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Chadbag's House Construction


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I haven't reported back in a long time, but things have been happening.


By the end of April we had all the little nitty gritty done including door/window bucks, al the various weird reinforcements, etc in for the basement layer pour.  But then the bank stepped in and put a hold on stuff.  The construction loan was set to expire Mid June and they wanted us to submit a loan extension and new budget (due to market conditions stuff had gone up).  It took 5 weeks to get all the re-bids/estimates in (mostly due to one contractor who had a few different things they were fronting and were slow about) and then another 2 months almost to get approved.  Finally got it done and the basement layer was poured 5 weeks ago on August 10 IIRC (Wed that week).  It took a while for the plumber to come in (while we in the mean time took down bracing and cleaned up).  Plumber came in and got the drainage rough-ins in and passed inspection last Thursday.  Yesterday and this morning the gravel slingers were in action filling everything with gravel.


Tomorrow I have help and we'll lay out the vapor barrier over the gravel, layout foam insulation (some of which is nubbed for radiant and some just plain), route the radiant pex piping, and them put re-mesh (and in a few places rebar) down and next Friday (week from tomorrow) they should pour the slab.  Assuming all goes well.  I actually need the plumber to come today or tomorrow to put sleeves around the back flow valves, which are currently covered in gravel (but marked).  And they need to wrap the pipes where they will be embedded in concrete (I assume to handle concrete expansion) before we can pour.  The framer is getting ready as soon as the concrete slab has cured anough to get the bearing walls and joists and subfloor in for the main floor after which we can backfill and quickly get the foam for the next layer done.


The garage slab people came in a week or week and a half ago and measured stuff to get the suspended slabs built.


Pics are in chronological order from the outside stair retaining wall forms right before basement pour through pour, take down, and gravel throwing



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Friday and Saturday we laid out foam insulation for under the basement slab.  Simple 2" white foam insulation with silver back where we won't use radiant and special radiant foam (tol hold the PEX) down where we will have radiant.  Saturday we laid the PEX down and also brought the steel mesh down and started laying it out.  To get the steel mesh in we create a walk way over the walls and just handed it down.  The first 3 or 4 we did in a slower more difficult way before we created the walk way using scaffolding planks (which were screwed together etc to be safe -- not just placed together).


(In the pics some of the green radiant foam has no tubing --- isolated closet or room without radiant in the middle of the radiant area -- easier to just lay the same stuff.)


This coming Friday supposedly is the concrete pour for the slab.  Tomorrow (monday) I need to pressure test the PEX and this week wen need to finish preparing stuff (laying mesh etc) for the pour.








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In preparation for pouring the slab this Friday (knock on wood) and inspection tomorrow, yesterday,  I bought an oilless air compressor (been wanting one anyway) and, after a few trips to Lowe's to get the right crimping tool and right size PEX crimp rings (the stainless kind, not copper), I installed the pressure test system to the basement radiant tubing we installed Saturday and pushed it up to 100 psi. That was around 10pm last night at around 68F. I waited 30 min last night and the pressure stayed.  

I went up this morning at 11am at around 79F and due to the increased temperature, the pressure in the system is above 100 psi. That tells me our test is successful. Just leaving it as is until the inspection tomorrow.




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Nice work chad! Are you doing ground based heat pump then?


nice bennie getting a compressor out of the job! I always love the jobs more that I get a new tool out of it.



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8 hours ago, cteno4 said:

Nice work chad! Are you doing ground based heat pump then?


nice bennie getting a compressor out of the job! I always love the jobs more that I get a new tool out of it.


Yes to heat pump.  Geostar (Water Furnace -- they have two brands depending on how they're marketed and the sales channel but same devices).  The plans call for 4x 210ft shafts to be drilled in the back yard.


I've always said the reason men agree to do honey-dos around the house is so they have excuses to buy tools.  I've gotten more tools out of this project than I could have imagined...  Lots of new 18v (Bosch -- my main tools) and 24v (being discontinued Kobalt) cordless everthings, compressor, and a bunch of stuff I can't remember at the moment.


Some things like the Amazon bought hydraulic  rebar bender and cutter I'll sell again as they're not overly useful to my normal life.

Edited by chadbag
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5 hours ago, gavino200 said:


Nice progress! What's this weird thing, this guy's wearing?


Hard hat with wide brim with a sun screen hanging off the brim. Also helps remove excess energy from any gravel that happens to hit him in that area...



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My son and I, last week, and then the rest of the family on the weekend finished tying rebar and also put down the steel reinforcement mesh and the little black plastic "rebar chairs" to raise it all off the foam. The wife and I finished the last of the chair placement Saturday night at 12:30am. My son started Saturday around 12:30 and I went up about 1pm -- had a hard time getting my engine going Saturday. Only a short break to get my staple gun and my replacement foam gun (and eat a 5 min lunch) around 3pm, and then an hour long dinner break around 8:30pm, I was working on it that late.  Wife and daughter helped in the afternoon on Saturday and the wife came back in the evening and then late at night. Son was there the whole time until around 8pm when he had an engagement.

