Gabion walls and lots of rocks.

30 tons of rock …. so far. I ordered 15 tons of rock, then 15 tons more rock! I hand loaded some in the bottom of the gabions and then reserved a skid steer for the rest. The framer I contracted with offered to let me use his skid steer for the job since he will have it on site in a few days anyway to forklift lumber on the job. What a lifesaver!

We still have to order 15 more tons of rock, for a second level of retaining that may have to be hand loaded…Ugh! The whole reason for getting these filled so early in the process is that once the deck is up, we would have to load them all by hand.

Here are some photos of the job in 95 degree heat. I hooked up the hose and created a fine mister, L says every construction project needs a fine mister! 🙂

First time driving one of these machines in a long time.

First time driving one of these machines in a long time.

Gabions completed on East side of the drive.

Gabions completed on East side of the drive.

The best wife in the world...helping with filling gabions, not a fun job, but still smiling!

The best wife in the world…helping with filling gabions, not a fun job, but still smiling!

July 27, and 95 degrees in the sun called for some cooling off. An unanticipated use of having water on site!

July 27, and 95 degrees in the sun called for some cooling off. An unanticipated use of having water on site!

Gabions on the west side of the drive...a little too full, we'll need to take a few out.

Gabions on the west side of the drive…a little too full, we’ll need to take a few out.

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Radiant heat, concrete, less dust and gabion baskets!

That’s right…less dust! The driveway has been the culmination of clay and large trucks grinding it up creating what we refer to on a mountain biking trail as “moon dust”, when the dust is so fine, it goes EVERYWHERE!

A lot has been going since the last post. Including cutting more neighbors phone lines that happen to run right through the middle of the lot, and finally getting an easement and a power trench run. We should have power within a few days!

The excavators finished back filling and rough grading the property as well as putting gravel in the driveway where we will eventually have concrete, and road base over the rest of the 200 plus foot long drive. This gravel and road base will keep the dust down considerably. To help this, when we trenched to put in the water line and new meter, I put in a stop ‘n’ waste for a sprinkler system with a ‘T’ and a hose bib, so we would have water during construction. I can now spray down the dust if needed

The basement floor is heated with radiant tubes encased in the concrete slab, so the plumbing/heating company installed those, and then we poured the concrete over 1/2 of the slab. The other half is poured on Tuesday, July 26th.

In the meantime, while waiting for the Utah holiday called pioneer day (Pie and Beer day to those of us not of the predominant religion) weekend to pass, I built many of the gabion baskets that will retain the 2 sides of the driveway. Gabion baskets are steel wire grid cages that hold stone, and retain earth while still letting moisture pass through and not getting the hydrostatic pressure of a standard concrete of block wall. They also look super cool, and have kind of a modern, rustic feel to them. We need to fill the baskets with rock, which sounds like a daunting task, so I may rent a skidster and load the rock by machine to save my back. After all we are looking at about 23 tons of rock for the 9 baskets I have assembled so far.

We will start framing in about a week. It may finally start looking like a house!!!

Radiant heat tubes all set to be embedded in the basement slab.

Radiant heat tubes all set to be embedded in the basement slab.

Gravel for the driveway that will be concrete outside the garage.

Gravel for the driveway that will be concrete outside the garage.

Gabions on the west side of the drive, and may get a partial second level to help hold the dirt back.

Gabions on the west side of the drive, and may get a partial second level to help hold the dirt back.

The afternoon sun highlighting rust on the gabion baskets. I'm am counting on them not rusting out before I do :-)

The afternoon sun highlighting rust on the gabion baskets. I’m am counting on them not rusting out before I do 🙂

Gabions to the right of the garage.

Gabions to the right of the garage.

Long winding driveway covered in road base. It will eventually have a gravel topping and remain that way.

Long winding driveway covered in road base. It will eventually have a gravel topping and remain that way.

Gabion baskets on approach to the garage.

Gabion baskets on approach to the garage.

The concrete cowboy putting a slick finish with a power trowel on the basement floor. This will be the finish floor.

The concrete cowboy putting a slick finish with a power trowel on the basement floor. This will be the finish floor.

The power trench and conduit from a neighbors property to ours where a HUGE phone cable (holding about 50 wires) was cut several weeks ago and caused some big delays in getting power to the house.

The power trench and conduit from a neighbors property to ours where a HUGE phone cable (holding about 50 wires) was cut several weeks ago and caused some big delays in getting power to the house.

 

 

Getting ready for basement slab

Gravel is being poured in to the house to support the basement concrete slab. Once the sub-rough plumbing was in place and gravel was put into the living area of the basement, L and I put in radon mitigation piping. It was difficult pulling the gravel out of the way to get the pipe at the right level, just below where the slab will be, so we built the radon piping for the area under the garage and gear storage room slab before the gravel goes in.

After the gravel is in, we will put in 2″of XPS insulation to give the radiant heated slab (about R-10) insulation, covered by a 6 mila moisture barrier taped. After that, the plumbers will put the radiant heat tubing in and that will all be covered in concrete that will be the finished floor surface of the basement.

