building on came bother Friday and Saturday and spent several hours helping put up blocks.  The first day he helped put up the blocks that did not need to be cut to shape.  The second day I showed him how it worked cutting them etc and how they needed to line up, and he and my wife worked as one team, and I worked with my daughter as a second team while we filled in all the odd sized slots, and my son was cutting rebar.

 

On the fourth row, we still need to install the T-straps on the T intersections (the metal straps you see at T joints that pull the base of the T up against the cross of the T.  And we need to use the mallet to make sure the 4th layer is clipped in well to the 4rd layer (we hand forced the joints so far) and then put clips between adjoining blocks.  The top of the 4th layer is about the 6' 1" line above the footing so is hard to get to without assistance.  Until I get the support posts w/ scaffolding delivered and installed, we are making do with ladders.  We started on one wall using ladders to get higher than the top so we could use the mallet to make sure they are connected, then install the clips.  Then we also will put in the rebar and the next block right away while we are there, so we'll do several steps ate each segment at once while we have the ladders there.

 

Here are some pic I took this afternoon of it, as it was too dark when we finished last night to get any pics.

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Wow! That's impressive. You're doing it yourself. How do those blocks work? Do you remove the blue part after the concrete is poured?

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3 minutes ago, gavino200 said:

Wow! That's impressive. You're doing it yourself. How do those blocks work? Do you remove the blue part after the concrete is poured?

 

Thanks.   No, these are called ICF -- insulated concrete forms.  The foam is the houses insulation and acts as the form and the insulation (this company, called Nudura, from Canada, is that green/blue color -- others with similar products are usually white).  So the foam stays and you just attach your internal wallboard and external siding (siding/stucco/brick facade -- whatever you want) to the outside.  There are plastic webs embedded every 8" which provide a place to screw stuff in like siding etc.

 

I have a contractor who will do the internal framing and the main floor and roof etc.  And of course the electrician and plumber will do their parts, etc.  We're just doing the foam part, as well as the pipes in the floor for heating, hanging cabinets, etc.   

 

It is slower going than I had imagined (after taking the installer class) and it didn't help that the blocks were a month late getting delivered.  But we'll pull through and get it done 🙂

 

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Update.  Last 1-2 weeks we finished the small amount that only had 3 layers, and did all the 5th layer of blocks except a handful right in the front.  Another 90 mins on Saturday and we would have gotten it done.  We've been using ladders to get the last layer in so it is more slow going...   (I also did a lot more of the strapping across seams, more of the spray foam along the bottom on the footing, and other misc that needs to be done).

 

Today we got 3 crates of bracing delivered and a crane that lifted them off the trailer and into the hole.  Each crate is supposedly 1700 lbs in round numbers.  These braces are placed along the wall and hold it up and support it for the concrete pour and also have scaffolding arms built in so we can work higher.  We'll finish the last handful of 5th layer blocks and start putting the bracing in tomorrow (my employer has made election day a holiday now so we get the day off tomorrow).  I need to figure out what spacing they are supposed to be and how they get put in etc.

 

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I just love cranes! Dangerous they might be (if you overload it), it's a piece of engineering marvel. 

 

Nice to see your nest coming on very nicely! Thanks for sharing! 

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Today I have off (election day -- go figure) and am trying to figure out how the bracing works 🙂

 

The distributr I rented it from is out of town (one of his friends delivered it yesterday for me) and so is hard to get a hold of.  I found a YouTube video for what looks to be the same brand/style but I won't be sure until I get back up to the site this morning.  I may be making a trip to Lowes of Home Depot for some supplies for this...

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Been putting up the bracing that came in Monday and was put in with the crane.  Just lunch break work with my son and by myself evenings Tuesday, Wed, and today.

 

I'm headed back up there tonight to try and finish putting the strongbacks on the wall and tomorrow we'll finish with the yellow supports and scaffolding.

 

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On 11/5/2021 at 7:01 PM, cteno4 said:

I think I see the train room!

 

jeff

 

I don't think so.  DIfferent floor.  Though you might see where it is on a different level if you can see a better shot than my last ones...

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Ahh didn’t realize there was a full basement, I thought the lower level hobby/entertainment level was basement level. Or is the train room upstairs? I’m confusing myself now.

 

jeff

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17 hours ago, cteno4 said:

Ahh didn’t realize there was a full basement, I thought the lower level hobby/entertainment level was basement level. Or is the train room upstairs? I’m confusing myself now.

 

jeff

 

There is a basement.  Then a main level.  All the normal living space is on the main level, so when I am old and decrepit, I don't have to negotiate any stairs to get to necessary space.   The basement has a guest bedroom, an open small kitchen and family room, a few different rooms for activities (music practice, or workout, etc), several storage rooms, mechanical room, etc.   The garage is a suspended slab so there is room under there as well.  Some for storage, and some for my hobbies (not trains) like the R/C and wood working and reloading rooms :).  I knew the wife wouldn't let me take 1/2 the basement rooms for hobbies, so I just said I would take space under the garage 🙂

 

There is no proper second floor, but there are rooms/open space above the garage area, including mud room and pantry, and front entry area.  This includes a larger room above the main double garage which will be the train room.  The longer third garage will have a few small office spaces (since I work from home I'll have one, the wife will have one she'll never use, and one will be for kids' arts/crafts).  All smaller.

 

 

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We have 6 levels of blocks in as of Saturday.  This is basically the height at which we can poor.  For the non-garage parts we may need to add a seventh layer, but it will be quick to do as it is just laying down consecutive blocks...   I need to ask the framer.  The joist supports span from the 6th to the 7th layer but we may be able to put in the joists with the supports only partly encased in concrete (and then add the remaining concrete when we do the second part, the main floor walls).

 

What is left is finishing the window and door lintels -- extra steel over and under the window opening and over the door openings, as well as installing the joist hanger plates into the foam.  And then put in wooden "bucks" for the window and doors.  Then we can pour the first concrete.  (Well, we need to get the last 13 or 14 pieces of bracing delivered and installed).  Oh, and we'll use floor joists temporarily, screwed to the wall, to straighten the wall out and make it nice and straight and ready for concrete...  And I have a bunch of strapping to add to various seams, add foam to seams and stuff, as well...

 

We have the door and window done with lintel steel (that can be seen in the last pic) and added but not tied the steel for a door lintel in the long under-garage wall with lots of doors (center pic though you can't see the door that is done that well in it).  Should get all the lintel steel placed this week.

 

The framer (head) is coming by tomorrow (Tuesday) or the following day with his fancy lasers and stuff to exactly mark where he wants the joist hangers, height wise, as well as a beam support piece that needs to be embedded in the concrete in a wall.

 

I was supposed to have all last week off, as the company I work for wanted to give its employees some extra time away due to all the work and stress of the last year.  But of course, last Monday after lunch, while working at the house, my boss called and said he needed my help on a customer escalation that was causing problems, and I ended up spending 2x  1/2-days and one full day on that, losing a good portion of my house work time  😞

 

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