Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Pulling the Beams and Setting the House Down

I apologize for the 10-day gap in updates. The first week of no posts was due to rain delaying things and my not getting around to posting. Then I was plagued by technical difficulties with Blogger refusing to post the update that I did. So this is version 2 of this post and I'm hoping it works.

Here's a recap of last week: Joel continued to remove the porch floor. Bert finished laying block under the porch and was then ready to set the house down. The house was ready to be set down once Bert cut insulation board to serve as a "gasket" between the house and blocks. He also had to put post jacks in to support the house. While a few of these are needed in any house, we had to have a few additional jacks to support places where previous owners had cut the beams to insert heating ducts. The house could then be set down. Once the house was set, the beams were pulled. First the shorter cross beams that came out the sides of the house, then the two long (52') beams that actually carried the whole house. The question has been asked about how the house is attached to the foundation. It is attached to its new foundation just like it (and any other old house) was attached to its old, original foundation: gravity. Yes, old houses are just resting atop their foundations. No bolts or fasteners.

Foundation blocks are now complete except where the beams come through.

More porch flooring was removed. It is very dry wood, so it cannot be saved for re-use.

Post jacks went up where previous owners had cut the house beams to install heating ducts. These will stay.

The post jacks went in prior to pulling the main beams (left). 

The gasket between the foundation and the house is in place. The house was now ready to be set down.

Setting the house down onto the foundation.

Pulling one of the cross beams out the side of the foundation.

Pam was the traffic control person when Bert pulled the long beams onto Third Street.

Pulling the first of the two long beams.

Bert is quite resourceful when it comes to moving beams!

 And, the there's the dirt on the street. Joel was a good neighbor and swept it off.

 Back at 511 N. Main, the hole where the house was is nearly filled in.

 Just a little father - son time on a beam.
We're not quite as cool as the famous photo of the ironworkers having lunch above New York. 

 Pulling the second beam.

 How to move a 52-foot beam.

End of the week. Beams and piers are gone. Permanent posts are in. The basement looks great and is ready for the floor!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Some Saturday Work

On Saturday, Joel started the task of removing the porch floor. This wooden floor is not in poor condition, but it needs to be removed so concrete can be poured under it. The room under the front porch will have a concrete ceiling. The wood of these old porch boards is dry, so pulling them up and saving them is out of the question.

A change of plans on another job Bert was set to help with on Saturday freed him up to come put up some more blocks at 501. As he was a little behind his own schedule, he took advantage of the opportunity to finish up the north and south sides and start some blocks under the porch.

After sawing along the edge, the first few pieces are removed.

Then more. He leaves a couple every little bit to keep the floor joist stable.

My favorite view from below the porch. (His dear mother-in-law will be worried for his safety.)

The north side is finished up..... is the south side.

Block started under the porch. 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Setting Blocks (Th/Fri)

Thursday (Day 1 of Blocks):
Today's progress should answer questions for many people who have been wondering when and where the house and foundation are going to meet. Bert started by setting the two corners on the west end of the house, then filled in the distance between. The beams stick through the blocks right now. Once he has blocks all the way around, he'll set the house down, pull the beams, and lay blocks in the empty spaces.

 Corners set.

 Four rows of split-face block. The house is about 2 inches above the block now. So it's just 2" higher than it will be when everything is completed.

West side is finished until the beams are removed. Then the holes will be filled in and you'll never know there were beams there. 

Around the corner to the south side.

 Making progress on the south side.

At the end of the day, 3 of the 4 rows are up on the south side.

Friday (Day 2 of Blocks):
Bert moved around to the north side today and got a good deal accomplished on that side. He had to backfill with gravel first so he had a base to stand on to do the work. 
The plan is that he'll finish blocks on Monday and Tuesday and will set the house down on Wednesday of next week. Floor work will start on Thursday.

 North wall window opening. 
That's the old stair to the basement coming down. That will be removed.
Looking on down that north wall.
Opening on far right is the window shown above. Next hole is for glass blocks to let light into the furnace room, then a beam hole followed by the north egress window.

Inside view of the walls: 6 feet of poured concrete topped by 4 rows of block. Though the outside of the block is rough (split faced), the inside is smooth. Here, Bert smooths out the mortar in the joints.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Ready to Set Blocks

We had Monday (Independence Day) off, followed by a couple of rainy days. That slowed things a bit on Tuesday and Bert didn't come to the site on Wednesday. However, I'll update on what has been accomplished.

On Sunday, Grandma Louise made a visit and got to see the project first hand. She gets some updates by hearing about it on phone calls and has seen the blog, but the in-person site visit was good.

Joel, Laura, and I spent a lot of July 4 holiday working at the former house site. The foundation has to be down below the soil line and the steps needed to be taken down prior to the excavation company filling the hole and smoothing it over. While they were knocking down the remains of the foundation, I salvaged a few more bricks, some brick landscape edging, and several clumps of daylilies. Prior to the move, we had dug hydrangeas, hostas, a peony, and columbine. They are all temporarily living at my house until they move to the 501 site.

Tuesday, Bert picked up the concrete blocks, sand, and mortar mix that he'll need to finish the foundation. Then he got everything ready to go for setting the blocks. It rained Tuesday night, so no work took place on Wednesday. Tomorrow should be good and we'll be moving forward again.

Grandma makes a visit.