This morning I went up at 6:35am and the pump trick was already there as were about 7 trucks and cars with the concrete workers and the owner/boss of the company. They set up and I watched and answered questions (and had to cut some foam wrap around 2 drain pipes so that some "tubes" could slide down to the metal mesh) for almost an hour and then left to go to some work meetings and get out of their way. An hour ago I went back up and the pump truck was just finishing up getting cleaned up and put away and the concrete crew were doing finish work on the finished slab...

The pumper pics are setting up and taking down. The pic with the foam and mesh is from last Friday or Saturday before we finished laying all the mesh and "chairs" out.



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Been a long time since I last reported.  The wood framers have come and framed the basement structural walls and the subfloor for the main floor.  They still need to fix a few things and put the stairway supports and temporary treads in.


To get ready for backfill I put up a sacrificial foam layer around the foundation so when they backfilled, rocks and stones would have a harder time puncturing my actual waterproofed foam. I got that done, and they put th epassive "french" drain in and started backfilling. I got the little "well" piece on around the below grade dryer vent and they installed the window well on the one window we have below grade for a bedroom (guest room). They got the sewer hooked up and inspected, and the power conduit and a conduit for cable etc out to the power "poles" -- the little green box by the street and teh water lines to the house installed, and the Geo Thermal guy came and installed their pipig into the house and out to a stub in the back yard. Most of the rest of it was backfilled and the front smoothed and the big pile of dirt is gone that was in front. They also cut down the dirt to approximate grade level and are working at removing the dirt from behind the house. We'll need some to build up to actual grade as the front will be filled in and retained at the sidewalk and currently we are below grade along the sides of the house for easy of machinery etc.

Today the suspended slab guys came in with their crane and pieces and got them placed. I had to, with my son and nephew in law over the past few weekends, smooth out and build up the walls to properly support the slabs as the concrete guys who poured didn't do a great job.

Now I have to waterproof the slab seams, put the rebar in and some foam blocks along the garage wall so we can inspect and pour the garage slab next week.

Pics from the last couple of weeks including this morning with the garage slabs.  Also a few framing pics from a month or so ago



Edited by chadbag
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5 hours ago, cteno4 said:

Very cool, pre-poured concrete floor panels! That should hold a hundred elephants! Nice gluelam beams.




Yeah the concrete floor panels are interesting.  They have cable in them and are pre-stressed with a slightly upwards bow so that when you pour a top layer of concrete over them they bend down flat, stressing the cable out taught.


The tallest glulam is 24" tall.  They are pretty hefty.  Supports the floor where above the kitchen and mud room/pantry separating wall is that will support the "bonus space" above the garage that sticks out into the main room.  All the supporting posts and stuff are built into walls and use heavy beams to span across rooms to support everything above.


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7 hours ago, Martijn Meerts said:

All I'm seeing is lots of space for a layout, but that'll likely change once the furniture is in 😄



You're not wrong.  If you look at the more square garage that we just put the pre-stressed concrete slabs on, the room above that will be the train room.  It doesn't exactly match the garage dimensions but is about the same.


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A lot has happened but not enough since I last posted.  The day they put the pre-stressed slabs in on the garage was colder but nice and sunny.  We had good weather a few more days and, after putting waterproofing across the joints,  I paid the guy who has been running the excavator, and his brother, on the side (not through his excavator job), to come help put rebar on top of the pre-stressed  slab so we could get the 4"-6" of concrete poured on top that needs to be there.  I'm not actually finding any shots of the rebar over the slabs bugt they basically bent iver the #4 bars we had around the outside and attached rebar to them so basically a patchwork of 16" (more or less) spaced rebar N-S and E-W is over the whole slab.  Unfortunately the weather turned bad and cold and snowy so we were not able to schedule the concrete pour for the garage before we left to go to Japan.  (Still has not been done due to cold and mroe snow and ice and rain every 3-5 days).  While we were in Japan the weather here was not great so we didn't lose much work time.


(at some point before we left, around Thanksgiving, the framer guy sent his guys to make a te,porary staircase in the stairwell hole down into the basement.  The side rails are part of the final stairs but the treads are just wide LVL supported by 2x4.  Makes it easy to go down into the basement now instead of having to use a ladder or go down the  back mountain of dirt and mud to the basement door.  No pic though)

Here you can see the waterproofing stiff on the seams between the pre-stressed slabs for the garage (suspended) floor.  You can see the rebar surrounding it and in between the two halves of the garage.  The #4, spaced at 16" all the way around was bent down over the slab and used to attach the rebar that stretches across the slab.  Around the perimeter of the garage at 16" spacing are also #5 bars which stay sticking up and are there for the walls (so the perimeter had a rebar (#4 or #5) every 8" in the wall in the basement.




