Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Day 28: The Foundation is Done

My job on this day was to keep Leo out of the concrete so unfortunately I do not have any step by step photos.  The workers arrived early and the concrete trucks came soon after.  It took less concrete than originally estimated (saving $200+).

It was an all day job though.  The workers smoothed the concrete, let it set, and then smoothed it some more.  When it was dry, they cut expansion joints in it.  This allows the concrete some room to expand and prevents the chance of it cracking.  The foundation is wonderfully level and looks great.  The job cost about a third of what our main sub-contractor estimated.  

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Days 24 & 25 - Repacking the Dirt

With the rough plumbing done the dirt needed to be repacked before the concrete foundation could be poured.  Our sub-contractor rented a tamper which W and I picked up.  He came by on Day 24 to do the first round of tamping.

After the tamper we put up the sprinklers again.  This time that ran overnight.  The next morning the sub-contractor came back to run the tamper over it once more.  At the end of the second tamping we were officially ready for the concrete to be poured.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Days 22 & 23 - Rough Plumbing

We hired a plumber who will handle all of the plumbing from start to finish.  He and his assistant were here over two days to do the first stage which is the rough plumbing.  All of our lines are run in the foundation.  They are essentially pipes within pipes.

These pictures above were taken at the end of day 22.  Remember all of that dirt that was so tightly packed.  It had to be dug up to lay the pipe.  The catch was that it had to be packed before so that the dirt underneath the pipes would not settle later and ruin the slope.

At the end of Day 23 all of the rough plumbing was done and the pipes were covered.  The plumber was great!  He ran all of the normal plumbing, a pipe for the dryer vent (the green one on the left), and lines for the gray water system.  The angled green pipe on the right is for the air conditioner.  He will be back later for phase two of the plumbing.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Days 18 - 21

After all of the dirt was hauled in and packed with the tractors, it needed to wet to pack it more thoroughly.  We started the sprinkler running.  Then on Day 19 rain moved in.  It was not heavy, drenching rain but good steady soak in rain.  That was perfect for the dirt.  Not very exciting as far as construction posts go.  It was still a necessary step.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Day 17: Packing Dirt & a Visit from the Health Department

W got up and shoveled dirt into the spot where the last of the block were set.  Then he hooked up three of our garden sprinklers.  Water will help pack the dirt more tightly.  It is necessary for the dirt to be packed well so that the drain lines set by the plumber will not shift at a later date.

Rain would be even better to pack the dirt.  In spite of all the chances of rain, we never got enough to do much good.  Sprinklers had to do the job instead.

A worker from the health department came out to let us know where we could put the septic tank.  Fortunately the area we wanted it was acceptable.  Another item off our checklist.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Day 16 - Part 2: Errands and the Last of the Block

After all the dirt was put it on day 16, we left to run a couple of house related errands.  The first thing we needed to do was pick out a shower insert for the three quarter bath and also choose a tub for the main bathroom.  We started at one of the big box home stores and selected a couple of options that would work.

Then we went to a locally owned store.  First of all the service there was great.  We found a shower insert that was one piece which is what we really wanted.  It was only $100 more than the four piece we had looked at in the previous store.  The tub was nearly double the price, but it was large enough for my very tall husband to sit in.  He is not a big tub person but does like the occasional soak if he has sore muscles.  We only plan to do this once and a good tub and shower were on our list of priorities.  Best of all the sales person printed out a copy of the layout which our plumber will need to make sure the drains are in the right place.

Next on our errand list was a trip to the health department with the form we received along with our building permit.  We needed to complete an application and pay a fee to have someone come out to our property to tell us where the septic tank can go.

Finally we returned a roll of unused twine to a building supply store.  That was $13 back into the house account.  At this point every dollar is important!

Back home the block layers came back by to finish the last section of block.  We paid them for another 130 block.  All of the extra blocks (around 150) will be returned for a credit.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Day 16 - Part 1: More Dirt

We ended up needing 10 loads of dirt in total to fill up the space inside the blocks.  I did not complain as dirt is much cheaper than concrete.  After each load of dirt W and one of the sub-contractors used small tractors to compact it.  When they were done, Leo had a blast running around in the sand.  He would run up one side of the dirt, dive off the edge of the blocks, and run back around to do it all over again.

He needed a short break every now and then.

Finally all of that running wore him out!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Day 15

On Day 15 we started having dirt hauled in to fill the space up to the point where the concrete slab will be poured.  We had already had two loads of sand brought in.  Part of that went into the mortar for the blocks.  The remainder was put in the foundation with a front end loader.

Four loads were hauled in on this day bringing our total up to six.  The cost for this is per load.  I am continually amazed that people just keep bringing stuff to us without any money up front.  I know I have the money to pay them.  I suppose it is just part of the construction business for them.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Day 14

Day 14 brought a bit of unexpected news.  Our sub-contractor and the block layer stopped by and discovered that the wrong mortar had been sent and used when laying the block.  I had no idea there were different types.  Apparently there are and it makes a big difference.

They both agreed that it could be remedied by pouring a bit of concrete into the blocks in advance.  This would have to be done anyway.  I am sure these unexpected issues will continue to come up along the construction journey.

I am thankful that it was discovered before we were ready to pour the foundation.  Otherwise the block might not have held, and we could have ended up with concrete all over the yard.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Days 11 &12: Block

The predicted rain never arrived so we were able to go right to the next step in our new house which was the block.  We ordered the block and had it delivered.  Then we paid a sub-contractor to lay the block.  Most commonly the amount is based on the number of blocks - so much money per block.  One section of block could not be put in at this time to allow for the dump truck to back in and dump the dirt.  You can see that section on the right hand side of the picture below.  We paid for 500 blocks at the end of the second day.

The block layers leveled each row as they went.  In the end it was perfectly leveled to the original string line.  Our cost per block was higher than the normal job since many of the blocks had to be lifted over the pieces of rebar that were sticking up.  Even with all of this the job came in at about half of what we expected the cost to be.  That was a nice surprise.