Monthly Archives: November 2015

All Barred Up

November 30, 2015

As hoped, the last week has gone quite well and I am very close to being ready for the garage slab and basement walk-up footing pour.  I am just waiting for some direction from my engineer in Ontario regarding the rooting of rebar around the walk-up landing floor drain.  I hopefully get the response and complete the bar layout for the footing tomorrow.

Over the last week I was able to get through the following tasks:

  • lay down the plywood deck that the slab will be supported on (I covered with plastic and will re-use for the second storey floor sheathing)
  • Layout and tie off the 20M Rebar grid @ 10″ O.C.  I elected this time to use pre-made rebar ties and a rebar tie tool.  This made the job a LOT faster and easier.  Wish I had done this for the foundation bars!
  • Fabricate the corner mats.  These have a 1.5″ TOP cover instead of bottom cover so I had to figure out a way to support them.  I tried just tying off to rebar stubs, but could not get the ties tight enough without snapping.  SO I used my small MIG welder and the whole thing went much easier after that.
  • Install rigid foam under the portion of the walkout footing that will be the exposed landing.  4″ of rigid foam was called out by the engineer to keep the soil below the slab from freezing and heaving.
  • Preliminary bar layout for walkout footing.
  • Put up tarp over garage.  This is installed so that it can easily be pushed to one side during the pour that will utilize a boom pump, and then brought back and secured for the final finishing of the concrete.
  • Put in penetrations for the Waste Veg Oil system (I will have a 1.5″ ABS drain that I will pour the collected veg oil into.  This will go down to the room below the garage into 1000 litre holding tanks.  I will also have a 1″ PVC line coming back up into garage that will be for the processed fuel I will pump into the truck.
Basic Grid in Place.  1.5" bottom cover @ 10" O.C>

Basic Rebar Grid in Place. 1.5″ bottom cover @ 10″ O.C>

Elevated Corner Mats.  A MIG welder saved the day on this one.

Elevated Rebar Corner Mats. A MIG welder saved the day on this one.

Rigid foam and preliminary layout of bars for basement walkup footing

Rigid foam and preliminary layout of bars for basement walkup footing

This should keep the slab dry during the finishing process.

This should keep the slab dry during the finishing process.

As long as the moisture does not condense on underside of tarp.  I rained today when all of this ice melted causing quite a mess.

As long as the moisture does not condense on underside of tarp. I rained today when all of this ice melted causing quite a mess.

I hope to have my engineering inspection complete by Wednesday and district on Friday.  The current plan is to pour on Tuesday the 8th when the temps are a bit higher.

Thanks for visiting.

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Another First

November 22, 2015

Well, I could get used to this, it was another productive week that stayed on schedule.  In fact, things actually took one less day than planned so I was able to catch up on some chores and vendor follow up on Thursday.

Monday to Wednesday saw the removal of the rest of the scaffold, the movement of excess gravel from the walk-up footing area (where I had the stockpile blown in months ago), into the cold room under the garage.  I also constructed the forms for the walk-up stair footing.  I was assisted by Chris from Embers on Tuesday to move the bulk of the gravel and help with lifting out the remaining scaffold frames from the pit. Finally, I built a fast scaffold platform outboard of the foundation at the entrance to the garage, so that I and the concrete placing crew would have easy access to the garage slab.

Access platform to garage deck almost complete.

Access platform to garage deck.

Basement Walk-Up Stair footing forms complete.

Basement Walk-Up Stair footing forms complete.

If you think the above footing is rather large, you would be correct.  The total footing length is 28’3″ x 6′ and 10″ deep.  This mass of a footing was needed because I am so close to the property line, that I could not put the required footing outboard of the walk-up foundation.  So the majority of the footing is on the inboard side and the mass is needed to counteract the force of the backfill of a 12′ tall wall.  I will also use the footing as my finished landing slab. (see S11 Basement Walk-Out Details)

I am using dimple to provide a drainage plane between the foundation footing, and the walk-out footing.