The first week after we got home from Japan we spent all the time shoveling snow and ice off to keep the melting snow and ice from leaking into the basement.  We had to do  it a few times since it snowed that week a bunch and it was warmer out (from just below freezing to the 40s so it was heavy snow and made ice and melted and rained).  There was a good amount of water in the basement (anywhere from wet surface to maybe 1/2" or in a couple places 3/4" as it leaked down the sides and through gaps in the subfloor.


We also placed tarps over the garage so that we can more easily get the snow off the garage if a chance to pour comes up and to keep the water from leaking down gaps and cracks and also saturating the concrete of the suspended pre-stressed slabs.  We had placed some plastic sheeting on part of the subfloor before we left and draped the ends up over the foam but the wind had blowed them off teh foam so that the water could leak down the sides. We lidted the plastic off, vacuumed water off, and replaced the plastic sheeting and draped it and fastened it better back over the sides to keep water from leaking down the sides.  We also placed tarps on some parts of the sub floor and puled the ends up over.  The goal is to limit the water leaking into the basement.  It has since gotten colder and not a lot of precipitation in the last week or so -- did get a couple snow storms and 6" and then another 2" or so but it was cold so light and fluffy snow and not melting [yet] so no new water in basement.  So the water in the basement has mostly evaporated and the water on the subfloor, and the smaller amounts in the basement are frozen.  So not dripping down.


Here is a pic of us cleaning off the subfloor right after we got back from Japan.




I've been watching the weather and trying to see when we could pour the garage slab since we needed it poured to be able to build the walls up on top of it and we need to get all the first floor foam up assap and poured asap to get this back on track.  We started the non-garage area walls a week and a half ago.


This was Monday the 16th and then the second pic was Saturday the 21st





Then every day this week we've taken an hour or slightly longer at lunch to put up some foam. This has also necessitated cleaning off the tops of the existing foam from dirt, gravel, concrete, etc. which is slow going.  And we also have these 10' long 8" wide "ladder" metal inserts we've been sticking in the top of the existing foam.  They are supposed to keep the wall good and straight.  We did not use them in the basement level though I wish we had.  The distributor said he rarely uses them so we didn't and used his "joist screwed to the outside" way to keep it straight.  Anyway, I decided for the main floor to stick them in the top of the existing foam (which is half filled with concrete) to try and straighten out any little issue areas and to start our main floor foam as straight as possible.  We'll them put them in the next row of foam and then every other row of foam above that. Plus under windows and stuff.  (normally you start in the second row and every 3rd row above that plus pieces under windows).  Having been scarred from not using it on the basement level I want to make liberal over-use of it in the main floor so the walls are absolutely straight.  Anyway, we had to insert them into the existing tops of the foam and that was hard as there was dried concrete splashes on the inside that we had to chip out etc.


Anyway, we've been doing that, and did all this this week (4 days worth) including the cleaning of the tops, chipping out of splashes as necessary, and inserting the straighteners, and in a few places some missing rebar.




The second photo shows the far corner of where we started and where we ended today.  The not-yet0done part is only around 12' long and goes out to the garage.


I figured out that we could actually do all the walls in the garage without having the pour done.  Just add the missing halves in on the interior walls and leave a 3" gap underneath the garage side piece (missing half) added so the concrete pours on the slab will go pver the edge and fill up against the wall inside the foam piece.  That way we wouldn't be dependent on the garage slab pour to do our walls.  I'd already done outer wall bits on the garage by cutting one side of the foam shorter leaving the gap.  I had wanted to pour before reconstructing the interior garage / house wall foam, which we had to split when making the basement level so that the garage pre-stressed slabs could be laid over the basement foundation walls.  It would make it easy to measure and lay the piece down on top of the slab.  But I decided to put them on before, leaving the gap, which will strengthen the wall actually for the next vertical wall pour, as the bottom foam block will be embedded an inch into the slab, which will hold it firm...

Anyway, today we added a small piece to the bit of the above wall taht we still have to do, that extended out into the garage.  I cut a piece the right height and used some scrap to set the distance and location (the two pieces in the pic stuck on top -- just there for now and will be removed and replaced tomorrow by a full 8' block).  I used zip ties to tie the two cut pieces of the plastic webbing from the twwo halves together and when I cut the piece to height I left a part of one plastic web embedded in the foam longer and cut it to length to act as a foot to support the piece as it hangs in the air. I wanted to make the feet on both ends but accidentally cut through it too much and it broke when I was stripping foam from it.    (The foam blocks have plastic webbing embedded vertically every 8" which form a place you can screw into and also supporting cross pieces to the other side to keep the two sides together -- I obviously cut the bottom off but left the two web pieces on each end and stripped the foam off the bits that stuck below the height I had cut -- one of those broke when stripping the foam but I ended up with one foot -- we'll do the same all around the interior wall as we rebuild the two sides of the blocks this weekend.  You can see how the interior wall only has 1 side of foam now in the pic belowe on the T-part that sticks down from the cross part I was working on).