Overview of the basement and the pile of foam waiting to go above the gravel and below the poured slab.

Overview of the basement and the pile of foam waiting to go above the gravel and below the poured slab.

Radon piping in the foreground and sub-rough plumbing poking up through the gavel in the basement living area,

Radon piping in the foreground and sub-rough plumbing poking up through the gavel in the basement living area,

Caulk on the back side of foam that will separate the basement slab from the foundation walls to keep the cold from the footings and foundation from transferring to the slab.

Caulk on the back side of foam that will separate the edges of the basement slab from the foundation walls to keep the cold from the footings and foundation from transferring to the slab.

Backfill

After many days of putting in a french drain, raingutter drain, and really heavy plate steel window wells, we are back filling the foundation. The window wells will rust over time, and they weigh approximately 425 lbs. each. I imagine even with rusting they will last longer than me.

Next we will install a radon vent system under the basement slab, 2″ of XPS subslab foam insulation, radiant heat tubing and then the concrete basement floor.

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Rafael backfilling the foundation.

Rafael backfilling the foundation.

Backfilling near the window wells.

Backfilling near the window wells.

Grade at garage entry level. Much easier to get in and out of the house area now!

Grade at garage entry level. Much easier to get in and out of the house area now!

Ready for back fill

After 4 days of L and I working on the foundation, we are ready for backfill. What a load of hard work!

We will start backfilling on Wednesday July, 13th, but I still need to put together the drain tile (french drain) as well as drain pipe to route rain gutter drainage underground.

We will not back fill the north foundation wall, which is 58 feet long, until the floor joists are in place to help support the wall and not allow the pressure from the soil to warp the wall. The area around the window

Foundation ready for backfill.

Foundation ready for backfill.

Finish grade slop at front of house.

Finish grade slop at front of house.

L after a really hard days work!

L after a really hard days work!

wells will only get filled to the bottom as well, since I still have to build them out of steel plate.

Exterior foundation waterproofing, insulation, and drainboard.

We spent the weekend applying a ‘peel and stick’ foundation waterproofing (Henry Blueskin) to the concrete walls, nailing 2″ EPS foam to the foundation walls and adding a dimpled drainboard over the foam. This might be a little overkill, but with all the sharp rock in the back fill and the entire roof draining to the the uphill side of the house, we felt it was best to put a durable material that drained well over the foam and waterproofing….I DO NOT want to have to dig up a foundation, ever!

Attaching the foam to the concrete was not too bad with a Ramset Powder actuated gun, but attaching the drain board is pretty tricky.  After much trial and error, we think we have it figured out. Sunday was extremely windy and trying to attach 4×8 sheets of foam in the wind was trying. Finally, the wind got so bad we called it a day, and will finish up Monday so the foundation can be partially back filled Wednesday and we can move on the sub-rough plumbing, and gravel for the basement slab.

Henry Blueskin peel and stick waterproofing.

Henry Blueskin peel and stick waterproofing.

Henry Blueskin waterproofing.

Henry Blueskin waterproofing.

Found a shady spot for lunch behind the foundation wall Saturday.

Found a shady spot for lunch behind the foundation wall Saturday.

Below grade foundation insulation complete.

Below grade foundation insulation complete.

Insulation around the garage walls

Insulation around the garage walls

Some of the drainboard applied.

Some of the drainboard applied.

Front of house insulation and drainboard.

Front of house insulation and drainboard.

 

All that concrete = a foundation!

There has not been much to say, since the foundation forms were finished and ready for concrete on June 29th, but did not pour until July 5th, with the holiday weekend, and the concrete company’s schedule. This happened because the excavation took longer to dig with all the rock. So as you see, one delay affects other subs, which can result in other delays.

Six concrete trucks later, we have a foundation that is 8″ thick, and between 10′ and 14′ high.

Next up is applying a peel and stick waterproof membrane, followed by 2″ of EPS foam and then a dimpled drainboard. We’ll backfill the front and sides of the home, and leave the back 58′ long wall until the floor is built to help keep the wall from moving from the pressure of the dirt and rock in the backfill. After that comes gravel inside the home, sub-rough plumbing, a radon vent, 2″ of EPS foam for under slab insulation, a 6 mil polyethylene water barrier, radiant heat tubing, and finally a concrete basement slab.  Then framing in about 3 weeks.

Things should start moving along now, that we have a foundation to build on!

The foundation is finally done!

The foundation is finally done!

View from the drive near the house.

View from the drive near the house.

Footing for the stairs and west window opening of 5' high x 6' wide.

Footing for the stairs and west window opening of 5′ high x 6′ wide.

Measuring the header over the garage.

Measuring the header over the garage.

The concrete crew hard at work.

The concrete crew hard at work.

Pouring the foundation with Mt. Timpanogos in the background.

Pouring the foundation with Mt. Timpanogos in the background.