I am using dimple to provide a drainage plane between the foundation footing, and the walk-out footing.  This will drain the pocket created by the Roxul

On Friday morning my shipment of shoring arrived from TTF Scaffolding and I started yet another task that is new to me – installing suspended concrete slab shoring.  I drove to a few multi-family hi-rise construction sites over the last couple of weeks to ‘inspect’ how it was done by the big boys.  I even got some pointers from one of the site’s crew members.  I also had a sketch from my engineer on what support spacing to use and what size of lumber was needed for the joists. By the end of Saturday, I had all of the frames in place and levelled, the beams installed and secured, and half of the joists roughly placed.  I finished off the rough placement of the beams today.

Here it comes!

Here it comes!

That was the easy part. Now I have to assemble all of this stuff.

That was the easy part. Now I have to assemble all of this stuff.

Anyone who has ever installed scaffolding will appreciate the next tip.

You know me, I always like to try and find a way to use mechanical advantage. The farm jack made easy work of raising the frames to the required height and then just free spinning the feet up to the frame.

You know me, I always like to try and find a way to use mechanical advantage. The farm jack made easy work of raising the frames to the required height and then just free spinning the feet up to the frame.

Shoring Frames and Beams installed

Shoring Frames and Beams installed and levelled.

Finished loosely placing half of the joists before calling it a day.

Finished loosely placing half of the joists before calling it a day Saturday.

Each U-Head has a clip that slides into a channel in the beam.

Each U-Head has a clip that slides into a channel in the beam.

The beams are also attached to each other using the same clip.

The beams are also attached to each other using the same clip.

Here is my quick primer for others doing a suspended concrete slab for the first time.

  1. You need to place the frame adjustable feet on a 2×6 mud sill (minimum, 2×8 better but I did not have any use for them in the rest of construction).  This prevents the legs from pushing into the soil or gravel under the weight of the poured concrete.  I used 12′ lengths so that I could easily line up multiple frames end to end (important for installing beams later).  As I had a gravel base, this just required raking out a flat zone the width and length of the plank.
  2. Roughly install all frames with braces at the spacing called out by the engineer and then right away install the U-Heads before raising the frames (easier to reach).  At this time, also loosely install one retaining clip into each head (I learned the hard way, I installed mine after I had all of the frames raised and the beams in place – this made it much more difficult to level the frames and I also had to lift each beam out of the pocket so I could get the clip bolt in place).
  3. Figure out your needed finish height of the shoring deck and take away the height of your frames, beams, and joists.  The remainder is the height that the adjustable legs and adjustable U-Heads have to make up.  Use the adjustable feet to make up half this height. (Again, I learned this the hard way.  I went through all the trouble of raising and levelling all the frames before figuring out I had not raised them far enough and had to start again.)
  4. Use a 6-8 ft level to ensure that all the frames have been raised to the same elevation (this ensure the frames themselves are all plumb which is needed to provide maximum support strength).  I also used a 4′ level to ensure the frames were themselves level side to side before levelling to the adjacent frame.
  5. Once all frames are levelled to the right elevation, install the beams and tighten down the clips. Once again, I made the mistake of installing the beams quite early in the process before I had even raised up the frames.  The beams made the raising and levelling of the frames more difficult.  Wait till the frames are ready.  The beams are made of aluminum and very light so not difficult to get up on the U-Heads after they are at height.
  6. Make final adjustments to the elevation using a level across the installed beams.
  7. As I am pouring a garage slab, there will be a slope to the finished slab.  To ensure extra concrete was not needed I also sloped the form work so that the bottom of the slab will also conform to the same slope. I did this by measuring down from each end and getting one beam at each end to the right elevation before using a level to transfer to the other parallel beams at each end.
  8. I then did the same thing down the middle of the shoring where the two beam lengths overlap, by measuring each side’s outboard beam to the bottom of my slopped plywood used to determine the elevation of the slab top surface.  I then transferred this to the parallel beams with a level working to the centre from each side.
  9. Install joists at required centres.  My engineer calculated I only needed 3.5″ depth @ 16″ centres for my slab.  The shoring rental companies use 4×6 joists, but typically put them on there sides for a 5.5″ height.  But as I only needed the 3.5″ depth, I could place the joists on there flat making them safer to work with as now I do not have to worry about them tipping over as I install the plywood.
  10. Install Plywood.  You will probably have to purchase this.  I did not find any companies who rented shoring plywood. The typical plywood forming rented is for vertical applications and has the pre-drilled or cut slots for the form ties.  This would not be appropriate for a horizontal application as enough concrete would ooze through these holes, and the broken corners and such of used formwork, that you would have noticeable deflections on your finished slab.  So I purchased the 3/4″ T&G that I am using for my floors and will cover with plastic before placing my rebar, so that it stays nice and pristine to re-use later when framing my second floor.