Anyway,  my long winded update is over.  Tomorrow we'll finish the last little bit to connect the end where we left off to the bit we repaired to make both sides and then Saturday we'll finish putting back the second side all around the interior garage wall and also place the next foam layer on it so it is even with the rest of the walls we've done (above pics).  Saturday we'll also place some foam on some of the outside corners of the garage where we have not put them yet so it will all be ready to pour and we can continue building the walls up.


Next couple of weeks I want to get all 6 or 7 foam rows done and rebar in and windows and doors cut and all the rebar and lintels done so we can get poured by the end of February so the framers can come back in and do the structural bits for the bonu space above the garage and the midroom pantry (which will support that bonus space) and we can finish up the last heights of foam on the front and back of the house and a couple rows on the N side.  By the end of March I'd like to have that all poured, and the rough roof on if possible.    


This first row of new foam is the hardest of all the rows on this section as it had to go over the old foam that had concrete, dirt, gravel, etc and also had to be rebuilt in the garage area.   The later rows should be much more quickly done.  The worst is doing the wood in the door and window frames to hold back the concrete and building the rebar lintels over them (you have to cut and bend a billion #3 bars into C shapes).  This Saturday my Brother in Law is coming down to help and in the next month I'll have him down and hopefully his son in law (a contractor and handyman [mostly doing remodels]  and young guy who works really hard) come down several days to help us belt this out.


Progress is being made even if I don't update very much 🙂










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End of last week and Saturday we got that back wall (from above pics) finished and then a good stretch of the wall dividing the garage and house done as well (addding in a second side and then another layer).  We also got a corner started and almost done on the garage. This week should be warmer by the end of the week and as of now the weather guessers show no precipitation in the next 10 days so we're going to try for a garage slab pour on Friday.



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@disturbman indirectly reminded me I had not made an update recently.


Basically the main floor walls were poured a month ago (on or around April 5) and the framers have put in all th ebonus space floor and supports.  Then the foam walls have been built up to the roof and we're almost done with that -- just the rear (west) wall has a few rows left   Hopefully done today or tomorrow. Then we need to make sure the extra foam insulation is inserted and all the strapping and supports are in to support the last pour.  We wanted to do the pour this week but probably next week to get the out wall supports done and the various window strapping in and cross beam supports (in window) to support concrete.


Meanwhile last week the framers started the interior and have done a lot of that and will soon start on the bonus space framing.


Next step is to get the last few rows on the back, finish the strapping, bracing, vertical rebar, etc and get that last bit poured.  After 5 -7 days of initial set they can install the ridge beam and start the roof.  Prior to that they can actually start some of the prep work to get the roof on.


Here are a few shots of where we are at. Not all are the very latest but are within the last week or so.   Changes since on some of them are probably not noticeable unless you compare in detail to find an extra wall or few studs etc.


This first pic shows where the train room will be -- between the pieces that jut forward (away from the viewer) back to around where I am standing.  It looks longer than it is due to perspective but is still a good size.




Other random shots form the last week.



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Yesterday another foam layer (or two layers in one place) -- should get the last two short layers up today.  They also put a ton of bracing and strapping etc on corners and windows etc. and my son and I started to do window lintels on the short wall on the N.



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Today the framers started to frame what they could in the bonus space.


This is where the train room is:




In other news the guys helping with teh foam got the back wall finished. 




So now all the foam blocks are in place for the whole house.  We still need to make the beam pockets in the foam, finish adding in the extra layer of foam insulation being inserted, put in vertical steel, a few random other pieces of rebar, and do a lot more strapping on seams, around windows, on manufactured corners, etc as well as the outside bracing using joists to keep the wall straight during the pour, etc.   My help, who is in charge of thepour (and did the final bits of the wall) thinks we could be ready Monday to pour the final wall bits.  A week for it to set enough to be ok to load some and they can set the ridge beam and other beams and put the roof on.


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Last I reported they were starting to frame the bonus space and had a lot of the main floor framed as we finished up the foam for the final pour on May 17.  That happened and they've been putting on the roof since around the 24th.  The first couple days were putting down some plates and getting some beams set.  Last week it started in earnest.


The first pic is post-pour a few days before they started the roof.  The rest of the pics show various bits since they started the roof.





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