Back at the house's original site, the foundation has to be knocked down to below ground level. 

Rubble in the basement.

 At the new site, concrete blocks and mortar mix are ready.

 The new foundation will be four rows of split-face blocks. The block on the bottom left is what will show on the outside.

Ready to go. Blocks are lined up along the foundation, mixer is ready. Now we just need nice weather.

Bert lifted the house to make it level and about 2 inches higher than it will be when the blocks are laid. The distance between the sill of the house and the top of the poured walls is about 36 inches.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Backfilling and Sump Pump Holes

Friday was spent doing some things that were less exciting than pouring walls or pulling the forms and seeing the walls. Bert started the process of backfilling the trench around the foundation. The little ramp that was dug out so he could get the skid steer into the basement has been filled in. He has put gravel down as the first layer over the footing tiles, then adding soil over that. It will be topped off with black dirt suited for actually growing things.

There will be a sump pump in the basement and one on the outside near the front porch -- one connected to each of the two footing tiles. The inside sump hole is a typical pre-molded form. The outside pump will be in a large vertical tile that will connect to the outside footing tile.

In addition to the backfilling and the sump holes, Bert got most of the forms removed from the inside of the basement and I oiled them as they were stacked. Progress. His hope is that next week will focus on getting foundation block laid. The house should be down on its new foundation around Bastille Day.

Some of the limestone gravel backfill. This is the first layer.

Soil is added on top of the gravel. The gravel will provide good drainage.

Inside sump hole. This is ready to go if we get the rain that is in the forecast.

Outside sump pump will go in the bottom of this 8-foot tile hole. Notice the footing tiles that are connected to either side of the tile.

We put a cover on that big tile hole, then stabilized its position by pouring gravel around it.

The egress windows make for a good opening for tossing forms out. All of the larger 2-foot forms are now stacked and oiled. We still have some of the smaller sections to remove.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Sealing the Foundation

Thursday was the day to pack up the forms from the outside of the foundation. After collecting them, their surface gets oiled prior to stacking and storing. The oil is necessary for the form to release from the concrete.

Once forms were off around the outside, we removed the part of the connector straps that protruded and Bert sealed the walls with hot tar. Once the tar has "set" overnight, gravel can be put in the overdig to cover the footing tile and then dirt backfill can close that trench around the house.

A bit of homeowner "sweat equity." Joel oils the forms as Bert brings and stacks them.

Inside wall. Forms removed. All the inside forms have to be put out through the windows or over the top of the wall on Friday. Then oiled and stacked. Labor intensive, heavy work.

The connector straps that held the forms need to be removed. These are removed in a very special way: You take a 3-foot 2x4 and whack the strap in a downward motion.  They pop right off after a couple of whacks (or maybe 3 or 4).

Outside of the house. Exterior footing tile that is visible will soon be covered with gravel and then the space filled in with soil.

Connector straps removed, Bert "paints" the foundation with hot tar to seal it from water infiltration.

In progress. 

A couple more loads of stone arrived. This will be used as the first layer of backfill.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Pouring the Foundation Walls

Today (Wednesday) was the day for pouring the basement walls. This morning, it took just over 2 hours for three redi-mix trucks to deliver about 30 yards of 4,000 psi material into our forms. Though he usually works alone, Bert did have two guys assist for the pour today. It all went quite well. In the evening, the forms were ready to be removed. Bert returned and we took the forms down to reveal our very nice walls.  These walls are 6 feet high and 8 inches wide.

Some people who have come by have wondered if the house is going to be lowered onto the top of the walls as they are.  The fact that the frames of the egress windows extend beyond the top of the present walls has confused a few, too. No, the house is not going to be set directly on the top of today's walls. Four rows of split-face concrete blocs will go atop the foundation wall, extending it just over 32 inches in height. To accomplish that, the house will actually be lifted a few more inches to make room for the blocks, then it will be set down on the blocks once they are in place. Once the floor is poured, the house will have a basement with ceilings just over 8 feet in height.

One of our three delivery trucks, each carrying just over 9 cubic yards of redi mix.

 Pouring. Bert controls the process. Helpers pound on the inside forms to help get the mix to be settled and smooth along the forms.

Filling the forms. Reinforcing bar and the connecting brackets holding the forms are visible.

 Redi-mix is delivered into the forms.

 Helper Brad works the mix to make sure it is distributed evenly in the forms--no air pockets.
 Filled forms.

 In addition to the walls, a few small pads had to be poured in the floor of the basement. These will give extra support to the floor in the locations where support posts will be installed.

This is a failed attempt of one blogger to take a "from behind our heads" selfie while sitting next to his homeowner son at the end of the pour. We did get a somewhat crooked photo of the front porch with the filled forms under it.

 Under this ooze of concrete are some pins go through the connector strap and lock the two form panels together. Prior to removing the forms, all the pins had to be uncovered and then removed. There are 6 pins in each panel.
Below, the pins are visible just to the right of the vertical once the concrete is knocked off.
The whalers and their 2x4s that make the forms rigid also had to be removed.  This proved to be a good job for a blogger while Bert was removing forms inside the basement.

Inside wall with forms removed! Beautiful.

Outside wall with forms down. Frame is for one of the 2 egress windows. After forms are cleared, the part of the connecting strap that protrudes from the wall will be broken off and the wall will be tarred.

Removing forms from the wall.