In the name of Science

Well. I am extremely grateful I moved Alfie to the back yard last Friday as by Saturday AM, about 4ft of the back-filled south bank had caved in.  If Alfie was still on the front bank, I would have had a lot of work to hand dig out the cave in and rebuild up till the ramp was wide enough to drive through. Now of course, he is stranded in the back-yard until the backfill is complete on the west and balance of south wall.

Rains washed away 4' of built-up bank

Rains washed away 4′ of built-up bank

I started last week with the completion of the insulation on the west wall and then installing additional dimple sheet.  I have found a much better way of attaching the Delta Dry dimple to the Roxul mineral wool insulation.  I bought what is call polyurethane foam adhesive, which has a lot stronger grip compared to spray foam.  I just need to support the dimple for 15 minutes or so and then I have a strong hold that ensures the riggers of backfill operation.

Great Stuff Foam Adhesive.

Great Stuff Foam Adhesive.

Very tight dimple adhered to Roxul with foam adhesive.

The result was a very tight dimple adhered to Roxul with foam adhesive. Notice how tight a corner this method allows.  This makes installation of gravel drainage plane much easier.

I blocked dimple sheet with 2x4's and plywood until foam adhesive set up.

I blocked dimple sheet with 2×4’s and plywood until foam adhesive set up.

With the wall prep complete, I proceeded on the back-fill starting off with some relatively rock free soil at the bottom to protect the PEX ground loop I have installed.

PEX Ground loop that will be used to precondition the HRV incoming air.

PEX Ground loop that will be used to precondition HRV incoming air.

I then realized that I had an opportunity for another building science lab of sorts.  I have sidewalks right up against the house on all sides Except the west wall that I am working on, which instead will have various landscaping including our herb garden.  So, if I forgo compacting the west wall, I will be provided an opportunity to compare the rate of settlement between the compacted and uncompacted back fill.  When the west wall settles down the road, I will just need to add some more soil to ensure it is still sloped away from the dwelling.  Of course this decision has nothing to do with the fact that not compacting the soil in 12″ lifts will be much faster.  Of course it is all about the science  🙂  At least that is what I am going with.

Now of course, I can’t just push a bunch of soil into the hole and call it a day.  I am still installing the granular drainage plane against the dimple.  And a problem I had a couple of weeks ago gave me an idea on how to speed up this process as well. I had made the mistake of backfilling too much of the plywood acting as the barrier, between the soil and gravel, to allow for it to be pulled up by hand and used a jack and pick to raise it up.

Jack and pick used to raise plywood divider

Jack and pick used to raise plywood divider

After a couple of sleeps, I devised a better way.

A farm jack pulling up on 2x4's screwed to plywood allowed for easy raising of the sheet,

A farm jack pulling up on 2×4’s screwed to plywood allowed for easy raising of the sheet.

This new method allowed me to almost completely bury the plywood allowing for much taller lifts on each cycle.

A couple of minutes is all it takes to raise the plywood along a 40' section of foundation

A couple of minutes is all it takes to raise the plywood along a 40′ section of foundation

Because I am not compacting the west wall, I also do not need to have rock free soil.  I just made sure there were no large rocks up against the plywood.

Because I am not compacting the west wall, I also do not need to have rock free soil. I just made sure there were no large rocks up against the plywood.

Now of course the perfectionist in me is still not comfortable with NO compaction, so I am stomping the soil down (especially right against the plywood) as I go.  I had done about 3ft by Friday and then with Mr. J’s help, was able to do another 3ft on Saturday to reach the half way point. Today I was able to do another 1.5′ ft or so on my own and have about 4′ left to complete.

I bought this nifty Aerocart from Worx, that is sturdy and well balanced, to move gravel across the floor deck to the back wall where it is poured down in a pile and then shovelled into buckets to fill behind plywood.

I bought this nifty Aerocart from Worx, that is sturdy and well balanced, to move gravel across the floor deck to the back wall where it is poured down in a pile and then shovelled into buckets to fill behind plywood.

With Mr' J's help Saturday, we were able to finish installing the dimple and filling in the west wall hole to the half way point.

With Mr’ J’s help Saturday, we were able to finish installing the dimple and filling in the west wall hole to the half-way point.

As promised last week, here is a photo of teh massive boulder I had to push back out of the way.  Yellow circle shows where it was and how little room there was between it and edge of bank.  Made for some exciting moments as I teetered back and forth on the edge of the bank with Alfie

As promised last week, here is a photo of the massive boulder I had to push back out of the way. Yellow circle shows where it was and how little room there was between it and edge of bank. Made for some exciting moments as I teetered back and forth on the edge of the bank with Alfie

Thanks for visiting.

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) Philosopher, Poet, Author, Essayist

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2 Responses to In the name of Science

  1. AlexanderWang says:

    Very informative;  what will be your covering of the Roxul above grade, below siding?

  2. theenclosure says:

    Hi Alexander, Sorry for delay, the system did not notify me of your comment. The ROXUL will be strapped in place with the rain screen furring strips.  The cladding will then attach to the furring strips.

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