Monday the plywood will be delivered in the AM and the rebar should be delivered in the PM.  It is my hope that I will have all the bar placed and ready for inspection by my next update at the end of next week.

Thanks for visiting.

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” —Albert Einstein (1879-1955) Theoretical Physicist, Philosopher, Nobel Prize Winner

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Video Updates

November 15, 2015

Hey folks,

Just a quick update to let you know I uploaded a series of videos today.  You can access them by clicking links below or by clicking on my YouTube channel at the left of this screen.

Roving Cam Time Lapse Videos

August: Major activities this month include:
– Complete gravel cover of perimeter drainage pipe
– Continue installation of Delta Drain 6000 HI-X dimple membrane to exterior of insulation
– Begin compacted backfill and foundation vertical granular drainage plane on east and south walls

September:  Major activities this month include:
– Complete torch on water proofing membrane at top of east and south foundation walls
– Complete exterior Roxul insulation top half of east and south foundation walls
– Complete Delta Drain 6000 HI-X dimple membrane to top half of east and south foundation walls
– Continue compacted backfill and foundation vertical granular drainage on east and south foundation walls

October: Major activities this month include:
– Continue compacted backfill and foundation vertical granular drainage on south foundation wall
– Complete torch on water proofing membrane at top of west foundation wall
– Complete exterior Roxul insulation top half of west foundation walls
– Complete Delta Drain 6000 HI-X dimple membrane to top half of south and west foundation walls
– Continue compacted backfill and foundation vertical granular drainage activities on south, west and garage east foundation walls
– Storm water management
– Screening rock out of remainder of backfill soil

Shed Cam Time lapse – Foundation Waterproofing, insulation, and backfill.

Cheers

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Steady Progress

November 15, 2015

I just love times where construction actually goes according to plan.  They have been so few and far between in my experience, that when they do happen, it just makes life good.

Such is the current situation with the garage slab forming.  You may remember the below plan I drew up for the planned form work.

Plan for garage wall stub formwork.  Green is already poured.  2x4 uprights will allow for inboard side of forms to be hung without any inside attachment.

Plan for garage wall stub formwork. Green is already poured. 2×4 uprights will allow for inboard side of forms to be hung without any inside attachment.

Well – it worked out perfectly!  The forms were easy to construct, are sturdy (I can stand on them with next to no deflection), and should make the pouring of the curbs a piece of cake.

I used string lines to identify the slop of the garage slab (sloped 2.5" to drain snow melt and rain water)

I used string lines to identify the slop of the garage slab (sloped 2.5″ to drain snow melt and rain water)

As above, I used a string line to identify the slope I needed for the garage slab.  I then cut a series of plywood strips with the bottom edge chamfered (allows the concrete float to get tight into the corner for a nice finish). I temporarily hung the plywood strips so the bottom conformed to my slab slopping string line (bright orange).  I then marked the top edge level with the upper string line and removed and cut the tapper before mounting permanently.

Inboard plywood panel cut to slope

Inboard plywood panel cut to slope

The result was a perfectly tapered plywood inboard form without the need to measure each segment.  The cutting of these segments was made a breeze by the use of a guide rail for the skill saw.  I got the idea when I came across this YouTube video.  Mine took about 15 minutes to build using my construction table saw.  I used a string line to ensure I had a perfectly straight fence as I screwed it to the base plate.

