Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Foundation, Part 2

Last I left you, we went from a foundation to a house shaped house. So what about the bits in between? I have to say, it wasn't easy. I may have lost my cool more times than I care to admit. There may have been a few walls that were taken down and put back up multiple times, but we kept going because there wasn't any other option. It was exhausting at times, working a full time job, coming home, working on the house, eating dinner, showering, then going to bed, only to do the same thing the next day and the next . . . weeks really mean nothing to me now. Friday? Oh, Friday is not what it used to be. Friday is the transition day before a full weekend of working on the house.

I don't mean to sound like I haven't enjoyed my time. I have, most certainly. Sure, it's been hard, and I knew it would be, but there's also something amazing about working with your hands and actually accomplishing something tangible. It's so satisfying to look around after you've hit a major milestone and realize that you did this. You. Well, a few other people, too. But mainly you.

So anyway, here's what happened after our footers were poured. The foundation contractor poured the walls after the footers had cured a bit. Then the forms came off the walls bright and early on the Fourth of July. It was pretty exciting, I must say, to come home and suddenly have walls in this big hole in the ground. They really did a great job despite the fact that the walls are 6 inches taller than they are supposed to be. But we can make the height thing work.

Foundation poured, with the forms still in place
Admiring our freshly exposed foundation
The next step was to waterproof the walls, which has definitely been my least favorite job to date. Imagine being in this damp, hot, narrow alley between a concrete wall and a wall of dirt. Then imagine dipping a giant roller in asphalt, which smells horrible, and then rolling it on the wall, all while trying not to sink into the ground, fall into the dirt, or worse, fall into the asphalt-covered walls. And good luck not getting it all over yourself. We may have just thrown our clothes out after this job was done. Oh and then times two coats. It was not fun, but it was necessary so that our basement stays dry.

The narrow "alley" with the forms still on
John waterproofing
After the asphalt dried, we put the foam up on the outside of the foundation. This was really easy given that our walls are eight feet tall and the sheets of foam are also eight feet tall. We just globbed on some adhesive and lined them up on the wall. Some of the adhesive did let go because the asphalt was a bit tacky from being in the sun, but we stuck the sheets back up and once everything was backfilled it wasn't a problem at all since the stone helped to hold everything in place.

Waterproofed and ready for foam

Backfilling with stone. There's also a drainage pipe under all that stone
so everything stays nice and dry (we hope).
Thanks for reading! I'm hoping to keep this blog updated with our current progress as well as with what we've done. There's a lot to catch up on!

2 comments:

  1. Hi! Just started reading your story. I found you via Sara @ Feeding the Soil. Could you do a post about why you chose to build vs. buy. And maybe give us an outline of what you wanted in a house? Look forward to reading more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Andee! Glad you found your way over here from Sara's blog. You raise some really valid questions that I'll definitely post about more in depth.

      In short, yes, buying (and renovating) is the most environmentally friendly option, but we were drawn to the idea of building for a few reasons. My parents built their house and the idea has always been appealing to me. Mostly, though, we wanted to be close to my parents; we're literally right next door. I'm an only child and will one day be their only caregiver, so we're planning for the possibility of a house swap at some point. They will move into our house and we will move into theirs. The design of the house is such that they can live in it all on one floor without having to go up any steps to get into the house, which is not possible at their current home. We would then live in their house, and will most likely later move back to the house we are building. Rather complicated, I know. There's a slew of other reasons, too, like concern about the materials that might be in an older home if we'd purchased one (lead, asbestos), but I'll be sure to go into more details in an actual post.

      As for the design, we knew we wanted an open floor plan and a natural building method. With my parents possibly living there one day, we also knew we needed an accessible bathroom and bedroom all on the first floor with at least one entry that doesn't have steps.

      I hope that somewhat answers your questions!

      Delete