8' Skill Saw Cutting Rail

8′ Skill Saw Cutting Rail

These are a great jig in construction as you can just screw then right to the workpiece to hold in place – No need for clamps. Below, I used to to cut a horizontal line on a vertical piece of plywood forming.  The whole 18′ cut took about 2 minutes including the need to move the jig down to the next position on the line twice.

I have screwed my skill saw cutting rail right to the work.

I have screwed my skill saw cutting rail right to the work.

With the jig screwed into place, it is very easy and fast to cut a straight line in this awkward position.

With the jig screwed into place, it is very easy and fast to cut a straight line in this awkward position.

I also made a quick jig to cut Roxul insulation panels.  I previously used a table saw but this needed to be done outdoors with a mask and the saw had to be cleaned up before I could cut wood again.  The below jig took about 20 minutes to build and will cut all 3′ and 4′ panels in seconds.

Jig is made up of a top and bottom cutting guide. The bottom is fixed and the top travels.

Jig is made up of a top and bottom cutting guide. The bottom is fixed and the top travels.

A serrated bread knife works best.

A serrated bread knife works best.

Top and bottom guides are both two pieces of plywood held close together with blocking on the ends.  The knife slides from the top slit through the bottom slit.  (The knife is on a cant backwards which is making it look out of square. The cut pieces were less than 1/8" off).

Top and bottom guides are both two pieces of plywood held close together with blocking on the ends. The knife slides from the top slit through the bottom slit. (The knife is on a cant backwards which is making it look out of square. The cut pieces were less than 1/8″ off).

Left with a very nice crisp and straight edge.

Left with a very nice crisp and straight edge.

I also free handed the cant for the insulation insert into the forms.  The cant allows for proper concrete cover around rebar.

I also free handed the cant for the insulation insert into the forms. The cant allows for proper concrete cover around rebar.

The garage slab forming also required hanging the last rim board.  It was too cold for the membrane so a little encouragement was used.

The garage slab forming also required hanging the last rim board. It was too cold for the membrane so a little encouragement was used.

Rimboard now in place along with the garage sink drain and vent line (Wrapped in bubble wrap to allow movement after pour).

Rimboard now in place along with the garage sink drain and vent line (Wrapped in bubble wrap to allow movement after pour).

Complete form assembly.  This shot also shows the storm water drain that will connect to a roof eaves trough later in the construction.  I routed this through the wall so that I would not have an unsightly downspout right at the front entrance.

Complete form assembly. This shot also shows the storm water drain that will connect to a roof eaves trough later in the construction. I routed this through the wall so that I would not have an unsightly downspout right at the front entrance.

I did the same thing with the clean-out for the perimeter drainage system (white cap)

I did the same thing with the clean-out for the perimeter drainage system (white cap)

Here is the business end.  The black ABS will transition back to PVC before gravity feeding to a shallow storm sump by the District connection.  The white PVC pipe connected down to the perimeter drainage 12' below and will provide a clean-out port.

Here is the business end. The black ABS will transition back to PVC before gravity feeding to a shallow storm sump by the District connection. The white PVC pipe connected down to the perimeter drainage 12′ below and will provide a clean-out port. This is all below grade and will not be visible from the front entrance a few ft away.  I will of course have to cut the plywood formwork away after the pour.

With the form work complete, Mr. J came by on Friday and helped me get most of the scaffolding taken down.

With the form work complete, Mr. J came by on Friday and helped me get most of the scaffolding taken down.

I have a bit more of the scaffolding to remove from inside the room below the garage including the tower and sky bridge.  I then need to rent some shoring that will be used to support the slab until it cures enough to self support.  I have had some difficulties finding shoring as there is a LOT of commercial construction going on and many of the companies have a waiting list. But Kyle, my Lafarge salesman, came through with a suggestion to contact TTF Scaffolding.  It looks like they will be able to help me.  I need to come up with a list of materials needed once they tell me the length of their available beams and joists.  Before delivering to site, I will also quickly form up the basement walk-up footing and install the required insulation.  Then it will be a race to setup the shoring, install the reinforcing bar and then call for inspections.

Below is also a couple of photos showing ‘a better way’ for my gravel vertical drainage plane installation.

I found an even better way to lift up the dividing plywood used to create the gravel vertical drainage plane.  This is called a pallet grabber and is used in the trucking industry.

I found an even better way to lift up the dividing plywood used to create the gravel vertical drainage plane. This is called a pallet grabber and is used in the trucking industry. This was even faster than using the farm jack.

This 'funnel' greatly increased the speed of filling the cavity behind the plywood with gravel.

This ‘funnel’ greatly increased the speed of filling the cavity behind the plywood with gravel.

I was very relived to have sealed up the gravel drainage plane with fabric before the recent rains erroded the bank away and washed down all teh silt and mud into this corner.  It will be an easy process to dig the sludge away and continue the gravel drainage plane once backfill proceeds at this location after the garage slab pour.

I was very relieved to have sealed up the gravel drainage plane with fabric before the recent rains eroded the bank away and washed down all the silt and mud into this corner. It will be an easy process to dig the sludge away and continue the gravel drainage plane once backfill proceeds at this location after the garage slab pour.

Thanks for visiting.

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”  —Maya Angelou (1928-2014) Poet, Dancer, Producer, Playwright, Director, Author

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Mud!

November 2, 2015

Hey folks, just a fast update as not a lot has happened in the last week.

I got Alfie’s shoe back on last Thursday, but it was clear my soil screening days were over for the season.  Everything is now just mud and the soil is not separating from the rock.  No worries, I finished almost all of it and should have enough screened soil to finish the backfill on the front of the garage and north side of the house once the concrete garage slab and basement stairs foundation has been poured.

Never a good day when you look down and see this!

Never a good day when you look down and see this!

Processed pile of rocks.  These will need to be screen again next summer when really dry.  Will use for various landscaping projects.

Processed pile of rocks (tallest point is about 7′). These will need to be screen again next summer when really dry. Will use for various landscaping projects.

Back yard is now a very muddy swimming pool.  No sense doing any tractor work in this.

Back yard is now a very muddy swimming pool. No sense doing any tractor work in this.

I spent most of the rest of the week in the office first of all finishing off the company finances and submitting my income and GST returns and then coming up with a plan for the garage slab forming.  I do not want to have to form the wall stub that juts up above the slab as a separate pour, so it is a bit of a challenge to support the formwork for the stub when unable to attach to anything on the inboard side.  It is further complicated by the fact that the slab slopes 2″ from back to front for drainage.  So I need to create pie shaped plywood forms for the inboard side of the south and north walls as I still want the wall stub to be flat (so I do not have to frame to a slopping surface).  I came up with the image below and started installing today.

Plan for garage wall stub formwork.  Green is already poured.  2x4 uprights will allow for inboard side of forms to be hung without any inside attachment.

Plan for garage wall stub formwork. Green is already poured. 2×4 uprights will allow for inboard side of forms to be hung without any inside attachment.

Starting the installation of the outboard forms for the garage slab and wall stub.  The uprights will provide the support to hang the inboard forms.

Working till dark to start the installation of the outboard formwork for the garage slab and wall stub. The uprights will provide the support to hang the inboard form.

The rest of the week will be spent on forming and hopefully by next week I will have the shoring sourced and start its install for the slab.  My goal is to have everything ready for inspection by the end of the month at the latest.

I will need to utilize this form of shoring to support the garage 10" thick slab.

I will need to utilize this form of shoring to support the garage 10″ thick suspended slab.

Thanks for visiting.

“Sometimes, carrying on, just carrying on, is the superhuman achievement.” —Albert Camus (1913-1960) Author And Philosopher

“Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day-in, day-out. Not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years. And working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” —Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth Psychologist

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” —T.S. Eliot (1888-1965) Poet, Critic

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